I once had two Polish speakers in my third grade class. I didn’t know anything about Polish, but one student’s mom was insistent that he continue to learn his native language. To support her efforts, I suggested she help her son prepare something in Polish to share with the class. He memorized a poem and recited it to the class a week or so later. I made a big deal of his bilingual abilities and worked to help my other students see the value in developing their own bilingualism.
What are your experiences with your students’ native languages? Do you speak them? How do you use them in the classroom? If you only speak English, have you found ways to incorporate or demonstrate value for other languages with your students?
I had a lyrics project where students selected a song or poem in their native languages. On one side of a mini poster board, is the native language version and the other side was their interpretation of translation. They then created visuals on the poster board such as drawings or collages.
I did a poetry project using code switching. I explained to students what code switching was (when a speaker goes switches language mid conversation). Many didn’t even realize they did this and that it has a name!
These are great ideas! I love how you’re including different genres, such as music and poetry. Many students connect to these forms of language in the real world, so bringing them into the classroom helps to bridge home and school. Not to mention that you were showing students how much you value their native language by including it, too!