November 2012

Don't miss the new Colorín Colorado blog focused on the Common Core State Standards and ELLs!

Type of Newsletter: TELLEGRAM
Date: November, 2012

Dear Subscribers:

We are excited to announce the launch of a new Colorín Colorado blog focused on the Common Core State Standards and ELLs, and we'd love to hear your feedback about it! We also are featuring resources related to content instruction for ELLs, which you may find useful in sharing with colleagues.


The Colorín Colorado Team

Don't Miss...

Booklists: American Indian and Alaska Heritage

Don't miss our children’s and young adult booklists featuring numerous titles written by/about American Indians and Alaska Natives. Books are organized by topic and range from traditional bilingual stories to photo essays about contemporary American Indian families. We hope you'll get creative and look for opportunities to include these books and related classroom resources throughout the year and across the curriculum!

New on Colorín Colorado

New Blog! Common Core and ELLs

Our new blog about Common Core and ELLs includes updates from the ELL field about language proficiency standards, assessments, and professional development, as well as ELL considerations for other initiatives around the CCSS. Our blogger is Dr. Diane Staehr Fenner, a former EFL teacher whose recent work through her small business, DSF Consulting, has focused on the implementation of the new standards for ELLs. We hope you'll chime in and we welcome your input about what's happening in your schools around the Common Core!

Meet the Expert: Christine Rowland

Christine Rowland is a teacher and professional developer at the UFT Teacher Center at Christopher Columbus High School in Bronx, NY. A native of England, Rowland has spent her teaching career in high schools in New York City, where many of her incoming high school students are recent newcomers to the United States. She also is a member of the American Federation of Teachers’ ELL Educator Cadre.

In this interview with Colorín Colorado, Christine discusses content-area instruction and project-based learning for high school ELLs, as well as her approach to collaboration with content-area teachers. In the last part of the interview, Christine draws upon her experience in providing college guidance counseling for her ELL students.

Research & Reports

Rethinking Literacy: Reading in the Common-Core Era

Earlier this month, Education Week launched a new report focused on the changes in literacy instruction that will be necessary to help students meet the Common Core State Standards. Topics include updates from the research field, support for struggling readers, new approaches to non-fiction and writing, and changes to textbooks in light of the standards. One of the articles in the report, "N.M. School Builds Bridge to Standards for ELLs" by Learning the Language's Lesli Maxwell, includes an interview with a first-grade dual-language teacher involved in Colorín Colorado's Common Core in the Classroom project in Albuquerque, NM. You can read more about our project in this recent blog post written by Colorín Colorado Manager Lydia Breiseth.

Note: The entire report is available in a free digital edition online.

Report: English Language Proficiency Standards, the Common Core, and Next Generation Science Standards

The Council of Chief State School Officers just released a new report designed to help states align their English language proficiency (ELP) standards with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The report does not suggest a curriculum for English language development. Instead, it provides a framework that states can use to determine whether their ELP standards address the specific types of language skills and practices that students will need in order to achieve the English/language arts, mathematics, and science goals outlined in the CCSS and the NGSS. The report includes models that show how sample ELP standards align with the CCSS and NGSS standards, and it also describes a procedure that states can use to evaluate how well their own ELP standards align with the new standards.

Recommended Resources

120 Content Strategies for English Language Learners: Teaching for Academic Success in Secondary School, 2nd Edition

Jodi Reiss begins this useful guide by exploring cultural considerations of content instruction, including a thorough examination of diverse classroom behaviors and special considerations for specific content areas (such as different notation systems in math). She then outlines 120 strategies that can be used in upper elementary, middle, and secondary content classes. Mainstream, content-area and ELL educators will benefit from her approach of combining a conceptual framework with practical examples, as well as her advice on selecting core concepts when reviewing content standards. New features of the second edition include review and questioning techniques, technology connections, and a book club section to guide group discussion.

Reiss, J. (2011). 120 Content Strategies for English Language Learners: Teaching for Academic Success in Secondary School, 2nd Edition. Columbus, Ohio: Pearson.

In the Classroom

Updated Resources: Content Instruction for ELLs

Our updated section about teaching ELLs in the content areas includes information on academic language, literacy, and lesson planning, as well as content-specific ELL strategies for math, science, and social studies.

Note: If your state has adopted the Common Core State Standards, you may wish to use these resources to supplement professional development related to the language arts standards, which include literacy in the content areas.

Teaching English Language Learners to Navigate Textbooks

For ELLs, learning how to navigate a textbook effectively can be a powerful tool in increasing their comprehension of material in all of their academic work — particularly in the content areas. This article offers some strategies for teaching students how to use different parts of a textbook, understand the organization of a chapter within a textbook, and preview chapter content with a "chapter walk."

Video bonus: To see a chapter walk in action, take a look at our Watch and Learn series featuring Amber Prentice!

Books & Authors

Book of the Month

Kunu's Basket
Lee DeCora Francis
Illustrated by Susan Drucker

Product Description: Young Kunu wants to make a pack basket on his own. He's watched his dad and his grandfather make baskets on Indian Island, but now that he's trying to make one for himself, it's not as easy as he thought it would be. Kunu isn't a quitter, but he gets so frustrated that he has to go outside to cool off. When his grandfather asks Kunu to help him with some basket-making tasks, Kunu comes to understand that it is the tradition in his family for one generation to help the next. He also learns that it might take several tries before he gets it right. Can he be patient enough to try again and again? His grandfather shows him the way, and at last Kunu's first basket is something to celebrate.

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month! Learn more from the following titles:

  • New! Professional Booklist on Adoption and ELLs: This new professional booklist from Colorín Colorado offers guidance around questions of language for both the teachers and parents of adopted children.
  • Children's Adoption Stories: In these stories you will meet many memorable characters who have a connection to adoption, 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.