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.
All the best for the upcoming year!
The Colorín Colorado Team
A record-breaking number of children are crossing the border alone into the U.S. from Central American countries. Take a look at this list for an overview of the situation and a number of related resources for adults working with this population.
New on Colorín Colorado
We are excited to present a new set of Common Core classroom videos from Poughkeepsie, New York! Filmed at Poughkeepsie's middle and high schools, these videos focus on strategies related to academic vocabulary and answering text-based questions. The videos feature lessons prepared by teachers participating in the project in collaboration with Dr. Diane August. This project was funded by the American Federation of Teachers' Innovation Fund.
Note: Our Common Core classroom videos are also available on YouTube!
Common Core Corner
Common Core and ELLs Blog Posts by Topic
Our Common Core and ELLs blog has lots of great content now organized by topic! Some topics that may be of interest include:
- Academic Language
- Collaboration with Colleagues
- Common Core Units and Lesson Plans
- Role of ESL Teachers in Common Core
- Professional Development: Tools and Tips
Earlier this spring, the What Works Clearinghouse published a guidebook called Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School. The practical guide was produced by the U.S. Department of Education by enlisting eight prominent education researchers and curriculum experts who reviewed and rated research evidence, developed overarching recommendations, and created practical examples of the recommendations. In this Common Core and ELLs blog post from June, Dr. Diane Staehr Fenner shares the recommendations, tells you how the guidebook supports ELLs with the Common Core, and shows how Colorín Colorado resources support the guidebook's recommendations.
Working closely with the English Language Learners Alliance, REL Northeast & Islands has developed a survey to gather information from principals about school English language learner programs, policies, practices, and professional development, as well as school-leader knowledge about ELLs. Users can modify the survey to fit their local context. The developers anticipate that it will take principals about 15-20 minutes to complete the survey.
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
- ELL Parent and Family Outreach
- Ideas for Starting Off the New School Year from Larry Ferlazzo
For additional ideas, see our Resources for First-Year ELL Teachers.
Parent Resources and Outreach
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 & Authors
By Arthur Dorros
Illustrated by Raúl Colón
Together, a young boy and his abuelo gaucho (cowboy grandfather) go camping, ride horses, and even confront a mountain lion in a setting inspired by the plains of Argentina. Soon, the boy's family moves to the city from the country, away from Abuelo, and it is the boy's memories that help him adjust to his new life. Arthur Dorros's skillful blend of Spanish and English and Raúl Colón's poignant paintings illuminate how the special bond between a grandfather and his grandson reaches across miles.
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.
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.