In this issue:
Happy New Year! We are excited to start 2012 off with new resources for and about paraprofessionals and a new Meet the Expert interview with Buffalo teacher Michelle Lawrence. You may remember Michelle from our Watch and Learn series!
All the best for a happy and healthy year,
The Colorín Colorado Team
If you are looking for a new ESL or bilingual teaching position, there are a number of things you can do to help prepare for the interview. This article on ESL/bilingual job interview tips outlines general information that will get you started, as well as areas of your own experience that may be helpful to highlight in the interview.
As the New Year starts, you may have some new faces in your classroom! Here are ideas for creating a welcoming environment for newcomers, as well as for addressing the wide variety of needs of refugee students. In both articles, be sure to take a look at the great video tips from our ELL experts!
Walter Dean Myers was recently named the 3rd National Ambassador for Young People's Literature by the Library of Congress's Center for the Book and the Children's Book Council. Drawing from his own experiences growing up in Harlem, Myers often writes about the challenging realities that face today's urban youth. Learn more about Myers from the following resources.
- Reading Rockets: Video Interview
- AdLit.org: Second Chance Initiative and Video Interview
- School Library Journal: Walter Dean Myers and His New Role
New on Colorín Colorado
Paraprofessionals (teacher's aides) can play an important role in the success of English language learners. Clarifying the paraprofessional's roles and establishing expectations about topics like interpreting can make an important difference in creating a strong working relationship in the classroom. These articles and video clips offer strategies to both classroom teachers and paraprofessionals about the ways to work most effectively together on behalf of ELLs:
- ELL Strategies for Paraprofessionals
- Teacher Tips: Effective Collaboration with ELL Paraprofessionals
Michelle Lawrence Biggar has been an ESL teacher for the past eleven years. Michelle currently teaches at the International Preparatory School at Grover in Buffalo, NY. Her students are primarily refugee and immigrant adolescents from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
In this interview, Michelle discusses her use of classic works of literature with newcomer ELLs, offers advice for content-area teachers, and discusses ways that ELL teachers can advocate for their students. You can also see some bonus clips of reading and writing classroom strategies that Michelle uses with her students!
The Center for Applied Linguistics presents a new online resource for ELL educators, Helping Newcomer Students Succeed in Secondary Schools and Beyond. This publication represents the culmination of the research project, Exemplary Programs for Newcomer English Language Learners at the Secondary Level, conducted by CAL on behalf of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. This report is written for educators and policymakers to focus attention on newcomer adolescent English language learners at the middle and high school grades and to communicate promising practices for serving their educational and social needs. The research project consisted of a national survey of secondary school newcomer programs; compilation of program profiles into an online, searchable database; and case studies of 10 of these programs, selected for their exemplary practices. The full report and an executive summary are now available as free downloadable PDFs on the CAL website.
Words Their Way with English Learners: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling (2nd Edition)
By Lori Helman, Donald R. Bear, Shane Templeton, Marcia Invernizzi, and Francine R. Johnston
Word study is an approach to spelling instruction that encourages children to explore patterns in words rather than memorizing the spellings of individual words. The word knowledge that students gain through word study also supports reading development by strengthening word recognition and vocabulary skills. Words Their Way with English Learners gives teachers all the resources they need to design research-based, developmentally appropriate word study lessons for their students who are learning English as a second language. This teacher-friendly resource is now out in a second edition that includes an extensive media component, called PD Toolkit for Words Their Way with English Learners. This new online component features multiple videos demonstrating how to use the Words Their Way approach with English learners, as well as numerous tools for teaching, including hundreds of ready-made word sorts and a "create-your-own word sorts" tool. Another highlight of the new edition is the inclusion of a new chapter addressing the most advanced level of word study, Derivational Relations, which will allow teachers to design word study lessons for students at upper elementary through high school levels. These features and others make this new edition of Words Their Way with English Learners a great addition to the Words Their Way series.
Our new professional booklist featuring vocabulary titles includes information on academic vocabulary, content instruction, and word study for ELLs.
In the Classroom
For ELLs, vocabulary development is critical to their ability to read and comprehend texts. It can be challenging, however, to know which vocabulary words will be the most helpful to your students in improving comprehension. Here are some tips on selecting words and understanding the difference between Tier 1, 2, and 3 words.
Colorín Colorado presents a number of articles focused on the use of instructional technology in the ELL classroom, including strategies for teaching beginning computer skills and vocabulary to newcomer students. In addition, take a look at our ideas and resources related to using social media in the ELL classroom!
Books & Authors
Inside Out & Back Again
By Thanhha Lai
Shortly before the fall of Saigon in 1975, Hà's family faces the difficult decision of whether to stay in war-torn Vietnam or risk fleeing the country without Hà's father, who is missing. With her determined mother and older brothers, Hà soon says good-bye to her beloved home and prepares for a long journey. When they finally arrive in Alabama more than 3 months later as refugees, neighbors slam doors in their faces and bullies taunt Hà's efforts to learn English. "So this is what dumb feels like," she observes. Yet slowly, surely, Hà and her family begin to find their way, making friends in unexpected places and helping each other survive.
Written in verse and told through Hà's poetic and compelling voice, this unforgettable novel is based on the childhood experiences of author Thanhha Lai and won the 2011 National Book Award for Young People's Literature.
January 23, 2012 marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year (sometimes referred to as the Lunar New Year), and 2012 is the Year of the Dragon! If you're interested in learning more about this festive celebration, take a look at these children's books presenting wonderful traditions that help sweep out the old year and welcome the new!