3) Classroom environment

What can I do to set up my classroom environment to support the learning of Multilingual Learners?

Video: A Meeting At School

In this video, parents come into the classroom to help with a family project and discuss the language preferences of their children with the teacher. Collecting this type of information and exchanging language development goals for the child is key to partnering with families.
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Video: A Letter From My Mom

In this video, parents are encouraged to write a letter to their child and drop it in a classroom mailbox. Children sort the letters into student mailboxes and then read them with the support of the teacher.
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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: Engaging with Text and Narrative

This video begins by highlighting chants, songs, and intentional conversation that teachers facilitate to help young Multilingual Learners (MLs) to develop oral language. Further examples demonstrate how oral language can then transfer to written language and early reading opportunities. It is important for MLs to use developing literacy skills in authentic, print-rich learning contexts, where they feel ownership for their learning and knowledge.
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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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Strategy Overview: Ensuring the Presence of Each Child’s Language

This resource provides a comprehensive list and explanation of the actions teachers can take to acknowledge, affirm, and support multiple languages in the classroom. Included are tips for engaging with families as "language experts" and capturing their linguistic knowledge on a planning template, and phrase cards with basic greetings in 10 common home languages.
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Website Article: Choosing Diverse Books for Your ELLs – Tips for Educators

This article is a comprehensive collection of tips, video interviews, additional links, and resources to support educators in choosing books for diverse Multilingual Learners in the classroom.
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Transcript: Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors

This is a transcript and additional resource list that accompanies the short video "Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors."
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Video: Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors

This is a short video interview with Rudine Bishop Simms, who explains her widely-used metaphor of books as "Mirrors, Windows, or Sliding Glass Doors" for students. She speaks about the importance of students seeing themselves represented in the texts and materials chosen for classroom instruction.
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Blog: Tackling the Challenges of Implementing Diverse Libraries at Your School

Access to culturally relevant books is critical for Multilingual Learners. This blog offers tips and suggestions on how to build a more inclusive collection of books in school libraries. Many additional resources and tools are linked.
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Guide: Don’t Underestimate the Power of Contexts in Math Curricula

This guide helps teachers assess whether the context of specific math tasks is accessible and familiar for Multilingual Learners. In these resources, teachers can read about the dos and don'ts of situating math instruction in a familiar context for Multilingual Learners.
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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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Guide: Selecting and Using Culturally Appropriate Children’s Books in Languages Other than English

This resource provides guidance on how to select culturally appropriate children’s books in Multilingual Learners’ home languages and how to share those books with children and their families. This guide also provides ideas for sharing books in languages that are not familiar to teachers and links to other book lists and digital libraries.
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Website Article: 5 Meaningful Ways to Support DLLs at Storytime

This resource explains how to adjust storytime experiences to ensure that Multilingual Learners (MLs) can fully benefit from these experiences. Intentional storytime experiences that incorporate children's home languages, visuals, props, and culturally relevant materials promote MLs' comprehension, vocabulary, and early literacy skills.
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Tip Sheet: Creating Environments that Include Children’s Home Languages and Cultures

This tip sheet provides guidance on how to set up the physical environment to include children’s home languages and culturally relevant materials. This tip sheet also provides examples of labels and materials to include in classrooms and why including these materials is important for Multilingual Learners.
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Educator Toolkit: My Name, My Identity- Creating an Inclusive and Respectful School Community

This digital book supports the socio-emotional learning of students by introducing example lesson plans that center on Multilingual Learners' identity. The resource includes videos, book lists, lesson plans, and many extension activities and further resources to help teachers build a healthy, asset-based community in the classroom.
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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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Website: Environment and Materials to Support Dual Language Learners

This resource describes the ways that teachers can set up their classroom environments to support Multilingual Learners. For example, teachers can include labels and other functional print in the home language and display and provide culturally relevant materials.
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Book List: Multicultural Books for Preschoolers

This resource provides a list of books that celebrate different cultures and includes multiple languages. Teachers can use this list to ensure that they are providing books that are in children’s home languages, and that depict the cultural and linguistic background of children in a positive light.
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Webinar: Supporting Dual Language Learners in the PreK Classroom

In this webinar, presenters discuss several strategies for supporting Multilingual Learners’ oral language and literacy development. Strategies include gathering information on children’s language and cultural background from families and talking with them about their language and learning goals for their children. Presenters also discuss how to display labels and functional print in multiple languages in the classroom, select content-specific words from texts and incorporate them into instruction, incorporate songs, and engage in interactive reading.
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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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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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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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Policy Brief: Culturally Responsive Teaching

This downloadable policy brief dives into the research and discussion of 8 competencies for culturally responsive teaching. An infographic on the website offers a good preview of the content.
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Strategy Overview: Si Se Puede

Si Se Puede is a set of strategies to elevate Multilingual Learners' perception of the status of their home language, countering the messages learners often receive about English dominance.
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Strategy Overview: My Name

Nothing is closer to a Multilingual Learner's identity than their name. This resource offers culturally relevant examples of how to engage in meaningful activities with children about their names.
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Video: Affirming Language, Culture & Identity

This video shares asset-based strategies for teachers to engage with families, develop the socio-emotional health of children, and set up a classroom environment to support Multilingual Learners. This resource focuses on preschool but the content applies to all grade bands. Examples come from dual language classrooms.
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Booklist: Mirrors and Windows Literature

The literature on this booklist depicts the diverse languages, cultures, and identities of Multilingual Learners. Teachers can find a short description, related themes, and some read-aloud links for numerous “Mirror and Window” books.
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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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Photo: Personalized Oral Language Learning (POLL) Boards

This resource shows photos of boards that include several oral language strategies. Boards include functional print in the home language and in English.
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Video: Environmental Supports

This resource shows the importance of displaying culturally relevant materials for Multilingual Learners in the classroom, including pictures of family members and important events in children’s lives. Educators highlight the value of children's identities being reflected in the classroom to help them feel included.
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