ELL Spotlight

December Newsletter

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Keepers of the Flame

The winter holidays are a time for celebrating and gift giving. As a teacher, you give each child the gift of learning. Has there ever been a moment where you ignited the flame of learning in a student? Can you remember the spark of wonder and learning in their eyes? Maybe you've saved the flame in a struggling reader, or rekindled a flickering light in a colleague. During this holiday season, take a moment to reflect and remember that teachers play a vital role in nurturing and protecting the spirit and love of learning in every child.
Keepers Of The Flame

Multicultural Literature for the Holidays

It's that time of year again, when we gather with our friends and families to celebrate the winter holidays. We can help our students feel appreciated and respected by including multicultural literature in our lessons throughout December.
Too Many Tamales is one of my favorite holiday stories. Maria tries on her mother's wedding ring while helping make tamales for a Christmas party. Panic ensues when, hours later, she realizes the ring is missing. How will Maria find the ring?

Virginia's coat is too small and hardly protects her from the frigid South Dakota winter. As Christmas approaches, all the children on the Sioux reservation look forward to receiving boxes full of clothing sent by congregations in the East. Virginia spots a beautiful gray fur coat but holds back tears as it is claimed by one of her classmates. Later, Virginia can't believe what Mama brings home. The Christmas Coat is based on an event from the author's childhood and captures the true spirit of Christmas.

In The Black Snowman, we meet little Jacob, who is struggling with his identity. He hates being poor and associates his situation with the fact that he is black. The reader senses his frustration as he and his little brother make a snowman from the black, dirty snow. All of this changes, however, when the snowman suddenly comes to life after the brothers unknowingly drape him in a small piece of a magical kente, which is a type of cloth historically worn by African storytellers. Jacob learns from the snowman of the rich history being black presents, and in the process begins to see his cultural heritage in an entirely new light. It is this new found confidence that then helps him to save his brother's life.

In Pablo's Christmas, Pablo lives on a small farm in rural Mexico, and even though his family works hard, they have very little. Pablo's father decides he must leave to try and find work in America. He leaves little Pablo in charge during his absence. The boy does his best to provide for his family and make Christmas time special.


Multicultural Holiday Lessons

ELL Hot Topics

Plickers is a new classroom polling system which can display results in real time. The only materials you'll need to get started are paper, a printer, and a smartphone or tablet.

Check it out!