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Three easy ways to use the preview view review strategy in your classroom

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Are your bilingual students struggling to make meaningful cross linguistic connections in the classroom? One minute they know exactly what they are doing, but once the language of instruction changes they feel completely lost and overwhelmed? No, you are not a bad teacher! And yes, your students are learning. They are just struggling with translanguaging, or the ability to access different linguistic features in all known languages. To promote translanguaging, we must implement strategies for bridging between languages, and the preview view review strategy is the perfect place to start. 

A picture of books on a teacher's desk used to introduce the topic of bridging between languages in the classroom.
The preview view review strategy is a great way to help students with bridging between languages in the classroom.

If you would like to learn more about the preview-view-review strategy and eight other killer teaching strategies for your dual-language or bilingual classroom, click on this link to get my FREE guide. In this guide, I am sharing nine teaching strategies that will help you set your students on a path towards biliteracy and bilingualism. These are strategies you can start implementing immediately and see amazing results. Click here to get your own copy of the free guide. You can thank me later! 

What is preview view review?

The preview view review strategy is one of many dual language teaching strategies used to help students make connections between the target language and their first language. Preview view review helps bilingual learners by previewing and reviewing the content of the lesson  in the students’ dominant language. We are not translating! We are building schema and summarizing learning in the dominant language, but most of the instruction is still happening in the target language. 

An infographic outlining the steps in the preview view review teaching strategy.
These three simple steps will help you ensure that you are using the preview view review teaching strategy correctly in your classroom.

Here is an example of this strategy in action. A fourth-grade teacher is preparing to teach ‘central idea’ in Spanish. But some students in her class are only learning Spanish. ‘Central idea’ is a tough concept, and the teacher wants to make sure all students understand it. So she shows students a quick video in English about ‘central idea.’ Now, Spanish language learners have some background knowledge on the topic. This will help them understand the rest of the lesson. At the end of the lesson, the teacher wants to get a sense of where her students are. She poses a question in English, and students turn and talk to a friend. The teacher targets any students who are learning Spanish by listening in as they talk to their peers. This can help the teacher detect any misconceptions and address them in the future. 

Why is preview view review important? 

As bilingual teachers, it is our job to teach our students how to make those cross language connections which will help them develop two languages simultaneously. The goal is always to promote bilingualism and biliteracy. 

Research shows that “multilingual students who learn about how their two languages are similar and different achieve higher levels of academic achievement” (Dressler et al, 2011, de Jong, 2011). This means that we should encourage students to examine both languages to determine their similarities and differences and create connections. But students won’t know how to make these connections if we don’t teach them how. We have to use dual language teaching strategies for bridging language every day. One of these strategies is preview view review. 

Do you use the preview view review strategy in your bilingual classroom?

How to implement the preview view review strategy in your classroom 

Implementing this strategy in the classroom is easier than you think! Best of all, it only takes a few minutes before and after each lesson. But the payoff is huge! Once I started to implement this strategy in my classroom daily, I saw huge growth in my students. Here are three easy ways that I have used this strategy in my class. 

Anchor charts are your best friends

Whenever I introduce a new topic, I always create an anchor chart with my students. This anchor chart is the perfect place to record those cross linguistic connections you are making with your students. 

I often use our preview time to review the previous lesson (if we are still working on the same concept.) This allows me to pull out the anchor chart we create on day one to add words in the other language. 

Pro tip #1: Assign a color for English and a color for Spanish. Many people use blue for English and red for Spanish, but you could choose different colors if you want to. 

Pro tip#2: Be careful that you are not translating every word. You want students to do some thinking on their own. If you translate everything, you are doing all the work for them. 

An example of how teachers can make cross linguistic connections in the classroom using anchor charts.
Assigning specific colors for each language will help students make cross linguistic connections more effectively.
An example of how teachers can promote translanguaging in the classroom using an anchor chart.
Translanguaging allows students to draw on their dominant language as scaffold to access content in the target language.

Up the engagement with interactive notebooks 

I love using interactive notebooks that go with the anchor charts I am creating. I teach fourth grade, and I am a huge proponent of teaching note taking skills in upper elementary. Note-taking is a great way to improve focus and content retention.  Interactive notebooks are great tools for note-taking because it allows you to give students a skeleton of the anchor chart you are creating. Students only have to fill in the blanks with some information, which saves a lot of time and helps students stay organized. 

To make it easy for my students to take notes in class, I have created printable anchor charts and interactive notebook pages that go together. As we complete the anchor chart together, students add the same information to their notebooks. You can read more about how I use these anchor charts and interactive notebooks in my classroom by clicking here.

An interactive notebook and an anchor chart used to support second language acquisition.
Anchor charts and interactive notebooks can support second language acquisition in your classroom.

During the preview portion of my lesson, I always have students write the keywords I am adding to my anchor chart on their interactive notebooks. My students always have a red pen and a blue pen in their pencil boxes. If the information they are writing is in English, they use a blue pen. If the information is in Spanish, they use the red pen. This helps them discriminate between the languages. 

Make it student-centered

The preview view review strategy is all about the students and helping them make cross language connections on a regular basis. So it is important that you don’t become the ‘sage on the stage.’ I like to use the gradual release model of instruction to slowly shift the responsibility onto my students. 

A teacher working with a student to demonstrate optimal dual language teaching strategies.
The gradual release model can be used with any other dual language teaching strategies to optimize learning.

Whenever we begin working on a new concept, I always lead the preview portion of the lesson. I need to explicitly make those linguistic connections for all my students. However, I always get students to participate during the review portion of the lesson. I love using ‘turn and talks’ for that. I ask students a question that summarizes what we did throughout the lesson, and they share their answers with a partner. If needed, I give them a sentence stem to scaffold the conversation. As they talk, I walk around and listen. In the end, I either ask who wants to share or call on a specific student who had a really great answer (I always check with that student privately before calling on them. I do not believe in cold calls!)

As the week progresses, I begin to get students more involved during the preview portion of the lesson as well. Sometimes, I even ask if one of my students wants to lead that part of the lesson. This is something that requires practice, but after you have been using preview view review in your classroom for a while, your students will know exactly what to do. If you struggle with relinquishing control in your classroom, just remember that you can always interject if things start to take a wrong turn! 

A picture of a classroom used to illustrate a classroom in which students learn bridging language strategies.
Bridging language strategies teach students to draw on their dominant language to support second language development.

Preview view review for the win

I hope this has helped you see how you can use the preview view review strategy in your classroom for bridging language and promoting translanguaging. This strategy has completely transformed my instruction, and I know it can do the same for you. Best of all, it is quite simple to implement. Just remember to be very intentional about it.

Also, don’t forget to download my FREE guide with nine teaching strategies for dual-language teachers. It’s a must-have! Click here to get your own copy.

Happy teaching! 

Related resources:

Translanguaging in Curriculum and Instruction: A CUNY-NYSIEB Guide for Educators

Okapi Educational Publishing video 

Note-Taking: A Research Roundup

A Third Way – A Third Space: Bridging Between Languages

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Hi, I'm Rebeca!

I help upper elementary dual language teachers with resources and ideas that promote bilingualism and biliteracy.  

Learn more about me and how I can help you here.

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