Literacy in Minnesota

Literacy @ RiverviewIf you are interested in how Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop works in one school in Minnesota, check out the site Literacy @ Riverview.  The site gives an outline of expectations for reading and writing education.  It is a great site for new teachers who want a window into elementary literacy or experienced teachers who want a refresher.  There is also a section of resources in Spanish.

Check it out and see what you think: 

Sites for Spanish Literacy Games

I have been gathering websites for early literacy learning in Spanish; here they are… so far.  clearly I need to annotate the list and add more.

If you have any other suggestions please let me know; I am sure there are many, many more.

The Tooth Fairy: A True Story

Last Friday I read a story with a first grade student during his independent reading time. Actually, he read to me a story of the Tooth Fairy.  His ancestors of a few generations back came from Mexico (that will matter towards the end of this commentary).

Here is our conversation after he finished reading the story:

Student: I know that the Tooth Fairy is not real.
Me: No?  (I know that this student has older siblings and I wondered what they had told him.)
Student: No.  It’s not real.
Me:  What more can you tell me?
Student: No, it’s not a fairy.  It’s a ratoncito. This is true!  In parts of Latin America it is not a fairy that leaves coins for a tooth it is a Ratoncito Pérez.

Words in Motion

I heard of a new (for me) resource while at La Cosecha 2104: Words in Motion.

Words in Motion is a cognate-based curriculum that introduces academic vocabulary in meaningful contexts and promotes strategies for academic vocabulary acquisition.

“The full curriculum consists of seven units that include lesson plans, teacher materials, and student worksheets for each day. The materials are organized first by unit; within each unit they are organized by day; and within each day they are organized into lesson plans, student materials, and teacher materials. In many cases, there are separate materials for the monolingual and crosslinguistic versions of the curriculum, as well as Spanish translations of the crosslinguistic versions to support the delivery of the bilingual version. The VIAS team is pleased to provide these files for use by educators.” (from the CAL website: )

This could be used by classroom teachers and/ or ESL teachers to help students acquire academic vocabulary.  Check it out!

Visit to El Camino Real Academy, Santa Fe, NM (La Cosecha 2014)

We had a wonderful visit today to El Camino Real Academy in Santa Fe, NM as part of La Cosecha 2014.  Here are some pictures of artifacts that I saw.  The first 8 are from Kindergarten and 1st grade; the others are from 6th and 7th grade.

IMG_0113 IMG_0112 IMG_0109 IMG_0108 IMG_0107 IMG_0106 IMG_0105 IMG_0104



IMG_0103 IMG_0102 IMG_0100

Centros de aprendizaje (lectura)

Algunas ideas para centros de aprendizaje:
(se puede añadir ideas, cambiar ideas, juntar ideas, …)

Es importante enseñar y practicar cada centro de aprendizaje antes de que los estudiantes lo hagan solitos.

Formando palabras
Usando las sílabas que han aprendido, estudiantes forman palabras juntando papelitos que tienen las sílabas escritas. Durante su tiempo en el grupo tienen que formar 10 palabras reales, escribir las en un papel o en su cuaderno y dibujar tres; pueden añadir 5 no-palabras (sílabas que han juntado que pueden decir pero que no son palabras reales: “me-pe”).

Escuchar y contar
Estudiantes escuchan/ leen un cuento. Después, tienen que contar el cuento usando las frases, “Al principio…, Después… y Al final… .” Pueden usar títeres si son disponibles.

¡PUF veloz!
Usando un cronómetro, estudiantes repasan las palabras de uso frecuente que han aprendido para ver si pueden decirlas cada vez más rápido. Uno compite contra uno mismo, no contra otros estudiantes. Pueden escribir su tiempo y/o las palabras que no sabían en una hoja o en su cuaderno.

Estudiantes elijen una palabra de un montoncito y tiene que decir y escribir 5 palabras que riman; la meta es que 4 de los 5 sean palabras reales. Después tienen que marcar las palabra que no es una palabra real. Añade un cronómetro para otro desafío.

Leyendo con pareja
Estudiantes leen un libro juntos alternando:
Una página cada uno;
Una oración cada uno;
Una palabra cada uno.
Después cuentan el cuento o dibujan su parte favorita.

Los libros de la maestra
En este centro los estudiantes re-leen los textos que la maestra ha leído en lecciones de lectura compartida, rimas que han estudiado, canciones que han aprendido… cualquier texto que la maestra ha leído con el grupo (“Big books,” “charts,”…)

New Header- ¡Biblioburro!

The new picture above is of the Biblioburro.  Have you heard of it?  Do a Google search and you will see/ hear/ read about this amazing project in Colombia.  I believe in the power of books and literacy to change the world.  Take a look at this YouTube video to get started on your learning about Biblioburro.

How will you change the world? Y tu, ¿cómo vas a cambiar el mundo?

Making Content Accessible

All teachers who have Emerging Bilinguals (a.k.a ESL students) in their classrooms are immersion teachers.  That is, their students are immersed in English when that is not one of the languages the students know.

Often I am asked, “How do I change my instruction to make the content accessible to my emerging bilinguals?”  Below I have begun a list of ideas (most are not mine

Instructional Practices to Make Content Accessible

  • Use a variety of techniques responding to different learning styles and language proficiency levels.
  • Build and maintain positive interactions between teachers and students and among students.
  • Implement a reciprocal interaction model of teaching – genuine dialog.

Cooperative learning or group work situations, including…

  • Students work interdependently on tasks with common objectives.
  • Individual accountability, social equity in groups and classroom- everyone can do something.  (Have you seen the WIDA Can-Do descriptors?)
  • Extensive interactions among students to develop bilingualism.

Language input that…

  • Uses sheltering strategies to promote comprehension (see below)
  • Uses visual aids and modeling instruction, allowing students to negotiate meaning
  • Is interesting, relevant, of sufficient quantity
  • Is challenging to promote high levels of language proficiency and critical thinking
  • Language objectives are integrated into curriculum, including:
    • Structured tasks and unstructured opportunities for students to use language
    • Language policy to encourage students to use instructional language
    • Monolingual lesson delivery by the teacher
    • Students’ use of their L1 as needed to make meaning
    • Needs of all students are balanced
    • Students are integrated for the majority of the instruction

In the early stages of second language acquisition, input is made more comprehensible though the use of:

  • slower, more expanded, simplified, and repetitive speech oriented to the “here and now” (Krashen, 1981; Long, 1980),
  • highly contextualized language and gestures (Long, 1980; Saville-Troike, 1987),
  • comprehension and confirmation checks (Long, 1980), and,
  • communication structured to provide scaffolding for the negotiation of meaning by L2 students by constraining possible interpretations of sequence, role, and intent (SavilleTroike, 1987).

Sheltered techniques include:

  • the use of visual aids such as pictures, charts, graphs, and semantic mapping,
  • modeling of instruction, allowing students to negotiate meaning and make connections between course content and prior knowledge,
  • allowing students to act as mediators and facilitators,
  • the use of alternative assessments to check comprehension,
  • portfolios,
  • use of comprehensible input, scaffolding, and supplemental materials, and
  • a wide range of presentation strategies.

Caballo de palo

Silencio por favor,

Mi caballo de palo está durmiendo;
Anoche se fue a jugar.
En calles vacías huyó corriendo
No sabía a que esperar.

Pasó por la casa de un gran amigo
“Quiero que venga,” pensó.
“Amigo, amigo,” llamó por la reja.
A la ventana su amigo llegó.

“Vente conmigo a conocer el verano
Escapémonos una vez, ¿ya?
Da miedo ir solo, yo cuento contigo,
Calladito oirá tu papá.”

Mágicamente y solo se abrió la ventana
Y al caballo el niño montó.
Se fueron del pueblo con luz de estrella
En el camino que el sauce mostró.

En sombra de luna hallaron un lago
Cantando feliz, “do, re, mi.”
Nadaron, pescaron jugaron un rato
Juntos con otros allí.

Los duendes amables les contaron un cuento
De elfos y gnomos y más.
Las hadas hermosas bailaron de flores
Con alas brillando atrás.

Pero ya era hora de volverse a casa
El lago y bosque dejar.
“Habrá otra noche de cuentos y hadas.
Duérmete niño ¡Soñar!”

Regresó a su casa mi caballo de palo,
Ni un sonido oí.
Temprano el niño me dijo el cuento
Y por eso a ustedes pedí:

Silencio por favor,
Mi caballo de palo está durmiendo.