Colorin Colorado: Helping children read... and succeed!

Teachers who work with English as a Second Language learners will find ESL/ESOL/ELL/EFL reading/writing skill-building children's books, stories, activities, ideas, strategies to help PreK-3, 4-8, and 9-12 students learn to read.

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Throughout the week, Colorín Colorado gathers news headlines related to English language learners from around the country. The ELL Headlines are posted Monday through Friday and are available for free!

ELL News Updates

Note: These links may expire after a week or so, and some websites require you to register first before seeing an article. Colorín Colorado does not necessarily endorse these views or any others on these outside web sites.

Disney's 'McFarland, USA' Tackles Latino Themes with Inspiring True Story

The Huffington Post

November 21, 2014

For decades Disney has suffered from a dearth of real Latino stories, but the studio seems to be changing that with "McFarland, USA." The upcoming movie is inspired by a 1987 true story and follows a group of Latino students in a California farming town who, with the help of their P.E. teacher Jim White (Kevin Costner), build their high school's first cross-country team. The boys run into a series of issues on and off the track but learn to band together to prevail.

Hope STEMS, Native American Students Blossom

Indian Country

November 21, 2014

A hardscrabble childhood didn't "harden" Erika Torres-Hernandez, but it did sharpen the Chippewa-Cree tribe member's resolve to achieve her goals and give back. A recipient of a Toyota Tribal College Scholarship, Torres-Hernandez studies math at a tribal college in Rocky Boy, Montana. Once the 3.7-GPA student earns her four-year degree from a university, she plans to return to the reservation to teach high school. To help Torres-Hernandez and other Native American students earn an education in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. is donating copy million to the American Indian College Fund.

Can magic help children learn a language?

Nottingham Post

November 21, 2014

Learning a new language can be a hard slog but teachers in the English city of Nottingham are learning how to make it, quite literally, magical. Jesus Hernandez, an adviser from the Spanish Embassy, showed teachers how magic could help children get excited about their learning. Among his tricks were cutting a banana with an imaginary knife, predicting cards and using a "magical coloring book". Mr. Hernandez has been using magic as a teaching tool for five years and said it could help hit all key stage targets.

Text-Review Group Shares First Look at Its Process

Education Week

November 20, 2014

Praise, for many teachers, comes more naturally than criticism. That dynamic was on full display throughout the weekend training held here by EdReports.org, a nonprofit organization that will begin publishing Consumer Reports-style reviews of curricula and textbooks early next year. The Oct. 25 session offered an early, behind-the-scenes glimpse of the teacher-driven review process, which could eventually have far-reaching consequences for classrooms, district purchasers, and publishers.

Note: This links to content from Education Week. You can register for free to access 10 Education Week stories a month, or subscribe for unlimited access.

Common Core Reading: Difficult, Dahl, Repeat

NPR

November 20, 2014

Amy Wertheimer is a fifth-grade teaching in Washington, D.C. She wears her hair in a serious salt-and-pepper bob. But along the bottom runs a surprising fringe of dyed-pink hair. It's a perfect metaphor for how she — and lots of teachers — are approaching reading in the Common Core era. Not as an either-or proposition. The Core standards don't say everything kids read has to be salt-and-pepper serious and seriously hard. There's still plenty of room for pink.

Opposition Mounts to High School for English-Language Learners

The Washington Post

November 20, 2014

Some parents in Maryland's Prince George's County are upset about a plan to make Largo High School one of the locations for the school district's new international high schools, telling school board members that the community has asked for additional programming for the students who already attend the school. The school district received a $3 million grant earlier this year from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to start the schools for English-language learners.

Analysis Finds Racial Bias in Pa. Funding System

Education Week

November 19, 2014

During the gubernatorial campaign, advocates emphasized that Pennsylvania is one of the few states that has no education funding formula. In other words, it has no rational, predictable, enrollment-based system for distributing state school aid. The process now in place is based on an accumulation of old formulas and ad hoc decisions made over decades. And a new analysis shows in dramatic fashion that this system, now under review by a special legislative commission, has a discriminatory impact based on race.

Note: This links to content from Education Week. You can register for free to access 10 Education Week stories a month, or subscribe for unlimited access.

Common Core Reading: The Struggle Over Struggle

NPR

November 19, 2014

Every set of academic standards has a soul. It's made of varied stuff: part research, part practice, part conviction of its authors. To find the soul, follow the words that turn up again and again in the winding backwaters and byways of the standards themselves. A search of the Common Core English Language Arts Standards turns up one remarkable word 105 times. It is "complex" (or "complexity").

In Rural Alaska, Embracing Native Culture During and After the School Bell

PBS NewsHour

November 19, 2014

The large kitchen and dining area of the Williams home in Dillingham, Alaska, is the center of activity after school. Sassa Williams, 18, and her siblings, triplets Theresa, Chris and Grant, 14, sit at the large table doing homework. Sassa, who is considering becoming a teacher, often gets out of her own chair and walks over to her brothers or sister when one has a question. But there comes a time when the phone rings, and after a brief conversation, everyone, including mom Kim, who has been cooking dinner, stops what they're doing. They go downstairs, out the door and drive to Kanakanak Beach a few miles away. The kids' grandfather, William Johnson, has called in reinforcements to help bring in an unexpectedly large catch of smelt.

Academic Benefits of Mexican-American Studies Reaffirmed in New Analysis

Education Week

November 18, 2014

Researchers at the University of Arizona have updated a provocative study on Tucson's controversial Mexican-American studies program that reaches the same conclusion: Students who participated in the ethnic studies courses were more likely to graduate from high school and pass standardized exams they had previously failed.

Note: This links to content from Education Week. You can register for free to access 10 Education Week stories a month, or subscribe for unlimited access.

Common Core Reading: The High Achievers

NPR

November 18, 2014

Most of the teachers in Washoe County, Nev., are on board with the Common Core. But what about the students? Several students at Reno High School who were interviewed for this NPR series admitted they'd never heard of the Core until their teacher told them a reporter was coming to ask them about it. But many have noticed a change in the way they've been learning over the past few years.

First Book and HarperCollins Introduce First Bilingual Edition of Goodnight Moon

Digital Journal

November 18, 2014

Goodnight Moon, the iconic children's book that's a bedtime ritual for millions of families, is now available as a bilingual edition. The catalyst for the English-Spanish board book is First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that tackles the lack of books and educational resources available for the 32.7 million U.S. children growing up in low-income families. First Book brings brand new — free and low-cost — books and resources to educators and programs serving kids in need, ages 0 to 18.

Common Core Reading: 'The New Colossus'

NPR

November 17, 2014

Like a lot of other teachers in Washoe County, Linnea Wolters was suspicious of the Common Core. It seemed like just another education reform in a long line of reforms that, in her opinion, weren't improving schools. Then she reluctantly taught a lesson focused on "The New Colossus," a sonnet by Emma Lazarus that's engraved on the base of the Statue of Liberty, with her struggling fifth graders. What she thought would be a disaster turned into one of the most engaging class periods she had ever taught, particularly for her special education students and English language learners. This report is the first part of a new series from NPR on reading in the Common Core era.

Guest Column: 'Boston Exam Schools — No Support for English Language Learners'

WBUR

November 17, 2014

This past weekend, hundreds of Boston students took the ISEE exam as they vied for a coveted spot at one of Boston's three prestigious exam schools: Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy, and the John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science. Dan Rosenfeld is in his third year as English as a Second Language teacher in Boston Public Schools. He argues that the exams leave behind English Language Learners — almost a third of Boston Public Schools' student body.

7 Things Teachers Need to Know About Native American Heritage Month

Indian Country Today

November 17, 2014

Without guidance, too many teachers will celebrate Native American Heritage Month in the only ways they know how: paper bag vests and feathers, classroom pow wows, and discussions on who Indians were. Teachers can't know what they don't know, and if they have never spent time immersed in any Native culture they won't know the effects of colonization or of ongoing issues in U.S. and Native politics. If teachers do not know the very basic and important facts, they cannot teach Native studies from an unbiased point of view.

Fiscal Oversight Weak for Federally Run Schools for Native Americans, GAO Finds

Education Week

November 14, 2014

Federally funded schools that serve tens of thousands of Native American children have serious financial problems, including a lack of proper oversight and accumulations of unspent funds that aren't reaching classrooms and students as intended, according to a government watchdog report.

Note: This links to content from Education Week. You can register for free to access 10 Education Week stories a month, or subscribe for unlimited access.

Decades of Neglect Show Starkly as Indian Schools Cry Out for Repairs

The New York Times

November 14, 2014

When temperatures drop and snow falls, students bundle themselves in heavy coats inside Marlene Stately's classroom. Winter comes early and bites hard on this Indian reservation in northern Minnesota, and the pole barn that houses part of the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School offers limited protection from the elements. "I think we need a new school," Ms. Stately said last month after her upper-grade students had practiced introducing themselves in the Ojibwe language. "It's cold here in the wintertime. They're not comfortable. And how can you learn when you’re freezing?"

Encouraging Rural Alaska's Students to Become Teachers

PBS NewsHour

November 14, 2014

In Alaska, roughly three out of four teachers are from out of state, and more likely to stay for a shorter period of time than those who were born and raised there. The NewsHour's April Brown reports from the town of Dillingham, where educators are trying to encourage local and Alaska Native students to consider teaching in communities where they are desperately needed.

Researchers Identify 'Goldilocks Effect' of Reclassification on High School ELLs

Education Week

November 13, 2014

High school students may sink rather than swim if it is too easy to exit English-learner status. By contrast, when exit standards make like Goldilocks and increase to a level of difficulty that is just about right, the transition from English-learner to "fluent English proficient" status has little impact on subsequent achievement levels or graduation rates.

Note: This links to content from Education Week. You can register for free to access 10 Education Week stories a month, or subscribe for unlimited access.

Backlash Over Montgomery Decision to Strip Religious Holidays from School Calendar

The Washington Post

November 13, 2014

The backlash was intense Wednesday to the Montgomery County Board of Education's decision to scrub Christmas and other religious holidays from its published school calendar — without disturbing the days off. Montgomery's school board vote to eliminate calendar references to religious holidays followed an earlier request by Muslim community leaders to give equal prominence on the calendar to the Islamic holy day of Eid al-Adha.