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!

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More Black and Latino Students Learn to Code as Code.Org Classes Swell

Giovanna Munoz Ortiz is a 10th grader at Madison Park Academy, and every day, she learns to code. Her public school in East Oakland, Calif., mirrors the neighborhood that surrounds it. It's nearly entirely Latino and African American. Almost all the students qualify for free and reduced lunch. And, until 2015, it didn't offer any computer science classes. "I had never really thought about it much before," Ortiz, 15, says. "Now that I am being exposed to it, I find it really interesting." Ortiz is one of a growing number of students from underrepresented backgrounds gaining access for the first time to curriculum from Code.org, which gives them the knowledge and skills to pursue an education and career in computer science.

120 Educators Attend Education Austin Training Session on Immigrant Rights

Austin Discovery School office manager and registrar Deborah Freeman dropped off a student at home after school this week to help out his parents, who were afraid of leaving their house — they feared they could get deported if they were to cross paths with the federal immigration officials who had set up shop just a couple of miles away from the school. Wanting to learn more about how she can help, Freeman was one of about 120 educators and other school officials who attended a “Know Your Rights” training session at Becker Elementary on Saturday. The training session, which was hosted by teachers’ labor group Education Austin, came a day after it was confirmed that immigration officials were carrying out a new operation in Central and South Texas to capture unauthorized immigrants with criminal records.

Latino Kids Lag in Math Skills, But Here Are Ways to Narrow the Gap

Latino children trail behind their white peers by about 3 months when it comes to math skills, and researchers associate this with increased poverty. But there are ways that parents, caregivers and teachers - as well as policy makers and legislators - can work to narrow the gap.

Teaching Elementary-Age ELs the Hidden Curriculum

What is the hidden curriculum? This term encompasses various characteristics of schooling that "everybody knows." It usually consists of a wide variety of social skills, such as interactions with peers and teachers, and includes the fundamental values and beliefs of a school community. This hidden curriculum needs to be learned by ELs in order for them to succeed socially and academically in school.  We've all worked with young ELs who didn't wear a costume to school on Halloween or failed to bring cards to the class Valentine's Day party. Many families of ELs may not realize the importance of these events in U.S. elementary schools. Students who do not participate will certainly feel isolated, even if they can't express it. One kindergarten student told me that her mother said, "No Valentines!" Although the mother had seen the notices that went home, she didn't understand the importance of having her daughter participate in class social events.

New Podcast Focuses on English-Language-Learner Education

The New Jersey Department of Education has started a new podcast designed to educate teachers and other school staff who work with English-language learners. Podcast host Kenneth Bond, who works as the program development coordinator for the New Jersey department's Bureau of Bilingual/ESL Education, promises bite-sized conversation about ELL policy and practice. Each episode has run 15 to 20 minutes.

Richard DuFour, Advocate of Professional Learning Communities, Dies at 69

Richard DuFour, a renowned education consultant and author who advocated collaborative teaching environments, died Feb. 8, following a long battle with cancer. He was 69. DuFour was a leading voice in the movement to improve schools through professional learning communities, in which teachers come together to analyze and improve their classroom practice.

D.C. Elementary School Students Perform with Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell

The orchestra students at Bunker Hill Elementary School plucked and bowed their violins, violas and cellos one afternoon this week as they performed Duke Ellington's "C Jam Blues" for classmates at an assembly. But this was no ordinary concert. Two special guests joined in: violinist Joshua Bell and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Ma and Bell visited the Northeast D.C. school through a program known as Turnaround Arts, which aims to give underperforming schools more resources for arts and music.

English-Learners Study Language of Math

For young English-language learners, language skills can be a barrier not just to reading but math as well. Educators and researchers working in two school districts here hope that helping students "talk through" number problems will assist them in meeting the state's new math standards. It's part of Teaching English-Learners Early Mathematics, or TEEM, a pilot partnership between researchers at California State University, San Bernardino, and the Nuview Union and Romoland school districts, in California's Inland Empire region. In 2014, the project won a development grant from the federal Investing in Innovation program to use a combination of Japanese "lesson study" cycles and detailed student math notebooks to help teachers and students write and reflect on their math learning.

Justin Minkel on Guided Reading: How to Make Kids Hate (or Love) to Read

Imagine yourself curled up in your favorite chair by the fireplace, a mug of cocoa spiked with Bailey's within reach. Open the book you've been waiting all day to read, a tale of adventure and intrigue that takes you out of yourself and your everyday world for a couple of precious hours.  Now go through your book and highlight all the words with the long "o" sound. Search for the answers to five "right there" questions that have nothing to do with the heart of the story, like "What color shoelaces was the villain wearing?" Get your significant other to sign off on your reading log as proof that you did your nightly reading, then provide a written response to a prompt about the novel, wrapping up with the inevitable conclusion, "As you can see…" School has a way of messing up even the inherently joyful act of reading a good book.