SIOP Feature #21:  Provide activities for students to apply content and language

Class of students performing a learning activity

Giving students a maximum number of opportunities to apply their knowledge and understanding of content and language is vital to their learning.  Applying knowledge is, after all, what we expect our students to be able to do.

Most of us are pretty good at giving students practice with the content (E.g. do these 10 multiplication problems).  We also need to cultivate this same skill with our  students' language usage (E.g. ask your partner, "what's the product of 2 and 6")?

Students need to be scaffolded into being able to apply content and language effectively.  

  1. They need me to model how to use the language.  
  2. They need a chance or two to do it with me.  
  3. They need a few chances to use the language with their peers in a safe way.  
  4. Finally, they need to chance to do it all by themselves.  

​This Gradual Release of Responsibility is how we empower students to practice langauge they need to own.

Strategies to Promote Application of Language

It can be challenging to make sure that students practice language in addition to content.  Practicing the language is not always the same as practicing the content.  While it is always best to have them practice both together, we need to make sure they are really practicing language.  

Here are three ways to stimulate language practice:

  1. Turn and Talk:  Students talking with students is a great way to encourage language usage and content practice.  Telling students to share something related to the content using specific language is a great way to encourage language practice.  The point is that students have a chance to speak to other students using the language.
  2. Share Specific Language:  Giving students specific language to use when interacting with the content and their peers is also an effective means of making sure they are giving their language a work out.  This could include word banks, language shells, and other useful lists of language the students should be encouraged to use.
  3. Model and then Step out of the way:  If we aren't careful, we can take opportunities away from our students.  We have to make sure we step out of the way so that the students will step on.  We have to model how to use the language, but then we have to get out of the way to make sure that the students are the ones who get most of the practice.
Master SIOP in your classroom
Enroll in our SIOP Professional Development course

TESOL Trainers provides empowering and engaging professional development

TESOL Trainers can make SIOP come alive for all teaching staff.  Our use of experiential learning, engaging lessons, and scores of easy-to-use techniques empowers teachers with new approaches to connecting students to the language, the content, and one another.

John Kongsvik, the director of TESOL Trainers, presents a model lesson on run-on sentences here. The 150 participating teachers become students an get a feel for what the lesson is like through the eyes of a learner.   

Everyone who participates in our professional development says the same thing:  "This was the best workshop I have ever attended."  

Unlock Sheltered Instruction Secrets Today with Your Free eBook about SIOP

Click the button below to claim your free ebook and join our mailing list.