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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Tucson educators hail change in state rules on how English-language learners are taught

Since the late 2000s, Arizona has required English language learners to spend hours of their school day, every day, segregated from the rest of the student body in what has come to be known as the English-only language development block. Last Thursday, however, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill that eliminates the four-hour block model and gives districts far more autonomy in how they instruct ELL students in Arizona's public schools. Patricia Sandoval-Taylor, the director of language acquisition services in the Tucson Unified School District, said that quashing the four-hour block, specifically, has been a top lobbying priority for the district in the last few years because the block severely hindered high school ELL students' ability to achieve academically and graduate on time. Under the previous block model, students could not earn content credit and would end up failing or dropping out of school because they were so far behind on credits.

Teacher Voices: How we embrace our multilingual learners

Janna Akkerman, Marianne Davidson and Angela Thoen are EL teachers in Austin. In this editorial, they write, "Each of our students is so much more than their identified LEP (Limited English Proficiency) status. You might ask, well what do they bring to the table? They bring compassion and they bring perseverance. Many have been through unfathomable hardship, poverty, war, famine and grief, and yet they strive for a better life. These students understand the value of education and show respect for teachers, materials and peers. They bring a variety of cultures, world-outlooks, prior education experiences and learning styles, and yet they also yearn for connections and to belong."

Graphic Novels Belong in Your English Class. Here's How to Use Them

Paige Classey Przybylski is in her second year as the library media specialist at Harborside Middle School in Milford, Conn. In this article, she writes, "graphic novels are an excellent resource for struggling readers and English-language learners. By providing students with the graphic novel version of a scene or chapter from a text-based novel prior to reading, students will have a general understanding of plot beforehand, and can focus on details. Alternatively, providing the graphic chapter after reading the text-based novel also supports comprehension. Students can reflect on their own learning: What had they missed or misunderstood before that became clear? What important plot points or ideas from the text have been reinforced in the graphic novel?"