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Copy of SIOP Chapter 3: Background Knowledge

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Mercedes Zuloaga

on 7 March 2014

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Transcript of Copy of SIOP Chapter 3: Background Knowledge

Making Content Comprehensible:
SIOP Feature 7: Concepts Explicitly Linked to Students' Background Experiences
SIOP FEATURE 9: Key Vocabulary Emphasized (e.g. introduced, written, repeated, and highlighted for students to see)
SIOP Feature 8: Links Explicitly Made between Past Learning and New Concepts
Chapter 3: Building Background
Planning and implementing ways to build students' background is a necessary second step in the SIOP model
Building background is tied to providing meaningful language instruction for English learners
In other words, the quality of exposure to English is more important than the quantity of exposure
Look at the image on the following page and think about its meaning. Is it confusing or unclear? Why? What information might you need to know in order to better understand its significance?
-“Schemata”, or “knowledge of the world,” is a student's basis for building understanding and learning; otherwise known as their conceptual framework (Echevarría, Vogt, & Short, 2008, p. 54)
-It allows them to create connections with new information as they learn

“Schemata are the reader’s concepts, beliefs, expectations, processes- virtually everything from past experiences- that are used in making sense of things and actions” (Edmund Huey, as stated in Echevarría et al, 2008)
-Children often vary in terms of their own schemata due to personal experiences and cultural backgrounds
This must be taken into account by instructors
-For example, teachers should engage in some form of self-reflection to avoid any potential cultural bias or assumptions and promote their cultural sensitivity
-In addition, school reading materials in the U.S. often make assumptions about what students already know;
These assumptions are frequently culturally-biased
-As a result, although students may have the ability to complete language tasks such as reading, they may not necessarily be able to extract meaning from texts
-In order to cultivate students' prior knowledge for language tasks such as reading, Echevarría et al (2008) recommend three instructional interventions:
1) preteach vocabulary
2) create meaningful experiences (e.g., connect students’ experiences to the text)
3)provide ways for students to build their own knowledge through learning techniques such as graphic organizers, visual representations, models, and realia
For 30 seconds, consider the following question (individually) and then write a brief response:
Next, find a partner and compare responses. After you’ve shared your answers, consider this:
What does it mean to activate students’ prior knowledge?
Think- Pair- Share
What does it mean to build students’ background knowledge?
Finally, discuss with your partner how activating students’ prior knowledge and building their background knowledge are instructionally different
What conclusions did you reach?
According to Echevarría et al (2008)…
All students have prior knowledge from life and educational experience; these can be determined by teachers through activities such as KWLs, TPS, brainstorming, etc.
Activating prior knowledge therefore means accessing what students already know and helping them to become more aware of it
Building background information means using techniques to “fill in the gaps” to create connections with new information and concepts
-Examples of ways to do this in the classroom include:
providing additional sources of information about topics (visual supports, e.g. movie clips, demonstrations, models, etc.)
helping students work together to compare knowledge
pretests to determine students' current knowledge and "preview" information
-It is crucial for teachers to revisit, review, and if necessary reteach in order for students to integrate new knowledge into their existing schemata
-As stated by Echevarría et al (2010), “the teacher must build a bridge from previous lessons and concepts to today’s lesson” (p. 68)

Ways to explicitly link past and new learning involve:
Student-centered discussions
Review of previous class notes
Consistent use of visuals and other teaching tools throughout lesson to reinforce learning
And also...

-Vocabulary is a 3rd major part to building background knowledge
-Vocab development is critical for ELLs because:
Academic vocabulary is extreme in its depth and scope
It is strongly associated with academic achievement
Powerful relationship between vocab knowledge and comprehension
Academic Language
Three key elements:
Content words
( e.g. for the American Revolutionary War: democracy, Redcoats, Patriots, freedom of religion, Paul Revere…)
Process/function words
(Words crucial in how to do or process things)
words and word parts that teach English structure
allow students to learn new vocab themselves, a crucial skill
E.g. Teaching
? Teach the root, photo- (light) & compare the words photosynthesis, photograph, photography, photofinish…
Academic Word List
Averil Coxhead’s Academic Word List
Headword with family members:

Headwords by frequency:

We can also think about 3 tiers of words:
Tier One
– common words, e.g. simple nouns, verbs, sight words
Most know from BICS
Tier Two
– found often in schoolbooks but not in general conversation; much like the Academic Word List
Need to be taught explicitly to ELLs and many native speakers
Tier Three
– uncommon words found only in very specific contexts
**Don’t spend too much time on these
And PLAY with words!
It develops word consciousness and helps MOTIVATION:
A bicycle can’t stand alone because it is two-tired.
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
The present is a good time to present the present.
Vocabulary Instruction
4 main principles for instruction: Students should…
1.be active in developing their understanding of words and ways to learn them.
2.personalize word learning through such practices as Vocabulary Self-Collection Strategy (VSS).
3.be immersed in words.
4.build on multiple sources of information to learn words through repeated exposures.
There are many useful lessons and strategies for teaching vocabulary
Examples follow…

Note: Using a dictionary is an important school skill to learn but the task must fit the learning needs.
Concept Maps
Word Maps
Word Sorts
Personal Dictionaries
Full transcript