As you gear up for another school year, be sure to take a look at this month's back-to-school resources as well as our ideas for teachers who are new to working with English language learners.
Other special features for August include a new video interview with award-winning illustrator Raúl Colón, as well as classroom resources focused on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
All the best for the upcoming year!
The Colorín Colorado Team
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the famous 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and provides a great opportunity to revisit the historic event with students. The Albert Shanker Institute has compiled a number of Common Core-aligned lesson plans which study Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech as well as the broader context of the event and a behind-the-scenes look at how the March was organized.
This new children's booklist features a number of titles highlighting different aspects of the March on Washington, as well as related books about other Civil Rights marches from the point of view of children. Don't miss Rep. John Lewis' new graphic novel about his experience organizing the March, or Raúl Colón's beautiful illustrations in Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton.
Raúl Colón is an award-winning illustrator of more than thirty children's books by authors such as Pat Mora, Frank McCourt, Dr. Jill Biden, and Margarita Engle. Raúl's work has also appeared in The New York Times and can be seen in an MTA mural at the 191st Street subway station in New York City. In this interview with Colorín Colorado, Raúl talks about drawing as a child, influences on his artistic style (including Spider-Man!), the inspiration behind his illustrations, and the role of the arts in schools. Excerpts of the interview are also available in Spanish.
Common Core Corner
Diane Staehr Fenner kicks off the new school year with a blog post about Common Core initiatives taking place in her home state, New York. Over the summer, Diane met with several dedicated teachers and administrators from the state's Northern Regional ESL Collective representing a wide variety of districts to discuss the challenges they are facing with the Common Core, as well as ideas for addressing those challenges. In addition, Diane reports on response to the recent release of New York students' test scores from CCSS-aligned exams; the state's initiative to scaffold curriculum for ELLs; and Colorín Colorado's upcoming Common Core work with teachers in Poughkeepsie, NY, Dr. Diane August, and the American Federation of Teachers.
In case you missed our last newsletter, be sure to take a look at our brand new Common Core and ELLs section featuring lesson plans, classroom videos, updates from the field, and multilingual parent resources.
Note: Our Common Core classroom videos are now available on YouTube!
Research and Reports
By 2018, it is projected that over half of all children in the U.S. will be minority, non-white children. The increasing diversity of the population makes socioeconomic and educational disparities between racial/ethnic groups all the more striking. Poverty and unemployment disproportionately affect black and Hispanic families, putting them at a social and educational disadvantage. To address these issues, the authors of this study, published by the Foundation for Child Development, investigated how race/ethnicity, parent immigration status, and home language contribute to children's social, economic, physical, and educational well-being. This is the first report to discuss child well-being across White, Hispanic, Black, and Asian race-ethnic groups, while also considering the possible effect of parents' status as immigrants or non-immigrants.
Hernandez, D. & Napierala, J.S.(2013). Diverse children: Race, ethnicity, and immigration in America's new non-majority generation. New York, NY: The Foundation for Child Development.
By Thomas S. C. Farrell
In this user-friendly guide, Thomas S.C. Farrell offers a roadmap for educators who are new to teaching English language learners, including first-year teachers and veteran teachers with limited ELL experience. Farrell covers practical topics such as working with a mentor, lesson planning, classroom management, and professional development. He also offers instructional ideas for grammar, reading, writing, speaking, listening, and assessment. Throughout each chapter, Farrell includes helpful tools such as reflection questions, classroom examples, and sample activities to illustrate his approach.
Farrell, Thomas S.C. (2006). Succeeding with English Language Learners: A Guide for Beginning Teachers. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
In the Classroom
Take a look at our back-to-school ELL resources as you start getting ready for the new year! Highlights include the following:
- Creating a Welcoming Classroom Environment (with video)
- Gear Up for a New School Year!
- A School Year Start Up Checklist
- Things Your ELL Newcomers Need to Know
- ELL Welcome Kit
- How to Reach Out to Parents of ELLs
For additional ideas, see our Resources for First-Year ELL Teachers.
ELL teacher and blogger Larry Ferlazzo has compiled a number of tips on starting off the new school year on the right foot for Education Week in these blog posts.
Parent Resources and Outreach
This new section will feature ELL family resources each month. Here are some ideas that can help with planning at the beginning of the year!
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 a crucial partner in supporting their children's success. Here are some ideas to help get school leaders and ELL educators started on the path towards a strong home-school partnership on behalf of ELLs.
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!
Books and Authors
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 booklist.
By Paula Young Shelton
Illustrated by Raúl Colón
In this award-winning book based on her childhood, Paula Young Shelton, the youngest daughter of civil rights leader Andrew Shelton, recounts what it was like to move back to Atlanta from New York as a little girl so that her parents could join the civil rights movement. She recalls her first "sit-in" at a restaurant that refused to serve her family and listening from under the kitchen table while meetings were held to organize protests and marches with Uncle Martin, Aunt Coretta, and other leaders of the movement. Young concludes with a vivid portrait of her memories of the famous march from Selma to Montgomery and the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Her story is beautifully brought to life by Raúl Colón's exquisite paintings evoking the era and the quiet dignity of peaceful protest.
Enter a raffle for the following books! To enter, please submit an e-mail with "Book Giveaway" in the subject by September 6th, 2013 and indicate your title of choice.
Books Illustrated by Raúl Colón
- Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton
- Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba by Margarita Engle*
- José! Born to Dance by Susanna Reich*
- Don't Forget, God Bless Our Troops by Jill Biden*
- Play Ball by Jorge Posada with Robert Burleigh*
- Succeeding with English Language Learners: A Guide for Beginning Teachers by Thomas S. C. Farrell
*These titles have been signed by Raúl Colón.