April 2014

Since spring is such an exciting time to talk about science, this month's newsletter features lots of great science resources, including information on the Next Generation Science Standards, ideas for using inquiry-based learning with ELLs, and recommended books and reports sharing best practices.

Type of Newsletter: TELLEGRAM
Date: April, 2014

Dear Subscribers:

Like those of you who have endured the long winter, we are so happy that spring is finally here! Be sure to take a look at our related booklists below to find some great titles to share with your students.

Since spring is such an exciting time to talk about science, this month's newsletter features lots of great science resources, including information on the Next Generation Science Standards, ideas for using inquiry-based learning with ELLs, and recommended books and reports sharing best practices.

The Colorín Colorado Team

This Month's Highlights

Remembering Gabriel García Márquez

In My Name Is Gabito: The Life of Gabriel García Márquez/ Me llamo Gabito: La vida de Gabriel García Márquez, Monica Brown tells the story of how young Gabito's imagination paved the way for what would later become magical realism in his writing. Raúl Colón brings these rich imaginings to life in vivid illustrations that complement the lyrical text. Pura Belpré Honor Award. Bilingual text.

Video Bonus: Learn how the novel 100 Years of Solitude impacted Monica Brown in this excerpt from our Meet the Author interview.

April Highlights

April is a busy month! The following resource sections from Colorín Colorado offer tip sheets, videos, and books that you can use in the classroom or as part of family outreach:

  • Poetry Month: Don't miss the ideas in our poetry resource section for reading and writing poetry with ELLs, as well as Colorín Colorado's video interviews with some of our favorite poets!
  • Autism Awareness Month: Take a look at our bilingual resources on autism, as well as this article written for Colorín Colorado about Latino family engagement at an autism screening program in Washington, DC.
  • Earth Day/Environmental resources: These articles, websites, and books provide a great way for ELLs to learn about the environment through language-rich activities.

New on Colorín Colorado

Essential Actions: 15 Research-based Practices to Increase ELL Student Achievement

In this article written for Colorín Colorado, Bright Ideas author Kristina Robertson offers an overview of WIDA's new Essential Actions handbook and shares a step-by-step process for using this valuable tool as part of a professional learning community focused meeting ELLs' academic language needs.

Updated! ELL Resources for Librarians

The library can be a lifeline for English language learners and their families who are new to this country or who speak multiple languages. Learn more about serving ELLs and their families in school and public libraries from our updated resources, booklists, and videos, organized into the following topics:

Don't Miss...

Celebrate Día!

April 30th is El día de los niños/ El día de los libros, commonly known as "Día." Learn how the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County in North Carolina transformed their Día celebration from a small library program into a statewide initiative in this article written by Dr. Jamie Campbell Naidoo and Irania Patterson.

For more ideas on Día, take a look at our resources featuring an interview with Día founder Pat Mora, as well as Pat's Bookjoy blog and her new Día planning guide!

Do you celebrate Día?

If so, think about applying for the Estela and Raúl Mora Award, established by Pat Mora in honor of her parents as a way to recognize exemplary Día programs. Libraries, schools, colleges, museums, and other community organizations that plan and implement Día programs are eligible to submit an application by August 15, 2014.

Research and Reports

The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) has announced the release of a new white paper exploring the critical role libraries play in helping children make cross-cultural connections through providing access to a wide range of materials and perspectives. The paper is written by Dr. Jamie Campbell Naidoo, Professor of Library Science at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.

Commentary: Where Are the People of Color in Children's Books?

Acclaimed author Walter Dean Myers also writes about the lack of diversity in children's literature in a recent New York Times column. He writes that as a teenager, "What I wanted, needed really, was to become an integral and valued part of the mosaic that I saw around me."

Common Core Corner

NGSS: Offering Equitable Opportunities for ELLs to Engage in Science

Emily Miller is a second- and third-grade ESL and Bilingual Resource Teacher in Madison, Wisconsin. Emily is also a member of the Next Generation Science Standards' (NGSS) Elementary Writing Team and the NGSS Diversity & Equity Team, which was tasked with ensuring that the new science standards are accessible to diverse populations of students such as ELLs.

In this article written for Colorín Colorado, Emily provides an overview of ways in which the NGSS provide ELLs with more equitable science learning opportunities, considerations for implementing the NGSS with ELLs, and strategies for developing academic language in science lessons.

Recommended Resources

Becoming Scientists: Inquiry-Based Teaching in Diverse Classrooms, Grades 3-5

By: Rusty Bresser & Sharon Fargason

Product Description: Good science starts with a question. Using inquiry science, children discover answers to their questions in the same way that scientists do — with experiments, predictions, observations, and conjectures. This book takes a look into real classrooms where teachers practice inquiry science and engage students in the practices outlined in the Next Generation Science Standards. The authors show teachers how to build on students' varied experiences and background knowledge, respond to different language needs of ELLs, and manage a diverse classroom during inquiry science exploration.

Bresser, R. and Fargason, S. (2013). Becoming Scientists: Inquiry-Based Teaching in Diverse Classrooms, Grades 3-5. Portland, Maine: Stenhouse Publishers.

In the Classroom

Supporting English Language Learners in the Science Inquiry Classroom

In this excerpt from Chapter 4 of the above title, the authors describe some of the challenges that ELLs may face in an inquiry classroom and offer guidelines for identifying important academic language features, writing language and content objectives, and choosing appropriate strategies for students' proficiency levels.

New Resource Section: Teaching Science with ELLs

Our new resource section focuses on effective science instruction for English language learners and includes classroom strategies and vignettes, bilingual resources for parents, information on the Next Generation Science Standards, updated research reports, recommended books for professionals, and bilingual fiction and non-fiction books for students. Be sure to share these resources with your science colleagues!

Parent Resources and Outreach

Parent Article: Is my child ready to enter kindergarten?

Many schools register children for kindergarten during the spring even though classes don't start until the fall. If parents are wondering whether their child is ready for kindergarten, this article will give them some tips on social and educational expectations of children in kindergarten classrooms. Also available in Spanish.

Books and Authors

Books About Nature

In celebration of Earth Day and spring, take a look at these beautiful books for some inspiration!

Parrots Over Puerto Rico

By Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore

Puerto Rican parrots, once abundant, came perilously close to extinction in the 1960s due to centuries of foreign exploration and occupation, development, and habitat destruction. In this compelling book, Roth and Trumbore recount the efforts of the scientists of the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program to save the parrots and ensure their future. Woven into the parrots' story is a brief history of Puerto Rico itself, from before the first human settlers to the present day.

With striking collage illustrations, a unique format, and engaging storytelling, Parrots Over Puerto Rico invites readers to witness the amazing recovery efforts that have enabled Puerto Rican parrots to fly over their island once again.

Related Resources

The following materials are available on the Lee & Low website:

The Lightning Dreamer

By Margarita Engle
"I find it so easy to forget / that I'm just a girl who is expected / to live / without thoughts."

Opposing slavery in Cuba in the nineteenth century was dangerous. The most daring abolitionists were poets who veiled their work in metaphor. Of these, the boldest was Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, nicknamed Tula.

In passionate, accessible free verse, Engle evokes the voice of this book-loving feminist and abolitionist who bravely resisted an arranged marriage at the age of fourteen, and was ultimately courageous enough to fight against injustice. Historical notes, excerpts, and source notes round out this exceptional tribute.