May 2012

Don't miss resources in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, including an author interview with Uma Krishnaswami and a brand new booklist.

Type of Newsletter: TELLEGRAM
Date: May, 2012

Dear Subscribers:

This month, we are excited to add some new resources in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, including an author interview with Uma Krishnaswami and a brand new booklist. We also encourage you to take a look at our ELL web resources map, which now features detailed information about each state's ELL guidelines. Please keep us informed if you see something on your state's page that needs to be updated!

All the best,

The Colorín Colorado Team

Don't Miss...

Remembering Maurice Sendak: Where the Wild Things Are

This bilingual Family Literacy Bag from Reading Rockets provides activity ideas based on the late Maurice Sendak's beloved classic, Where the Wild Things Are. The Literacy Bag is also available in Spanish, as is the book (Donde Viven los Monstruos).

Appreciating Teachers

One great teacher can make all the difference! Take a look at our Teacher Appreciation section to watch a video of Pat Mora reading her poem, "Ode to Teachers," as well as to hear about special teachers who impacted individuals such as Dr. Thelma Meléndez, Rafael López, and Bright Ideas author Kristina Robertson.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Colorín Colorado celebrates family traditions and the rich diversity of Asian and Pacific American (APA) Heritage with booklists, activities, and a variety of resources and ideas for ELL educators! Be sure to take a look at our updated booklists featured in the APA resource section.

New on Colorín Colorado

Asian Pacific American Heritage Booklist: Favorite Foods

From special holiday recipes to family favorites, these stories celebrate delicious dishes and traditions passed from one generation to the next, as well as the blending of Asian Pacific and American cultures.

Meet the Author: Uma Krishnaswami

Uma Krishnaswami writes for children and teaches writing in the MFA/Writing for Children and YA program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Born in New Delhi, India, Uma has drawn on her own rich heritage as well as her experiences living between India and the U.S. for her books and stories. Her works include Monsoon, The Grand Plan to Fix Everything, and The Broken Tusk: Stories of the Hindu God Ganesha. In this interview with Colorín Colorado, Uma offers a behind-the-scenes look at many of her books, as well as some writing advice for budding authors!

Recommended Resources

Updated! ELL State Map

Many of the laws, documents, and procedures that affect English language learners (ELLs) are determined at the state level. In order to make this information more widely accessible, we have updated our web resources map to reflect each state's ELL regulations with the help of Dr. Debbie Zacarian from the Collaborative of Educational Services in Northampton, MA. Information on each state's page includes English language proficiency standards, assessment accommodations, identification procedures, and instruction guidelines.

Note: Since the information is likely to change over time, please feel free to send us updates as needed!

Assessment & Reflection With ELLs—And All Students

By Larry Ferlazzo and Katie Hull Sypnieski

In this excerpt from their upcoming book, The ESL/ELL Teacher's Survival Guide, Larry Ferlazzo and Katie Hull Sypnieski highlight student reflection as a tool for assessing the learning of English language learners and note that they have found the featured principles and strategies to be effective with all students. This excerpt is published on the Education Week website.

American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) — working with national partners such as America's Promise Alliance and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — has launched American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen, an initiative to help combat the dropout crisis in this country. Local public radio and television stations, located in 20 "hub markets" where the dropout crisis is most acute, are at the core of the American Graduate initiative.

The three public media stations in Washington, D.C. (WAMU, WHUT, and WETA, which is home to Colorín Colorado) are working closely with the community to address the dropout crisis in the nation's capital. Learn more from the American Graduate DC website, and take a look at what's happening around the country!

Research and Reports

Preparing All Teachers to Meet the Needs of English Language Learners: Applying Research to Policy and Practice for Teacher Effectiveness (Samson and Collins, 2012)

This new report by the Center for American Progress calls attention to an urgent need in American education. Although more than one fourth of the students in U.S. schools are learning English as a second language and regularly speak a language other than English at home, most teachers have been given little or no preparation for teaching English language learners (ELLs). In preparing this report, Samson and Collins researched state requirements, both for general classroom teachers and for teachers seeking special certification to work with ELL students. They found huge differences from state to state for both groups, with some states having no requirements at all for general classroom teachers, despite the fact that these are the teachers with whom many ELL students spend most of their school day.

To address what they define as a lack of accountability and alignment across localities and administrative levels, the authors recommend that all teachers receive training in oral language development, academic language development, and culturally inclusive practices. They also recommend that assessments of teachers' preparation in each of these areas be built into education curricula, state teacher examinations, and on-the-job performance evaluations to ensure that teachers are well prepared to deliver the best possible classroom instruction to their ELL students.

In the Classroom

Standards That Impact English Language Learners

In this article written for Colorín Colorado, John Segota of TESOL and Dr. Diane Staehr Fenner discuss the ways in which language proficiency and professional teaching standards can help shape the instruction of English language learners. They also discuss the relationship between these different sets of standards and their connection to the Common Core State Standards.

Successful Field Trips with English Language Learners

English language learners can benefit from field trips that enhance classroom learning. While it can be overwhelming for a teacher to organize such a trip, some planning beforehand and a few extra steps can make a big difference. This article offers some ideas for planning a successful trip for ELLs and providing students with a meaningful academic experience, as well as ways to get parents involved as chaperones.

Books and Authors

How the Library Can Help Parents Raise a Bilingual Child

In this blog post written for the Spanglish Baby website, Colorín Colorado Manager Lydia Breiseth writes about opportunities available to bilingual families at the public library and offers some ideas for supporting librarians' efforts to expand bilingual outreach, services, and materials.

Book of the Month

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything
by Uma Krishnaswami

Product Description: Eleven-year-old Dini loves everything about movies — especially Bollywood movies. So she would have been really excited about her family's move to India…if they were moving anywhere near Bombay, the center of the Bollywood universe and home to Dini's all-time most favorite favorite star, Dolly Singh. But no. Dini's now stuck in a teeny, tiny village that she can't even find on a map. Yet even small villages can have surprises! Uma Krishnaswami's joyful, lively, tale is full of preening peacocks, mischievous monkeys, delicious confections, and the wondrous, magical powers of coincidence.

May Book Giveaway!

We are holding a raffle to win a copy of the following books:

  • The Grand Plan to Fix Everything by Uma Krishnaswami (signed by the author)
  • The Happiest Tree by Uma Krishnaswami (signed by the author)
  • Hot, Hot Roti for Dad-ji by F. Zia
  • We Eat Rice by Min Hong
  • The Have a Good Day Café by Frances Park and Ginger Park
  • Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gillmore
  • To enter, please send an e-mail to Colorín Colorado with "Book giveaway" in the subject by May 31, 2012 and indicate your title of choice. One entry per family. Winners of any previous Book Giveaways are ineligible to win any other Book Giveaways for a period of one (1) year from the date of the Book Giveaway. See complete contest rules here.