ELL News Headlines

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!

Get these headlines sent to you weekly!

To receive our free weekly newsletter of the week's stories, sign up on our Newsletters page. You can also embed our ELL News Widget.

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.

Best of 2021: NYC schools are getting 200 new murals. At this Bronx campus, painting provides connections after COVID’s isolation.

It was a cool day for August, which was lucky for the five students busy painting a mural in a courtyard of asphalt and brick. After a long period of learning alone from computer screens, the students were working together to add a burst of color to their school building in the West Bronx, the Theatre Arts Production Company School, or TAPCo. The mural is one of about 200 going up at schools across New York City, funded by $25,000 grants to each school through the city’s Artist Corps, a recovery program through the Department of Cultural Affairs that has sent nearly 400 artists to summer school sites. Mayor Bill de Blasio has touted the corps as reminiscent of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, which funded arts and cultural projects to help lift the country out of the Great Depression.

Best of 2021: Juliana Urtubey, National Teacher of Year, focuses on individual student needs

The coronavirus pandemic forced students out of the classroom and starkly revealed how learning difficulties, distractions and challenging home dynamics can make it tough to adhere to a rigid curriculum. In a year with so much loss, a silver lining is that educators are embracing a flexible approach that meets students where they are, said Juliana Urtubey, the 2021 National Teacher of the Year.

Note: You can see more from Juliana in our Colorín Colorado interview with her!

Best of 2021: Natalia Benjamin becomes first educator of Latin American heritage to win Minnesota Teacher of the Year

Natalia Benjamin’s love of learning languages started early. Growing up in Guatemala City, the native Spanish speaker attended a French school. English became her third language when she started learning it in middle school. Now, Benjamin teaches English language learners and ethnic studies at Rochester’s Century High School. And on Wednesday night, in a ceremony under a white canopy on the lawn of the State Capitol, she was named Minnesota’s 2021 Teacher of the Year. She is the first teacher of Latin American heritage to win the prestigious honor.

Best of 2021: All-Latina speech team at Santa Ana High School wins top award at nationals

They waited with bated breath, hoping the moment for when all the hard work of practicing and performing their speeches had finally paid off — and it did, despite a global pandemic. "I watched them in their final round as they were competing in front of the computer, and I was just crying just because I was so happy, because I knew what that meant for them," said Corin Serrano, coach of Santa Ana High School's speech team.

Nochebuena: Why many Hispanic, Latinx and Filipino families celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve

As the night falls on Christmas Eve, most American children are headed to bed in hopes seeing what Santa dropped off during the night. For many families in the Latinx, Hispanic and Filipino community, the party is already underway, with tamales, adobo, lechón and pancit on deck. Nochebuena, which translates to "the good night," is a yearly holiday in which certain communities celebrate Christmas on the night of Dec. 24 rather than Dec. 25. While the traditions and celebrations of the night can vary based on culture and region, a common theme persists: it's about being together. 

PBS KIDS Announces Animated Holiday Line-Up

PBS is celebrating throughout December with a line-up of Holiday Classics and new specials. The brand-new Alma’s Way special will help viewers everywhere celebrate two very important holidays for many Latino families – Nochebuena and Three Kings Day. And any animated holiday celebration wouldn’t be complete without the classics from Peanuts, Arthur, Wild Kratts, Curious George, The Cat in the Hat, Peg + Cat, Nature Cat, and Let’s Go Luna (check local listings).

Omicron and Schools: Resources to Manage the Next COVID Wave

The Omicron variant is sweeping the United States just as most school systems are heading into a weeklong (or more) winter break. And while there’s still a lot we don’t know about Omicron, we do know it has surpassed Delta as the main source of new cases and it is the most contagious variant yet. It poses the greatest risk to people who are not vaccinated against COVID-19. And though it is showing a heartier resistance to the vaccines than earlier variants, people who are fully vaccinated and who’ve also received a booster are less likely to be infected and experience serious illness.

Highly Recommended: "The Sea in Winter"

American Indians in Children's Literature offers a review of "The Sea in Winter," written by Christine Day and published by Native imprint Heartdrum.