In this issue:
Today is César Chávez's birthday, so in honor of his legacy, we are focusing on migrant students and the resources needed to help them succeed. We also have added some new articles to the website, including one with ideas that will help displaced students from Haiti make the transition as they arrive in U.S. schools each week.
In addition, we are launching a new online donation section on our website. We welcome any support you are able to give throughout the year — it all makes a difference to the work we do to on behalf of ELLs!
The Colorín Colorado Team
This month's highlights
From the Ning
Our Ning continues to grow! This month, we'd love to know what you do to help your ELLs build reading comprehension skills.
We also are hoping to build an audience on the Ning in Spanish — check it out and let us know if you have any ideas!
New on Colorín Colorado
Comprehension is the reason for reading, but it can be the most difficult skill to master — especially for English language learners (ELLs). There are, however, a number of ways to build ELLs' comprehension skills. This article focuses on building background knowledge, teaching vocabulary explicitly, and checking comprehension frequently.
If your school is enrolling displaced students from Haiti, learn what you can do to ease the transition for both the students and the school community in this article from Colorín Colorado.
Responding to Bias Incidents in Schools
In recent months, there have been number of stories around the country about bias against specific ethnic groups in schools, which include many ELLs. Teaching Tolerance offers tips for identifying and responding to bias incidents, and the Anti-Defamation League offers classroom resources related to challenging anti-immigrant bias in the U.S. (Note: Explicit language and racial epithets are referenced in the materials. It is strongly recommended that teachers review the materials before introducing it to the students in their lessons.)
In the Classroom
Educators who work with migrant students have a unique opportunity to make a significant difference for their students, even if they only work together for a short time. Learn more about the challenges that face migrant students and how to provide them with opportunities for success from Giselle Lundy-Ponce at the American Federation of Teachers. The article includes essential background information, classroom strategies, and a list of related migrant education programs.
Also, be sure to look at our new migrant resources, which include recommended websites and these poignant video clips on migrant children and students from Pat Mora, Pam Muñoz Ryan, and teacher Bobbi Houtchens.
Books and Authors
Celebrate the work of César Chávez and Dolores Huerta with these titles from our Migrant Stories booklist. These books explore the life of migrant farm workers in a way that children can understand.
Did you know that the first Latin American author to win the Nobel Prize in Literature was Gabriela Mistral? History is filled with the wisdom and talent of many women who refused to abandon their dreams simply because of their gender. Learn about Gabriela and others from these books on our new booklist, also available in Spanish!
By: Campbell Geeslin
Illustrated by: Ana Juan
Elena wants to be a glassblower like her father, but there is a problem: "Who ever heard of a girl glassblower?" Elena decides she must go to Monterrey where the great glassblowers are, and sets off on her journey with a pipe in hand — dressed as a boy. Elena soon discovers her own hidden talents and the power of believing in yourself. Ana Juan's lovely illustrations convey the magic of Elena's journey. Also available in Spanish and Chinese.
Research and Reports
"Where Do I Go from Here?": Meeting the Unique Educational Needs of Migrant Students
By Karen S. Vocke
This guide offers an in-depth introduction to the challenges that migrant students face in U.S. schools, as well as ideas for how educators can begin to approach those challenges. Educators who are new to migrant education will find the early chapters on migrant students and language learning particularly helpful. Teaching strategies include ideas for adapting classroom activities to include migrant students, using technology with migrant students, and using culturally responsive children's literature to foster reading and writing skills. The author also offers practical tips for reaching out to migrant families and numerous recommended resources.
Note: While the book focuses on migrant students, many of the strategies will be helpful for the larger ELL population as well.
Vocke, K.S. (2007). "Where Do I Go from Here?": Meeting the Unique Educational Needs of Migrant Students. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
* Proceeds from the sale of books purchased on Amazon.com help support Colorín Colorado.
Migrant Students: Resources for Migrant Children Similar to Other Students but Achievement Still Lags
Noting the persistent achievement gap between migrant and non-migrant children, the Florida Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights examined whether differences in student performance might be associated with inequities in the educational resources allocated to schools with a high migrant population. To explore this question, the committee compared resources in the areas of teacher/staff-student ratios, computer technology, and library resources at schools with a high migrant population and schools in the same district that had no migrant students. They found that that the resources available to migrant children were comparable to and, in some areas (e.g., staffing levels and special schooling initiatives) greater than, those available to non-migrant students.
The committee concluded that although it is commendable that localities are providing comparable funding to schools with high migrant populations, resources alone may not be enough to address the achievement gap. They suggest that "there is a critical need to examine and consider different institutional and structural changes from what has been offered in the past in order to truly provide this group of children true equal education opportunity in our public schools" (p. iv). To learn more about this study, you can read the committee's published report, Migrant Students: Resources for Migrant Children Similar to Other Students but Achievement Still Lags.
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