Since the basis of sheltered instruction or SDAIE is to provide a framework for language development then one of the simplest ways follow a set format of instruction. For example, beginning each lesson with an introductory activity that assesses the students’ knowledge in a non-threatening and non-graded format will allow the teacher to evaluate the students’ skill set. It is vitally important the teacher designs his/her lessons to clearly define language and content as well as make the activity meaningful through the linkage to past knowledge and present and supplemental materials. Some examples of lessons include hands-on and cooperative learning activities, vocabulary, and the use of visual clues. Teachers also place an emphasis on developing the students’ habits of organization and study skills. Teachers may use sheltered instruction within a variety of program models (e.g. immersion, pull out, team-teaching). Teachers may use sheltered instruction in a mainstream class to support English language learners, or a class may be specially designed, such as "Sheltered U.S. History." Such classes may include only English language learners or English language learners and English-fluent peers.
The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol is a research-based observation instrument that is used to measure sheltered instruction (Guarino, Echevarria, Short, Schick, Forbes, & Rueda, 2001) and provides a model for lesson planning.
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