Lesson planning and preparation are critical aspects of teaching and learning,
and are often given less importance than they deserve. Over the years many teachers have become accustomed to receiving scripted
lesson plans in teacher edition manuals, but the lesson plans often do not meet the needs of English language learners at
various proficiency levels. It's important that teachers spend sufficient time planning and preparing lesson plans prior to
teaching the lesson. As the old saying goes, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail". When lesson plans have
been well thought out and prepared in advance, lessons will go much more smoothly and it will be easier for students to achieve
the goals of the lesson.
The SIOP model recommends
that teachers include the following components when planning lessons:
Content objectives are
grade-level standards, objectives and goals that identify what students will learn in the lesson in various subject areas
(i.e., English language arts, Science, Social Studies, Math, etc). Teachers can find the content objectives in their
grade-level content standards required for their state or school district. Some state content standards are typically very
broad and must be broken down into smaller objectives that can be taught over the course of one or two periods. For example,
the third grade California Science standard,"Students know plants and animals have structures that serve different functions
in growth, survival and reproduction" is too broad to be taught in one lesson. The standard can be broken down into smaller
objectives where teachers might teach that "Bald eagles have physical characteristics that help them survive" over
the course of one lesson. In subsequent lessons, the teacher can plan lessons to teach about the bald eagle's behavioral characteristics
that help them adapt to survive, or their life cycles and reproductive habits.
In addition to content
objectives, each lesson should include a language objective that is designed to facilitate language development. The language
objectives may be listening and speaking, reading, or writing and should be objectives that are slightly beyond the students'
proficiency level in order to promote literacy development. Language objectives can be: vocabulary, functional language, reading,
writing, listening/speaking, grammar/language structures, etc. Language objectives can be derived from state ELD/ESL standards,
English language arts standards, district ELD/ESL objectives, or can also be identified by the teacher based on student need.
For example, when studying about the physical characteristics of the bald
eagle in the example mentioned above, one example of a language objective that teachers may include in the lesson might be
one or more of the following:
- Orally restate details about the physical adapations
that bald eagles use for survival
- Write a paragraph with a topic sentence and supporting details
about the physical adaptations of bald eagles
- Read a chapter in a Science book about the bald
eagle and identify three physical adaptations
The language objectives chosen should
integrate well with the content objectives being taught in each lesson. Teachers should include a variety of language objectives
that represent all four language domains: reading, writing, listening and speaking over the course of the unit of study. While
reading and writing skills are important, oral language development is equally important for English learners and listening/speaking
language objectives should not be ignored.
Appropriate Content Concepts
Content concepts taught to students should be grade-level
appropriate. In the event that students do not have the prerequisite knowledge to learn about the grade-level concepts, teachers
should activate prior knowledge and utilize a variety of building background strategies in order to build background knowledge
about the concepts. It is not advisable to give older students materials that are designed for younger students; instead,
teachers should build background knowledge or adapt and modify grade-level instructional materials in order to expose students
to grade-level content. Teachers can also utilize small group instruction to preteach and reteach grade-level content with
struggling students or students at lower English proficiency levels who might need review of the content. During lesson planning,
teachers should brainstorm a variety of ways that they will expose struggling students to grade-level concepts.
Effective Use of Supplementary Materials
When planning lessons, teachers should plan to include materials and resources designed to supplement and enhance
the content and language objectives as well as concepts taught. In each lesson teachers might include the following supplemental
materials, depending on the lesson: realia, manipulatives, pictures/photos, visuals (GLAD pictorial input charts, charts,
graphic organizers, timelines, etc), videos, powerpoints, adapted text, Project GLAD teacher-made big books, related fiction
and nonfiction books, and a variety of other supplemental resources. All supplemental resources are utilized to enhance and
expand the information provided in core curriculum.
Adapting Content to All English Proficiency Levels
and Authentic Activities that Integrate Lesson Concepts with Opportunities to Practice Language
When planning lessons for
English learners, teachers must plan meaningful and authentic ways that students will practice the content and language objectives
identified in the lesson. Students should practice all four language domains (i.e., reading, writing, speaking, listening)
when studying concepts.
For additional information on the SIOP model of English language development
(ELD) and second language acquisition, please visit our SIOP
overview page , which contains information about additional SIOP components.