This month, we are featuring a wonderful collection of resources focused on engaging the families of English language learners, as well as booklists related to autumn and upcoming celebrations such as the Day of the Dead and Diwali. In addition, we provide some background information on the literacy and language development of ELLs that you can share with your colleagues.
The Colorín Colorado Team
This Month's Highlights
Thank you to the AFT & NEA!
Colorín Colorado gratefully acknowledges the generous, ongoing support of our founding partner, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). For more than a decade, AFT's support and guidance have been indispensable in enabling us to develop and grow this website.
We are also honored to welcome our newest partner, the National Education Association (NEA), which has now joined the Colorín Colorado team to serve our common mission of providing accurate, up-to-date information about teaching English language learners.
A number of schools, agencies, and community organizations nationwide who are serving unaccompanied children from Central America have shared the resources they are using to meet these children's unique needs. Colorín Colorado has compiled those materials in its updated resource section and organized them by topic. Highlights include:
- Background Information
- News Reports & Updates
- How to Help
- Making Children Feel Welcome in Schools
- Related Booklists for Children and Teens
This new compilation from the AFT also includes updated data about unaccompanied minors, such as a helpful infographic with key statistics about placement, country of origin, age, and gender.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Take a look at these ideas on how to address bullying that affects ELLs in 8 Tips to Protect ELLs from Bullying in Your Classroom and School, originally published by Language Lizard.
For additional related resources, as well as guides for different kinds of school staff and personnel on how to address bullying, take a look at this NEA resource section.
New on Colorín Colorado
Diwali (also known as Divali and Deepavali, among other names) is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains around the world each fall and marks a special time of year. Learn about the diverse traditions and foods that are part of the "festival of lights" across India, as well as the many well-known Diwali legends that highlight the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil.
Common Core Corner
The New York State engageNY website has recently shared new Scaffolding Instruction for English Language Learners Resource Guides for ELA and Mathematics. These Scaffolding Resource Guides, developed by Dr. Diane August and our blogger, Dr. Diane Staehr Fenner, provide guidance to educators on how to use the CCSS-aligned curricular materials available on the engageNY website with ELLs. To varying degrees, the engageNY lessons and units were originally developed with ELLs' strengths and challenges in mind. These new robust Resource Guides provide additional scaffolds for ELLs that are tailored to students' level of English language proficiency.
In this three-part series, Diane Staehr Fenner and Sydney Snyder share some strategies for fostering English language learners' (ELLs) oral language through Socratic circles (also known as Socratic seminars). Part I offers an overview of the Socratic circle activity as well as scaffolding suggestions to help support ELLs with dialogue and discussion. Part II includes ideas for preparing for a Socratic circle with a close read of a sample text — Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Part III concludes with a step-by-step description of the activity designed to engage ELLs and encourage their participation.
Take a look at our popular parent outreach toolkit produced in collaboration with the American Federation of Teachers, which includes bilingual workshops with related videos focused on helping children become successful readers and 200 Latino-interest children's book titles. Video clips and a PDF of the toolkit are available through Colorín Colorado.
Understood.org is a new bilingual digital resource for parents and teachers of children with learning and attention issues. As an educator you can be a meaningful part of building this new community.
The Understood community is a place for parents to access practical advice with tools to help navigate common parenting challenges. Parents can:
- Seek free expert advice from trusted professionals
- Participate in daily chats and webinars (in English and Spanish!)
- Share personal experiences in a secure environment with other parents
Be a part of something bigger — help us spread the word about Understood.org!
Parent Resources and Outreach
When it comes time for parent-teacher conferences with ELL families, parents and educators alike may have a lot of questions about the meeting and how to make it effective. Here are some steps for getting started:
- Parent Tips: Parent-Teacher Conferences (also available in Spanish)
- Educator Tips: Successful Parent-Teacher Conferences with Bilingual Families
Families of ELLs can bring dedication and wisdom to the school community and be crucial partners in supporting student success — even (or perhaps especially) if their participation looks a little different than what the school expects! These articles, tip sheets, guides, and books provide educators with all kinds of ideas on how get to know and engage ELL families.
Video Bonus: Don't miss our related videos about ELL parent engagement, including Clara Gonzales-Espinoza's wonderful strategy of using parent letters to learn more about her students.
In the Classroom
Language and Literacy: Where to Start with ELLs
As you get to know your ELLs this fall, it may be helpful to learn more about some benchmarks you can look for in their language and literacy development. These articles provide an overview to both topics, along with recommended strategies and related resources. They can be used as an accessible introduction for new ELL educators as well as a helpful refresher for veteran teachers.
Books & Authors
By Duncan Tonatiuh
When Sylvia Mendez, an American citizen of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage, was forbidden from enrolling in her local school, her parents organized a lawsuit that eventually brought the end of school segregation in California seven years before Brown vs. Board of Education. Based on interviews with Sylvia Mendez, as well as court files and news reports, award-winning author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh brings the Mendez family's story to life in this compelling title that remains as relevant today as it was in 1947. A glossary and an author's note are included.
For related materials see the following:
- Classroom guide from the Anti-Defamation League
- Author Interview from Kirkus Reviews
- Video: Ancient influences on Duncan's artwork
El día de los muertos (the Day of the Dead) is a time of both joy and quiet remembrance as families honor their loved ones who have died. Each of the books on this list offers a unique interpretation of the holiday that will provide an excellent introduction for students who are new to the Day of the Dead, as well as an important opportunity for students who celebrate the holiday to share their own family traditions. Many of the books are also available in Spanish.
Whether you are looking for a cozy autumn tale or a book about why leaves change color, this booklist has a variety of titles featuring diverse cultural backgrounds and languages. A number of bilingual non-fiction books are included that can be used for science, art, and language arts lessons.