In the past when given an assignment to research a teacher network I would have cringed. Ugh, more reading and investigating. BUT, NOW…I am more aware and eager to explore the resources provided by all teacher networks available! I was going to write about the rich knowledge that the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) provides for world language teachers, but I decided to highlight a different network. English language learners (ELL’s) are a growing population, but also a population that school districts still know so little about.
I am currently working towards my M Ed. in Literacy with a concentration in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and technology. The TESOL courses require 12 hours of field work. The field work can be intimidating, especially when working with novice/beginner student. While preparing lessons for ELL tutoring I discovered ¡Colorín Colorado! ¡Colorín Colorado! is a FREE, bilingual, national website serving educators and families of ELL’s. The organization provides a newsletter, webcasts and can be followed on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Google + and YouTube. The webcasts mimic a traditional reading conference led by experts who study ELL’s and suggest readings and provide discussion questions. ¡Colorín Colorado! is a bilingual site, Spanish and English, that supply toolkits that include lesson plans, activities and resources for non-native speaking parents and/or guardians. Due to a lack of professional developments provided by school districts on ELL’s I find these toolkits to be very useful. Maintaining parental contact is a struggle for me. Now, while communicating with Spanish-speaking parents is achievable for me, I believe this site is a beneficial tool for educators and administrators lacking the means of communication with non-native speaking families.
All of the resources on the site can be shared and printed for FREE! In the past few weeks I have been following ¡Colorín Colorado! on Twitter and their blog. Dr. Diane Straehr Fenner is contributor to their blog. She recently wrote about Common Core and ELL’s. Again, this is a great way for educators who have ELL’s in their class to get supplemental materials and ideas in order to better accommodate their students. Some recent Twitter discussions have included recent accomplishments with ELL’s in school districts, booklists for ELL’s and administrative action taken in order to strengthen ELL programs.
Investigating teaching networks is now an exciting time in my teaching career. The resources and discussions available to educators are beneficial, motivating, but more importantly obtainable!!!