May 2013

This month, we are focusing on early childhood resources for English language learners, as well as some special features highlighting Asian Pacific American Heritage.

Type of Newsletter: TELLEGRAM
Date: May, 2013

Dear Subscribers:

This month, we are focusing on early childhood resources for English language learners, as well as some special features highlighting Asian Pacific American Heritage.

Thank you for your responses to our recent survey, as well as your comments on our blog and Facebook discussion group. It's always great to hear from you!

All the best,

The Colorín Colorado Team

Don't Miss...

Appreciating Teachers

Watch Pat Mora read her poem "Ode to Teachers" in our Teacher Appreciation Section! The video is also available on YouTube, where you can see her read the Spanish version as well.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Colorín Colorado celebrates family traditions and the rich diversity of Asian and Pacific American (APA) Heritage with recommended books, activities, and a variety of resources and ideas for educators. Be sure to take a look at our updated booklists organized by topic and grade, including a new booklist with titles for young children, as well as our updated research reports focused on APA students.

The Pregnancy Project: A Memoir

May is also Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, and for those of you working with young adults, you may be interested in The Pregnancy Project: A Memoir. Growing up, Gaby Rodriguez was often told she would end up a teen mom and so she decided to "live down" to expectations, faking a pregnancy for a school project as a high school senior. What she learned changed her life forever, and made international headlines in the process. Related resources include:

Common Core Corner

TESOL International Association recently published two valuable documents that address the opportunities and challenges for ELL educators within the Common Core:

  • Issue Brief on the Common Core and ELLs: This comprehensive issue brief, published in March 2013, provides the most useful summary to date of what the new standards mean for ELLs. Topics include background information about the standards and how they were developed, what changes in the CCSS mean for ELL instruction, the relationship of content assessment and English language proficiency standards to the CCSS, and the role that ESL and bilingual teachers will play when implementing the CCSS for ELLs.
  • TESOL Report: The Changing Role of the ESL Teacher: Earlier this year, TESOL invited a group of ESL teachers, administrators, researchers, and policymakers to its national headquarters in Alexandria, VA to discuss the changing role of the ESL teacher, particularly within the Common Core. This report summarizes the topics that emerged from the conversation, including the varying responsibilities, status, and preparation of ESL teachers; identifying and building upon the expertise that ESL teachers offer their school community; and next steps in amplifying ESL teachers' voices in policy discussions.

Learn more: For additional information about these resources, take a look at our related posts on the Common Core and ELLs blog!

Meeting the CCSS Needs of Young Dual Language Learners

In this blog post, Diane Staehr Fenner explores challenges, promising practices, areas of need, and resources related to implementing the Common Core with young children, particularly dual language learners.

Recommended Resources

Head Start: The Importance of Home Language Series

This series of tip sheets is designed to provide families and staff with basic information on topics related to young children learning two or more languages. The series, available in English and Spanish, emphasizes the benefits of being bilingual and the importance of maintaining the home language. The tip sheets were created by Head Start's National Center on Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness in partnership with Colorín Colorado.

Many Languages, Building Connections: Supporting Infants and Toddlers Who Are Dual Language Learners

Product Description: Many Languages, Building Connections outlines adaptable strategies that caregivers of infants and toddlers can use to learn how language develops, how cultural differences can come into play, and how to assess an individual child's situation to provide appropriate support. From welcoming diverse families to creating nurturing communities that value and support each child's home language while also fostering English acquisition, the helpful strategies in Many Languages, Building Connections prepare caregivers for the diverse reality they encounter in their work.

Nemeth, K. (2012). Many Languages, Building Connections: Supporting Infants and Toddlers Who Are Dual Language Learners. Lewisville, NC: Grpyhon House.

Recommended Website: ABCmouse is an award-winning early learning website for children ages 2-6 that can be used at home or in the classroom. Developed in close collaboration with early childhood education experts, such as Colorín Colorado advisor Dr. Rebecca Palacios, the ABCmouse curriculum encompasses the subjects of reading, math, science, social studies, art and music through carefully designed educational activities including books, games, animations, puzzles, songs and printables. Public school teachers, Head Start teachers, community centers and public libraries can register for free. It is a subscription-based program for families. ABCmouse has a Spanish site that currently supports children that speak Spanish but are learning English.

Research & Reports

Dual Language and Young ELLs: New Report

A new report released earlier this week by researchers affiliated with the Center for Early Care and Early Education Research—Dual-Language Learners summarizes more than 200 studies focused on the language and cognitive development of young ELLs and highlights practices that have significant impact on ELLs. According to Lesli Maxwell of Education Week, "Young English-language learners who are still developing oral and literacy skills in their home languages benefit most in early-childhood programs that regularly expose them to both languages. That's one of several major takeaways in a new federally funded analysis of the large, and growing, population of dual-language learners, ranging from birth to 5, already enrolled in, or headed for, early-childhood-education programs."

Supporting Dual Language Learners and Their Families

This article from the March 2013 edition of Young Children, published by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, demonstrates how teachers can design activities that support English language development in preschool while at the same time encouraging dual language learners' continued growth in their home language. The authors discuss the advantages children experience as a result of being bilingual, but they also stress that children can quickly lose the ability to speak their home language unless teachers and parents consciously and systematically support its use. The article includes a description of a program called Personalized Oral Language Learning (POLL), developed by three of the articles' authors to provide a framework for language learning in preschool.

In the Classroom

Preschool ELL Resources

Our updated early childhood resource section includes our preschool webcast and videos, classroom strategies, parent tips, research reports, policy recommendations, children's booklists, professional guides, and recommended websites.

Tips for Teaching ELLs in Summer School

If you are planning on teaching ELLs in summer school, take a look at these strategies for building background knowledge, vocabulary, and academic skills from veteran teacher Sharon Eghigian from Utica, NY.

Books and Authors

Book of the Month

Starry River of the Sky
By Grace Lin

Product Description: The moon is missing from the remote Village of Clear Sky, but only a young boy named Rendi seems to notice. Rendi has run away from home and is now working as a chore boy at the village inn. He can't help but notice the village's peculiar inhabitants and their problems, but when a mysterious lady arrives at the inn with the gift of storytelling, Rendi begins to realize that perhaps it is his own story that holds the answers to his new friends' questions.

Newbery Honor author Grace Lin brings readers another enthralling fantasy featuring her gorgeous full-color illustrations in this companion to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. (Grades 3-6)

For related resources, see this book trailer and our author interview with Grace Lin.

Movie Tie-in: In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson

If your students have seen the movie "42" about the life of Jackie Robinson, they may be interested in this movie tie-in! Based on the author's own experiences, the story introduces us to Shirley Temple Wong as she arrives in Brooklyn in 1947 — the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. During moments that are both heartbreaking and hilarious, Shirley captures the highs and lows of coming to live in a new country, learning English, and falling in love with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Extension activities are available from Scholastic.