Last year, our school became a dual language school, joining a growing number of schools in the country. We began in Kindergarten and every year we will include the next grade level until the entire school is dual language. Our students spend half their day learning content in English and half their day learning content in Spanish. It is an amazing program and our teachers are doing an amazing job. By the time our current first graders move on to middle school, they will be bilingual and bi-literate.
We have a fantastic mentor and professional developer in Dr. Jose Medina. I had the pleasure of spending yesterday morning in professional development with him as he led us through learning and sharing around the concept of cross-linguistic connections. This is a true area of growth and learning for me. I am as mono-lingual as they come. But, I am an advocate of this program and of our emergent bilingual students.
I didn’t really have the opportunity to dip my toes in the program last year, but this year, I’m belly flopping in! I am trying to capitalize on my learning by modeling pieces for our staff, beginning with the 4+1 language domains. I use the 4+1 language domains when I facilitate professional development. All teachers in our building are asked to use them in their classrooms. My next opportunity to sink or swim is through the co-planning of an upcoming staff seminar with our bi-lingual reading specialist. I already have a few thoughts of how we can bridge the two languages within the content of our meeting. I’m excited!
But, don’t get me wrong! I’m scared, too. This is way out of my comfort zone. But, the only way to grow is to step outside of our comfort zone and dive (or belly flop) right in! This, I believe!
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