spanish dual language

In our Dual Language Program students have the benefit of learning a second language while enriching their native language.  All children will learn appropriate grade level content while developing their bilingual proficiency.

The overall goal of our DL program is for all students to be bilingual, bi-literate, and bi-cultural.  By the end of 8th grade, students will be able to:

  • Use two languages comfortably and effectively in social situations appropriate for their age level

  • Communicate effectively through reading and writing in two languages at a level appropriate for their age

  • Perform at or above grade level standard

We currently follow the 50/50 model of instruction, where children receive 50% of instruction in English and 50% of instruction in Spanish.

In Kindergarten we offer the self-contained model, one teacher teaches the class in both languages.  Starting in First grade, Students spend one day in the “English” class and one day in the “Spanish” class.  During the reading and writing workshops, the teacher may pull aside a small group of students or individual students to work with them in the language they are reading and writing in. Math is taught in English and Spanish. Social Studies and Science are integrated in the literacy block through read aloud, songs, and arts & crafts activities in the classroom as well as through field trips and multicultural presentations outside of the classroom. Science, Gym, Music, and Art are taught by specialty teachers in English. Students meet with specialty teachers six times a week.

How long does it take for students to develop proficiency in the other language?

Students first acquire and produce social language (greetings, basic sentences and vocabulary) and later academic language (higher-tier vocabulary and more complex sentence structures). Research shows (Cummins, 1981) that it takes two to three years to develop social language and at least five to seven years to develop academic language. Some factors influencing the development of a second language include exposure to the language outside of school, quality of teaching, parent involvement, personal motivation, emotional response, and social factors.

What would a “typical” day look like?

A typical day begins with a Morning Meeting where students practice skills that are grade level appropriate. After Morning Meeting, students typically begin their literacy activities either through reading or writing. This continues throughout most of the morning and will include diverse topics from Social Studies, Science, and other content areas. In the afternoons, Spanish/English instruction in math and other content areas is provided.  For 1 period of the day (50 minutes) children will receive instruction in English from a specialty teacher for Physical Education, Technology, Music, or Science.

  • The above describes instruction targeting the class as a whole. Literacy instruction is also provided in small groups in their native language regardless of the time of day. Individual conversations between student and teacher (conferences) will take place in the student’s native and target language.

  • Phonics is provided daily in both languages. In Spanish, Estrellita and Palabras a su paso is used, while Fundations is used for English.

  • For Spanish instruction, the school uses Descubre, where the students learned about students from different cultures in Latino-America such as Mexico, Argentina. Chile etc.

For information about how to apply to PS 84’s Dual Language Spanish program, click here.