174. I have a few native Spanish speakers in my classes. Because I work in a small district, Spanish is the only foreign language offered. Since these students already know Spanish, I sometimes feel that they're extremely bored in my class. What can I do to engage them in the basics of Spanish grammar?

A wonderful question which clearly shows your professionalism and your desire to provide the most effective instructional program for ALL your students.

Your Spanish-speaking students indeed need to know grammar, and Spanish spelling, and to develop literacy skills in Spanish as well as in English. You may involve them during the time you plan your lesson for the next day. For example, work with these Spanish-speaking students for a few minutes every class (possibly at the end of the class while the others are busy with some written or reading assignment) and tell them what you are going to teach in grammar: a verb form, nouns, plurals, whatever. Then give them more ADVANCED reading material in addition to the basic reading material included in the Spanish textbook you may be using. From this advanced reading selection, they are to find examples of the grammatical points you will teach the next day (or the grammatical point that you already taught, as review). They may also find for you and for the entire class ALL English-Spanish cognates in the reading selection, that is, Spanish words that are similar in spelling and pronunciation, and identical in terms of meaning, to English words (i.e., tigre/tiger, botella/bottle, etc), The next day, these students are to "teach" along with you the grammatical point --they provide many example found in the reading selection-- and the cognates they found to increase the vocabulary and literacy skills for ALL students. 

No question that these students must be working within your class AT THEIR LEVEL, not at the level of saying "¡Hola, Paco! ¿Qué tal? ¿Cómo estás?" These students need specific instruction on grammar AND literacy skills. By the way, you may provide for them access through the Internet to Spanish newspapers and magazines and let them read and write summaries in Spanish of world events to be presented to the entire class with the English newspaper for illustrations. Also, teach them to write/word process in Spanish at the computer: I am sure you know the codes --

Press Alternate Key + 129 = ü
Alternate Key + 130 = é
Alternate Key + 160 = á
Alternate Key + 161 = í
Alternate Key + 162 = ó
Alternate Key + 163 = ú
Alternate Key + 164 = ñ
Alternate Key + 165 = Ñ
Alternate Key + 168 = ¿
Alternate Key + 173 = ¡

Your Spanish-speaking students need to become your assistants in your class and always work AT THEIR LEVEL, not at the level of beginning English-Only speakers learning a second language.



For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and "coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK offers:

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4. Promoting Academic Success in Language Minority Students
5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
6. Oral Language / Literacy Skills / Higher Order Thinking Skills
7. 50/50 Dual Language Programs: design, planning and implementation
8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
9. Transition: Introduction to English Reading

Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
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Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
Phonemic Awareness: Teaching English phonics to L.E.P. students
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
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Write and e-mail any additional questions you may have, and Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will establish with you, your school or district a Technical Assistance Service Contract. Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will answer all your questions promptly and to your satisfaction.


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