This month, we are focusing on early childhood resources for English language learners, as well as some special features highlighting Asian Pacific American Heritage.
All the best,
The Colorín Colorado Team
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.
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:
- Discussion guide from Lifetime, who made a movie based on the book
- Simon and Schuster: Video with Gaby Rodriguez
- The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy (resources also available in Spanish)
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!
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.
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.
ABCmouse.com 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
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."
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
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.
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
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)
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.