Libros Y Amigos: Publishing Bilingual Books

Project URL: www.teachersnetwork.org/teachnetusa/tjackson/spanishbook.htm 

How it works:
In Libros Y Amigos, students publish bilingual books in hard copy and on the Web, using basic Spanish phrases and vocabulary that tie in with their class's current thematic unit. They write, illustrate, and publish using a variety of technology. Each child, or team of students, is responsible for one page of each book. Each student gets a "published" copy of each book, with individually designed covers, to share with the class, other students, and family. Each title then becomes part of a growing collection of resources from which current and future students can benefit. Students learn the foreign language content and writing skills in both the classroom and the computer lab using a variety of software. Text and illustrations are created in the classroom and lab depending on the topic and the technology being used to support it.

This program gives all students a hands-on way to reinforce and share their learning as clear and effective communicators, and integrative and informed thinkers. Each child has a sense of ownership and pride in the final product, as they have been involved in brainstorming and creating the genre, text, illustration, and layout. The program also enables students to think about and present new knowledge in a variety of ways. Using product descriptors for each step gives them clear expectations for their work. In this way, all students are able to succeed. The students meet the targeted standards by reading their finished book to a variety of audiences, including the world via the Internet. Each book project is concluded with a student self-assessment to allow for personal reflection, student/teacher conferencing, planning, and goal setting for future projects.

Standards addressed:  
This project enables students K-5 to meet the following Guiding Principles of the Maine Learning Results:  Students use oral, written, visual, artistic, and technological modes of expression; read, listen to, and interpret messages from multiple sources; use English and at least one other language; apply knowledge and skills in and across various subjects; and comprehend relationships among different modes of thought and methods associated with the traditional disciplines.
It also allows students to meet the following K-2 Standards and Performance Indicators: Students develop communication skills for direct conversation and written correspondence; develop reading, listening, and viewing skills to obtain and interpret information in a second language; and demonstrate understanding of simple oral narratives and short conversations on familiar topics in a second language.

Materials used:
This program requires the use of a computer, scanner, digital camera, IMovie camera, HyperStudio, an art center, Jumpstart Spanish and Pepa Software,  and Adobe Photoshop.

The students: 
We are a rural school in Wiscasset, Maine. This program involves all 14 students in my first grade class.  Most students come from low socio-economic backgrounds where the average education of the parents does not exceed high school. Thirty-five percent of our student population qualify for free or reduced hot lunch. We have no foreign language program, but attempt to meet State standards through innovations such as Libros Y Amigos. Any student in grade K-5 at any ability level is suitable for participation.

Overall value:
Students at this age have great enthusiasm and aptitude for learning languages and exploring other cultures. The wide range of learning involved in this program is an effective way for teachers to teach more, in greater depth, and in an integrated way. The level of student learning, enthusiasm, pride, and excitement illustrates why other teachers might want to adapt it for use in their classrooms. It can easily be adapted for all students in grades K-5 to enable meaningful acquisition of any second language, and allows all students to be successful in a collaborative effort.
I would be happy to advise anyone who might like to adapt this program. The time frame for each book project can be very flexible and is easily integrated into any unit of study!


About the teacher:
Tracy Jackson has taught first grade in Wiscasset for 16 years. During the past three years she has focused professional development goals on using technology to enhance and support student learning. She is a past winner of the National Semi- conductor Internet Innovator award, and has been both a SEED Grant Adaptor and developer. Her projects have been featured as Global Connections Lesson Plan of the Month and she is a contributing author to How To Use The Internet In Your Classroom.


Subject Areas:  
Foreign Language

Grade Levels: