In this issue:
This month, we are highlighting resources for adolescent ELLs about classroom instruction and college readiness. We are also featuring a group of new children's booklists for National Adoption Month and American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month.
A special thanks for those of you who responded to our recent surveys — please keep your questions and comments coming!
All the best for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday,
The Colorín Colorado Team
This month's highlights
The PALS Program is looking for field test sites!
The Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) is an early literacy assessment designed to screen children for possible reading difficulties and to diagnosis their strengths and weaknesses in literacy development. The PALS Office at the University of Virginia is currently field testing Spanish versions of PALS assessments for Kindergarten and Grades 1-3. If you teach in a bilingual or dual-language school that might be interested in participating in this project, the PALS team would love to hear from you! Please send an e-mail to Colorín Colorado and we will forward it to the researchers.
Professor Cathy Gutierrez-Gomez from the University of New Mexico has compiled a number of helpful tips for educators on how to choose appropriate classroom books about Native Americans that highlight authentic and meaningful experiences and avoid prevalent stereotypes. She has also included a list of recommended books related to Thanksgiving.
These one-page reading tips for parents translated into Navajo offer ways that parents can help kids become successful readers. Although we've divided these tips by age (PreK-3rd grade), many of them can be used with children at various ages and stages. The tips are also available in 10 other languages.
New on Colorín Colorado
We are pleased to offer a new series of children's booklists featuring numerous titles written by/about Native Americans, from bilingual traditional stories to photo essays about contemporary Native American children and families. Get creative and look for opportunities to include these books and related classroom resources throughout the year and across the curriculum!
November is National Adoption Month, and we are celebrating with a new booklist in honor of ELLs who have been adopted from other countries. In these stories you will meet many memorable characters, including a king and queen who must find the source of their mysterious heartache; a leopard whose spots don't match the stripes of his tiger parents; and a young boy from Ethiopia who talks about the life and family he remembers. The stories, author notes, and discussion questions offer educators and families guidance in discussing adoption with children.
Education Week has released a new resource publication on English Language Learners in the Classroom. The Spotlight is a collection of articles selected by Education Week editors and contains articles and commentaries on:
- Developing oral-language skills for English-learners
- Using data to inform ELL instruction
- Educating long-term English-language learners
- Strategies for math instruction
- Mixing students at varying levels of English proficiency
- Online resources for English-language learners
- Research on improving achievement for English-learners
The collection is free to Education Week subscribers and is available to non-subscribers for a small fee.
In 2008, journalist Brooke Hauser wrote an article for The New York Times about the senior prom at a school serving newcomer immigrant high school students in Brooklyn. Hauser writes, "The students captured my heart, and the following year I decided to spend a year with the new kids at the International High School at Prospect Heights." The New Kids is the magnificent result of the year she spent entrenched with teachers and students at the school, following students from their very first traumatic days of school all the way to their graduation ceremony.
We watch as Yasmin, a thoughtful young woman from Yemen, fights to become her younger siblings' guardian after losing her father and mother within the same year — and then prepares for an arranged marriage. We meet Mohamed Bah, a charismatic young man from Sierra Leone with bright plans for the future and a mysterious, troubling past. One by one, Hauser reveals the stories of students who have fled war-torn countries, who are trying to get their immigration papers, who are raising young children, who are working late into the night to support their families, who are on the verge of dropping out, and who are just trying to get a girl — any girl — to notice them, all while navigating their own identities, obligations, and the promise of an American future.
We also meet the heroic teachers and staff who shepherd the Class of 2008 through their senior year, college essays, scholarship applications, Regents exams, graduation rehearsal, and a play about the prom designed to answer students' questions about the sacred ritual, doing so with compassion, tough love, and a sense of humor. The New Kids captures not only the complexity and human drama that our immigrant students are experiencing every day, but also the remarkable lengths to which this particular school has gone to help them survive — and succeed.
Hauser, Brook. (2011). The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens. New York: Free Press.
Research and Reports
Excelencia In Education: Roadmap For Ensuring America's Future By Increasing Latino College Completion
This roadmap from Excelencia in Education serves as a tool for stimulating dialogue in communities across the nation about action needed to increase degree attainment generally, and Latino degree attainment specifically. The roadmap addresses college preparation, as well as access, persistence, and degree attainment for traditional college-age students along with older students. It is also designed to complement broader efforts by partners as well as others, to meet the nation's goals for degree attainment. Four levels of policy are considered: 1) community; 2) college/institution; 3) state; and, 4) federal.
In the classroom
For English language learners, the challenges of familiarizing themselves with the college application process can be overwhelming. ELL teachers can play an important role, however, by helping students prepare for and navigate the application process. This section features a number of articles with great ideas for ways that ELL educators can support their students as they consider their future plans. For parent information in Spanish about applying to college, take a look at these recommended resources!
Video Resources: ELLs in Middle and High School
- Webcast: This webcast features Kathleen Leos, Deborah Santiago, and Susan Lafond. Our expert panel discusses demographic trends, instructional strategies, school-family partnerships, and college readiness for adolescent ELLs.
- Meet the Expert: In this Meet the Expert interview, Bobbi Houtchens offers teachers and administrators her strategies for encouraging her at-risk students to start thinking about college and see their potential. (Playlist: Adolescent ELLs)
Additional resources for ELL instruction for preschool, elementary, and middle/high school ELLs can be found in our ELL Resources by Grade section.
Books and Authors
Bringing Asha Home
By Uma Krishnaswami
Illustrated by Jamel Akib
It's Rakhi Day, a Hindu celebration special to brothers and sisters, and Arun wishes for a little sister. Soon his wish comes true when he finds out that his parents will be adopting Asha, a baby girl from India. Waiting for Asha is hard, though, and Arun is impatient. Arun prepares for Asha by helping to decorate her room and making paper airplanes that will bring her to his family sooner. Arun's patience finally pays off when Asha arrives — just in time to celebrate another Rakhi Day. Beautiful pastel illustrations bring Arun and this uplifting story to life.
In this video excerpt from our recent interview with Uma Krishnaswami, the author shares the story behind Bringing Asha Home and of how she became interested in writing a children's book about adoption. The full interview will be available early in 2012.
The books on this list offer a wide range of perspectives on Thanksgiving, from stories of immigrants adapting Thanksgiving traditions in their own special way to modern reflections about the things for which we are thankful. Many of the titles are also available in Spanish.
Book Giveaway: Adoption Stories
Enter our raffle for one of the following titles:
- Bringing Asha Home by Uma Krishnaswami (signed by the author)
- Yafi's Family: An Ethiopian Boy's Journey of Love, Loss, and Adoption by Linda Pettit
- Allison by Allen Say
- I Don't Have Your Eyes by Carrie A. Kitze
To enter, please send an e-mail to Colorín Colorado with "Book giveaway" in the subject by 11:59 p.m. on December 15, 2011, 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. Previous contest winners See complete contest rules here.]