Saturday, February 04, 2012

Who is benefiting from Two-Way dual language Bilingual Education?

I've always thought my ideal school would be an urban two-way dual language school. Students from both Spanish and English back grounds would come together to benefit from each others home language to become "balanced bilinguals."

I'm not so sure any more...

My classroom now is one way dual language. All students, except one outlier, are native spanish speakers. I'm the only native english speaker. We are all bilingual, some more than others, so we go between languages on a whim. Students translate when meaning gets lost in a language, but we are all comfortable in each language. This bilingual dynamic changes when we are in an English setting. When english speaking volunteers come into the classroom or when we go on an "english field trip" my students only speak English.... They need to communicate with people who don't speak two languages.

So what would happen if you throw monolingual English speakers into a classroom of bilingual Spanish speakers? The bilingual student will speak english, naturally, so the monolingual student can understand....Spanish isn't in the picture, especially in social settings.

....Only the Spanish L1 (native Spanish speakers) students were directly practicing their L2 (English) with their peers. In this, they supported Valdés’ (1997) concerns that mixing monolingual English L1 speakers with bilingual Spanish L1 speakers in two-way immersion will inevitably lead to students speaking English with one another to accommodate the mono­lingual speakers’ needs, and that only the English speakers will benefit from the mixed language enrollment that two-way offers.(Ballinger, S. & Lyster, R. 2011)

Maybe if the school was in a vacuum, and they all started in Kinder, and stayed till 5th with no one transferring in halfway, my perfectly balanced two-way school would work....but somehow i think this environment doesn't exist, and until then, who's benefiting? One student is gaining a language, while another student is losing one.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hey girl, You're doing a great job keeping to the language of instruction.

After talking about bilingual ed for three hours tonight at grad school, and then hearing ridiculous comments about "Spanish being the language of the ghetto," I was all pumped up and ready to write a op-ed post on code-switching/culture identity in the classroom...

Then I got tired and all I can do now is have Ryan Gosling tell me how every thing is going to be okay.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Teacher research! I'm officially a teacher nerd!

So we are finally moving into the end of our certification/masters program. I can see the light!!! Just this semester and summer left. PHEW!

Today we were introduced to our Teacher Research class and got our first taste of what we will be writing this semester/this summer.

We will be conducting research in our own classroom and writing a masters thesis. I'm super excited. While February seems like it's going to be another month of struggling to survive the work/grad/life balance; we'll make it. I'll make it!

I've never written a thesis before or done research this way before, and I'm really looking forward to it. Especially since I'm doing research on what I care so much about. If you were to tell 20 year old Katy in her Ed Policy undergrad class that in five years she'd be a third year bilingual teacher conducting research on language acquisition in her own classroom and writing a Master's thesis, I think you would have seen baby Katy running around in circles with a huge smile on her face.

On another awesome bilingual education note, I was asked to co-present/facilitate at the WIABE annual conference in March. I'll be presenting on the use of anchor charts

I LOVE anchor charts, ESPECIALLY in bilingual ed, so I'm really excited to be able to facilitate this session. It will also be my first time, outside of TFA, that I'm able to lead professional development for teachers. Again, I'm super excited.

I hope I feel as inspired and rejuvenated as I did after attending the Texas bilingual education conference two years ago.

On a completely unrelated note, today was my first day in.... 7 years? That I've been without an active facebook. I survived. Shocking!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Addicted to technology

I have found myself addicted to technology as of late.

I now live by myself and I recently got an Iphone. I also just signed up for twitter. I think it was the last straw. I don't want to check my fb and twitter and my email and keep checking it. But I do. over and over and over.

So I closed my fb account (for now at least) and while I still have my twitter, Idk how much I'm going to use it for awhile.

I think I was inspired by "Goodnight Ipad" that i found at the library yesterday. If i'm addicted to technology, what about children?

One of my students is literally addicted to video games. He plays all night he said. He never turns in any homework and I seriously think he needs help with his addiciton.

AHHH TECHNOLOGY. I want go out and go sledding and throw my phone in a frozen lake.

Says the blogger.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I had to write a reflection, my 4th for the night, for one of my grad school classes on my 'philosophy of writing instruction.'

I preached that teachers are active writers...and then I thought of this blog. About that.

The quick summary of life as a fourth grade teacher.

This is my first year as a self contained teacher. In the true sense of the word too. I have no scheduled release time and no specials (you Gym, Art, Music, Library?) (thanks, Walker), so I'm literally with my students all day. All day. For better or worse.

I'm sure you'll be happy to hear, that I love teaching. GASP! When I'm in my room, with all my kids, uninterrupted (ha!), and teaching is when I'm happiest.

I also learned how to plan more efficiently than ever before. I can plan and make all copies for the upcoming week BEFORE the weekend. I can literally walk into my classroom on Monday and have everythign ready for everything I'm going to teach that week. It's insane. While it does require me to stay at school to 8pm on Thursday's a small price to pay for a 'stress' free Monday morning.

Also! I looped with some of my kids...this means I taught them last year AND this year. It's incredible. One my my students who literally came into third grade guessing at all math problems and didn't understand the concept of adding, consistently gets 80% on units tests on a fourth grade level. She is out performing most of my class. Again, proof the achievement gap can be closed.

What also prompted this post, is I had a student reading on on a kinder level and socially and behaviorally at the same level. We worked so hard with him, and today he vanished. Up and left with his mom... to another school another district. I can't believe he has to start over again, He has had many schools in the past. I'm so sad for him, but what makes me more sad is the relief I feel that he is not in my classroom. I feel like I'm going to hell.

last thoughts are that graduate school is sucking the soul from my body and stomping on it on the floor. 2 more semesters....straight through summer, August I need to be done. 8 . more. months. OH, DEAR LORD.

Out side of work, grad school, and packer games, and talking on the phone on for an hour on Saturday mornings, not too much else is going on... Haven't started christmas shopping, and I'm going to the rose bowl for NY. That's about it.

Monday, August 29, 2011


I'm back at Hayes Bilingual and am in 4th grade! I have my own classroom and will be teaching 25 brilliant scholars this school year!!!

It all starts tomorrow!

Bring on YEAR 3!