The Bridge

As explained in an early blog post, The Biliteracy Unit Framework or BUF (Beeman & Urow, 2013) is composed of the following phases: Building Background & Oracy, Reading Comprehension, the Writing Process, Word Study, The Bridge, and the Extension. Today, we will specifically talk about The Bridge. The Bridge is the phase in the unit where a metalinguistic analysis of two languages (in our case, English and Spanish) takes place. A purposeful comparison of two languages is done, in order to extract similarities and differences between the two.  

The bridge takes place in both integrated units. It can last one lesson or several lessons depending on the type of bridge and the focus. The Bridge has two parts:

Part One of the Bridge

Students generate a visual representation of what they learned in one language and then add the equivalent in the other language. Oracy is very important during the first part of the bridge because students generate the representation of what they have learned through oral activities and then they add the equivalent in the other language using similar activities. Last year, when Karen Beeman provided PD for our district she shared the following strategies:

  • Photos/Illustrations (*photo coming soon*)
  • Side-by-Side Bridge Strategy (list of words in a T-chart)

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  • Así-se-dice

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Part Two of the Bridge

Now, we move on to part two of the bridge where the metalinguistic analysis takes place. You should use the Foundational Skills or Language Standards from the Common Core to help guide your focus for the analysis. In addition to using the CCSS as a guide, you should always determine the focus of your bridge based on the students’ needs. Lastly, you should build on the words and phrases used in part one of  the bridge.

There are four options for contrastive analysis during the Bridge:

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The following link from the Teaching for Biliteracy website shares the four metalinguistic areas in greater detail.  Lastly, watch the following video of a side-by-side Bridge taking place in a kindergarten classroom.

Stay tune for our next post on The Bridge vs. Bridging!
Claudia & Luz

*Beeman, K., & Urow, C. (2013). Teaching for biliteracy: strengthening bridges between languages. Philadelphia: Caslon.

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