6) Bilingual classrooms

How can I support bilingualism in the context of a dual language or bilingual classroom?

Resource Guide: A Deeper Look at Early Literacy

This interactive guide offers a comprehensive approach to literacy for Multilingual Learners. It is an overview of the language and literacy skills and instruction that children need at different stages of development. Common literacy terms are defined, instructional strategies are offered, and a picture of instruction, aligned across the grades is explained.
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Video: English, Spanish, and Chinese, too

This video is an example of an interaction between a teacher and a child that respects and promotes all types of language learning in the classroom. The teacher and child read together and build a conversation about speaking in English, Spanish, and Chinese.
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Video: Toy Animals

This video clip shows both English and Spanish-speaking teachers developing student content knowledge about animals through oral conversations. Students then paint animals using toys as examples and share knowledge about their paintings so teachers can write down what each child says.
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Video: Sharing at the Easel—Transference

This clip is an example of a teacher listening to a child narrate what she has drawn, and carefully labeling it with the child's exact words. The teacher acknowledges responses given in both English and Spanish.
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Video: My Pumpkin Story—Metalinguistic Awareness

A teacher works with Wendy to orally discuss and write a story about a recent pumpkin project. When the teacher asks Wendy to take her writing home, the interaction changes to Spanish so Wendy can talk to her Spanish-speaking mother about her project.
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Video: Dr. Linda Espinosa—A Commentary on Brand New Words

In this video, Dr. Linda Espinosa reminds teachers that when Multilingual Learners are acquiring new languages, they also must learn how to make new sounds. Video clips show a bilingual teacher working on this phonological awareness with children, and allowing them to share the expertise of their home language.
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Video: The Stages of Preschool Second Language Acquisition

In this video, the term the four stages of second language development for early education are described and then exemplified through teaching vignettes between one teacher and one Korean-speaking Multilingual Learner.
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Early Childhood Guidelines for Multilingual Learners

This document provides guidelines for what key critical design features instructional materials should have in order to be high quality for Multilingual Learners.
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Early Childhood Examples and Definitions for Multilingual Learners

This document illustrates how to integrate concrete representations, realia, and objects from home to support oral language and vocabulary.
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Blog Series: Beginning with Biliteracy-A Kindergarten Story

This series includes 10 blog posts that share information from a bilingual Kindergarten classroom perspective. Some posts are written in English and some in Spanish. They cover topics such as setting up a biliteracy classroom environment, making language connections and bridges for young learners, and instructional strategies for biliteracy.
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Article: The Bridge Between Languages

This article introduces the term "the bridge" as the purposeful work to connect, compare, contrast, and transition between languages in lessons and activities for Multilingual Learners. Examples and instructional tips are shared.
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Stragegy Overview: El dictado

"El dictado" is a strategy that a teacher can use in Spanish or English to model and structure language practice for students in spelling, grammar, and fluency. This overview includes an example sequence for instruction, a rubric for assessment, and tips for differentiating the activity.
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Website: Teaching For Biliteracy

This website is a learning community hub about biliteracy with content available in English and Spanish. Resources include a long-standing blog with many posts about all aspects of biliteracy, and articles on the research and pedagogies associated with biliteracy.
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Website Article: Early Literacy Instruction in Spanish

This article is a research overview for teachers about the early literacy development of Spanish-speaking children. The content covers stages of literacy development, explicitly notes the differences in reading instruction between English and Spanish, and includes some example literacy strategies and tips for parents.
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Website: Primero Lee

This is a Spanish language website with a variety of literacy content for children, including reading and phonics games and read-aloud stories.
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Website: SALSA Spanish Language Series

This is a collection of 30 episodes of puppet-based Spanish language programming for children. Each episode is roughly 20 minutes long and comes with supporting materials and vocabulary lists.
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Blog: Dictado with Dr. Mónica Lara & John Seidlitz

This blog post introduces the Dictado strategy and shares tips and pitfalls for teachers who hope to implement this strategy with Multilingual Learners.
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Website: Árbol ABC

This is a Spanish language website of digital learning games for children 3-10 years old. Many games are free and support both literacy and math skills.
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Website: Amigos Bilingües

This website offers many video read-alouds in both Spanish and English. Many of the texts can be found in both languages, allowing the teacher to preview content in a home language and then let students transfer that knowledge to the text in their second language.
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Resource Guide: Barrier Games

This is a list of resources for barrier games to use in the classroom. These games are designed to encourage oral language practice since one student is given information that another student needs.
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Digital Book: Developing Oral Language with Barrier Games

Barrier games are designed to promote oral language since one student is given information that another partner student needs. The lesson design encourages students to ask information of one another. This resource provides many example barrier games.
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Blog: Should Multimodalities be Incorporated into Testing and Assessment?

This blog introduces research that challenges the idea of written text as the mode of communication for comprehending written language and assessing Multilingual Learners. Suggestions for alternative assessment, attending to all domains of English, are offered.
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Podcast: Working with Emergent Bilingual Learners

This podcast reinforces the strength-based idea that bilingualism is a benefit to children, and working with families and children to develop home language is an asset.
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Website Article: Family Dichos – Bringing the Language of Home into the Classroom

Bringing proverbs and sayings or "dichos" into the classroom is an instructional move to bridge family language and culture into classroom learning. This article describes this practice and provides resources on familiar "dichos."
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Video: Dual Language Programs Explained

In this video, researcher Diane August reviews the research base and benefits of bilingual education.
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Webinar: Designated and Integrated SLD with GLAD® (Spanish)

This webinar, given in Spanish, focuses on dual language programs, and the development of the Spanish language using Guided Language Acquisition Design (GLAD) strategies. One strategy in particular, using pictorial diagrams, is showcased and discussed.
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Webinar: Promoting Oracy in Spanish Language / El desarollo de la oralidad en español (Spanish)

This webinar given in Spanish focuses on developing oracy for Multilingual Learners. The research-based considerations for lesson design and example activities are introduced to support the development of oral expression, fluency, and comprehension during instruction.
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Webinar: Starting a Dual Language Bilingual Program for Young Bilinguals

Educators at a newly formed bilingual school in New York City discuss "lessons learned" as they launched their program. They talk through their thinking about curriculum decisions, allocation of time in each language, physical space in the school, staff development, and relationship building with families. The last portion of the webinar is a Q&A.
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Webinar: Teaching Practices and Translanguaging Pedagogy

Educators at a newly formed 50-50 Spanish-English bilingual program in New York discuss their program design. They discuss how they systematically implement bilingual curriculum, use thematic units, and purposefully employ translanguaging techniques to integrate content and language instruction. Researcher Ofelia Garcia offers a reflection on translanguaging pedagogy at the end of the webinar.
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Blog: Equity Measures in Dual Language Education – Separation of Language

This blog makes the research-based case that language separation is a "non-negotiable" in a dual language program. Giving students access to content in their native language is a key component of accelerating achievement for Multilingual Learners.
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Blog: 5 Steps for Ensuring That Your Dual Language Program Is Still A Strong, Equity-Based Dual Language Program

This blog post introduces guiding principles for a successful dual immersion program. The author argues that successful programs are grounded in equity-based decisions, such as providing Multilingual Learners access to content learning in their native language.
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Strategy Overview: Translanguaging

This resource offers guidelines on the various ways teachers can implement translanguaging in the classroom.
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Strategy Overview: Strategic Grouping for Home Language Supports

Small group instruction is a key part of instruction for Multilingual Learners. In this resource, teachers find guidelines and rationale for different strategic groupings.
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Strategy Overview: Do Leveled Readers Help or Hurt My ELs?

Leveled text can be problematic for Multilingual Learners because it does not always expose them to the rich, authentic, and challenging language associated with grade-level texts. In these resources, teachers can read about the dos and don'ts of selecting text and scaffolding teaching for Multilingual Learners.
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Blog: 6 Strategies to Elevate the Status of Bilingualism

This blog post offers practical ideas to highlight the benefits and strengths of bilingualism in a school community.
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Video: Model Curriculum for English Learners- Justice, Courage and Fairness (2nd grade)

In this video, a designated teacher for Multilingual Learners talks through her objectives for a fairness and justice lesson. The bridge lesson incorporates opportunities for Multilingual Learners to share their thinking and practice oral language in English. The content matches up to prior learning they have done in Spanish.
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Checklist: Supporting Emergent Bilingual Children in Early Learning

This checklist provides teachers with several strategies to support Multilingual Learners by providing students with a rich classroom environment that builds their home language and English skills. This resource encourages teachers to consider how to add labels, images, culturally relevant materials to the classroom for children to engage with. This checklist also provides a list of extra resources to learn more about supporting bilingualism, and is available in Spanish and Chinese.
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Tip Sheet: How to Use Bilingual Books

This resource explains how to use a variety of bilingual books to support Multilingual Learners’ language and literacy development. This tip sheet also includes a list of books with side-by-side translations, books that include a second language throughout the book, and books available in multiple languages.
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Website: Planned Language Approach – Tips for Getting Started

The Planned Language Approach (PLA) is a comprehensive, research-based system for Head Start, Early Head Start, and early learning programs to ensure high-quality language and literacy experiences for all children, including Multilingual Learners. This website provides tips and links for educators and families to learn about implementing PLA.
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Article: DRDP – A Strengths-Based Approach to Assessing Young DLLs

This article describes how the California Department of Education’s Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP) helps to assess Multilingual Learners while considering their cultural and linguistic characteristics. The DRDP can be used to assess children’s proficiency in their home language and English and helps educators learn about children’s literacy and oral language skills.
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Guide: Assessing Children Who Are Dual Language Learners

This guide explains how educators can assess Multilingual Learners using the Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP). The guide includes information about code-switching, a typical feature of dual language development, and how assessors can ensure they are collecting the most comprehensive information to accurately assess children.
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Presentation Slides: Organizing Instruction for Explicit Skill Transference

This slide deck presentation was used to present research and provide examples on how language skills can transfer from Spanish to English.
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Blog: The Potential of Wordless Picture Books with English Learners

Wordless picture books can be "read" in many different ways with Multilingual Learners, both at home or in the classroom, to provide instruction on book concepts, to practice oral language fluency, and make connections between multiple languages.
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Blog: A Chat About English/Spanish Pedagogical Connections

This blog offers a quick review of pedagogical connections between English and Spanish. Teachers can make linguistic connections visible for Spanish-speaking Multilingual Learners, and set them up to draw on all of their language resources for learning that they are familiar with, particularly on the differences and similarities between the two language structures.
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Online Module: Assessment of Students’ Academic and Language Skills

Initial and ongoing assessments in both the home language(s) and English are critical to determine instruction for Multilingual Learners and understand the full range of their skills. This page on the assessment of diverse learners is part of a larger set of online learning modules.
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Strategy Overview: Use of Multiple Languages in the Classroom

In a bilingual classroom, or even when teachers do not speak the home language(s) of Multilingual Learners, there are many things the teacher can do to invite home languages into the classroom. This overview suggests the steps teachers can take to draw on all of their students' linguistic resources during instruction.
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Strategy Overview: Graphic Organizers (Spanish)


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Website: Teacher Interactions and Strategies to Support Listening for Dual Language Learners

This resource provides a list of strategies teachers can use to support Multilingual Learners’ listening skills, such as using visual cues and gestures to accompany speech. Teachers can integrate reading, writing, listening, and speaking in both languages. Teachers can also introduce key vocabulary in the home language prior to teaching in English.
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Website: Teacher Interactions and Strategies to Support Reading for Dual Language Learners

This resource provides many strategies that teachers can use to support Multilingual Learners’ reading and literacy skills.
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Blog: How Can Cognates ‘Beneficiar’ English Language Learners?

This blog discusses how teachers can intentionally use cognates to build comprehension for Multilingual Learners. This practice helps emphasize connections between Spanish and English.
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Website Article: Using Cognates with ELLs

This article and accompanying video remind teachers about the power of cognates: words that are almost or exactly the same in two or more languages. When teachers highlight these words during instruction, they help Multilingual Learners develop their own word-learning strategies.
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App: Ready DLL

This mobile app is a comprehensive resource that teachers can use to support Multilingual Learners. It includes specific guidance on including labels and other functional print in both languages, engaging in interactive reading, and integrating reading, writing, listening, and speaking in multiple languages. The app also helps teachers learn key words and phrases in children’s home languages (Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, and Haitian Creole), and provides links to articles, tip sheets, videos, and webinars.
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Webinar: Measuring What All Children Can Do in All Languages

In this webinar, presenters discuss the trajectory of bilingual development and important considerations for assessing Multilingual Learners. The webinar provides guidance around using a variety of formative assessment tools, using summative assessment, and assessing children in their home language.
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Website Article: Young Dual Language Learners-Screening and Assessment

The objective of this article and accompanying video is to focus on Multilingual Learners and "understand some of the unique considerations that educators must keep in mind when screening and assessing."
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Digital Book Collection: Level A (Vietnamese)

This is a collection of high-quality Level A books written in Vietnamese. This resource helps teachers access books that depict Vietnamese children's language and culture.
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Website Article: Reading 101 for English Learners

This article names specific components of literacy instruction that can be more challenging for Multilingual Learners. Instructional strategies for teaching phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and reading comprehension are shared.
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Digital Book Collection: Level B (Vietnamese)

This is a collection of high-quality Level B books written in Vietnamese. This resource helps teachers access books that depict Vietnamese children's language and culture.
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Strategy Overview: Supporting Bilingualism

Research has proven that the strongest foundation for academic success and high levels of literacy for Multilingual Learners is the development of both their home language and English. This overview describes strategies that schools, teachers, and families can use to support multilingualism.
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Video: That’s How You Say It/Asi se dice- 2/3rd grade

Students learn both literal and conceptual translation skills by engaging in the "That's How You Say It/Asi se dice" strategy. The teacher assigns students to strategic groups and chooses a specific passage of text for them to translate. Students have the opportunity to negotiate word meanings and compare and contrast their two languages as they work together to write and share their translation.
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Video: Transfer and Integrated ELD in a Bilingual Classroom

The teacher in this bilingual classroom makes an intentional plan to develop literacy and oral language skills in two languages. She begins content instruction in Spanish to strengthen Multilingual Learners' understanding of key concepts, and then purposefully transitions to an integrated ELD block to offer speaking and writing practice in English.
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Strategy Overview: Vocabulary in Context

This resource introduces teachers to all of the ways that vocabulary can be introduced, reinforced, and practiced across multiple lessons and activities. This helps Multilingual Learners learn key academic and content words in context.
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Strategy Overview: Testimonios

Testimonio, a Spanish term for "witness account," is a storytelling pedagogy that emerged from Latin American culture and narrative research methodology. Used in the classroom, testimonios can be written, oral, and/or visual representations of Multilingual Learners' experiences that support home language development and engage families in children's learning.
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Strategy Overview: Sentence Patterning Chart / La tabla de formación de oraciones

This resource introduces a strategy to model and write good descriptive sentences with Multilingual Learners. It combines language-based supports with opportunities for children to practice academic vocabulary and apply it to structured, content-based writing.
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Strategy Overview: Graphic Organizers

A graphic organizer is a visual map or diagram that displays relationships between facts, concepts, or ideas. For Multilingual Learners, this kind of visual display of information can lessen cognitive load and support transfer of knowledge across languages.
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Strategy Overview: Celebrating Bilingualism-Pathways to Biliteracy

This document offers a variety of examples for both classroom and school-wide implementation for a Seal of Biliteracy. Now that a biliteracy seal is available in California and other U.S. states, offering high-quality bilingual materials and structuring opportunities to celebrate bilingualism with students and families can begin as early as PreK.
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Strategy Overview: The Dictado

The Dictado is a routine in which the teacher dictates a series of phrases or sentences, and the teacher and students collaboratively correct them. The Dictado serves to teach and reinforce basic writing skills within each language, and to highlight cross-language transfer.
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Strategy Overview: Draw, Tell, & Label

This resource describes how to implement the Draw, Tell, & Label strategy in classrooms with Multilingual Learners. This strategy provides multiple opportunities for children to engage with and practice content area vocabulary. This resource also includes guidance on building content understanding in the home language(s) and English.
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Video & Video Guide: Bilingualism Through the Eyes of a Student

Students share their ideas about the benefits of being bilingual. They explain why speaking two languages is important and a source of pride. The accompanying guide suggests moments in the video to pause to notice teachers’ practice, along with prompts for reflection and discussion.
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Strategy Overview: Bridging School to Family Assignments

This resource offers examples of projects and activities that provide families with opportunities to connect school-based content with learning at home. Examples demonstrate how teachers can also invite home language into the classroom.
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Tip Sheet: Communication with Parents / Comunicación con los padres

This bilingual (Spanish) document explains to parents the benefits of speaking a home language. Advice is shared on how to develop oral home language proficiency and provide high-quality and extended talk opportunities for children.
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Video & Video Guide: Complex Oral Language

This video emphasizes the importance of immersing Multilingual Learners in an environment with high-quality and extended talk in each language. Teachers can ask questions to elicit complex oral language from children. The accompanying guide suggests moments in the video to pause to notice teachers’ practice, along with prompts for reflection and discussion.
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Video & Video Guide: Bilingualism Through the Eyes of Families

Family members share their ideas about the benefits of being bilingual. They explain how speaking two languages is critical to maintain family life and cultural identity. The accompanying guide suggests moments in the video to pause to notice teachers’ practice, along with prompts for reflection and discussion.
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Video: Bilingual Provider Preview and Review

In this video, a teacher explains how to preview books in children’s home languages. The teacher introduces and explains new vocabulary words and reads a text in the child's home language before reading the text in English. The teacher also uses the home language to preview concepts to activate and build background knowledge.
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Video: Monolingual Provider Preview and Review

In this video, a teacher explains how monolingual English-speaking teachers can support Multilingual Learners. The teacher previews books with children, uses props and tangible materials, and provides parents and other speakers of the home language with books and materials for them to use with children.
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Template: Thinking about Home Language Support

This resource helps teachers and administrators think about the staff and/or community members that serve as language models for Multilingual Learners. Language models can integrate the home language(s) and English and join classroom activities to speak and read in children’s home languages.
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Video: Personalizing Instruction through Environmental Supports

This resource explains several ways that teachers can provide high-quality language support materials. For example, teachers can display culturally relevant materials and labels in each language. Teachers can also learn key words and phrases in children’s home languages, including cognates, to emphasize the connection between English and the home language.
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Video: Supporting Home Language through Language Models

This video discusses how "language models" can support Multilingual Learners by integrating English and the home language(s) into classroom activities and conversations throughout the day. Parents and other speakers of children’s home languages can join classroom activities to support children’s development of multiple languages. Language models can provide high-quality and extended talk in each language, including a variety of questions to elicit talk from children.
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