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Literacy Improvement Series: The Myth of the Literacy Block

Does this look familiar?   This is the sample schedule from a typical monolingual schedule. The content (math, science, social studies) and language (English Language Arts) blocks are independent from each other. The time allotted to each subject is either school- or district-mandated, and teachers are expected to spend the given amounts of time on each subject. I have spent the last four months sharing with you some of the most effective literacy strategies I use in my Two-Way Immersion kindergarten and Read More...

Literacy Improvement Series: LEA in the Kindergarten Classroom

Have you thought of how you can use the Language Experience Approach (LEA) with your students? I promised in last month's blog to share how I use LEA with my kindergarten class. If you missed that blog, check it out here for a review on what LEA is and why I love it so much! Also feel free to check out my other blogs in this Literacy Improvement Series, which explain how I, the English teacher in a Two-Way Immersion program, Read More...

Literacy Improvement Series: Language Experience Approach

I hope this blog finds you well! This is the fourth installment of my Literacy Improvement Series as related to the English side of a Two-Way Immersion Program. However, I hope you know that these strategies can be adapted for teaching and learning in any language – or in a monolingual English class as well! See my past blogs on Oracy Development, Vocabulary, and Phonics for more ideas. I’m so excited to share one of my favorite strategies with you Read More...

Common Core, Close Reading, & Teaching for Biliteracy

Is Close Reading helpful for language learners? Participants in Edgewood’s Biliteracy Development this Spring engaged in a discussion around the article  Implementing the Common Core State Standards: A Primer on “Close Reading of Text” (Kappes and Brown, 2012).  This blog post captures their insights on this hot topic! Bilingual Teacher Kate Spurgeon summarizes key points of the reading: “Paraphrased in part, this article defines close reading as: ‘an investigation of a short piece of text with multiple re-readings over multiple Read More...

Literacy Improvement Series: Phonics – Dictado

Welcome to part three of my Literacy Improvement Mini-Series, with examples from the English side of my kindergarten and first grade TWI classes (In our 50/50 model, I teach first grade in the morning while kindergarten is in Spanish, then we switch. Read more about the program in which I teach and who I am here.). If you'd like to see the previous posts in this series, check out the Oracy Development blog as well as the Vocabulary: When and How blog. This contribution: Phonics: Dictado Me: Read More...

Flexible Grouping, a Promising Practice

This blog post was written by my colleague Valerie Klessig-Palm, a Kindergarten teacher at Nuestro Mundo Community School. Even at the very beginning of their biliteracy trajectory, students in kindergarten display a range of academic and linguistic needs and abilities! At Nuestro Mundo Community School, we have found a way to meet students’ diverse needs while capitalizing on their strengths, and grow ourselves in the process. What is flexible grouping? Flexible grouping refers to the process of mixing all students from across Read More...

-Si sigo el escope los niños no aprenden a leer-

Bilingual teachers are united in our commitment to social justice, and our belief that education is a vehicle to achieve it.  Educational leaders can impact a teacher’s ability to act on this belief. I frequently observe the diverse perspectives and expertise of bilingual teachers. (Visit blog posts Olga Karwoski’s The Beginning of My Bilingualism, Susan Prior’s The Long Way Home… to Teaching for Biliteracy and Dana Hardt’s How I Fit In.) I see teachers with unique entry points to Read More...

Literacy Improvement Series~ Vocabulary: When and How

  Welcome back! Or just welcome! This is the second installment of my Literacy Improvement Blog Mini-series. (That sounds so official, like it will be airing on Netflix or something. I’m just hoping it is helpful.) Today’s topic: Vocabulary: When and How   Remember a few years ago when frontloading was the buzzword? We would talk about important vocabulary words before reading a book. Or we would have our EL teacher pull students before beginning a unit and have her work with the kids Read More...

Literacy Improvement Series: Oracy Development

LITERACY. It doesn’t mean just reading. Or writing. It also includes listening and speaking. Did I mention that it is an essential piece to ALL content areas? And human interaction in general? Plus it is what separates us from other life forms! The capacity for literacy is what makes humans unique, and – quite frankly – naturally brilliant.     So what about BILITERACY? Is it different? Is it even more special? Does it encompass more? It is. It does. And as Read More...

Tiers without tears (making intervention decisions within a biliteracy framework)

How can we use a systematic approach to select students for intervention?  How do we go about matching students with an intervention?  Using data to make decisions about a multi-tiered system of supports can be complicated, especially within a biliteracy framework.  Too often, we interpret data to mean that many of our language learners need to receive a literacy intervention in order to progress.  Or, we rely on data from just one language to guide us.   In this Read More...