We use word walls, slower speech, gestures, and mental models among other differentiation strategies and our students are improving. In fact, all ESL/bilingual students have improved in their Universal Screener. One student in Ms. Thomas’ third grade bilingual class moved up from the lowest group to the highest group in math.
“I tell my students to always be ready to learn and work, that they are smart and they do it,” Ms. Thomas says. “I like the fact that Brook Avenue students get to expand their knowledge in both languages.”
Other areas that the students have shown improvement include spelling and vocabulary. This is mostly due to our small group intervention stations. The staff at Brook Avenue encourages our bilingual students to practice their English, and also work on their Spanish.
“I always tell my students not to forget the Spanish speaking skills they have,” says second grade bilingual teacher Ms. Ramirez. “Don’t forget your roots! It is important to know both languages well. I tell them to remember that their parents speak Spanish and they still need to communicate with them. It is a great thing to be bilingual and it will help so much when my students are older and looking for a job.”