August 2011

Gear up for the new school year with a new section just for administrators. It "takes a village" to educate ELLs and that administrators have a unique role to play in creating a culture of success for ELLs, supporting the work of all teachers who work with ELLs, and engaging ELL families.

Type of Newsletter: TELLEGRAM
Date: August, 2011

Dear Subscribers:

We hope you are finding a way to stay cool in the August heat!

Since June, we have been hard at work on a new section for administrators with information about English language learners — and we're counting on you to get the word out! Our hope is that, with these resources, we can promote the idea that it "takes a village" to educate ELLs and that administrators have a unique role to play in creating a culture of success for ELLs, supporting the work of all teachers who work with ELLs, and engaging ELL families.

Please spread the word about the new section — and then encourage your colleagues to sign up for the newsletter! We'll be adding a new article or resource to the section every month throughout the school year, so there will be plenty of good content for new subscribers to enjoy. If there are topics that you would like us to address in this section, send an e-mail and we'll do our best to include it!


The Colorín Colorado Team

This Month's Highlights

2011 Web & Video Awards

We are pleased to announce that Colorín Colorado has won two awards for its web and multimedia resources! These awards include the 2011 Telly Bronze Award in Education for the Watch & Learn Video Series and the 2011 Interactive Media Outstanding Achievement Award for the Educational Website Category.

A Special Thank You

We are also pleased to announce that the American Federation of Teachers has renewed our funding for the 2011-2012 year. Your feedback and testimonials help keep Colorín Colorado strong — thank you for taking the time to write and participate in our community. You are always welcome to send us an e-mail with any ideas or comments, and we encourage you to send in a thank-you note that we'll pass along to the AFT!

New on Colorín Colorado

Resources for Administrators

Administrators play a crucial role in creating an environment in which ELLs can succeed. This new section from Colorín Colorado offers administrators — particularly those with new ELL populations — ideas, resources, and strategies for creating a culture of high expectations for ELLs and offering effective ELL professional development for all staff in the building. The section features research reports, professional books, and expert interviews.

Meet the Expert: Dr. Cynthia Lundgren

Dr. Cynthia Lundgren is an assistant professor at The Center for Second Language Teaching and Learning at Hamline University's Graduate School of Education in St. Paul, MN. Dr. Lundgren teaches future ESL and Bilingual teachers. Prior to working at Hamline, Dr. Lundgren worked as a K-12 ESL teacher in schools around the U.S. and in Colombia. She taught in Minneapolis Public Schools and served as a Mentor teacher for ESL teachers new to the district. Her special interests are reflective practice and the development of cultural sensitivity.

In this exclusive interview with Colorín Colorado, Dr. Lundgren offers a blueprint for administrators and ELL educators who are serving a new or changing population of ELLs. Topics covered include creating a welcoming culture, assessment, language instruction, staffing, and professional development.

New Guide! Engaging ELL Families: 20 Strategies for School Leaders

This guide offers school leaders twenty big ideas that will help them strengthen home-school partnerships on behalf of ELL students. A list of specific strategies follows each idea, along with questions for reflection that can be used for professional development activities on an individual basis or in group settings. The guide includes 6 sections: Connecting with ELL Families, Communicating Important Information, Parent Participation, Parents as Leaders, Community Partnerships, and Creating an Action Plan. The guide is currently available as a PDF document.

Recommended Resources

New ELL Blogs

English Learners Advocacy Network

Kristina Robertson, author of Colorín Colorado's Bright Ideas articles, has launched a new blog! She describes the blog as a resource "for people who care about the quality of instruction and rights of English Learners (and who have the) passion about meeting the needs of ELs." Kristina has 20 years of education experience as a teacher and leader in English language instruction, with licenses in ESL, Administration, and Reading. She started her career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sri Lanka and then returned to Minnesota, where she has taught many language and cultural backgrounds in the K-12 setting, as well as ESL teacher preparation courses at the college level.

Latino Ed Beat

Latino Ed Beat, the home of New Journalism for Latino Children (NJLC), features blogs posts, reports, and research about Latino students and research about education issues affecting them. Stories are compiled by writer Maureen Kelleher Figueroa and journalist Monica Rhor. NJLC is based at the Institute of Human Development at the University of California, Berkeley , in collaboration with the Education Writers Association  and the Latino Policy Forum .

Professional Booklist: ELL Strategies for School Leaders

The titles on this booklist cover a wide range of topics for school leaders, from choosing the right program for your ELL population to implementing valid and reliable assessments for ELLs.

Book Review

Supporting English Language Learners: A Guide for Teachers and Administrators
By: Farin A. Houk

Learn how to help ELLs thrive in the classroom and school community from veteran educator Farin A. Houk. Written in a style that is thoughtful, compassionate, and easy to read, Houk offers numerous examples and specific strategies to assist school leaders (at the classroom, department, and administrative levels) develop a schoolwide plan for addressing ELLs' needs, allocating resources on behalf of ELLs, providing effective instruction, and becoming advocates at the district and local level. An excerpt from the chapter on assessment is available on the Heinemann website.

Houk, Farin A. Supporting English Language Learners: A Guide for Teachers and Administrators. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2005.

Books & Authors

Booklist: Celebrating Ramadan and Eid

If you have ELL students who celebrate the holy month of Ramadan, you may enjoy learning more about the observance from the titles on this Colorín Colorado booklist! Read about the cycle of the Ramadan moon and how children around the world celebrate this special holiday. Many of the books also include personal memories from the authors and illustrators.

Book of the Month

The Park Our Town Built /
El parque que nuestro pueblo construyó

By Diane Gonzales Bertrand
Illustrated by Tanja Bauerle

In the style of "The House That Jack Built," Diane Gonzales Bertrand offers a lively picture book that tells the story of a community coming together to build a park for the town. The story highlights key vocabulary words in English and Spanish with matching pictures, making it an excellent read-aloud choice for young children learning comprehension and predicting skills in either language.

Book Giveaway

Enter our raffle for a free copy of one the following:

  • The Park Our Town Built / El parque que nuestro pueblo construyó by Diane Gonzales Bertrand (signed by the author)
  • The White Nights of Ramadan by Maha Addasi
  • Moon Watchers: Shirin's Ramadan Miracle by Reza Jalali

To enter, please send an e-mail to Colorín Colorado with "Book giveaway" in the subject by 11:59 p.m. on August 31, 2011, and let us know which title interests you!

[One entry per family. Winners of any previous Book Giveaways are ineligible to win any other Book Giveaways for a period of one (1) year from the date of the Book Giveaway. Previous contest winners See complete contest rules here.]