Originally posted on Colorin Colorado by Diane Staehr Fenner / February 13, 2014

Greetings from snowed-in Washington, DC!  This week I’d like to take a break from text-dependent questions to share some resources with you on implementing the Common Core with ELLs that have become available recently.

You’ll also notice our new blog design, which we hope will make it easier to see previous posts and resources!  And don’t miss our new Topics on the Blog page, where all of our posts are organized by category and compiled into sections such as Instruction and Assessment, Planning and Professional Development, and ELL Considerations.

Curricular Resources

New York State’s Long Island Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network has developed two curricular modules that are scaffolded for ELLs. The first is a Grade 1 module that provides additional scaffolding for the Animals and Habitats module in NY’s English Language Arts curriculum, available on the engageNY website. The second scaffolded module is for ELLs in Grade 5 and is on the topic of human rights. You can find the original Grade 5 module that is not scaffolded for ELLs here on the engageNY website.


Stanford University’s Understanding Language initiative is at it again with another set of MOOCs(massive online open courses). Their next course will focus on academic conversation among ELLs and will be offered free of charge to two separate groups – elementary teachers of ELLs and secondary teachers of ELLs. The course instructors are Kenji HakutaJeff Zwiers, and Sara Rutherford-Quach and the course begins in March.  An additional course on language in elementary math instruction is also coming up in March.

Education Week Articles

  • National Board Certified Teacher Wendi Pillars’ article Helping English Language Learners Adapt Under the Common Core offers three practical strategies (and you know how much I love practical strategies!) to prepare ELLs to access the standards.
  • While not specifically written for ELLs, blogger Justin Minkel, an Arkansas Teacher of the Year and ELL advocate, has written a commentary entitled Is Common Core the Enemy of Autonomy?, which examines how the Common Core may impact teachers’ autonomy in their own classrooms.

CCSS for ELLs Webinars and Website

Finally, the Center for Applied Linguistics’ new Education Connections project is presenting a webinar on Tuesday, February 18th at 12-1pm EST.  Titled “Strategically Enhancing EL Access to the Language Demands of the Common Core,” Dr. Lynn Shafer Willner will present information on the language demands embedded in the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards.

Dr. Shafer Willner is a Senior Research Associate in the Assessment & Standards Development Services (ASDS) program at WestEd and led the development of the CCSSO’s recently-completed ELP Standards, working closely with the ELPA21 states to build consensus and gain feedback on the new ELP Standards.

The Education Connections network is designed to support educators to connect and share best practices around teaching ELLs.  Registration for the network is free and members will have access to archives of the CCSS webinar series, including my earlier presentation, “Introduction to the Common Core: Advocating for English Learners.”

What resources on the CCSS for ELLs have you seen lately? Please let us know!