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Bilingual Teachers?

angeli

New Member
Does anyone teach a bilingual class? This will be my first year teaching and I will teach second grade. Can someone give any advice. What is your class schedule like? What books in spanish do kids enjoy, especially for read aloud? Do you talk to them as "tu" or "usted"?
 
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Shemesh

Senior Member
I will be teaching in a bi-lingual school but Hebrew-English :) so I can't help much with the Spanish. However, I worked at Barnes & Nobles and the had a section for bi-lingual books in English & Spanish. Every page had both English & Spanish those type of book smay help you.


Good Luck!
 

freer

Junior Member
Bilingual Second Grade

Hi there,

I am a second year second grade bilingual teacher in Texas. I am not a native speaker and boy did my Spanish improve this year!

I chose to speak to them in usted and I found that helped me learn my Spanish better. I think I will try tu this year. We'll see how it goes!

I have a new principal who wants my class this year to be a transition class. I am not sure how I'm going to do this at such a young age, but I'm looking forward to the challenge!
 

bebita

Full Member
I'm a bilingual teacher

Well, the first thing you need to do is to see is what kind of bilingual program has been implemented in your school district. Some districts have the early-exit program which means the sooner they exit the program the better. Others prefer to keep them in the program as long as possible to ensure they've really mastered the language skills they need to be successful in a regular classroom.

My sd is trying to implement the early-exit program. I start the school year assessing each child (I use both formal and informal assessments, sometimes I just observe them).

I make my guided reading groups based on their reading levels, I usually start reading in English with the strongest group. I start transitioning the rest of the groups the moment I see they are strong enough (based on their DRA levels).

When I teach Math and Science, I always introduce the topic in Spanish. When I see they got the concept I immediately start teaching it again in English. All practice sheets are in English. I always review vocabulary needed and have my students verbalize mathematical or scientific concepts. Say they are solving a subtraction problem. I ask them to explain me exactly what they are doing, step by step. That way you can be sure they are not only understanding the process but also acquiring the language skills they need.

I only read books in the Spanish the first few weeks. Their favorite books are: La senorita Nelson ha desaparecido, La maestra del pantano negro (and the rest of that series), Asi vamos a la escuela, Arturo (any from that series).

Ooops, I could spend the whole night giving you advices. I am sure you are going to enjoy your new position. Send me private messages if you want to, I will be happy to help you. :)
 

bebita

Full Member
Tu or usted

I forgot to tell you...

I try to talk to them as usted as that helps me to set a respectful mood, especially when they're not following the rules :). I also use tu, it just depends on each individual and situation.

I always talk to parents as usted, even if they are younger than I am. :)
 

freer

Junior Member
Great info, Bebita

My school district officially endorses a late exit bilingual program, but when you get down to each school, the principal really sets the pace.

Since the upcoming year will be my first year with my principal and her early exit theory, I have some questions for you Bebita.

First off, what grade do you teach? I teach 2nd.

You said you move your stronger readers to English. Do you ever do guided reading with your stronger group in Spanish?

As far as the rest of the kids, how do you transition them? Do you wait until they are on grade level with their DRA? I ask this because I had about 1/3 of my class who never made it to grade level all year. Would it have been a mistake to move them to English? If so, when will it ever be a good time to move these kids to English?

Finally, I was interested to hear that you also speak to your kids in usted as well. Not being a native speaker, I have a question. Is it ok to speak to them in tu sometimes, but mostly in usted? I have a 'tin ear' as to how that sounds, but my worry is that it would sound incorrect. Is this something that normally happens? I always felt if I ever changed from usted to tu it would sound odd. I guess I'm asking about the nuances of that in Spanish, as this situation doesn't exist in English.
 
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bebita

Full Member
Hello again freer...

I teach 2nd grade, sorry that I didn't mention it before! :)

I only do guided reading in Spanish the first couple of weeks with my top group (that way I get to know them better).

I transition the rest of them as soon as I see they are reading on grade level. Most of them are reading in English by late November.

I know there's always a group of kids who never make it to grade level. I do guided reading in Spanish with them all the time, but they are exposed to English the rest of the day (using Spanish just to introduce a new topic or for clarifications). Always make sure they're really understanding what you're saying! I teach phonics and spelling in English as well.

I have to point out that we're doing most of our teaching in English because (as I mentioned before) we are implementing an early-exit program. Every school is different :) .

Well, that's the way I've done it before and it works. You really need to talk to your colleagues (if there's any) and see what they do. Talk to your kids' former teachers and see what kind of kids you're getting, that helps a lot too. Once you get to know what teaching 2nd grade bilingual is about, try to talk to the 1st grade teachers about what's expected in 2nd grade. Do the same with the 3rd grade teachers. Ask them what is expected in that grade. I did a much better job after talking to 3rd grade teachers as I knew exactly what skills I have to focus on.


If you have more questions, don't be shy and ask. I know how it is to be a newbie! Thank god I always had nice colleagues around helping me! :)
 

bebita

Full Member
Tu and Usted segunda parte :)

Tu and usted....

Don't worry ...you can use both with the kids!

See...I usually use usted with the kids and most of them use it when talking to me. That's the point! I want to teach them that they should talk to me in usted because I'm an adult. That's the way I was taught you should talk to adults when I was little :)

I use tu as well, especially in informal situations (when I'm more a friend than a teacher, say lunch time or recess).

Feel free to use both with the kids, just remember the tu and usted set the mood of the conversation. You don't have to stick to one of them when talking to the kids.
 

freer

Junior Member
How about writing?

Do you also teach Writing in English? In my experience, that seems to be the last to come along.

Also, regarding Guided Reading, what do you think of doing say, 2 days in Spanish and 3 in English or some combination like that? Or is it better just to jump in and get them reading all the time in English?

Thanks for all of your tips. Unfortunately, our last principal was more of a late exit person and so now with the new one a lot of us haven't really had much experience in actually doing early exit.
 

bebita

Full Member
Hello freer,

Writing is the most difficult part of the ESL component, at least for our kiddos. You're right, this is the last thing to come along. But you can't delay it too much either. I don't know how things work in your state (I teach in Texas), but I have to rate a collection of 5 writing samples in March. My principal expects most of them to be rated as advanced or advanced high in 2nd grade, so I need to work hard on it during the school year. The samples have to be written withouth any help from the teacher or reference material (dictionaries, word walls, etc).

I always make sure they know how to write sentences in Spanish, then I model sentence writing in English. After sometime practicing they have to do it by themselves. I do the same thing with paragraphs, biographies, animal research and all that the writing curriculum requires.

I had the same situation you are having now 2 years ago. We moved from late exit to early exit and boy, that was hard. It will be better next year, don't worry :s)
 

bebita

Full Member
Guided Reading

Once we start doing guided reading in English we don't do it in Spanish. If there's a student with serious problems adjusting to the new language, I move him down to the next GR group.
 

freer

Junior Member
Texas

I'm in Texas too! Austin, to be exact.

ALL of my LPAS or whatever they're called, writing samples were beginner this past year.

Yet another question for you! Do you give your BOY, MOY and EOY tests in English as well? We have Reading, Writing, Math and Science. We don't do each subject 3x a year but these are the tests they are given. I'm thinking I'll need to read the questions to them at first, right? (this isn't against the rules since it's not a TAKS test)
 

bebita

Full Member
Our students are given tests sent by the SD every 6 weeks for reading, math and science. They take them in Spanish the 1st 6 weeks. I start giving them tests in English if I see they are ready for the challenge (provide individual support as needed, you'll see how they get more confidence throughout the year).
I can read the math and science tests (except the EOY one, as they need to practice for TAKS<!--yuck-->). We are not allowed to read the questions from the reading tests to them in 2nd grade :(.

I'm sure you're going to be ok! Just remember this year will be a bit tough b/c your students were probably not exposed enough to the new language as the early-exit program requires. Things will be much better next year. Don't forget to talk to the 1st grade bilingual teachers about your needs :D.

Hey, please keep in touch, I'd like to know how the new program works for you!
 

angeli

New Member
Thank you!

For the information. Do any of you have any pictures of your classroom? I would love to see them.
 

bebita

Full Member
I don't. My classroom looks more like a storage room right now! Our principal told us to clear the walls and floor so they can be cleaned up.

I'll take pics of it as soon as it's ready (I'm out of town right now, I'll be back home in August :s)).
 

MissV

Full Member
Dual Language (50/50)...

is the bilingual program that my district endorses. This means that on Mondays & Tuesdays, everything's taught in Spanish and on Wednesdays and Thursdays, we speak only English (unless we need to finish up a previous lesson from the day before). Lastly, Fridays are 50/50...half English and half Spanish.

I speak to my students in the "Usted" form (just like the pp) to reinforce the respect in the classroom.

I teach bilingual 2nd grade in Texas, by the way. :) Wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!!
 
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