March 2012

This month we're featuring a variety of ELL topics on Colorín Colorado, including the education of migrant students, updated information on the Common Core State Standards, and a new resource section on ELLs' oral language development.

Type of Newsletter: TELLEGRAM
Date: March, 2012

Dear Subscribers:

Greetings from Washington, DC, where we've put together a new children's booklist to celebrate the arrival of the cherry blossoms! In addition, this month we're featuring a variety of ELL topics on Colorín Colorado, including the education of migrant students, updated information on the Common Core State Standards, and a new resource section on ELLs' oral language development.

Happy spring!

Sincerely,

The Colorín Colorado Team

This Month's Highlights

TESOL 2012: Colorín Colorado Exhibit

If you are planning on attending TESOL 2012 in Philadelphia, be sure to stop by and say hello! We'll be in Booth #211, hosted by the American Federation of Teachers.

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Don't Miss...

Migrant Students: What We Need to Know to Help Them Succeed

In honor of Migrant Farmworker week, celebrated in conjunction with César Chávez's birthday (March 31), learn more about the challenges that face migrant students and how to provide them with opportunities for success. This resource section includes an article written by Giselle Lundy-Ponce from the American Federation of Teachers, recommended guides and websites, and video clips featuring Pat Mora, Pam Muñoz Ryan, and teacher Bobbi Houtchens. Related children's books are featured in our Books and Authors section below.

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Edutopia: Do's & Don'ts For Teaching English Language Learners

Larry Ferlazzo and Katie Hull Sypnieski teach at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, California. This article published on the Edutopia website is an excerpt from their upcoming book, The ESL/ELL Teacher's Survival Guide, which will be published this summer by Jossey-Bass. Larry also writes a popular blog for teachers and has written several other books in the education and ELL fields.

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New on Colorín Colorado

Common Core State Standards

Since we first launched our section about implementing the Common Core State Standards with ELLs, a lot has happened! We've updated the section to include:

  • presentations that provide a helpful introduction to the standards
  • information about how WIDA is aligning its proficiency standards to the Common Core
  • bilingual background information for parents
  • a description of the professional development model that the Cleveland school district is using to roll out the standards
  • archived webinars
  • new Meet the Expert interviews.
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Meet the Expert: Gabriela Uro

Gabriela Uro is the Manager for English Language Learner Policy and Research for the Council of the Great City Schools. In this expert interview, Gabriela discusses the Council's initiatives focused on implementation of the Common Core State Standards, with special attention on planning implications for English language learners. In addition, Gabriela discusses the challenges and opportunities that the CCSS offer ELL students and educators.

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Recommended Resources

Comprehension and English Language Learners: 25 Oral Reading Strategies That Cross Proficiency Levels

In the foreword to this useful handbook for classroom teachers, ELL experts David and Yvonne Freeman note that the National Literacy Panel's 2006 report demonstrated a strong correlation between oral language development and reading comprehension. For teachers of ELLs, however, it can be difficult to find oral language strategies and activities that engage students while helping to improve comprehension.

Michael Optiz and Lindsey Moses Guccione confront that challenge head-on with 25 strategies for oral reading that are designed to help engage ELLs and bolster reading comprehension skills. The activities span five proficiency levels and each activity includes a classroom scenario, recommended children's books, online resources, and special tips. In addition, the authors set the stage with an introduction to the challenges that ELLs and their teachers commonly face during oral reading activities, the ways in which ELLs can benefit from oral reading activities, and some tips for oral language assessment.

To learn more, take a look at this excerpt from Comprehension and English Language Learners on the Heinemann website as well as the related articles below.

Optiz, M. and Guccione, L. (2009). Comprehension and English Language Learners: 25 Oral Reading Strategies That Cross Proficiency Levels. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

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In the Classroom

5 Reasons Not to Use Round Robin Reading with ELLs

In this excerpt from Comprehension and English Language Learners: 25 Oral Reading Strategies That Cross Proficiency Levels, the authors discuss some of the reasons why round robin reading can prove ineffective as a strategy for improving English language learners' reading comprehension.

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Oral Language and ELLs: 5 Challenges and Solutions

In this new article written for Colorín Colorado, Lindsey Moses Guccione, a former ELL teacher, assistant education professor at the University of Northern Colorado, and co-author of our recommended resource book, shares a summary of five of the challenges related to oral language and reading activities she encountered in her ELL classroom. She also shares tips for addressing each of the challenges and student examples from her own experiences.

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New section! Oral Language and ELLs

For more information about oral language and ELLs, take a look at our new oral language resource section for materials related to readers' theater, assessing oral communication skills, and the ways in which culture affects children's communication.

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Books and Authors

Recommended Booklists: Migrant Stories and the Legacy of César Chávez

The following bilingual children's books explore the life of migrant farmworkers in a way that children can understand and relate to.

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Book of the Month

Return to Sender
By: Julia Alvarez

When Tyler's father is injured in a tractor accident, the family must either hire help to run their Vermont dairy farm or sell the farm. They decide to hire a family of Mexican migrant workers, and for Tyler, the workers' presence on the farm — as well as that of the family's three young daughters — is shrouded in mystery. As he develops a friendship with Mari, the eldest girl, he begins to wonder about the family's immigration status and what it means to be patriotic. In the meantime, Mari struggles with her own complicated feelings about life in the U.S. and Mexico and worries about her mother, who was supposed to have arrived from Mexico but is missing.

This unforgettable novel, told from both the perspectives of Tyler and Mari, opens the door for discussing important questions about immigration, friendship, and family with students of all backgrounds. Winner of the 2010 Americas Award for Children and Young Adult's Literature and Pura Belpré Author Award. Recommended for ages 10 and older.

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Related Resources

Educators interested in finding additional material related to Return to Sender will find information at Julia Alvarez's website and in this teacher's guide from Random House.

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Latinas Who Made a Difference

Celebrate Women's History Month with these bilingual books about girls and women who refused to abandon their dreams simply because of their gender, such as Gabriela Mistral, Celia Cruz, Sonia Sotomayor, and Sor Juana Inés. This booklist is also available in Spanish. For additional titles, see the following lists from Reading Rockets:

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