Identify Supplementary Materials to Use​

Looking for resources to help students learn is just what effective teachers do.  SIOP encourages teachers to go above and beyond what's in the textbook in order to help students connect to the language and the content of the classroom.

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SIOP Feature #4:  Identify Supplementary Materials to Use

Why should we consider using supplementary materials?

Identifying supplementary materials to use is critical when it comes to helping students understand language and content.  This becomes even more urgent if you work with English learners.  Taking time to consider what other ways you can help students grasp the lesson's objective is an invaluable way to set yourself and your students up for success.

There are a lot of reasons why considering and collecting supplementary materials to use is beneficial to teaching and learning.  Here are three:

  1. The author of the textbook we use doesn't personally know my students.  I know my students, and I know how to connect this to their unique lives.

  2. There is more out there than just visual and auditory ways to teach/learn something.  There are four ways to interact anything:  visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile.

  3. The more supplementary materials you use, the more you and they will get into it.  Teaching something a different way will make it more interesting for you and for your students.

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Efficient Ways to Find Supplementary Materials

Finding supplementary materials doesn't have to eat up all of your free time.  There are plenty of things that you can do to build the muscle of using supplementary materials.  Here are four:

  1. Choose one thing (Cuisenaire Rods, dice, fly swatters, cards) and use it for everything until you master it.  Then, you won't have to plan for it, it will just come out of you when needed.  Just think of what you are really good at.  That came about because you worked at it over and over again.  

  2. Involve the students.  It make take a bit of time in the beginning, but empowering students to make their own materials is the way to go.  Not only does this engage students, it also teaches them that learning is work but in a fun way.  Everything takes time, but there are ways to minimize this.

  3. Collaborate with peers.  If you have other teachers who teach the same subject as you, collaborate with them.  If each person shares one supplementary material, everyone (especially the students wind up winning).  Research also shows that students who have teachers that collaborate tend to collaborate more!

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