Educator's Voice IX - English Language Learners: A Mosaic of Languages and Cultures

Educator's Voice 10

In this issue …

Authors share how they engage their English language learners (ELLs) in activities that boost both their academic knowledge and linguistic skills, crucial in this era of increased rigor. This is vital to the Blueprint for ELLs’ Success, which recognizes that all teachers are teachers of ELLs.

This issue highlights 11 groups of educators whose work with language learners ranges from our youngest prekindergartners to high schoolers on the road to graduation. Authors present ways to consider the budding duallanguage skills of toddlers, explore avenues to support multilingual readers and writers, and describe ways to build community among ELL parents and families. Teachers share their stories of collaboration on social justice projects, peer-assisted activities and video projects, and engaging newcomer ELLs in their classrooms, all of which activate learning across several content areas in all four modalities of listening, speaking, reading and writing, in addition to cultural reflection. Finally, bilingual educators and teachers of English to Speakers of Other languages (ESOL) discuss ways to successfully partner with colleagues and families to enhance the success of ELLs at school. This collection of best practices and thoughtful innovation will help all teachers educate and play to the many strengths that ELLs bring to our classes.

 
Videos from Featured Authors:

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    Welcome from Catalina Fortino

    Posted April 8, 2016 by NYSUT Vice President Catalina R. Fortino

    This Volume is about sharing insights into the realities that our English language learners experience as they progress through our school systems. It’s about the caring and supportive learning environments created by teachers, school-related professionals and other specialists. It’s about engaging families and shepherding them into the larger school community. Since English language learners are a heterogeneous group, this means that our educators ...

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    Valuing and Supporting Multilingual Learner Students in High School English Language Arts Classrooms

    Posted April 7, 2016 by Robin Perenchio, Sheila Aminmadani, Natalie Solomon, Claire E. Sylvan, Ed.D.

    In this article, the authors explain the strategies frequently used in their own ELA classrooms to support and value ELLs. The authors’ schools are affiliated with the Internationals Network for Public Schools and the strategies discussed reflect the five Core Principles developed by the school network.

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    Right from the Start - A Protocol for Identifying and Planning Instruction for Emergent Bilinguals in Universal Prekindergarten (w/video)

    Posted April 6, 2016 by Zoila Tazi Morell, Alma R. Aponte

    This article addresses a schoolwide approach to identifying language learners at the prekindergarten level. This article proposes the use of the Language and Learning in Prekindergarten protocol, which not only recognizes children who are acquiring English, but also offers their first teachers a means to gain a linguistic profile with valuable information for planning instruction. This protocol safeguards the first decisions that early childhood educators must make including, bilingual supports, initial screenings, placement, the language of instruction, and referrals for evaluation.

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    Creating an Engaged School Community (w/video)

    Posted April 5, 2016 by Katya Kats

    Some immigrant families may experience stress and confusion regarding school requirements and school communication. The Cohoes School District, a small, underresourced district with a very diverse immigrant population, works to integrate English language learners and their families into its learning community. Recognizing the multiple educational and personal challenges faced by immigrant students and their families, district teachers created relaxed and helpful ways to assist the immigrant students’ transition into the American school system.

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    A Voice for Writing: A Universal Language for Secondary ELLs

    Posted April 4, 2016 by Pamela Mary Schmidt

    A Voice for Writing is a universal approach that uses academic language anchored in content to help ELLs to become successful writers. Through the use of structured acronyms, visual cues, and languagebased supports, students strengthen their ability to use cited evidence to do a deeper analysis of a given text while gaining a better grasp of new vocabulary. This formulaic method also draws upon students’ prior knowledge and experience to help develop understanding while encouraging engagement in the learning process.

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    Empowering ESL Students for Leadership and Literacy (w/video)

    Posted April 3, 2016 by Rose Reissman, Toniann Hammel, Tatiyana Helms, Barry Kevorkian, Denis Nolan, Sofia Rashid

    Middle school educators at Ditmas IS 62 use current events and social justice as a springboard to tap into ESL students’ life, content and cultural expertise. While the following article shares how students expanded a unit on Malala Yousafzai into a forum on children’s right to education, educators can use a great number of topics related to relevant cultural, historical, or social issues to initiate rich classroom discussion and to empower ESL students as learners and leaders.

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    Speaking with Two Bilingual Educators

    Posted April 2, 2016 by Teresa Bashant

    Bilingual education is not a passing fad in the United States but, rather, has been part of the educational landscape since early immigrants settled in North America. This article briefly explores the hot-button issues around bilingual education and highlights two devoted teachers who took unusual paths to reach their destination at the helm of their dual language programs.

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    Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies for ELLs

    Posted April 1, 2016 by Gliset Colón

    The number of English language learners in public schools has increased significantly. This study describes one approach to reading instruction that helps to build students’ abilities to collaborate successfully with their peers.

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    Community Building in the ENL Classroom and Beyond

    Posted March 31, 2016 by Alexandra McCourt, Sylvia Schumann

    Relationship building among students, teachers, staff members, and parents, is very important to the overall success of the greater school community. In this practical and innovative project, English language learners create a virtual video tour of the school community using a variety of learning activities. This project enables ELLs to work on language skills and enhance their writing, listening, speaking, and reading skills in English, while motivating and building their confidence.

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    Collaboration and Partnerships for ELLs’ Success

    Posted March 30, 2016 by Sharon Eghigian

    Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages collaborate with others in a variety of ways to provide support and access for English language learners in their classes. In this commentary, one educator shares her insights.

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    Narrative Autobiography in the Video Diaries of Ecuadorian Immigrant Youth

    Posted March 29, 2016 by Regina Casale

    In this commentary, the author discusses the use of film as a pedagogical tool to foster crosscultural dialogue and increase civic engagement while nurturing student voice. The LIFE through My Eyes project, a filmmaking and human rights program, was developed in response to a hate crime on Long Island in 2008. Through this project, immigrant students employ their talents as digital natives to share and document their own life narratives.

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    The First Days: Engaging Newcomer ELLs in the Classroom Community

    Posted March 28, 2016 by Beth Clark-Gareca, Christine Olsen

    Newcomer ELLs, or children who arrive at school knowing very little English, can face many challenges during their first days of school. In this commentary, the authors describe some of the social and linguistic issues that face newly arrived ELLs, such as culture shock and the silent period. Suggestions for helping newcomers access content, establishing connections to parents, and recognizing the learning resources that newcomers bring to their peers and to their teachers are explored.

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    Glossary / Resources / Call for Proposals

    Posted March 27, 2016 by Research and Educational Services

    Acronyms and Terms / Additional Resources on English Language Learners / Call for Article Proposals
    for Educator’s Voice, Vol. X

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