June 2014

In this edition, you'll find ideas to help you relax, rejuvenate, and regroup. Find themed booklists perfect for summer and other resources to get a head start on the school new year.

Type of Newsletter: TELLEGRAM
Date: June, 2014

Dear Subscribers,

With summer starting soon, we are focusing this month on ideas to help you relax, rejuvenate, and regroup.

We wish you all the best for the summer. Thank you for your great ideas and feedback all year long!

The Colorín Colorado Team

Don't Miss...

Updated! For Educators Section

Our newly updated For Educators section is organized into topics such as ELL instruction, professional development, and parent outreach. Take a look to see some hidden gems that you might have missed before!

Interview Tips for ESL/Bilingual Teachers

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 by Susan Lafond 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.

Children's Booklist: Celebrating Ramadan and Eid

This year, Ramadan begins at the end of June. From the nightly watching of the Ramadan moon to the family discussions of when a child is old enough to start fasting, this selection of books portrays a variety of different Ramadan and Eid traditions throughout the world. Stories and customs such as moonlit walks and family prayers are depicted in stunning illustrations. A number of the books include glossaries, educational notes, and personal memories from the authors and illustrators.

Volunteers Needed for National Board Certification Field Tests

The National Board is recruiting PreK-12 teachers as well as undergraduate and graduate students seeking a teaching license to participate in field tests of the revised National Board Certification process. This includes field testing for NBPTS certification based on the assessment of English as a New Language Standards for both Early/Middle Childhood and Early Adolescence/Young Adulthood. It is not necessary to be Board certified to participate. You will have the choice of receiving up to $50 in gift cards to either Amazon.com or Powell's Books upon successful completion of each online testing appointment. More information is available on the NBPTS website.

New on Colorín Colorado

Technology Review: Ellevation Software

ELL teachers are often faced with two difficult challenges as they try to find the best way to serve their students. First, they have to organize and synthesize vast amounts of data in order to track their students' progress over time. Secondly, they have to find ways to communicate and collaborate with colleagues who are working with the same students, either as classroom teachers or as specialists in other areas, such as speech and language services. Both of these challenges are complicated by the fact that many ELL teachers work with students in multiple schools and at multiple grade levels.

A new web-based software platform called Ellevation was designed with extensive input from ELL educators specifically to meet these challenges. Our research advisor, Dr. Karen Ford, took a tour of the new platform and wrote a review for Colorín Colorado. Teachers can request a live demo on the website for more information.

Common Core Corner

What's Your ELL "Elevator Speech"?

Our blogger, Diane Staehr Fenner, has been spending a lot of time this spring helping ESL educators understand and define their leadership roles within implementation of the Common Core. One strategy she recommends is honing your "elevator speech" — a brief summary of your expertise and the ways you can support ELLs' success in meeting the standards. In this post, Diane provides steps for writing your own elevator speech, as well as some videos of examples from colleagues.

Your turn!

We'd love to hear your elevator speech! To share a video of your own elevator speech, try out Flipgrid, an easy-to-use online video response system, using your computer or tablet!

Common Core Tools: Making Curriculum Units More Accessible for ELLs

Julie Motta is the Assistant Superintendent of the East Providence School District in Rhode Island. Formerly the ESL Director of Pawtucket Schools, she is also a WIDA trainer and an adjunct college professor at Rhode Island College and Providence College.

In this blog post written for Colorín Colorado, Julie walks through a template that she has been using with her ESL teachers to make curriculum units aligned to the Common Core State Standards more accessible to ELLs and highlights the many strengths and areas of expertise her teachers bring to the process.

Parent Resources and Outreach

Reading with Dad Booklist

There's nothing like reading a favorite story with Dad or Grandpa! These books celebrate fathers and grandfathers and include a number of beloved books featuring diverse families. The booklist is also available in Spanish.

Reading Tips for Dads

In addition, take a look at our bilingual reading tips for dads. A PreK and K-3 version of the article are both available.

Water Safety: Multilingual Tip Sheets

Swimming is a popular summer activity, but ELL families may not be able to understand signs or directions given by a lifeguard. Help keep families safe with these multilingual water safety tips from the American Red Cross and the Australian government.

Recommended Resources

Larry Ferlazzo: Recommended Websites for a Summer School "Virtual Classroom"

In recent years, the summer school program at Larry Ferlazzo's high school in California has been dwindling due to budget constraints. However, he has kept his students learning during the summer through websites that allow him to create virtual classrooms for his students, many of which are geared towards ELLs. In this blog post, Larry shares his favorite virtual classroom websites, as well as his top resources on the "summer slide."

Summer Reading Ideas: Professional Booklists by Topic

Colorín Colordao offers 20 professional booklists organized by topic for educators working with ELLs. These books include titles focused on getting to know immigrant, refugee, and internationally adopted students; ideas for ELL instruction and assessment in reading, writing, and the content areas; and titles focused on ELL policy and school leadership. Take a look at our selection for some great summer reading ideas!

Edutopia: Summer Rejuvenation Guide

Whether your summer plans call for heading off on an adventure or reading a good book, you'll find resource-packed ideas in Edutopia's Summer Rejuvenation Guide: 10 Tips to Help You Relax, Reflect, and Recharge for the Coming School Year. The guide also offers a number of ways to connect with other educators throughout the summer through networking — in person and online, such as on our ELL Facebook Discussion Group! The guide is available as a free download; user e-mail address is requested.

In the Classroom

Summer Learning Resources

In case you missed these last month, the following resources offer summer learning ideas for educators and parents:

Start with a Book: Ideas for Kids' Summer Learning

Explore dinosaurs, bugs, birds, planes, music, sports, superheroes, inventors, art, the night sky, the ocean, and more — 24 themes in all from Start with a Book! This companion website to Reading Rockets uses books as a launching pad for real world learning adventures, offering booklists, activity ideas, and recommended resources for parents and educators.

Reading Tips to Go

If you or your students' parents would like some ideas on how to help kids' reading and writing skills improve over the summer, sign up for Start with a Book's Summer Reading Tips to Go, text messages with fun tips and activity ideas sent right to your phone. You'll receive 3-4 messages per week throughout the summer. These messages are also available in Spanish.

Books and Authors

Summer Reading: Booklists for Kids and Young Adults

For some great stories about summer, take a look at this collection of booklists for readers of all ages! And for more great multicultural booklists that will provide inspiration for summer reading ideas, check out all of our recommend titles for children and young adults.

My America: Stories and Celebrations

Whether you're getting ready for a parade or ordering Chinese food, these books about the 4th of July and other important American traditions celebrate our nation's diversity in special ways.

Book of the Month: I Pledge Allegiance

By Pat Mora and Libby Martinez
Illustrated by Patrice Barton

Pat Mora and her daughter share the story of Pat's beloved aunt, Lobo, who is from Mexico but has lived in the United States for many years. She wants to become a U.S. citizen, and at the end of the week, Lobo will say the Pledge of Allegiance at a special ceremony. Young Libby is also learning the Pledge at school, and at the end of the week, she too will stand up in front of everyone and lead the class in the Pledge. Libby and Lobo practice together, asking questions and sharing stories and memories until they both stand tall and proud, with their hands over their hearts.