ELL News Headlines

Throughout the week, Colorín Colorado gathers news headlines related to English language learners from around the country. The ELL Headlines are posted Monday through Friday and are available for free!

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Opinion: How Teachers Can Help Anxious Students by Knowing Immigration Policy

In this opinion piece for the PBS NewsHour, ELL administrator Kristina Robertson (a frequent contributor to Colorín Colorado), writes, "As they face an uncertain future, immigrant children – regardless of immigration status – are experiencing high levels of stress… Parents, community members and teachers have a critical role to play, including learning some of the basics about immigration policy and how to talk with a growing segment of anxious youth."

The Digital Gap Between Rich and Poor Kids Is Not What We Expected

It wasn't long ago that the worry was that rich students would have access to the internet earlier, gaining tech skills and creating a digital divide. Schools ask students to do homework online, while only about two-thirds of people in the U.S. have broadband internet service. But now, as Silicon Valley's parents increasingly panic over the impact screens have on their children and move toward screen-free lifestyles, worries over a new digital divide are rising. It could happen that the children of poorer and middle-class parents will be raised by screens, while the children of Silicon Valley's elite will be going back to wooden toys and the luxury of human interaction. The psychologist Richard Freed, who wrote a book about the dangers of screen-time for kids and how to connect them back to real world experiences, divides his time between speaking before packed rooms in Silicon Valley and his clinical practice with low-income families in the far East Bay, where he is often the first one to tell parents that limiting screen-time might help with attention and behavior issues.

After the Hurricane, a Superintendent Picks Up the Pieces

For districts slammed by natural disasters, getting schools ready to reopen is a mammoth undertaking, filled with a series of seemingly minute decisions and steps that can make all the difference between a seamless reopening and one filled with recriminations, finger-pointing, and regrets. There’s the risk of moving too fast, of opening before all the conditions are ideal. New Orleans' schools faced that in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when officials in that city opened some buildings with too few teachers and staff and served students partially frozen sandwiches for lunch. But the act of children waking up in the morning and going to school is one of the most fundamental things in life, and restoring that routine is essential to regaining a sense of normalcy in communities struck by disaster. That’s why reopening schools is one of the first jobs officials tackle after disasters. But very few people leading school districts have had the experience of doing just that.

In a Divided World, Librarians Are on a Mission to Put Diverse Books on Shelves

"She gasped when she saw a girl wearing hijab on the cover," says Deborah Vose, recalling a seventh grader who wandered into her library one afternoon and stood, captivated, before a display of books. Staring at the cover of Brave, the 2017 graphic novel by Svetlana Chmakova, the student grasped the book and exclaimed, "Someone who looks like me!" It was a brief moment of discovery and connection that would delight any educator, but to Vose, the librarian at South and East Middle Schools in Braintree, MA, it was especially significant. She — like the vast majority of respondents to a recent School Library Journal (SLJ) survey — has made it a priority to bring books reflecting diverse cultures and perspectives to the children and community she serves.

This 12-Year-Old Girl Built a Robot That Can Find Microplastics in the Ocean

Anna Du was walking along Castle Island's beach in South Boston when she noticed plastic scattered on the shoreline. She reached down to pick it up, and quickly realized there was many more tiny pieces than she could handle. "When I realized how many pieces there were, it seemed impossible," says Du, who was in sixth grade at the time. But Du approached the problem like any good scientist — first, by doing a little research. That's how she learned that 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in the oceans every year — and that's in addition to the whopping 150 million metric tons that are already there. Then she got to work building something that could help solve the issue: a remote-operated vehicle, or ROV, that can move through water and spot plastics on the ocean floor.

English-Learners and Ed Tech: A 'Tool Kit' From the Education Department

The U.S. Department of Education has released a how-to guide for educators who use educational technology to work with English-language learners. The toolkit, titled "Using Educational Technology--21st Century Supports for English-Learners," offers basic advice on what educators should know and ask when using and searching for tech tools to support students who are learning the language.

From Entry-Level To Executive, Today’s Jobs Demand Digital Literacy

It's no secret that American workplaces are becoming more reliant on technology. But what may surprise the country's K-12 educators and policymakers is how work at nearly every rung of the employment ladder is becoming more digitized. Often, the skills needed to succeed have less to do with computer programming than what experts call "digital literacy"—the ability to interpret, create, and strategically use digital information.