SIOP National Conference

Climbing the SIOP Mountain

By Amy Washamamy_washam

“I have been SIOP trained!” Whenever I hear educators say these words, the follow up question is, “Do you implement the features of SIOP into your lessons, and if so, to what degree?” Receiving SIOP training is only the first step to becoming a high-implementing SIOPer. I often use the analogy of climbing a mountain, a SIOP mountain. For most educators, the SIOP training only makes you aware that the SIOP Mountain exists. You do not begin to ascend the SIOP Mountain until you implement the features consistently into your lessons. And you do not summit the SIOP Mountain, become a high-implementer, without lots of experience implementing the features.

While I know quite a bit about implementing the SIOP Model, I am not an experienced mountain climber. So to continue this analogy, I searched, “How to climb a mountain,” and found some striking similarities between the extreme sport of mountain climbing and learning to implement the SIOP Model to a high degree (see (more…)

Review and Assessment is Not the Last SIOP Component

By Amy Washam

When I introduce the Review and Assessment Component to participants during an initial SIOP training—the training where educators first learn about the 8 components and 30 features—I often joke that Review and Assessment is not the last SIOP component. Since I have made this statement at the end of the third and final day of training, I will inevitably see signs of displeasure on the faces of new, and often brain-weary, SIOPers. It’s not that these new SIOPers don’t love the model, but after three days of examining every possible feature of good instruction for English learners, we are all rejoicing that the ninth component never materialized.

So why do I continue to torture participants by implying there is another component after Review and Assessment when clearly there is not one? It is to make a point. While Review and Assessment is the last component listed on the SIOP Protocol, it should not be the last component implemented into our lessons. Effective instruction is rarely a linear process that begins with direct instruction, moves on to student practice, and then provides review before finally assessing learning. Teachers should not wait until the end of a lesson, or even half-way through the lesson, to review and assess student learning. (more…)

Differentiating Instruction with the SIOP Model

By Karen RobinsonIn the classroom

Differentiation is one of the most ubiquitous topics in education today. Yet it continues to stir up great interest and concern as to how to implement it effectively in a diverse classroom. Across the United States, classrooms are becoming more visibly diverse while continuing to celebrate existing student variability, and teachers are faced with the tremendous task of ensuring that each student’s learning needs are met, addressed, and maximized in a complex and sophisticated manner. Add to this, new standards, teacher evaluation systems and initiatives, it is no wonder the differentiation experience is not always one of celebration and joy.

With any best practice, the key is to provide teachers with the knowledge, tools, and skills they need for implementation success. As teachers learn of the deep connection between assessment and differentiation, specific practices used to differentiate and suggested activities for differentiation, the anxiety produced around this best practice diminishes greatly. (more…)

What Makes Professional Development Effective?

By MaryEllen Vogt

For the SIOP National Conference next month in Dallas, I’m presenting a keynote titled, “The Adventures of a SIOP Professional Developer.” I’ll be telling some humorous stories as shared by a couple of SIOP consultants, as well as an anecdote or two from my own experiences while teaching the SIOP Model to thousands of teachers and administrators over the past fifteen years.

But, I have a greater purpose for this presentation than just sharing a few funny stories. More importantly, I’ll be sharing information from a review of research about what constitutes effective professional development, and how we can use research findings to create effective PD that will lead to improved implementation of the SIOP Model. As an example, I’ve learned from a research review (and from my own experience) that effective SIOP professional development is:

  • Highly interactive
  • Respectful of divergent perspectives
  • Dialogic (dialogue is valued)
  • Goal-oriented
  • Ongoing (learning to implement the SIOP Model to a high degree takes time; it’s a process)
  • Sustainable (unlike other PD efforts, schools implementing the SIOP Model know they’re in it for the long haul)
  • Embedded in classroom and school contexts
  • Substantive (includes increased knowledge of learning and teaching)
  • Collaborative
  • Designed with adult learning theories in mind.


RTI and English Learners: Using the SIOP Model

 By Jana EchevarriaJana edit

With the current emphasis on high academic standards and college and career preparedness, it has never been more essential to have safeguards in place for those students who struggle to learn, those who are not yet proficient in English, and those who need a boost in skill development. Response to Intervention (RTI) is just such a safeguard and, when implemented well, offers support to learners who need it.

The intent of RTI , also referred to as a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS), is to identify at-risk learners e early and provide them with appropriate instructional support services which typically include small group, focused teaching (commonly referred to as Tier 2 or Tier 3 intervention). These services increase in intensity, duration and frequency depending on the student’s need. The RTI or MTSS process is promising for English learners because of its emphasis on the individual learner; for too long English learners have been lumped together as a group without regard to their individual differences. An effective RTI process documents the academic progress of each student and puts in place programs to advance each student’s achievement. Rather than looking at the struggling student as having an inherent problem, schools search for instructional solutions and provide the needed supports.