ESL Toolbelt

December Newsletter

Welcome to the ESL Toolbelt-December Edition!

Last month we focused on the first component of SIOP: Lesson Preparation, which consists of sharing content and language objectives orally and in writing, using appropriate content concepts, using supplementary materials, adapting content as needed, and making activities meaningful. How have you reflected on your lesson preparation? What changes have you made to your lesson planning?

This month, let's move on to the second component of SIOP: Building Background. The features of Building Background are:
1) Link to students' background experiences.
2) Link to students' past learning.
3) Emphasize key vocabulary (Academic Vocabulary).

Checkout the videos below for some information on Building Background.

Component 2: Building Background
Using realia to build background knowledge
Who Lives Here?: Building Background Knowledge
Now that you have watching some examples of building background knowledge, let's take some time to reflect. How do you link the concepts you are teaching to the students' background knowledge? How do you build background knowledge before you begin teaching a new concept/idea? How do you assess the students' background knowledge?

Free Sticky Notes App

The Sticky Notes App is a tool your students can use daily in your classroom. Instead of using real Post-it Notes, they can write down their wonderings, new learning and a-ha moments on the Sticky Note App. This would also be a great way to have students show their background knowledge!


The first three people who correctly answer my question below will get a sweet treat!!

1) How many times do you need to explicitly teach vocabulary (the answer can be found in the 1st video)?

2) How did the second teacher build background knowledge with her students?

3) How did the third teacher build background knowledge with her students?