August 2012

See parent resources for back-to-school nights or to engage ELL families. Also learn about multimedia resources from our Common Core in the Classroom project in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Type of Newsletter: TELLEGRAM
Date: August, 2012

Dear Subscribers:

Welcome back! As we gear up for another school year, we're focusing on parent resources that you can use to plan for upcoming back-to-school nights or to engage ELL families. We're also excited to present the first set of multimedia resources from our Common Core in the Classroom project in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

All the best for the upcoming year to you and your students!


The Colorín Colorado Team

Don't Miss...

Colorín Colorado Discussion Group

Our new discussion group on Facebook is going strong, and we encourage you to join the conversation! Topics that members have posted include preparing for the upcoming school year, professional development, and the new Common Core State Standards.

Note: This discussion group is separate from our regular Facebook fan page. We have also closed our Ning page, but hope to see you on Facebook!

New on Colorín Colorado

From Albuquerque, NM: Common Core in the Classroom

What will the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) look like on the ground? And what will it mean for English language learners? Teachers in Albuquerque, New Mexico are tackling that question in a multimedia project that focuses on implementing the new standards with ELLs and creating lesson plans aligned to the standards.

Featured resources include:

  • Meet the Teachers: Video interviews and journal entries from participating teachers about the project and their experience working with the new standards
  • Meet the Experts: Video interviews with Dr. Diane August and Dr. Ellen Bernstein, ATF President
  • Video clips: Professional development videos of lesson planning sessions
  • Teacher Journals: Journals from participating teachers organized by topic

We look forward to hearing your feedback and ideas for using these materials, and we encourage you to include these resources in your own professional development settings and planning around the Common Core State Standards!

Note: ELL lesson plans for 1st, 4th, and 8th grades will be available online later this year.

Ten Things Parents Should Know About the Common Core State Standards

As schools and communities begin to think about what the new standards will look like in the classroom, it's important to make sure that parents are part of that conversation. This article by Dr. Karen Ford provides a brief overview of what parents need to know and also is available in Spanish. Additional articles regarding parents and the CCSS are available in our Common Core resource section.

Recommended Resources

Engaging ELL Families: 20 Strategies for School Leaders

School leaders are in a unique position to engage the families of ELLs, even if previous attempts at family outreach have been unsuccessful. Engaged ELL parents bring invaluable dedication and wisdom regarding their children to the school community and can be crucial partners in supporting their children's success. Here are some ideas to help school leaders get started on the path towards a strong home-school partnership, as well as related video clips featuring administrators and ELL experts.

For additional resources to share with school leaders, take a look at our updated ELL Resources for Administrators section!

For Parents: Tips for a Good School Year

This bilingual tip sheet, also available as a pdf, outlines 10 things that parents can do at home to help their child have a good school year. Share these tips at parent night and conferences!

Parent Guide: Who's Who at Your Child's Schools

Here's a selected list of "who's who" for parents getting to know their child's school and the members of the school community for the first time. This article is also available in Spanish.

Research & Reports

Minority Parent and Community Engagement: Best Practices and Policy Recommendations for Closing the Gaps in Student Achievement

This publication of the National Education Association and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund identifies ways to encourage ethnic minority parents to become more involved in their children's schools. The report resulted from a two-day summit in which parents and service providers representing multiple ethnic backgrounds (American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, African American/Black, and Hispanic/Latino) met to share ideas for strengthening parent engagement. It provides an excellent discussion of the barriers that often prevent families from getting involved and also offers lots of recommendations for reaching out to parents. Some of the recommendations are specific to certain groups (e.g., helping immigrant families understand the American school system), but many are applicable to all families (e.g., providing strategies to help parents monitor their children's academic progress). The report also includes links to a variety of organizations that provide services to ethnic minority families nationwide.

In the Classroom

Back-to-School Resources

Take a look at our back-to-school ELL resources as you start getting ready for the new year! Highlights include the following:

Books & Authors

Book of the Month

Armando and the Blue Tarp School
By Edith Hope Fine & Judith Pinkerton Josephson
Illustrated by Hernan Sosa

Product description: A truck horn sounds through Armando's neighborhood near the city dump in Tijuana, Mexico. Señor David is back, setting up school on a blue tarp spread on the ground. Armando longs to go to this school, but he knows he must help his father pick through trash in the dump for things his family can use, recycle, or sell. When Armando's parents finally decide to let him spend afternoons at Señor David's school, Armando is overjoyed. Told with honesty and hope, this story is a testament to the pursuit of dreams and the power of one person to make a difference in the lives of others.

Related activities are available on the California Young Reader Medal website, as well as on the book's official website.

Booklist: Back-to-School

From back-to-school jitters to the stories of children who go to great lengths to get to school each day, these stories are perfect for students who are settling into another school year and will provide lots of topics for discussion! For related titles, take a look at our ELL stories booklists.