April 2015

We are highlighting a lot of great new resources this month. Be sure to take a look at tips for serving unaccompanied youth, advocating for ELLs, collaborating in lesson planning, and celebrating "Día" in schools. We've also pulled together many resources to celebrate all of April's events!

Type of Newsletter: TELLEGRAM
Date: April, 2015

Dear Subscribers:

The cherry blossoms are blooming and it finally looks like spring outside!

We are highlighting a lot of great new resources this month. Be sure to take a look at tips for serving unaccompanied youth, advocating for ELLs, collaborating in lesson planning, and celebrating "Día" in schools. We've also pulled together many resources to celebrate all of April's events!

All the best,
The Colorín Colorado Team

This month's highlights

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:

  • 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.
  • Library Week: Be sure to share our librarian resources on serving ELLs and immigrant families with librarians you know, whether at school or in the public library.

April Booklists

These beautiful books may offer some extra inspiration or a little break from the hectic pace during the spring.

Don't Miss...

Día in the Classroom: 8 Ideas for Teachers

April 30th is El día de los niños/ El día de los libros, commonly known as "Día." While public libraries have championed Día, it is also a wonderful opportunity to promote literacy in schools and to connect with diverse families around books. Here are a range of ideas, including a number of recommendations from Día founder Pat Mora's Día planning guide, to help you bring the spirit of Día to your school and classroom.

For more Día ideas, take a look at our resources featuring an interview with Pat Mora, as well as Pat's Bookjoy blog and these resources from the Association of Library Services for Children.

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.

Parent Resources and Outreach

The Resources at Your Library

Parents can learn more about what's available at their libraries from this bilingual tip sheet and article (Spanish version available), which also includes information on signing up for a library card and explains that citizenship is not a requirement for library cards.

New on Colorín Colorado

New tip sheet! Unaccompanied Children in Schools: What You Need to Know

Education Week reports that an estimated 39,000 immigrant children will enter the U.S. as unaccompanied minors during this federal fiscal year. The following tips from the American Federation of Teachers and Colorín Colorado offer useful, basic information about unaccompanied children and what schools need to know to best meet their needs.

New from the NEA: All In! How to Advocate for English Language Learners

As America's fastest-growing student demographic continues to skyrocket, the number of programs and dollars spent per English Language Learner is in decline. How can educators and other stakeholders become more effective advocates for language-minority students? The National Education Association's new guide, All In! How Educators Can Advocate for English Language Learners, offers strategies, resources, and step-by-step instructions for navigating the real-life issues educators encounter every day.

The guide also features general educators and ELL educators who tell stories about the students who inspired them to act. Do you have a story to tell? Add your voice to the voices of educators from around the country. Become a resource by sharing your story and lessons learned.

Common Core Corner

Picture Books to Help ELLs Access Common Core Anchor Reading Standards

In this guest blog post written for Colorín Colorado, ELL expert Judith O'Loughlin shares some strategies for using picture books across the curriculum with students of all ages in order to master the Common Core anchor reading standards.

New Series: Increasing Collaboration Between ESOL Teachers and Content Teachers with the Common Core

This new three-part series on our Common Core and ELLs blog looks at the steps one diverse elementary school took to increase collaboration between ESOL teachers and grade level teachers in order to better meet the academic language needs of ELLs in their school.

  • In Part 1, Jennifer Connors, principal of Rolling Terrace Elementary School in Maryland, describes the impetus for the move towards greater collaboration and how the staff got started.
  • In Part 2, Kerri Hennelly, a staff development teacher, explains why the previous planning process wasn't working and describes the new collaborative planning process that the school now uses.
  • In Part 3, Tessa Arevalo, an ESOL teacher at the school, provides her perspective on the collaborative process and describes how she has approached the "rugged terrain" of collaboration.

Research and Reports

Guidelines for Implementing the Seal of Biliteracy

The Seal of Biliteracy is an award that validates, certifies, and encourages students to pursue and attain high level mastery of two or more languages through a Seal granted upon high school graduation. The Seal becomes part of the student's transcript and diploma and can be recognized by employers and universities.

As an increasing number of districts and states around the country implement this initiative (with recent additions including Chicago, Denver, and Indiana), four national organizations have collaborated to issue a brief set of guidelines for implementation. Authors include the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages; the National Council of State Supervisors for Languages; the National Association for Bilingual Education; and the TESOL International Association.

The document discusses the purpose of the seal, qualification guidelines, suggestions for target levels of language proficiency and types of evidence that can be used to show proficiency, recommendations on ensuring equitable access to all students, and a summary of the process for awarding the seal.

Learn More: The Seal of Biliteracy Initiative

The Seal of Biliteracy began as a grassroots effort in California several years ago. To learn more about some of the earliest Seal of Biliteracy programs and how the movement has grown, take a look at this article written for Colorín Colorado by Dr. Laurie Olsen of Californians Together, one of the founders of the movement.

Recommended Resources

The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations

The newest book in The Poetry Friday Anthology series, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations, features poems in English and Spanish by 115 poets for 150+ holidays and celebrations, including: Random Acts of Kindness Week, Children's Book Week, World Laughter Day, National Camping Month, International Literacy Day, Global Hand Washing Day, and more. In addition, poems highlight holidays from diverse religious and cultural traditions. It's available in a Teacher/Librarian Edition and a Student Edition. Check it out at PoetryCelebrations.com!

Video Bonus: Learn more about diverse holidays featured in the new collection in this video clip from co-editor Janet Wong!

In the Classroom

Ideas for 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!

Books & Authors

The Rise in Latino Children's Literature: A 2015 Accounting

Children's Librarian Elizabeth Bird takes a look at 2015 published books that feature Latino and Latino-American characters for School Library Journal. Her list includes books for children and young adults.

Book of the Month: Drum Dream Girl

By Margarita Engle
Illustrated by Rafael López

Girls cannot be drummers. Long ago on an island filled with music, no one questioned that rule — until the drum dream girl. In her city of drumbeats, she dreamed of pounding tall congas and tapping small bongós. She had to keep quiet. She had to practice in secret. But when at last her dream-bright music was heard, everyone sang and danced and decided that both girls and boys should be free to drum and dream.

Inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba's traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl is a compelling story written in verse that tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere.

See our bilingual video interviews with Margarita Engle and Rafael López!

Learn more: