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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Reading (and Engineering with) "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind"

Alicia Blowers is the middle school librarian and library department chair at St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School in Alexandria, VA.  She describes an all-school read she planned around the book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: "Wanting to tap into the energy around STEM, sustainability, and globalization, I had planned to use the newly released young reader’s edition of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind as the middle school summer reading title. The book tells the story of William Kamkwamba, a teenager who, faced with famine and unable to afford schooling, used his local library to learn about electricity and built a windmill to bring power and running water to his village in Malawi. When I realized that, in addition to the YR edition and the standard version, a picture book existed, a lightbulb went on. Our entire school community, from junior kindergartners to 12th graders, faculty and staff, alumni, and parents, could participate. It would be an all-school read!"

New Dimension to Kansas' K-12 Funding Puzzle

State courts have sparred with politicians for decades over how much money lawmakers are constitutionally obligated to provide public schools. But in Kansas this year, lawmakers and school officials are asking deeper questions about not only how much money is spent but also where to invest that money to assure that black, Latino, and low-income students, in particular, are seeing academic results.

House Democrats Ask Trump Administration to Remind Schools That They Must Educate Undocumented Children

House Democrats are asking the Trump administration to send a clear message reminding the nation's public schools that, despite recent changes in federal immigration enforcement policy, they are still legally obligated to educate undocumented children. The representatives expressed concern that the educational rights of undocumented students may be overlooked as the new administration cracks down on those in the country illegally. The Supreme Court ruled 25 years ago that U.S. public schools must serve all children, regardless of their immigration status.

Outlandish: Braving New Perspectives Through Books in Translation

Here’s a fun trivia question for you. Putting aside the fact that these are written works for children, what do Pippi Longstocking, the Moomins, many of the books by Cornelia Funke, Press Here by Hervé Tullet, and the works of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm all have in common? If you said every one of these was a work of translation, you have earned yourself a cookie. It should come as no surprise to many of us that quite a few classic books for kids that we treasure and love originated in other countries.

'Know Your Rights': Clinic in School Cafeteria Aims to Allay Immigrant Fears

In a school cafeteria adorned with whimsical children’s artwork, the men and women hunched over thick packets of paper one recent night, fiddling with pen caps and rubbing their foreheads as they confronted a challenge: preparing for what happens if immigration agents show up at the door. Some at this clinic in Northern Virginia were undocumented, and others had relatives in that situation. Some had legal status but were not permanent residents, and they wondered what shifts in federal immigration policy would mean for them and their relatives. The PTA at Ramsay Elementary in Alexandria, VA sponsored the March 22 clinic, supplying pizza and providing volunteers to care for children of those who came to hear from immigration lawyers and other experts.

Students Serve Up Stories of Beloved Family Recipes in a Global Cookbook Project

Washington, D.C.'s Capital City Public Charter School feels like a mini United Nations. Many of the school’s 981 students are first-generation Americans with backgrounds spanning the globe, from El Salvador to Nigeria to Vietnam. So when the staff of the literacy non-profit 826DC began a book-publishing project with the junior class, they picked a topic everyone could relate to that also left room for cultural expression: food. Writing coaches asked students to think of a family recipe with a backstory — and then write an essay around that dish. The 81 recipes and their accompanying stories that resulted make up a cookbook of global cuisine with a heartfelt touch, revealing that storytelling may be the most important step in any recipe.

A March Madness Bracket That's Fun for Science Class

March Mammal Madness was created five years ago by Katie Hinde, an evolutionary biologist at Arizona State University, though now, she says, the competition depends on a whole team of volunteer scientists and conservationists: biologists, animal behaviorists, paleoanthropologists, marine biologists. It's a competition that has been playing out online and in hundreds of classrooms over the past month. Real animals wage fictional battles, while students use science — a lot of it — to try to predict the winner.

Knoxville, Iowa Sees Major Uptick in English Learners from Beginning of School Year

Nearly 50 K-12 students with backgrounds in five different languages are being taught English as a second language in Knoxville, Iowa, up from 27 students at the beginning of this school year. What led to the 66 percent increase in English learning students at Knoxville in a less than semester-long time span is unclear, although some of the new students are refugees. School leaders also aren't sure if this will be a unique pattern this year or if it could signal the beginnings of a larger trend.

Candied Plums Launches with Bilingual Picture Book List

Seattle and Beijing-based publishing company Candied Plums, the children’s book imprint of Paper Republic LLC, has entered the American market with a list of 20 contemporary English and bilingual picture books from China. Candied Plums publisher Richard Lee launched the company in December 2016, after seeing an increased market for Chinese-language books, particularly in schools and public libraries.