Category Archives: Beginning with Biliteracy: A Kindergarten Story

To Plan Together or Not to Plan Together: Why is That a Question?

Teaching for biliteracy is different than teaching for monoliteracy…but in a typical school they may coexist under one roof or across one grade level. There are valuable benefits to collaborating with same-grade partner teachers, but it is also crucial to maintain a multilingual perspective and honor the differences inherent in literacy instruction for each context. So how do educators who teach for biliteracy collaborate with their peers who teach for monoliteracy? It is possible! The key to this collaboration is starting Read More...

Unexpected Notices: What Kindergarteners Learn About Language from the Bridge

What do kindergarteners really understand about the Bridge? This year, I decided to ask my students to explain the Bridge in their own words so I could begin to document the effects of doing the Bridge in my classroom. In order to add an air of authenticity, I told my students that I had a friend who didn’t know much about the Bridge and I needed their help to explain it to her. The interviews were very informal—I simply Read More...

Planning & Implementing a Bridge with Young Students

The Bridge is one part of a biliteracy unit. It is the part of the biliteracy unit where students have the opportunity to reflect on their learning as they generate a meaningful text that is subsequently used to develop metalinguistic awareness. The Process of Planning a Bridge I begin the process of planning a Bridge by considering what students might say when I ask them what they have learned during a unit. This includes the words and phrases I have identified Read More...

The Earliest Connections: Bridging in Kindergarten

Kindergarten is a time of many new things in our students’ lives…a new school, new teachers, new friends…and for our emerging bilingual students, a new way of talking and thinking about languages. Depending on their background experiences, kindergarteners come to us with different levels of awareness and understanding about languages.  Some are not aware that there are two languages, even if they speak them both.  Others may understand that they speak to mom and dad in different ways, although Read More...

Un buen comienzo con las experiencias concretas: parte 3

Una experiencia concreta se puede realizar de muchas maneras para iniciar una unidad bilingüe. Es muy común en los salones monolingües usar una excursión al final de una unidad como una celebración o refuerzo de lo que  han aprendido los estudiantes. A diferencia del contexto monolingüe, en los contextos multilingües una excursión sirve como la experiencia concreta que introduce conceptos académicos.  Yo tengo la buena fortuna de trabajar en un contexto donde nos animan a llevar a los estudiantes en Read More...

Un buen comienzo con las experiencias concretas: parte 2

En la primera parte de este blog, describí el uso de las experiencias compartidas para iniciar una unidad de lectoescritura bilingüe. En este blog, continuaremos el tema de cómo iniciar las unidades bilingües con las experiencias concretas enfocándonos en el uso de los cuentos. Exploraremos la dramatización de los cuentos como una estrategia para asegurar un contexto comprensible para las lecciones subsiguientes que son basadas en tales cuentos. Los cuentos son un recurso poderoso para alcanzar las metas integradas que son Read More...

Un buen comienzo con las experiencias concretas: parte 1

La enseñanza en un aula bilingüe o en un programa dual se realiza de una manera óptima cuando empezamos con experiencias concretas que desarrollan la oralidad y el conocimiento previo de todos los estudiantes. En un contexto monolingüe, es muy común dejar la excursión u otra actividad concreta para el final de una unidad y usarla como una celebración o refuerzo de lo que los estudiantes han aprendido.  Pero en un contexto bilingüe o multilingüe, las actividades concretas sirven Read More...

Getting Off to a Great Start… Beginning the Conversation about Bilingualism with Our Youngest Students

I begin the conversation about bilingualism with my students before the first day of school arrives. I meet most (if not all) of them when they come for a classroom visit about one week before school starts. During this visit, students become familiar with the classroom and choose/label their cubby. I explain that in this classroom I will speak a lot of Spanish and a little bit of English. This reflects the one-teacher, 80/20 program model I work in, Read More...

The Long Way Home…to Teaching for Biliteracy

Wisdom emerges as a result of reflection, imitation, and experience. [1] As I immerse myself in my fifth year as a teacher of emerging bilinguals in a dual language kindergarten, I recognize the various cycles of reflection, imitation, and experience that have led me to teaching for biliteracy. Imitation is the essence of becoming a good teacher...we read about educational theory in school, but we become good teachers by noticing what other teachers do, trying it out, and making Read More...