Language Arts / Artes Del Lenguaje

2018 At the Amigos School, our ongoing goal has been to build a strong and sustainable bridge for biliteracy. We are committed to a curriculum that includes deep engagement with complex texts and writing in both Spanish and English.
The Amigos School language arts curriculum is based on best practices and methods for teaching biliteracy. Teachers use a flexible framework that integrates the range of reading, writing, and word study activities essential for building proficiency in two languages. Language arts in K-5 consist of three blocks (Language and Word Study, Reading Workshop, and Writing Workshop) built around a foundation of oral language. The teacher provides direct instruction through very specific mini-lessons and guided learning in whole group and small group settings.

The Language and Literacy framework is particularly suited to a dual-language school, where teachers must take into consideration their students’ native and second language proficiency and tailor instruction to meet individual students’ needs. This structure is the instructional design for best practices in language and literacy teaching and learning. It provides a structure within which teachers can accommodate the varying needs of their students.

The Reader’s Workshop block includes instruction in phonological awareness, letter-sound correspondence, fluency, and comprehension within the context of reading meaningful, authentic texts in Spanish and English. At least once a week, students participate in a bridge lesson where they engage in contrastive analysis of vocabulary and language structures between the two languages. Teachers receive training for these biliteracy practices through participation in workshops lead by the Biliteracy coach and other experts in dual language.

The Writer’s Workshop block focuses on the development of the writing process. Students write narrative stories, persuasive letters and essays, informational research, and poetry through a series of guided mini-lessons and independent writing. Starting in Kindergarten, all students at Amigos are expected to write in both English and Spanish. Students learn the craft and convention of writing in two languages.

Language Workshop is generally a shorter block of time devoted entirely to mastering phonics and grammar. A common K-5 practice in Spanish is El Dictado. This is one approach to helping children learn concepts about phoneme/grapheme relationships in Spanish and English. The approach consists of weekly dictation tasks that include spelling, grammar, and metalanguage. For the English component, students participate in explicit phonics and word study lessons tailored to their individual needs.

Our Amigos Upper School students receive language arts instruction daily in both English (ELA) and Spanish (ADLE). A key component of our Upper School program is the careful pairing of texts in both languages to allow for a bridged connection between themes, genres, and writing styles, as well as the reflection of and extension of students’ cultural identity and competency. Students analyze texts by authors such as Julia Álvarez, Jorge Ramos, García Márquez, Federico García Lorca, Sandra Cisneros, and Esmeralda Santiago. These Spanish texts are purposefully selected and taught in tandem with the English texts required by the CPS Upper School Curriculum.

Our goal is that all students achieve mastery in two languages through carefully planned lessons that celebrate our student’s bilingualism and multiculturalism.

Please visit the English Language Arts website for more information about common district expectations.

Elika Fredrickson
JK-8 Biliteracy Coach
Email Elika
Phone: 617.349.6567 x203
15 Upton Street
Cambridge, MA 02140

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