March 2013

As spring testing begins, we are sending our tried and true ELL assessment resources! We also are introducing a new monthly feature called Common Core Corner, where we will gather highlights from our Common Core and ELLs blog and from the field.

Type of Newsletter: TELLEGRAM
Date: March, 2013

Dear Subscribers:

As spring testing begins, we are sending our tried and true ELL assessment resources! We also are introducing a new monthly feature called Common Core Corner, where we will gather highlights from our Common Core and ELLs blog and from the field.

In addition, we want to remember some of the special celebrations in March — Women's History Month and Migrant Farmworker Week. A number of related booklists are included below.

All the best for the spring,

The Colorín Colorado Team

Common Core Corner

Background Knowledge: A Key to Close Reading with ELLs

In this follow-up to her Teaching Informational Text to ELLs post, Dr. Diane Staehr Fenner takes an in-depth look at what close reading means for ELLs, discusses the important role of building background knowledge, and walks through a suggested sample text, mapping ELL considerations.

TESOL Discussion: What is the role of the ESL teacher in the Common Core?

In February, TESOL International Association invited a group of guests from the ELL field to its national headquarters in Alexandria, VA to discuss the role of the ESL teacher in the implementation of the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Colorín Colorado Manager Lydia Breiseth provides a summary of the group discussions and questions that emerged from the meeting.

You can share your input on both of these topics in the comments section of each blog post. We look forward to hearing from you!

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.

New on Colorín Colorado

From the Heart Interview: Ayanna Cooper

Ayanna Cooper is an independent consultant who specializes in and facilitates professional development for educators of English language learners. She is currently serving a second term on TESOL's Professional Development Standing Committee and serves as the Black English Language Professional and Friends Forum leader (BELPaF). In this interview with Colorín Colorado, Ayanna discusses strategies for culturally responsive teaching, highlights issues around Black ELLs on which she'd like to see more research, and talks about empathy in the classroom. To read more from Ayanna, take a look at her recent articles in Language Magazine and Teachers of Color.

Recommended Resources

Girls' Attitudes About STEM Careers: Similarities and Differences Among Race/Ethnic Groups

Although many girls today challenge the stereotype that they can't excel at math and science, these same girls may not see themselves pursuing careers in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering and math. In this lesson plan from Teaching Tolerance for middle and high school, students read about new research that explores obstacles to women pursuing STEM careers and discuss how to remove the barriers. Students will also compare and contrast their own perceptions of STEM careers to those of girls of different races and ethnic groups.

Common Language Assessment for English Learners

By Margo Gottlieb

This step-by-step guide demonstrates how teachers, school leaders, and administrators can collaborate to design effective, school-wide language assessment programs for their English language learners. For each phase of the assessment development process (Planning, Design, Refinement, Inspection, and Maintenance), Gottlieb provides organizing principles, lead questions, and action steps, all directed toward helping educators create valid and reliable language measures that are aligned with classroom instruction and able to be used consistently across multiple classrooms.

Gottlieb, M. (2011). Common Language Assessment for English Learners. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.

In the Classroom

ELL Assessment and Placement

This section addresses the critical questions of how to properly assess and place English language learners. Topics include program placement; informal, formal, and written assessment; state standards; and information about testing for parents. Be sure to watch the video clips about ELL assessment, also available on YouTube! For more information, take a look at the following popular resources from Colorín Colorado:

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 celebrate the accomplishments of Civil Rights leader César Chávez.

Women's History Month

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:

Book of the Month

Look Up!: Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer
By Robert Burleigh
Illustrated by Raúl Colón

Meet Henrietta Leavitt, a 19th-century pioneer for women in science. From careful observations, Leavitt discovered at the age of 25 that the brightness of a star determines its distance from Earth; her work helped us better understand the vastness of the universe. Warm colored pencil and watercolor illustrations of Henrietta and the night sky by award-winning artist Raúl Colón create a contemplative mood. Back matter includes quotes about stars, a glossary, information about other female astronomers, and more.