Depending on the makeup of your classroom and the English proficiency of your multilingual learners (MLLs), here are three ideas for how to use a Spanish debate in your classroom:
Before introducing the English version of a debate, have Spanish-speaking students read the Spanish debate independently, with a partner, or with an ESL teacher. Then provide the debate in English. If students encounter challenges understanding particular words or phrases, allow them to consult the Spanish version.
- Have students read the debate first in Spanish independently. Then have them join other Spanish-speaking students in the class to discuss the debate in Spanish before joining a class-wide discussion of the debate in English.
- Have each student in your class read the debate in their native language with a partner. Have each pair verbally create a summary of the debate. Then pair a student who read the English debate with a student who read the Spanish debate and have them share their summaries. Alternatively, have students work together to create a poster that summarizes both sides of the debate.
Ideas for newcomers or students whose home language is other than Spanish or English:
- With a small group of students at the same level of language acquisition, do a choral reading of the English version in small chunks. Stop to show pictures or act out words that might be challenging.
- As you read, check comprehension with yes/no or either/or questions. For example, if you are reading the debate “Is It OK to Sneak Food Into the Movies?” pause to ask “Do you like movies?” or “Do you prefer popcorn or candy?” to help students use the words in simple contexts. (This can also be done in writing with a dialogic journal.)
- Work together with students to complete the debate templates together. Have students dictate their thoughts to you as you write them on the template. Allow students to respond with pictures as well.