Zamora's Monthly Tidbits

November Focus

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The first 9-weeks have passed and we are just a few weeks away from this anticipated holiday.

Learning new traditions and embracing the culture is part of the second language acquisition process. However, it is more than holidays and customs. Check these articles to further understand how culture affects language learning:


Component 2: Building Background

This SIOP component is closely tied to Lesson Preparation and it delineates three features (7, 8, 9 on the model):

  1. Determining students' prior knowledge and understanding of a topic and linking concepts to students' background experiences
  2. Making explicit connections between previous learning with the learning of new concepts
  3. Emphasizing and developing key academic vocabulary. Academic vocabulary is defined as having three key components:
  • Content words: Content words are key content-specific vocabulary words.
  • Function words: Function words are vocabulary words that are associated with language functions, which signifies the ways in which we use language. We use language to inform, persuade, sequence, compare, contrast, etc. Each language function has specific vocabulary words associated with the function.
  • Morphology and word structure: Students also need to be taught about the morphology and structure of words, including prefixes, suffixes, root words, cognates and other structural aspects of words.

In addition, vocabulary instruction should be guided by these four principles:

  1. Students should be active in developing their understanding of words and ways to learn them.
  2. Students should personalize word learning.
  3. Students should be immersed in words.
  4. Students should build on multiple sources of information to learn words.
Suggested activities include: word sorts, contextualizing key vocabulary, vocabulary self collection strategies, personal dictionaries, word walls/interactive word walls, concept definition maps, cloze sentences, word generation, word study books, vocabulary games, self assessments, visual representations, categorizing and labeling, analogies, vocabulary webs, and graphic organizers.


Adapted from Making Content Comprehensible for English Language Learners, The SIOP Modelby Jana Echevarria, Mary Ellen Vogt and Deborah J. Short

Look for more SIOP 2: Building Background ideas on Pinterest!

Component 2: Building Background


Look for more technology-related educational tools for your -and your students'- needs here:

Use this Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) to learn how you can enhance learning in your classroom


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