Monday, December 5, 2011

Taking on the Textbook

As bilingual teachers, we know that the hunt for the perfect nonfiction book in Spanish can be a long one. We know that we should incorporate reading into our content instruction but the resources can be few and far between. Sometimes, the best resource we have for reading with our students about science or social studies is the textbook. Yet, it is very easy to lose our students as soon as we open the book. Becoming familiar with the layout and structure of textbooks is important for our elementary students who will rely more and more on this type of text in future grades. I recently observed a third grade teacher's Social Studies lesson on cultural celebrations. It was the first time that she was trying out the use of two-column notes. She had the students write "Lo que se" and "Lo que pienso". As they would read through the text, she would have students make a note of new information they learned in the left column. In the right column, they would note their reactions or connections to this information.This is a very simple way of helping students interact meaningfully with the dense content of a textbook.

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