Effective Strategies

for Content Teachers of ELLs (using SIOP)

Why SIOP?

English Language Learners (ELLs) spend the majority, if not all, of their day with content or grade-level teachers - not ESL specialists - most of whom have had little to no instruction on the specific needs of ELLs and HOW to teach language THROUGH content. SIOP isn't magic...it's good instruction that supports language through content learning.

Culture Grams

Provides country-by-country information about your students!
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1. Lesson Preparation

1. Write content objectives clearly for students.

2. Write language objectives clearly for students.

3. Chose content concepts appropriate for age and educational background level of students.

4. Identify supplementary materials to use.

5. Adapt content to all levels of student proficiency.


Checklist for Lesson Preparation (Protocol Framework)

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2. Building Background

7. Explicitly link concepts to students' backgrounds and experiences.

8. Explicitly link past learning and new concepts.

9. Emphasize key vocabulary.


  • Text to Self Connections - Research clearly shows that prior knowledge (including experiences and emotions---or schema---is a major factor in students being able to comprehend what they read.
  • Text to Text Connections - Research shows that students who are explicitly taught and use strategies that activate prior knowledge comprehend better than students who don’t.
  • Guided Comprehension - students learn comprehension strategies in a variety of settings using multiple levels and types of text. It is a three-stage process focused on direct instruction, application, and reflection. Current studies demonstrate that when students experience explicit instruction of comprehension strategies, it improves their comprehension of new texts and topics
  • 3. Comprehensible Input

    10. Use speech appropriate for students' proficiency level.

    11. Explain academic tasks clearly and in multiple modes.

    12. Use a variety of techniques to make content concepts clear.


    KWL Charts - Students chart what they KNOW, what they WANT to know, and what they LEARNED

  • Pre-Reading Activities - Walk through the text discussing the topics and photos before reading, or looking through a chapter backwards for the big picture view of the entire text.
  • Personal Dictionaries - Ideas here.
  • Four Squares Vocabulary - paper folded into 4 parts: part 1 includes an illustration, part 2 includes a sentence, part 3 includes a definition, and part 4 includes the vocabulary word
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    4. Strategies

    13. Provide ample opportunities for students to use strategies.

    14. Use scaffolding techniques consistently.

    15. Use a variety of question types - including those that promote higher-order thinking skills.


    Survey, Question, Read, Review Recite - Informational posters display the steps in each stage of SQ3R

  • Questions in a Can - teacher or student-created questions ranging from lower to higher level questions are placed in a can. Students draw questions and answer in a team discussion.
  • Gallery Walks - Students write or draw the most important ideas from a section of assigned text. Ideas here.
  • Split Page Note Taking - Before reading, students write who, what, when, where, or why questions on the left side of the page and after reading, students write answers on the right side.
  • Similarities and Differences Using a Venn Diagram
  • 5. Interaction

    16. Provide frequent opportunities for interaction between teacher/student and among students to discuss content concepts.

    17. Use group configurations that support language and content objectives.

    18. Provide sufficient wait time for students to respond.

    19. Allow for students to clarify key concepts in L1 (native language)

    6. Practice/Application

    20. Provide hands-on materials or manipulatives for students to practice with new material.

    21. Provide activities for students to apply content and language knowledge in the classroom.

    22. Provide activities that integrate all language skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking)


  • Fishbone Diagram - used to identify causes and effect or main idea and supporting details. Found here.
  • Concept Webs Many ideas here.
  • Review Games for ESL Students - can be seat work, online, Smartboard, there are many different ways!
  • Vocabulary Card Review Games - Ways to Use Vocabulary Cards includes strategies to help students learn vocabulary words.
  • 7. Lesson Delivery

    23. Support content objectives clearly.

    24. Support language objectives clearly.

    25. Engage students 90-100% of the lesson.

    26. Pace the lesson appropriately to the students' levels.

    8. Review/Evaluation

    27. Comprehensive review of key vocabulary.

    28. Comprehensive review of key content concepts.

    29. Provide feedback to students regularly.

    30. Conduct assessments of students' learning and comprehension throughout the lesson.


    Simultaneous Roundtable - students help each other review by writing their team number on a paper that is passed from one student to the next. Each student adds a fact about a given concept then passes it on to the next writer. Teams are given a short time frame to complete the task i.e. 2 minutes.

  • Find a Person Who Knows - students are given review sheets with as many questions as there are students in the class. Students move around the room finding someone who knows an answer. Students can receive only one answer from each person.

  • Exit Tickets
  • Videos -

    Great reference information and "What Works" or "Best Practices" for Newcomers"
    Thank A Teacher
    ESL Support in Elementary School
    Supporting English Language Learners in the Preschool Classroom
    English Language Learners: Culture, Equity and Language

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    Apps that are Great!

    To upload classroom Pictures and Share with parents - PRIVATELY! :)