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How to Create a SIOP Lesson Plan

SIOP stands for Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol. It is a comprehensive, research-based model designed to improve teacher effectiveness and student achievement. The SIOP Model is intended to provide a framework to guide lesson planning and instructional delivery for teaching English Learners regardless of content area or grade level. Using the SIOP Model, teachers prepare lesson plans and deliver instruction using specific SIOP strategies that make learning easier for second language learners (ESOL students). The goal of the SIOP Model is to help English Language Learners develop academic language skills in four main “domains”. These are: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. In short, the purpose of the SIOP Model is to assist educators as they plan, deliver, and assess instruction for ESOL students with the objective of improving student growth outcomes. The objectives of this post is to provide the reader with a brief overview of the main components of a SIOP lesson plan and to provide an example of what a completed Standards-based, differentiated, SIOP lesson plan could look like for a high school science lesson.

Overview of the SIOP Model

The SIOP Model consists of eight interrelated components and integrated instructional strategies. They are:

  1. Lesson Preparation

  2. Building Background

  3. Comprehensible Input

  4. Strategies

  5. Interaction

  6. Practice/Application

  7. Lesson Delivery

  8. Review & Assessment

Lesson Preparation

SIOP lessons have content and language objectives that are clearly defined, displayed, and orally reviewed with students. These objectives are linked to subject area standards and curricula, and the academic vocabulary and language that students need for success. Teachers should provide supplementary materials (visuals, multimedia, bilingual texts, and study guides…) that modify and differentiate curriculum material. Finally, meaningful activities provide provide opportunities for students to apply their content and language learning.

Building Background

In SIOP lessons, teachers help students connect new concepts with their personal and cultural experiences and past learning. Building background knowledge assumes ESOL students are unfamiliar with the cultural references embedded in the curriculum as presented. Teachers should plan to activate students’ prior knowledge and tap into what students already know, to identify misinformation, or to fill in learning gaps. The SIOP Model places emphasis on students building a broad vocabulary base. SIOP teachers increase attention to vocabulary instruction across the curriculum so students become effective readers, writers, speakers, and listeners.

Comprehensible Input

SIOP instruction includes a variety of SIOP techniques that assist students in the comprehension of key lesson concepts. These techniques include teacher talk that is appropriate to student proficiency levels; restatement; paraphrasing; repetition; written records of key points; and previews and reviews of important information. Additional techniques include demonstrations and modeling of tasks, processes, and routines; opportunities for students to engage in role-plays, improvisation, and simulations; visuals and supplementary materials, such as pictures, real objects, illustrations, charts, adapted texts, audiotapes, CDs or online resources; and hands-on activities.


This SIOP component addresses student learning strategies and teacher-scaffolded instruction SIOP teachers should scaffold instruction to provide learning support as needed so second language students can be successful with academic tasks. As English learners master a skill or task, teachers remove old supports and add new ones for higher levels of application. The goal is the gradual increase of student independence, so that second language learners can achieve independence.


Students learn both conversational and academic language best through interaction with peers and with their teachers. As such, the SIOP model encourages oral language practice often so that students develop not only content knowledge but English language listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Interaction strategies rely on using pairs and small groups to provide opportunity for second language learners to practice new vocabulary important language functions, such as asking for clarification, confirming interpretations, elaborating on one’s own or another’s idea, citing evidence in the text to support claims, and evaluating opinions.

Practice & Application

SIOP teachers ensure that lessons include practice and application activities that encourage students to apply both the content and language skills they are learning through hands-on materials, group assignments, partner work, projects, and so forth. Opportunities for them to practice and apply content information, as well as literacy and language processes (i.e., reading, writing, listening and speaking) should be included.

Lesson Delivery

SIOP teachers should frequently refer student to the lesson’s content and language objectives as the lesson progresses. Common SIOP lesson delivery strategies include providing meaningful activities, provide appropriate wait time so students can process concepts, and fostering a classroom environment with maximum student engagement.

Review & Assessment

As part of each SIOP lesson, teachers should make time for review and assessment throughout a lesson and check on student comprehension frequently. SIOP teachers should also review key vocabulary and concepts throughout the lesson. Summarizing strategies should review the lesson content and language objectives.

SIOP Lesson Design

Teachers are expected to differentiate each lesson for every student based on research based best practices. The SIOP Model can be overwhelming with so many requirements and strategies, but is useful for ELL students. However, many educators are confused about how to fit the SIOP model into a standards-based lesson plan. The sample lesson plan shown in the image below is purely based on the SIOP Model and covers one block of as high school Anatomy & Physiology Course. You can find a downloadable copy of this lesson plan here. This plan was created as part of a three year SIOP Professional Development Training Course during which lesson planning was covered in great detail.

A Sample Standards-based, Differentiated, SIOP Daily Lesson Plan

As you can see from the lesson plan above, the SIOP Model is a good framework from which to create a differentiated lesson that reaches all student. However, an alternative (my preference) is to begin with the Standards-based Model of unit planning and incorporate SIOP components within the unit plan along with other differentiation techniques as needed. The sample unit plan below does just that. You can find a downloadable copy of this lesson plan here.

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