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
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 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
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.
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:
- ELL Resources for School Librarians
- Immigrant Resources for Public Librarians
- Multicultural Books and Resources
- Pura Belpré: Her Life and Legacy
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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!
- Science Fun: Bilingual Books for Kids
- Spring Celebrations
- A World Filled with Wonder
- Cherry Blossoms: Folk Tales, Friendship, and Photos
- April Delights (Reading Rockets)
- Spring's Bounty (Reading Rockets)
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.
The following materials are available on the Lee & Low website:
- Teacher's Guide
- Booktalk with co-authors Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore
- How to Compare and Contrast Using the Common Core in Fourth Grade, Using Parrots Over Puerto Rico
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.