Content & Language Objectives

We have been writing content and language objectives in our biliteracy units in order to guide our instruction and our students’ learning process. Since our students are language learners, we should know how we can purposefully integrate these objectives into our daily lessons. It is important to add non-linguistic cues when posting our objectives.


The content objective tells the students WHAT they will be learning. The Content Areas include the following:

  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Math
  • Health
  • etc.

You can use the following verbs when creating your content objectives:

list - hacer una lista
identify - identificar
locate - localizar
memorize - memorizar
review - repasar
label - etiquetar
describe - describir
define - definir
name - nombrar
match - emparejar
recall - recordar
summarize - resumir
explain - explicar
rephrase - reformular
demonstrate - demonstrar
reproduce - reproducir
predict - predecir
compare - comparar
contrast - contrastar
make - crear
build - construir
solve - resolver
classify - clasificar
categorize - categorizar
show - mostrar
apply - aplicar
build a model - construir un modelo combine - combinar
compile - recopilar
compose - componer
construct - construir
create - crear
design - diseñar
elaborate - elaborar
test - examinar
infer - inferir
predict - predecir hypothesize -crear una hipótesis
invent - inventar
justify - justificar
defend - defender
support - apoyar
choose - selecionar
decide - decidir recommend - recomendar
select - elegir

*Adapted from Echevarría, J., Vogt, M. E., & Short, D. J. (2000). Making content comprehensible for English language learners: The SIOP model. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.


The language objectives tell students HOW they will learn. Think about how language will be used in the lesson. They involve the four Language Skills:

  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing
describe - describir
name - nombrar
discuss - discutir
ask - preguntar
answer - contestar
predict - predecir
pronounce - pronunciar
repeat - repetir
respond - responder
summarize - resumir
explain - explicar
tell - decir
use - usar
rehearse - ensayar persuade - persuadir
say steps in a process - decir los pasos en un proceso
tell - decir
retell - recontar
role play - actuar
identify - identificar
listen - escuchar
recognize - reconocer
show - mostrar
follow directions - seguir instrucciones
preview - anticipar
read aloud - leer en voz alta
find specific information - encontrar información especifica
identify - identificar
skim - leer por encima
explore - explorar
list - hacer una lista
summarize- resumir
ask and answer questions- hacer y contestar preguntas
create sentences- crear oraciones
state and justify opinions- manifestar y justificar opiniones
write- escribir
compare- comparar
contrast - contrastar
classify- clasificar
record- anotar
persuade- persuadir
define words in
context- definir palabras en contexto
define words- definir palabras
find words and construct
meaning - encontrar palabras y definirlas

*Adapted from Echevarría, J., Vogt, M. E., & Short, D. J. (2000). Making content comprehensible for English language learners: The SIOP model. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

The  Center for Applied Linguistics suggest teachers use the following checklist to evaluate their content and language objectives:

“Are my objectives…

  • Observable?
  • Age-appropriate?
  • Specific enough to be helpful to the students without being cumbersome?
  • Related to listening, speaking, reading, or writing?
  • Designed to promote the learning of the unit content?”

In the chart below, you will find examples of content and language objectives based on ELA and math Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

StandardExample of Content ObjectiveExample of Language Objective

With prompting and support, identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.
Readers will be able to identify the main idea in an informational text.I can read informational texts and discuss what the main idea is with a partner.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.1.OA.A.2 Solve word problems that call for addition of three whole numbers whose sum is less than or equal to 20.Los matemáticos pueden sumar 3 números para encontrar el resultado.Yo puedo escribir una ecuación de 3 sumas.
Identifican el tema principal de un texto de varios párrafos, así como el enfoque de párrafos específicos en el texto.
Yo identificare el tema principal de un texto de varios párrafos.Yo puedo leer textos informativos y explicar cuál es el tema principal de un texto de varios párrafos.
CCSS.Mathematics.2.G.1 Recognize and draw shapes having specified attributes, such as a given number of angles or a given number of equal faces. Identify triangles,quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, and cubes.I will be able to recognize the attributes of triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, and cubes.I can orally describe shapes with my partner using words such as angles and sides.

Always remember to have the students read the objectives out loud or read them to the students at the start of each lesson. That way students know what to expect and can beginning using their schema to make connections.

Happy Monday!

Claudia & Luz

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