Building Background.....

Week 2 assignment 2

If you were creating a SIOP lesson, how will you activate students’ prior knowledge and build background?

The day before the lesson I would begin with an observation chart activity. I would pair the students with a partner to walk around the room. They would stop at each chart and write an observation. This would help me to see what background information the students have before beginning the lesson. Observation charts also stimulate the student's curiosity and gives ELL students language support from peers. We would then discuss the charts together. Echevarria, Vogt, and Short (2008) state "In the United States, most school reading materials, such as content area texts, rely on assumptions about students' prior knowledge, especially related to curriculum. " An activity like the observation charts would help give students background information before the core lesson begins.

I might also make a Pictoral Input Chart in front of the students. It is a drawn and labeled in front of the students to "imprint" it in their minds. It makes vocabulary and concepts more memorable. It will also be a resource for the students later on. Echevarria, Vogt, and Short (2008) state, "When introducing an activity, SIOP teachers often use visuals (pictures, photos, and so forth) to provide context and a reference point for English Learners."
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What connection to past learning can you make?

One connection I would make would be to a past input chart. For instance, if I was teaching a Rainforest habitat unit, I would bring them back to world map input chart we created in the General Habitat portion. We would look at the map and the habitats we had previously covered. Then we would add in the new information about the Rainforest so that the new material is linked with past learning. In the building background video, Vogt (n.d) states "I may need to pull out the map and say, You remember when we talked about the explorers from Spain now we are going to talk about....". Activities like these forge the connections from past to current learning.
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What are key vocabulary words and how will you teach them?


· Habitat

· Camoflauge

· Understory

· Canopy

· Forest floor

· Emergent layer

· Howler monkey

· Boa constrictor

· Sloth

· Toucan

When introducing my general habitat unit, I would have taught the students a "signal word". With a signal word, when I call out the word the students call out a very simple definition. For that unit the word was habitat. Whenever the students heard the word habitat they would call out "a home for an animal". For the rainforest lesson, I would choose a word like camouflage. The students would call out "blending in". I would do activities such as input charts and songs to help the students attach meaning to the words.
In the building background video, Vogt (n.d) states "I need to teach that vocabulary explicitly not just once but multiple times." Activities such as input charts, songs, chats, and signal words help to explicitly teach vocabulary.
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