May 2014

As the school year wraps up, we're featuring resources for summer learning, a new video interview with Dr. Pedro Noguera of New York University, and information about what the Common Core means for ELL educator preparation!

Type of Newsletter: TELLEGRAM
Date: May, 2014

Dear Subscribers,

We are happy to share lots of great features with you this month, including resources for summer learning, a new video interview with Dr. Pedro Noguera of New York University, and information about what the Common Core means for ELL educator preparation.

All the best for the end of the school year!

The Colorín Colorado Team

This Month's Highlights

Survey: What would you like to see on Colorín Colorado in the future?

As we plan our editorial calendar for next year, we'd like to know what new topics you would like to see on our website, what your favorite resources are on Colorín Colorado, and how you're currently using the website. Please take a moment to fill out this brief survey and enter your name in a raffle to win a bag of books for your classroom or school library from Colorín Colorado!

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Colorín Colorado celebrates family traditions and the rich diversity of Asian and Pacific American (APA) Heritage with booklists, activities, research reports, and a variety of resources and ideas for educators. Be sure to take a look at our updated booklists for kids and young adults, which include the following family-themed topics:

Teen Pregnancy Prevention

May is the National Month to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Visit The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy to find comprehensive resources for educators, parents, and teens, including resources that have been translated into Spanish.

Don't Miss...

Teacher Appreciation

Every month is a good month for teacher appreciation! Take a look at a video clip of Pat Mora reading her beautiful poem, "Ode to Teachers," in our Teacher Appreciation Section or on YouTube. You can also hear Pat read the poem in Spanish. In addition, you can watch authors, illustrators, and educators talk about the teachers who had a significant impact on them.

Booklist: Time for Soccer!

As the World Cup approaches, it's the perfect time to share stories about the "beautiful game" of soccer. These stories celebrate the excitement of the game, as well as the spirit of champions — whether it's as a young Mia Hamm learns that winners never quit, or a boy in a wheelchair takes to the soccer field with his friends.

New Booklist: Stories from Brazil

Take a look at this collection of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry books about Brazil in preparation for the 2014 World Cup! Journey to the Amazon rainforest and Rio, learn about the art of capoeira, and get to know soccer legend Pelé through his own words.

New on Colorín Colorado

Meet the Expert Interview: Pedro Noguera

Dr. Pedro Noguera is a sociologist at New York University whose work focuses on the impact of demographics as well as of social and economic conditions on schools around the country. The author of numerous books and scholarly articles, Dr. Noguera appears as a regular commentator on educational issues on CNN, MSNBC, National Public Radio and other national news outlets.

In this interview with Colorín Colorado (also available on YouTube), Dr. Noguera discusses the way his parents, teachers, and librarians shaped his early education; the effects of poverty on school achievement; the ways that strong community schools can help support student success; and the importance of building relationships with ELLs and their families.

Common Core Corner

This month on our Common Core blog, we have been focused on how ELL teacher preparation is taking new academic standards into account. Related posts include the following:

Changes in the Expertise of ESL Professionals: Knowledge and Action in an Era of New Standards

This TESOL report written by Guadalupe Valdés, Amanda Kibler, and Aída Walqui reviews the changes that the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards are bringing to the field of ELL teacher preparation. In her related blog post, Dr. Diane Staehr Fenner summarizes highlights from the report focused on how coursework in teacher education programs, as well as professional development, must be reframed to reflect the new demands placed on ESL teachers in light of the new standards.

What the edTPA Means for ELL Educators

In a subsequent two-part post, Diane then shifts her focus to the new edTPA assessment (formerly called the Teacher Performance Assessment) for pre-service teacher candidates. Part 1 provides some background on the edTPA and the edTPA assessment for ELL educators, called the English as an Additional Language Assessment. Part 2 shares reflections from teacher educators who have first-hand experience with the new assessment, including:

  • Dr. Laura Baecher, Associate Professor of TESOL, Hunter College, CUNY, New York, NY
  • Dr. Cynthia Lundgren, Assistant Professor at The Center for Second Language Teaching and Learning at Hamline University's Graduate School of Education in St. Paul, MN (and a Colorín Colorado adviser)
  • Luciana C. de Oliveira, Associate Professor of TESOL and Applied Linguistics, Teachers College, Columbia University

Evaluating Teachers with Classroom Observations: Lessons Learned in Four Districts

Classroom observation is a significant component to many of the new teacher evaluation systems being designed nationally, yet it has not received the same level of attention and scrutiny as value-added measurement — even though it is weighted more heavily in many systems. Researchers at the Brookings Institute examined the use of classroom observation in four urban districts and found a troubling bias that favored teachers of high achieving students and penalized teachers of struggling learners, including ELLs. The researchers suggest approaches for taking demographics and classroom conditions into account in observations, as well as the inclusion of trained outside observers, in order to assure a more equitable system that does not discourage teachers from working with diverse student populations.

Whitehurst, G., Chingos, M., and Lindquist, K. (2014). Evaluating Teachers with Classroom Observations: Lessons Learned in Four Districts. Brookings Institution.

Recommended Resources

Schooling for Resilience: Improving the Life Trajectory of Black and Latino Boys

By Edward Fergus, Pedro Noguera, and Margary Martin

As a group, Black and Latino boys face persistent and devastating disparities in achievement when compared to their White counterparts. Schooling for Resilience investigates how seven newly formed schools, created specifically to serve boys of color, set out to address the broad array of academic and social problems faced by Black and Latino boys. Drawing on student and teacher surveys, focus groups, interviews, and classroom observations, the authors investigate how these schools were developed, what practices they employed, and how their students responded academically and socially. In doing so, the authors identify educational strategies that all schools can learn from.

Fergus, E., Noguera, P., and Martin, M. (2014). Schooling for Resilience: Improving the Life Trajectory of Black and Latino Boys. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

In the Classroom

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 engage ELL parents as chaperones.

Summer Reading with ELLs at the Library

As summer peaks, many local libraries advertise special summer reading programs and activities to keep children enthusiastic about reading. Learn more about ways you can help ELLs make the most of the summer reading programs at their local libraries!

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. Sharon also includes a number of websites that can be used as "virtual field trips" from the classroom.

Parent Resources and Outreach

Summer Learning Resources for Parents

The summer is a great time for kids to read and learn, but parents may need some guidance on how to make that goal a reality. Take a look at these bilingual tips and resources full of ideas that can be done at home or in the community. This resource section is also available in Spanish.

Books and Authors

The Problem with Being Slightly Heroic by Uma Krishnaswami

Dini and Maddie, very best friends, are back in the same country at the same time! Better still, Dolly Singh, the starriest star in all of Bollywood, is in America too. Life seems perfect to Dini — but why can't she untie the knot in her stomach? Because so much can go wrong when a big star like Dolly is in town. All Dini has to do is make sure Dolly has everything she needs, from a rose petal milk shake to her lost passport to…a parade? And an elephant? Uh-oh… It's time to think. What Would Dolly Do? If Dini can't figure it out, Dolly might take matters into her own hands—and that will surely lead to the biggest mess of all! This sequel to The Grand Plan to Fix Everything will have fans cheering for Dini's ability to save the day once again!

Related Resource: Don't miss the Grand and Heroic Activity Kit on Uma's website!

Meet the Author: Uma Krishnaswami

Uma Krishnswami writes for children and teaches writing in the MFA/Writing for Children and YA program, 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 talks about her favorite place to read as a child, discusses the inspiration behind a number of her books, and offers some writing advice!

Book Giveaway: Books by Pedro Noguera

Enter a raffle to win one of the following featured books by June 6, 2014! Send an e-mail through our contact form with "Book Giveaway" in the subject and include your title of choice:

  • Invisible No More: Understanding the Disenfranchisement of Latino Men and Boys, edited by Pedro Noguera, Aída Hurtado, and Edward Fergus. (signed by author)
  • Schooling for Resilience: Improving the Life Trajectory of Black and Latino Boys
    By Edward Fergus, Pedro Noguera, and Margary Martin