Bilingual Classroom Environment
Bilingual/Biliterate Environment

The classroom environments in a dual language or language immersion program must reflect the goal of bilingualism and biliteracy. To that end, there should be equal representation of both languages in the each classroom environment.

The environmental elements of the dual Language classroom serve the purpose of promoting and valuing the language development that is occurring. The labels, word walls and student-generated alphabets are references that students can use in writing and LOD (language of the day) activities: vocabulary development in two languages is the ultimate goal. Academic content area center activities in both languages promote language and vocabulary development as well as content knowledge.

Your classroom is a book and you want to “read the room” with your students as much as possible in the LOD (language of the day) or LOI (language of instruction).

Reflect on your dual language classroom environment: 

-Are student desks arranged in small groups to promote the use of listening and speaking skills as students work on grade level tasks? 
-Are grade appropriate items clearly labeled in both languages so that children can read/use them? ?
-Are there two separate word walls displaying the separate languages with equal prominence in the classroom? 
-Are the word walls maintained with current and relevant vocabulary gleaned from student writing and reading?
-Does the teacher review vocabulary from word walls in LOD and model the
 use of the word wall during think alouds  and shared and interactive 
 writing? 
-Is a Bilingual Pairs List posted and used to group students for maximum language development?
-Is there a consistent use of color to help children make associations between the similarities and differences in  English and Spanish? (red: Spanish, Chinese or Vietnamese, blue: English)?
-Are content area bulletin boards/posters and resources in the correct
 language of instruction? 
-Is authentic student work posted in both languages? 
-Is there student ownership of the walls or is it all teacher made or store bought material? 
-Are there student-generated alphabets in both English and Spanish with
 grade appropriate vocabulary that can be reviewed during LOD activities? 
-Do students have access to materials in BLCs (bilingual learning centers)?
-Are there well defined areas for centers in each of the content areas?
-Are there well defined academic activities in each center in both languages?
-Can/do the students utilize the resources posted on the wall?
           
A special note for our two-way teachers:
- Do both rooms reflect equal representation of both languages?
-Is there student work posted in both languages? Even if one teacher may only teach Spanish or English?
-Teachers should try to share student work, label items and post word walls 
 so that both environments (the dual language and partner teacher's)
 support student development in both languages.

The classroom environment is very important to the students! What messages are being conveyed through the walls around them?