December 2012

Read the December 2012 newsletter to see our annual resources on the gift of reading and a new bilingual video interview with musician and educator José-Luis Orozco.

Type of Newsletter: TELLEGRAM
Date: December, 2012

Dear Subscribers:

Like you, our hearts are with the people of Newtown, Connecticut following last week's tragedy. We have compiled a bilingual tip sheet on how to talk with children about school violence, as well as other related multilingual resources online, which we encourage you to share with colleagues and families.

In addition, we are sharing our annual resources on the gift of reading and a new bilingual video interview with musician and educator José-Luis Orozco. If you need something to lift your spirits (or your students' spirits) during this difficult time, perhaps his music will provide some comfort.

All the best for the holiday season,

The Colorín Colorado Team

Don't Miss...

15 Tips for Talking with Children About School Violence

As families and educators begin to respond to children's questions about the school shooting in Connecticut, many adults have questions about how to help children cope with the tragedy. Organizations around the country are pulling together their resources to provide some guidance and many of these organizations are publishing materials in multiple languages. Here are fifteen tips for getting started, as well as additional recommended resources. This article is also available in Spanish.

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Innocence Lost: Honoring the Children of Newtown, CT

In this blog post from Reading Rockets, Maria Salvadore shares a very special idea from a friend of hers who works in the children's publishing industry on how to honor the lives of the children lost: donating a book to a library. She writes, "The children lost were like children everywhere. Maybe children and adults, who want to do something, could find a book together that everyone might enjoy and give it to the library of their choice in memory of a special child."

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New on Colorín Colorado

Meet the Author: José-Luis Orozco

José-Luis Orozco is a bilingual author, educator, and recording artist. Through his live performances around the country and his popular albums, he shares his love of Latin American music and songs for children. In this interview (also available in Spanish), José-Luis talks about the connection between reading and music and the ways that parents can preserve their family culture. And, of course, he sings some of his favorite songs in English and Spanish — you don't want to miss it!

Learn more: For more information on José-Luis, see the following:

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Giveaway! José-Luis Orozco CDs and Songbooks

Enter our raffle for a music CD or songbook, generously donated by José-Luis Orozco to Colorín Colorado! See details below.

Recommended Resources

English-Learners and NCLB Waivers: A Guide for States and Districts

Lesli Maxwell at Education Week recently reported that researchers at the American Institutes for Research have been developing guides to help states implement the No Child Left Behind waivers they were granted by the U.S. Department of Education. The first of these guides focuses on ELLs and was written by a team led by Dr. Diane August, Managing Director of AIR's Center for English Language Learners. The summary addresses topics such as ELLs' academic language skills, opportunities to meet college- and career-ready standards, graduation requirements, and accountability provisions, as well as teacher evaluation.

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Evaluating Teachers of ELLs in the Age of the CCSS

Now that school districts are implementing the CCSS to various degrees, a question that is being asked more frequently is how teacher evaluation systems will be aligned to the new demands of the CCSS. For professionals who work with ELLs, the question becomes even more complex. Blogger Dr. Diane Staehr-Fenner shares some initiatives taking place that are focusing on providing different perspectives on improving teacher evaluation for all teachers who teach ELLs. She highlights efforts from the American Federation of Teachers, the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality, and the American Institutes for Research that are shining a light on the need for teacher evaluation systems aligned to the CCSS to be inclusive of ELLs.

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ELL Educator Survey: ELL Instructional Materials

The Council of Great City Schools invites you to fill out a 15-minute survey about ELL instructional materials. The survey was developed by a group of consultants working on behalf of a philanthropic organization to identify challenges and opportunities in ELL education, specifically those related to the use of ELL instructional materials. Survey organizers are reaching out to ELL educators (including teachers, principals, curricular heads, and others) at all levels across the country to understand their perspectives on the instructional materials currently available in the market.

All information provided by respondents will be kept confidential. The survey will serve to inform a larger project of the Council of the Great City Schools to determine what improvements are needed for ELL instructional materials in light of the Common Core.

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In the classroom

Culturally Responsive Instruction for Holiday and Religious Celebrations

This article written for Colorín Colorado by Dr. Cynthia Lundgren and Giselle Lundy-Ponce offers some great ideas for bringing cultural content into the classroom in a way that increases all students' knowledge and interest while respecting the featured culture. Additional articles about culturally responsive instruction in the ELL classroom are featured in our For Educators section.

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Reading A Christmas Carol with ELLs

Each year, ELL teacher Michelle Lawrence reads an adapted version of A Christmas Carol with her high school students in Buffalo, NY. Learn how she prepares students for reading and monitors comprehension in the "Story setup" and "Making connections" segments of our Watch & Learn video series. Even Scrooge himself would be impressed at the enthusiasm with which her students take on this classic holiday tale!

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Winter Vacation: 10 Reading Ideas for Families

Winter vacation is a great time to enjoy reading (and writing) together! Share these ideas and book titles with your families, and remind them that it's a good chance for kids to practice their home languages with friends and relatives. This article is also available in Spanish.

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School Attendance: A Key to Success

As your students' families are preparing for upcoming winter vacations, you may find it helpful to address the topic of extended student absences with ELL students and parents. Consider using the book Going Home by Eve Bunting as a basis for your discussion, as well as these tips in English and Spanish. You may also find the book and article helpful to share with colleagues who are new to working with immigrant families.

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Books and Authors

Book of the Month

Tree of Cranes
By Allen Say

Why is Mama making origami paper cranes in the living room? And why does she bring in a small tree from the snow on which to hang the cranes and light candles? Based on Allen Say's childhood, this story recounts his very first Christmas and the American traditions that his mother brought back to Japan after having grown up in California. Say's beautiful illustrations evoke his childhood home, the wonder of a young boy, and the memories that we carry no matter where we call home.

Video Bonus: Don't miss this Meet the Author video with Allen Say from Reading Rockets! Many of Say's stories movingly express nuanced details about the immigrant experience, something Say and his family experienced first-hand. Say won the Caldecott Medal for Grandfather's Journey, the story of his father's own journey from Japan to the U.S. and back again. The captivating story of how Say's mother adjusted to a new life after moving from California to Japan and how she met her future husband are featured in Tea With Milk.

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Reading: The Perfect Gift

For some great suggestions of bilingual books, magazines, and children's music, take a look at our holiday gift guide, also available in Spanish!

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Featured Booklists: Holiday Tales and Gift Ideas

If you're looking for a book to share in the classroom or with someone special, check out the following recommended titles!

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From Reading Rockets (Ages 0-8):

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Books for Older Readers (Ages 9-18)

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Jose Luis Orozco list & giveaway

Enter our raffle for one of the following giveaways! To enter, please send us an e-mail with "Book Giveaway" in the subject by January 4, 2013 and indicate your gift of choice.

  • Rin Rin Rin
    Book & CD Set
  • Diez Deditos/Ten Little Fingers: Other Play Rhymes and Action Songs from Latin America
    Music CD or Songbook
  • De colores and Other Latin-American Folk Songs for Children
    Music CD or Songbook
  • Caramba Kids
    Music CD
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