Teacher Stuff: Dual Language


This is my first year teaching in a Dual Language program and, to be honest, I was a little nervous.  With all the “requirements”, student movement and team-teaching it seemed really overwhelming.  Now, that we’ve settled in and the kids have learned the routines, though, it isn’t overwhelming at all!  And, so far, my kids are really loving it!
So here’s how it works for us:

I am an ESL teacher and I teach in English only.  I am paired with a Bilingual teacher who teaches in Spanish.  Our homeroom classes are made up of both native Spanish and native English speakers.  I teach Language Arts in English to the native English speakers (13 kids – woohoo!) from 8 to 10am.  Then, the kids switch classes (some of them) and I teach Math to my homeroom kids in English.  **Ideally, the program calls for Math to be taught and supported in English ONLY.  However, I have some students who currently speak VERY little English so here’s how it really goes down:  My lesson and whole-group instruction is in English, but I sometimes support small group or partner work in Spanish.

Later, the classes switch rooms and I teach Math again to the other homeroom class in English.  My homeroom kids go to the other teacher for Science in Spanish.

The kids also get English and Spanish support through the Language of the Day.  Transitions, lunch, recess, lining up, welcome and dismissal, calendar time and restroom/water breaks are done in Spanish on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and English on Tuesday/Thursday.

Here are some things we’ve created in the classroom to help support Dual Language:

Classroom Rules/Reglas:

In our Dual Language model Spanish is written in Red on charts and English in Blue.

Student Generated Alphabets in English (blue) and Spanish (red):

Working with a Buddy Chart:

Expectations for Pairs Work – a HUGE part of Dual Language!!

Classroom Labels in English and Spanish – to download, click here!

Colored Poms Labeled in English & Spanish:

Pretty and Educational – Win-Win!

Classroom Library Boxes Labeled in English and Spanish – to download click here:

So far, my kids and I are loving Dual Language!  The kids are excited to work together and learn in two languages and I’m learning too!  There have been a few kinks as far as grade books and conferences, but so far we’ve managed to work all those out with little/no complications.  The native-English students are already learning (and USING) some Spanish and there is a real sense of community between the two classrooms.  It really has made all the difference for the kids and has been fun for me, too!  I can’t wait to see the progress my kids make this year!!

Coming soon, our new baby – Hendrix the Guinea Pig!!  He’s coming home to our classroom next week!


17 thoughts on “Teacher Stuff: Dual Language

  1. I really should learn to speak Spanish. Can you to come label everything in my house with dual language cards? I’ll buy the giant pack of notecards and supply the sharpies. And I’ll ply you with anything you want – food, brownies, arts & crafts, TX martinis, ice packs for your swollen hands, etc. Name your price. 😀

    • tforterrific

      We’ll make it a project!! Dad might not go for the whole house being labeled in blue and red. Although, if there are enough Texas Martini’s we’ll probably get pretty crafty with it!! Could be a win-win!!!

    • Thanks! I actually got them from the school district. I should be able to download them from the shared site and post them, though! They are not licensed material, just something teachers created to share. I’ll email you when I get them uploaded to this page! Thanks for looking!

      • Katie Martin

        I am teaching ELL Necomers First Grade Class and am wanting to label as well! Could you forward along to me as well as any advice you have for a new ELL teacher? Thanks!

      • I loved teaching Dual Language, Katie! It’s challenging but my best advice would be to give yourself time, patience and roll with the challenges. Focus on what the kids need and how best to help them and don’t stress too much. It’s easy to be hard on yourself when things get tough, but focus on what’s best for your students and you can’t go wrong! Good luck, feel free to ask questions any time!

  2. Maestra :)

    Wow!! Thank you so much for posting your ideas!! I am a Spanish Dual Language teacher also. 🙂 I can’t wait to see the AWESOME ideas that you use this year. I hope that my classroom is just as good as yours. 🙂 Have a wonderful school year!! 🙂

    • Thank you so much for such a sweet compliment!! I hope to be able to post some more ideas and files soon!! You know how crazy it is at the beginning of the year! Thanks again for visiting and come back soon!

  3. Cubits Guzman

    Hello, I teach Dual Language the Spanish part & would love to speak to your teaching partner how she does Spanish science & feels about those moment when they just don’t seem to understand it in Spanish. I would love to get y’all’s input. Thanks a bunch.

    • Hi! One way we helped the students understand content taught in their L2 (non-native language) was to teach vocabulary in the native language during a Morning Message. You could connect vocabulary from Science to English through shared writing on “English Days” and connect Math terms to Spanish on Spanish Days. This takes some extra planning and and prep if either of the partner teachers doesn’t speak Spanish, but I’ve seen classes where they all got together in the morning to do Morning Message as a whole group. Good Luck! Feel free to ask any questions!

    • Katie

      My partner is… me! 🙂 I teach the class in English and Spanish. For science I do a lot of technology. We did push and pull Friday and I did an online book and launch video from National Geographic’s website and then we watched a short clip of waterskiing and discussed push or pull. It was great exposure to something new for them. A lot of series have intro videos in Spanish (including Envision Math) so sometimes I will do a launch in Spanish. Hope this helps.

  4. Carmen

    I’ve been trying to download the labels but I can’t. I don’t think the link is working anymore. If you could e-mail it to me, that would be awesome. Please post more picture of your room. This is going to be my first year teaching dual language.

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