December 2013

In this newsletter, you'll find a number of resources focused on adolescent English language learners this month, as well as on college readiness for ELLs. Don't miss all kinds of holiday booklists, gift suggestions, and classroom ideas for the season, in addition to resources about the life of Nelson Mandela.

Type of Newsletter: TELLEGRAM
Date: January, 2014

Dear Subscribers:

We are pleased to feature a number of resources focused on adolescent English language learners this month, as well as on college readiness for ELLs.

We also include all kinds of holiday booklists, gift suggestions, and classroom ideas for the season, in addition to resources about the life of Nelson Mandela.

All the best for the holidays!

The Color�n Colorado Team

This Month's Highlights

Classroom Resources About Nelson Mandela

Questions About the News: Farewell, Nelson Mandela

The New York Times Learning Network blog has compiled student questions based on a 12-minute video clip about the life of Nelson Mandela, as well as reflection questions and other related classroom activities focused on his life.

Children's Booklist: Tales from South Africa

From folktales to soccer stories to a portrait of Nelson Mandela's childhood, these books offer a wonderful introduction to South Africa's people and natural environment. Many of the books also address the long struggle to overcome apartheid, gently opening the discussion for young readers with stories that are both realistic and hopeful.

Don't Miss...

Reading A Christmas Carol with ELLs

Each year, ELL teacher Michelle Lawrence Biggar 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!

For more great reading and writing strategies for newcomer high school ELLs from Michelle, see her complete video interview on Colorín Colorado!

Culturally Responsive Instruction for Holiday and Religious Celebrations

This article written for Colorín Colorado by Dr. Cynthia Lundgren and Giselle Lundy-Ponce offers some helpful 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.

Featured Booklists: Holiday Tales and Gift Ideas

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

Reading: The Perfect Gift

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

New! Cobblestone Publishing Launches Spanish-Language Versions of Kids' Magazines

Cobblestone Publishing, the publisher of beloved children's magazines such as Cricket and Ladybug, is now publishing four of its titles in Spanish-language versions. These include:

Whether in English or Spanish, these magazines are sure to engage young readers!

Parent Resources & Outreach

Winter Vacation: 10 Reading Ideas for Families

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

Common Core Corner

Your Role in the Common Core State Standards: Advocacy for ELLs

In this two-part blog series from our Common Core and ELLs blog, Dr. Diane Staehr Fenner outlines some tips for advocating for ELLs around the Common Core State Standards. Part 1 features an interactive checklist that educators can use to evaluate whether the needs of ELLs are being considered in school or district implementation of the standards. Part 2 focuses on specific steps that ESL teachers can take as part of their advocacy in the areas of collaboration and assessment.

Commentary: Common Core from a Tribal Perspective

Kevin Shendo (Pueblo of Jemez) has served as the education director for the Pueblo of Jemez, a tribal community with about 3,700 members in north-central New Mexico, since 2001. In this commentary written for Education Week, he discusses community-wide efforts to strengthen Native language and culture through the local implementation of the Common Core State Standards.

Recommended Resources

Creating a College Culture for Latino Students: Successful Programs, Practices, and Strategies

By Concha Delgado Gaitan

Concha Delgado Gaitan, an award-winning professor and scholar, shares winning strategies for creating effective college-readiness programs for Latino students at the school and district level in this groundbreaking guide, as well as her own personal stories about navigating the college application process. You'll find guidance on:

  • Creating a "college culture" in elementary, middle, and secondary schools, both within the classroom and throughout the building
  • Working with families and community organizations to promote Latino students' school achievement and college goals
  • Best practices for coaching students for tutors, mentors, counselors, teachers, and administrators, including five essentials for college preparedness

Gaitan, Concha Delgado. (2012). Creating a College Culture for Latino Students: Successful Programs, Practices, and Strategies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Professional Booklist: College Readiness and ELLs

These books highlight important topics around college readiness and ELLs, including academic preparation and guidance for diverse students, particular challenges facing undocumented students, and personal stories from Latino and students (many the first in their families to go to college) about their experiences.

PBS Documentary: The Graduates / Los Graduados

This bilingual two-part film produced by Independent Lens, which aired on PBS this fall and is currently streaming online, explores pressing issues in education today through the eyes of six Latino and Latina students from across the US. The first episode focuses on young Latina women, while the second part focuses on young Latino men, each with their own obstacles to overcome. Both episodes are also available in Spanish.

Research & Reports

Making Education Work for Latinas in the U.S.

Actress and philanthropist Eva Longoria recently commissioned a new study through her foundation about factors that affect Latina educational success, defined as graduating from high school and securing a college degree. "We were frustrated to primarily find analysis of what does not work for Latinas, and we wanted to find out what does," Longoria said.

Working with UCLA's Civil Rights Project and veteran research Patricia Gándara, the research team first reviewed existing literature on student achievement looking for patterns (even though very few such reports focus on Latinas) and built upon their research review by interviewing a number of young Latinas from diverse backgrounds, including undocumented students and young mothers. The team found that some common factors could be tied to Latina success, including:

  • Maintenance of bilingual skills
  • Confidence in math and access to upper-level math courses
  • Regular involvement in extracurricular activities
  • Interactions with peers who had strong college aspirations
  • Support from Latina/o role models and mentors
  • A personal belief in the importance and likelihood of completing high school and attending college, often fostered by families, teachers, or counselors.

The study features the stories of a number of young Latinas who speak not only to the challenges they faced but their own resilience and resourcesfulness in overcoming those challenges and the people who made a difference in their trajectory.

Video Bonus

Eva Longoria, Patricia Gándara, and a group of the Latina students who were interviewed for the research appear in this informative and engaging companion video.

In the Classroom

ELL Student Success: The Path to College

For English language learners, the challenges of going to and applying to college can be overwhelming. ELL teachers can play an important role in this process. This section features a number of articles, videos, and recommended websites with great ideas for ways that ELL educators and parents can support their students as they consider their future plans.

Classroom Resources for Adolescent ELLs

This resource section includes tip sheets, videos, articles, and webcasts with strategies for engaging adolescent ELLs. Highlights include:

Reading Resources

Other Resources

Books & Authors

Book of the Month: When Christmas Feels Like Home

By Gretchen Griffith
Illustrated by Carolina Farias

Product Description: After moving from a small village in Mexico to a town in the United States, Eduardo is sure it will never feel quite like home. The other children don't speak his language and they do not play fútbol. His family promises him that he will feel right at home by the time Christmas comes along, when "your words float like clouds from your mouth" and "trees will ride on cars." With whimsical imagery and a sprinkling of Spanish vocabulary, Gretchen Griffith takes readers on a multicultural journey with Eduardo who discovers the United States is not so different from Latin America and home is wherever family is.