Sunday, February 26, 2012

Why Spanglish?

My blog’s tagline is Second Grade…Spanglish Style (as you can see above).  I put a lot of thought into my tagline – but my sister recently made it sound like “Spanglish” makes me sound like a bad teacher given that Spanglish is generally has a negative connotation…so I wanted to clarify here, why I chose Spanglish.

1.  I teach in a bilingual classroom BUT second grade in my district is a year of transition.  I continue building literacy in Spanish but we begin to transition to English.  Our classroom uses both languages.  At this point in the school year we are doing more English than Spanish but we still do both HENCE, Spanglish!  

2.Alliteration is amazing, and I really wanted to have alliteration in my title as much as possible…Castro, class, second, Spanglish, style…I # alliteration!

3. The bilingual mind does not always function like a well oiled machine.  I think in both languages and sometimes I’ll struggle to come up with the right word in one language and wish I could just throw in the word from the other language…¿entiendes? 

4.  My students are transitioning and that means that when speaking in English they won’t always know all of the words they need to express themselves, so sometimes they’ll use a Spanish word.  Which is OK with me, because I want my students to feel comfortable when expressing themselves.  We do a lot of vocabulary work to help them build their vocabulary but still, Spanglish happens!

When I think of Spanglish I think of a bilingual person who is able to speak well in both languages, but sometimes switches between the two for various reasons.  I do not promote blending the two languages and making up new words that aren't Spanish or English.  That would not help my students become literate in either language.  

I hope that makes my decision to use Spanglish in my title more understandable…I won’t discuss here what my beliefs are on bilingual education in general, I know that not everyone agrees with bilingual education.  I will say that I love my job, my students and the families I work with.  My goal is to get my students as prepared as possible for an all-English third grade classroom and sometimes that requires some Spanglish.

Mrs. Castro Pin It


  1. I know the term Spanglish is often used as slang or used negatively, but it sounds like for your purposes it is a perfect fit, and there's nothing negative about it! I think it's a cute blog title.

  2. I like the title. I took 30 hours of Spanish in college and know my Spanish can be very formal. When I talk to parents or friends who speak Spanish I know it is more casual with some slang. I teach ELL/ESL and it helps to be able to talk to my kiddos in Spanglish! =)

    I am your newest follower and would love for you to come visit me when you get the chance!

    Heather's Heart

  3. love it!! I really wish I had taken Spanish, I feel horrible when I can't communicate with a family :( Love your blog, I'm a new follower!

  4. Thank you Ms. Apples, Heather and Amy for your voice of support. My sister has officially been overruled!
    P.S. Will be heading over to your blogs to check them out, GRACIAS for coming over here!

  5. I love your blog title! I think it's perfect. I have two Spanish speakers in my class, one is totally fluent in English and one is getting there. The non-fluent girl will confer with the fluent girl sometimes when she can't think of the word. I wish I could help her too!

    Marvelous Multiagers!

  6. I just found your blog through Second Grade Super-Kids' blog. I am a bilingual teacher in second grade (in a developmental transition program), so we probably do a lot more Spanish than you do in your classroom, but I am excited to see your ideas! Spanglish is awesome... I only say that because it is our kids using what they know in both languages to communicate...not that I allow "empuchar" in my classroom though :) Can't wait to see all of the cool happenings in your classroom (and btw, I would LOVE to know your views of bilingual ed if your ever want to share :) )

    1. Hey Bobbi! So glad to have you visit my blog! Do you have a bilingual blog I can check out? Spanglish can be great...not a fan of the "empuchar" or "a-catch-ar" either! I'm not sharing much Spanish stuff since we've really transitioned to English...hopefully next year I'll be sharing more Spanish stuff the first half of the year...but literally you just inspired me to translate a writing project into Spanish so I can share with all classrooms! Thanks again for coming over!
      (I have to work up the energy and diplomacy before I start in on bilingual ed...)