As you settle in to the new school year, we wanted to share some resources that can help you and your colleagues get to know your ELLs better, as well as our newest features on Colorín Colorado. All the best for the upcoming year!
The Colorín Colorado Team
This Month's Highlights
The new PBS series from Ken Burns, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, focuses on the legacies of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt and how those legacies continue to touch individuals and families across the United States and around the world. The titles on this new Colorín Colorado booklist for children highlight the experiences with people from all walks of life and backgrounds that shaped how the Roosevelts saw their world and how they in turn impacted others. A number of these titles are well suited for ELLs.
Common Core Corner
Last month, we shared our new Common Core Classroom Videos from Poughkeepsie, NY. Dr. Diane Staehr Fenner has taken an in-depth look at the videos and lesson materials in two recent posts on our Common Core and ELLs blog. The first post provides an overview of the project and ELL strategies featured in the lessons, while the second post focuses on some of the features of the lessons she found to be particularly useful. This project was funded by the American Federation of Teachers' Innovation Fund.
Pam Knittel is the ESL District Coach for Poughkeepsie City Schools and she served as the primary facilitator for our recent Common Core and ELLs project. In this in-depth video interview with Colorín Colorado, Pam discusses the training that the teachers received throughout the project, as well as the other exciting ELL professional development initiatives she has spearheaded in Poughkeepsie.
Research and Reports
Lesli Maxwell at Education Week reports the following:
In a new national survey from the Pew Research Center, 69 percent of Americans say they favor allowing the unaccompanied minors from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala to join their families already living in the United States while their immigration cases are pending. A smaller majority—56 percent—said the minors should be allowed to attend public schools, while 51 percent said they support housing the children in government-run shelters. (Federal law requires that public schools enroll all children, regardless of their immigration status.)
In this excerpt from Diverse Learners in the Mainstream Classroom available on the Heinemann website (pgs. 19-27), authors Luz A. Murillo and Patrick H. Smith outline six key challenges that teachers face in today's increasingly diverse classrooms as well as recommendations for addressing those challenges.
Freeman, Y., Freeman, D., and Ramírez, R. (Eds.) 2008. Diverse Learners in the Mainstream Classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
This booklist offers a great introduction to working with ELLs through user-friendly guides. Each book covers helpful topics such as getting to know your students, welcoming ELLs, and working with parents.
Parent Resources and Outreach
Take a look at one of our most popular resources, parent reading tips for grades PreK-3 in 11 languages! These are great handouts for parent night and conferences. Tips for babies and toddlers are also available in English and Spanish.
In the Classroom
When asked for the secret of their success with English language learners, veteran ELL teachers repeatedly point to the importance of getting to know their students. This article provides some guidance on what information is most helpful to gather about students, ideas on who will be able to help find that information, and recommendations of useful resources. We welcome you to contribute your ideas in the comments section below the article and encourage you to share this with classroom teachers and colleagues!
Video Bonus: Don't miss the video clips of our expert teachers' ideas following the article.
One great way to get to know ELLs and their families is through a home visit early in the school year. In this article written for Colorín Colorado, Drs. Gisela Ernst-Slavit and Michele Mason provide a number of practical tips for home visits with ELL families, including steps to take before, during, and after the visit.
Books & Authors
By Juan Felipe Herrera
Paintings by Raúl Colón
This visually stunning book showcases twenty Hispanic and Latino American men and women who have made outstanding contributions to the arts, politics, science, humanitarianism, and athletics. Gorgeous portraits by Raúl Colón complement sparkling biographies of Cesar Chavez, Sonia Sotomayor, Ellen Ochoa, Roberto Clemente, and many more. Complete with timelines and famous quotes, this tome is a magnificent homage to those who have shaped our nation.
We are excited to present more than 50 themed Hispanic Heritage booklists on Colorín Colorado for children and young adults! Booklists are organized by topics that can be used throughout the year and feature a number of books published in recent years, as well as earlier favorites. Some of the booklists focus on music, art, biographies of famous Latinos and Latinas, folk tales, neighborhood stories from the barrio, and stories about coming of age.
These stories capture the varied experiences of learning English through a child's eyes — from the shy and nerve-wracking beginnings to the joy of a blossoming new friendship. ELL students will recognize the highs and lows of the situations and emotions of the stories, many of which were written by authors who themselves were immigrants. The books also provide valuable insight to adults working with ELLs in the classroom.