February 2014

This month, we are featuring a number of excellent new resources and books that have been recently published or recognized, including the 2014 Pura Belpré Award winners and a book written by one of Colorín Colorado's founders!

Type of Newsletter: TELLEGRAM
Date: February, 2014

Hi Everyone,

This month, we are featuring a number of excellent new resources and books that have been recently published or recognized, including the 2014 Pura Belpré Award winners and a book written by one of Colorín Colorado's founders!

Given the special focus on Social Studies topics during February, we also have included a number of resources on reading non-fiction with ELLs, which can supplement work around the Common Core and informational text.

All the best,
The Colorín Colorado Team

This Month's Highlights

2014 Pura Belpré Winners Announced!

2014 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award: Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales

Illustrator Honor books include:

  • Maria Had a Little Llama / María Tenía una Llamita by Angela Dominguez
  • Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant's Tale by Duncan Tonatiuh
  • Tito Puente: Mambo King / Rey del Mambo, illustrated by Rafael López and written by Monica Brown

2014 Pura Belpré Author Award: Yaquí Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

Author Honor books include:

  • The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolitionist by Margarita Engle
  • The Living by Matt de la Peña
  • Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant's Tale by Duncan Tonatiuh

For more information about Pura Belpré, the first Puerto Rican librarian to be hired by the New York Public Library system, and the award named in her honor, take a look at our Pura Belpré resource section and videos!

Don't Miss...

Black History Month

In celebration of Black History Month, Colorín Colorado is proud to present our updated booklists:

Stories from Africa Booklist: The books in this collection highlight traditional folk tales, stories about historical events through the eyes of young children, and contemporary portraits of kids exploring their world. Featured countries include Eritrea, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia, and Somalia.

Black History in Latin America and the Caribbean: This booklist shines a spotlight on Black immigrants, national heroes, and historic figures who hail from Latin America or the Caribbean. Many of the stories address the prejudices that celebrated figures such as Martín de Porres, Roberto Clemente, and Celia Cruz had to overcome throughout their lifetime. Others depict special traditions that immigrants in the U.S. remember and pass on to younger generations. Story settings include Trinidad, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Peru, Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and the U.S. (See the featured story from Haiti, Serafina's Promise, below).

From our sister sites: For additional booklists and classroom resources focused on U.S. Black History, see the following:

In the News: College Readiness and Undocumented Students

In December, New Jersey became the latest state to provide in-state tuition for undocumented students. In January, First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed Cristian Avila, a young man who fasted for 22 days on the National Mall in support of immigration reform, as her guest to the State of the Union. And in early February, a new $25 million scholarship fund was launched for undocumented students by Donald Graham, former owner of The Washington Post.

Learn more about these developments from the above links to PBS NewsHour, Education Week, and CNN, as well as from our related resources for undocumented students and their college advisers compiled by Colorín Colorado.

Common Core Corner

Using Text-Dependent Questions with ELLs: Parts 1 & 2

The Common Core State Standards call for students to use texts to cite evidence in their claims and analyses. One tool for meeting this standard is the use of text-dependent questions (TDQs). In Part 1 of her blog post on this topic, Diane Staehr Fenner offers an overview to TDQs and considerations in writing TDQs for ELLs.

Part 2 includes a step-by-step explanation of how to write TDQs and a number of examples based on Judith St. George's text So You Want to Be President? (2000), which is suggested for the second grade in the CCSS' Appendix B. Diane co-wrote the second post with Dr. Sydney Snyder and also received feedback from New Hampshire teacher David Pook.

New CCSS and ELLs Resources

Our latest blog post features new resources from the field, including:

  • Two curricular modules scaffolded for ELLs by the Long Island Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (Grades 1 & 5)
  • A new series of free online courses from Stanford University's Understanding Language initiative about fostering ELL academic discussion and language instruction in elementary math
  • Articles from Education Week by expert ELL educators Wendi Pillars and Justin Minkel

New Design for the Blog!

We are pleased to launch a new design for our Common Core and ELLs blog, which makes it easier to scan previous blog posts, as well as an updated topic and category list for all archived content on the blog.

Recommended Resources

Advocating for English Learners: A Guide for Educators

By Diane Staehr Fenner

This new guide written by Diane Staehr Fenner, our Common Core and ELLs blogger, provides an in-depth discussion of why ELL advocacy matters, recognition for educators and administrators who are already doing it well, and practical tips for those just getting started. Topics include:

  • Increasing empathy for ELLs and their families in the school setting
  • Specific strategies for advocacy through collaboration, instruction, and assessment
  • Recommendations for school administrators and district leaders.

Highly recommended for professional development, district-level planning teams, and pre-service settings.

Staehr Fenner, D. (2014). Advocating for English Learners: A Guide for Educators. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Call of the Klondike: A True Gold Rush Adventure

By David Meissner and Kim Richardson

We are excited to share a new, highly acclaimed non-fiction book by one of Colorín Colorado's founders, David Meissner. (David is the person who chose the name "Colorín Colorado"!)

Call of the Klondike, for ages 9 and up, tells the story of Stanley Pearce and Marshall Bond, two Yale graduates who assembled one of the earliest expeditions of the Klondike gold rush. Like many fellow stampeders, they underestimated the hardships, challenges, and harsh conditions they would face in Alaska and Canada.

Forming the core of this book are primary documents—telegrams, letters, newspaper articles, and diary entries—written by Pearce and Bond over 100 years ago and later passed down to co-author Kim Richardson, a relative of Pearce. While the book doesn't include ELL-specific activities, it does offer excellent examples of engaging informational text with well-written background material that could be used with ELLs in Social Studies, History, or Language Arts classrooms.

David talks about the book's beginnings on his website, which also includes images from the book, quotes, and information about the Gold Rush. Classroom materials are available online as well, including discussion questions and a companion guide to Jack London's The Call of the Wild and a publisher's guide aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

In the Classroom

Informational Text and ELLs

In order for ELLs to succeed academically, they must be able to use informational text and textbooks effectively. These articles offer a number of tips for helping students develop their non-fiction reading skills, from discussing the lay-out of a content-area textbook to modeling what good readers do as they work their way through a piece of informational text.

To see some of these strategies in action, take a look at our related video playlist on YouTube!

Parent Resources and Outreach

Parent Tips: Make History Come Alive with Books!

A great way for young children to develop an interest in history is through books! Here are some ideas for getting started. While the tips are geared towards parents, they can be applied in classrooms too. This article is also available in Spanish.

Books and Authors

Book of the Month: Niño Wrestles the World

By Yuyi Morales

Señoras y Señores: It's time for Niño to take the stage against his lucha libre foes, including La Llorona (the crying ghost woman), El Extraterrestre (the alien), and El Chamuco (the demon). Niño has all kinds of tricks up his sleeve, and he definitely looks the part in a red lucha libre mask and his white underwear. come some foes that would make even the most experienced wrestler tremble — his twin sisters!

Join Yuyi Morales in this playful tribute to the beloved wrestling tradition of Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries, which is sure to appeal to young lucha libre fans and to attract some new ones as well! Winner 2014 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award.

YA Feature: Serafina's Promise

By Ann Burg

11-year-old Serafina lives in the rural mountains of Haiti, helping her mother and grandmother with chores and hauling water up to the house each day. Secretly, however, Serafina wishes to go to school and become a doctor, inspired by the kind female doctor who helped the family when her young baby brother died.

Then when the rains wash away their house and the 2010 catastrophic earthquake strikes soon after, the possibility of attending school seems even more tenuous — but Serafina isn't ready to give up on her dreams yet.

Ann Burg's lyrical, award-winning story is told in free verse with Haitian proverbs and French and Creole phrases woven throughout.

Classroom Guides: Serafina's Promise

  • Common Core Guide: Author Ann Burg, who also wrote All the Broken Pieces, is a former middle school English teacher. She has compiled a list of discussion questions for Serafina's Promise aligned to the Common Core State Standards for 6th and 7th grade on her website.
  • Scholastic Guide and Interview: Scholastic presents a classroom guide that includes discussion questions and a Q&A with Burg about Serafina's Promise.

Book Giveaway

Enter a raffle to win one of the following featured books by February 28, 2014!

  • Advocating for English Learners: A Guide for Educators by Diane Staehr Fenner*
  • Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales
  • Serafina's Promise by Ann Burg

*Signed by the author