Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Gift of Giving

If you are considering giving a gift of appreciation to your child's teacher this holiday season, here's the wishlists that the maestras have put together (thanks to the PTO):
Maestra Razo:
white copy paper
blue dish soap (bubbles)
wax paper
flour for playdough
chisel tip sharpies
assorted art tissue paper
1.5 inch scotch tape
band aides assorted sizes
card stock

Maestra Airada:
5 cookie sheets (dollar store)
glitter large jar (red, gold silver, blue, green)
2 cassette players with headphones
laundry cart w/wheels (new or used)
32 white boards (12x12)
2 gallons of glue
2 large staplers
scrapbook paper
treasure box items (dollar tree)
painting easel
copy paper, glue sticks, markers
gift cards (Amazon, Michael's, Beverly's, Oriental Trading Co.)
hot glue gun and glue sticks

Maestra Ruiz:
yellow highlighters
kodak ink black/color 30/30
Target gift cards
clorox wipes
Beverly's gift card
white lunch bags (small)
brown lunch bags (small)
Michael's gift cards
expo markers

1st Grade
Maestra Gonzalez
art drying rack
mason jars
white copy paper
scented markers
Elf on the shelf (girl)
scented stickers
color copy paper
colored pencils

Maestra Perez
Elf on the shelf
Dollar Tree gift card
Target gift card
Office Depot gift card
dry erase markers
assorted art tissue paper
paint brushes
class set of highlighters

2nd Grade
Target gift card
Michael's gift card
Walmart gift card
Office Depot card
Ticonderoga pencils
painters tape
black dry erase markers
jump ropes
jumbo color chalk class set

2nd/3rd Grade
Maestra Santana
copy paper
fine tip crayola markers
craft sticks (tongue depressors)
white boards for students
binder paper
colored copy paper
ink for printer

3rd Grade
Maestra Leyva
large popsicle stick boxes
glue sticks
ticonderoga costco pack pencils
crayola markers
crayola colored pencils
white copy paper
colored copy paper (lilac, pink, green)
Michael's gift card
Target gift card

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Connection of Language, Cultural Traditions and Celebrations by Ashleigh Williams

There are many things in this world that I love to do.  I love to cook, bake, read, sing in the car, spend time with friends, shop, rock climb, hike, craft and sleep.  I love to play and listen to music, talk, teach, veg out and learn.  Essentially, I just love to live.  And so many of these things go hand in hand, frankly it’s ridiculous.

As a teacher, I find myself making connections that most people would not normally see the same way I do.  I see the value in exposure even if only for a brief moment, and have internalized that some exposure is better than no exposure.  I have also learned to differentiate between good, correlated, rich exposures and flimsy, exposures that qualify more as a stretch than a teachable moment.

I use both.

I was recently asked why I, as a dual immersion educator, believe that learning about cultural traditions and celebrations is important when learning a new language.  The answer is simple.


Let’s be honest here.  It is nearly impossible to separate a language from the culture and country it comes from.  There are examples as simple as California’s use of the word “dude” to East Coast Italian-American’s use of the word “skeeves”, a derivative of the Italian “schifo” which literally means disgusting.

Knowing that language and culture are inherently related, the best option to provide language learners with a rich learning experience is to incorporate as many cultural traditions and holidays into their language acquisition as possible. 

Would it make sense to learn the language that is associated with American traditions and not the traditions themselves?  Think about it for a second.  There are some simple words and phrases, such as fireworks, hotdogs, grill, 4th of July, pilgrim and harvest (to name a few) that warrant a beautiful, cultural definition.  Sure, these words can definitely be translated from English into any other language, but learning them in conjunction with the celebrations and traditions they’re related to paint a fuller, brighter picture.

Likewise in Spanish you have picturesque words, such as cempazuchitl, calaca, posadas, Nochebuena, ofrenda, papel picado that can be translated into many languages.  However they are far better understood in the context of the traditions and holidays with which they are associated.
In this instance, brief exposure, while better than no exposure, is still not a plausible solution.  These connections take time to build.  Schemas must be created into which our context for learning must fit.  You can say the word “ofrenda” over and over again and show me a picture of an ofrenda.  But if you do not teach me that during los días de los muertos family members create ofrendas on home made altares to leave for their deceased loved ones, ofrenda will never take on that special meaning that it deserves.

These connections, between language and culture, reading and music, cooking and rock climbing are what make life rich and interesting.  They are what make our understanding deeper and meaningful. 

I challenge you to look for those connections in your every day life.  Make a list of words that you commonly use (the, a, and, an, is, was, are, etc. do not count) and put yourself in a second language learners’ shoes.  Do those words make sense without the cultural context?  If so, would a cultural context give you a more complete picture?  I urge you to make your connections rich and meaningful, not void of relevance. 

 About the writer

 Ashleigh Williams, Dual Language Program Teacher

After teaching two years in the DLP at Lincoln elementary, Ashleigh and her husband relocated to the Peninsula.  She is currently a Spanish DLP Kinder teacher at Selby Lane Elementary School in the Redwood City School District.  Ashleigh is trilingual, growing up fluent in Italian and English and later mastering Spanish.  Recently, Ashleigh was asked to present at the annual Summer Annual Two-Way Bilingual Immersion Conference, where she will speak on the new California Science Standards in the Dual Immersion thematic classroom.  She is also a blogger, you can follow her here

Monday, October 14, 2013

Parent Contributors Wanted!

Well, it's been two years since we've started this blog and we've seen over 11,000 visitors and an average over 200 page views a month since the start.  We are constantly striving to provide valuable information for the families in the dual language program at Lincoln.  That being said, we want to ask if there's anyone out there that might be interested in contributing to the blog.   There are many topics that can be addressed, even if you are not an educator.  You can write about your own personal experience within the dual immersion program, a how to on tackling homework, recommendations for Spanish resources, etc.  We would love to share your thoughts and suggestions.  Just write us a note at if you are interested in contributing!

Happy October!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

¡Bienvenidos! It's the start of the 3rd year of the highly successful Lincoln DLP school year. 2013-2014

¡Bienvenidos to all of the new families in the Lincoln Elementary Dual Language Program!  It's hard to believe that we are beginning the third year of the popular dual language program at Lincoln.  It's just as hard to believe that three years ago, we had roughly 60 children in the inaugural two classes and we now have close to 200 children in the k-3rd grade dlp classes and over 50 students in the Spanish preschool.  It is truly amazing and a testament to the community demand for dual language education.

As I watched all the new families enter the school these last few days, I couldn't help but feel excited for them and scared at the same time.  It conjured up memories of the first week of our dual language education journey with our oldest daughter Alec.  My husband and I felt as if we were taking a HUGE leap of faith, but we knew in our hearts it was the best opportunity for our daughter.  So, when I came a across an article posted on entitled Tips For Non-Native Speakers with Children at Dual Language Schools, I realized that I have a few tips that I think are worth sharing.  I hope these are helpful for all our newbie dual immersion parents.

1)  Be confident in your decision to enroll in a dual immersion.  As most parents know, children are very intuitive and they pick up on almost everything.  If your child senses your apprehension, it's more likely that he/she will become apprehensive.  I'm not saying you can't or shouldn't have questions, concerns or doubts; however, I would bet that you all have done your homework and your research on dual immersion programs.  You chose this program for a reason, believe and trust in your choice and give it a fair shot.  The only reason a student has voluntarily left Lincoln's dual immersion program after the first year is due to a major relocation of their family.  In most cases, those families have found and enrolled their child in a dual immersion program where ever they have moved to.

2) Don't feel like you have to become fluent in Spanish to help your child with their homework or language acquisition.  There's no question that being bilingual parent is a major asset for a child in a dual immersion program; however, the beauty of the program is that is designed for native speakers of both languages.  Our teachers are so wonderful and helpful.  They truly want our children to succeed and will guide you through whatever assistance you need in regards to homework.  That's not to say that it's easy- it is a major commitment.  But in the end, isn't it worth it to have a child that is bilingual, bi-cultural and bi-literate?  And, if you are a person who loves learning, this may be a great opportunity for you to brush up on your high school Spanish or learn a few phrases along side your child.  But don't be discouraged when your child speaks without an accent and you sound like a total Gringo:)

3) Lean on other families in the program.  Over the past three years, we have developed a very supportive and caring community of dual language families.  Don't be afraid to reach out to other families in your child's classroom or some of the families in the older grades.  I'm confident that there are a lot of families that have experienced what you are going through right now.  So, don't be shy.  We are here to support one another.

4) Try not to freak out if your child says they don't want to learn Spanish.  I have heard so many great stories about English speaking children in dual immersion programs and the funniest things they say.  Some children adapt quickly to the non English environment and others take more time to warm up to the concept.  If your child is resisting,  it's important to realize that resistance is very normal and with support and encouragement your child will adjust.  It takes time, patience, courage, strength, and will power to not give in to the child that vehemently resists.  But with the right encouragement and support at home and at school every child should succeed in the dual immersion setting.

5) Do your homework.  As I mentioned previously, I am confident that almost every parent that chooses a dual immersion program does their research.  Now that your child is actually in a program it's important for you to delve even deeper into the most common and successful practices of a dual immersion program.  It's imperative that you FULLY understand the 90-10 model and that you become the biggest advocate for your child's education.  As you may know, our school holds dual immersion parent meetings 4-6 times a school year and one dual immersion conference.  I highly encourage all of you to attend as many meetings as possible and stay well informed.  As great as our program is, it is still very new.  Our teachers are doing incredible work, but there are a lot of wonderful dual immersion practices that we have yet to implement at our school.  The more we know the more powerful our voices are. 

There are so many more tips that you can find online or ask any parent of a 3rd grader in the program.  On behalf of the Dual Language Program Advocates, I wish each and every one of you a fabulous first year and Bienvenidos a Lincoln!

Maria Giannini

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Next Lincoln DLP Meeting 3/21/13

NEXT DLP Parent Meeting is schedule for Thursday, March 21st 6-7:30pm in the Lincoln Cafeteria.  The meeting is a social gathering with an opportunity to learn some fun and educational children's games in Spanish to help with vocabulary, math and much more.  If you are interested in bringing food and/or a Spanish kid's game to share with the group, please let us know.  You can email us at  Childcare will be provided.

We hope to see you all there!