March 2014

This month, we are featuring a lot of great resources about math instruction for ELLs, as well materials related to March highlights such as Women's History Month and Migrant Farmworker Week.

Type of Newsletter: TELLEGRAM
Date: March, 2014

Dear Subscribers:

This month, we are featuring a lot of great resources about math instruction for ELLs, as well materials related to March highlights such as Women's History Month and Migrant Farmworker Week.

In addition, we have included information on two books about unaccompanied children who migrate to the U.S. (including a recent Pura Belpré winner) which may be particularly useful for educators working with immigrant populations.

If you haven't done so, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus or through our ELL Discussion group on Facebook to find out the latest updates from Colorín Colorado!

All the best,
The Colorín Colorado Team

This Month's Highlights

Women's History Month: 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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Helping Migrant Students Succeed: Resources and Books

In honor of Migrant Farmworker week, celebrated in conjunction with César Chávez's birthday (March 31), learn more about the challenges that face migrant farmworker 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 the following booklists:

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Don't Miss...

Latino Culture Books Available from First Book!

Does your classroom, school, or program need more brand-new multicultural books? For a limited time, our friends at First Book are doubling every order of books celebrating Latino culture (which are already 50-90% less than retail price) thanks to generous funding from Disney. They have Spanish and bilingual books, too! Fill your cart with books from the Latino Culture Section and apply promotion code LCC_PARTNERS at checkout to get 50% off every book in that category.

This opportunity is first come, first serve until Saturday, March 15, 2014 or while supplies lasts. Not signed up with First Book? Click here to connect for free and get ongoing access to free and low cost books for the kids you serve.

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Common Core Corner

Common Core Curriculum Rubric: Meeting the Needs of ELLs

Our Common Core and ELLs blogger, Dr. Diane Staehr Fenner, was recently asked to review a CCSS-based curriculum from an ELL point of view. As she worked her way through the material, she thought it would be helpful to have a rubric that can be used to evaluate how successfully a lesson meets ELLs' needs at different proficiency levels. She and Dr. Sydney Snyder came up with such a rubric, which is featured in this February blog post and is also available as a PDF online. Feel free to adapt as needed or comment on the blog about how you might use it!

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Common Core and ELLs: Math Resources

Our math posts on the blog feature a number of resources, recommended ideas, and materials that can be used in Common Core professional development focused on ELL instruction. One highlight is this TESOL interview with Dr. Ayanna Cooper and Dr. Anita Bright about what ESL teachers can expect when looking at both math and English language arts standards.

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Research and Reports

Mathematics, the Common Core, and Language

Dr. Judit Moschkovich is Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of California, Santa Cruz and an expert in the relationship between language and mathematics, particularly as part of instruction for bilingual populations. This paper, published by Understanding Language, makes recommendations for developing mathematics instruction for English Language Learners (ELLs) aligned with the Common Core State Standards, such as "focusing on ELL students' mathematical reasoning, not the correctness of their mathematical language use." The report includes a classroom vignette and an accompanying video clip with Dr. Moschkovich which can be shared with colleagues in professional development.

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Recommended Resources

Supporting English Language Learners in Math Class, Grades K-2

Product Description: Supporting English Language Learners in Math Class, Grades K2 (Bresser, Melanese, & Sphar, 2009) outlines the challenges ELL students face when learning math and provides a wealth of specific strategies and lesson ideas teachers can use to help them succeed. The lessons in this book guide teachers of primary grades in developing students' proficiency in English while also developing their mathematical understanding. In addition, teachers learn how to modify existing math lessons to support students with varying degrees of English language proficiency.

This book is part of a multimedia series which also includes video, guides, and titles for:

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Excerpt: Teaching Math to English Language Learners

This excerpt from the above title provides an overview of the role that language plays in math instruction and areas where ELLs may need additional support, including engaging in conversations about math, understanding everyday terms that are used for specific math purposes (such as "left" in "How many are left?"), and understanding homonyms ("some/sum" and "whole/hole"). It also explains the importance of teaching ELLs how to use the academic and mathematical language they are taught, rather than memorizing vocabulary words.

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Bilingual High School Math Lesson: Graphic Quadratics

Carlos Cabana is a high school math teacher in Oakland, California. As part of a series of math lessons on the Inside Mathematics website, Carlos shares his "Graphic Quadratics" lesson for Newcomer ELLs in Algebra, accompanied by 90 minutes of video which are broken into 4-5 minute segments. The feature also includes a reflection piece, a video of Carlos meeting with his math coach, video transcripts, subtitles for Spanish portions, and related classroom materials.

Note: Carlos delivers the lesson to a group of Spanish-speaking students in both English and Spanish due to the on the ongoing arrival of new students throughout the year. What caught our attention in this video was the successful use of native language support and the ability of students to tackle complex topics in their native language. While this may not be a model that can be easily replicated, it is a useful illustration of what high school ELLs can accomplish when they have targeted support even if their English is just developing.

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In the Classroom

Math and ELLs

Language plays an important role in math instruction — particularly in the Common Core era where students may be asked to explain their reasoning or write about their problem-solving process. These articles provide strategies and ideas for effective math instruction with ELLs, including information on language instruction.

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Parent Resources and Outreach

Fun with Math: Activities for Families

If you're looking for some engaging math activities to share with families of younger children, take a look at these Growing Readers articles in English and Spanish on STEM topics. Growing Readers is a free monthly newsletter available through Colorín Colorado or Reading Rockets, which can be used for parent communications and family meetings.

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Illinois Early Learning Tip Sheets

In addition, you may be interested in the tip sheets about math, early literacy, and a number of other topics from Illinois Early Learning, which are organized into a searchable list by category and date and are available in English, Spanish, and Polish.

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Books and Authors

Each year, thousands of unaccompanied children come to the U.S., often in search of relatives living here. This month we are featuring two books, one for children and one for young adults, that tell the stories of two such children. Both books can be used for discussion with students as well as in professional groups in school or community settings.

A Migrant's Tale by Duncan Tonatiuh

When the rains don't come in the spring, Papá Rabbit sets out north to work in the carrot and lettuce fields. He doesn't return when expected, however, and his eldest son, Pancho Rabbit, embarks on a journey to find his father. He meets a coyote who agrees to show him a shortcut, but only in exchange for Pancho's food. After an exhausting journey, Pancho is left with nothing — except the hope of finding his father. An author's note provides extensive information and recommended resources. Winner 2014 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award and Author Honor Award.

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Bilingual Literature Study of Immigration Stories

This unit of study created by teacher Caroline Sweet takes students through eight picture books that deal with immigration journeys or issues immigrants face in a new country, including A Migrant's Tale. Various skills include vocabulary, inferencing, predicting, and identifying similes and metaphors, as well as Common Core skills such as identifying point of view, summarizing literary texts, and identifying the theme of the text.

Note: This unit is available through the website Teachers Pay Teachers for a fee of $8.00.

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Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother (Adapted for Young Adults) by Sonia Nazario

In 2007, Los Angeles Times reporter Sonia Nazario published Enrique's Journey, a book based on her Pulitzer-Prize winning reports about a teenage boy's harrowing trip north to the U.S. from Honduras to find his mother. Sonia, who retraced Enrique's steps through Central America, has now published a Young Adult version of the compelling and gritty book adapted for readers 12 and older. This edition includes photos, notes on her journey, and updates on her current communication on Enrique and his family.

Additional resources and materials related to the book and Enrique's family can be found below:

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Book Giveaway

Enter a raffle to win one of the following featured books by March 30, 2014! Send an e-mail through our contact form with "Book Giveaway" in the subject and include your title of choice:

  • Supporting English Language Learners in Math Class, Grades K-2
  • Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother (Adapted for Young Adults) by Sonia Nazario