Educational CyberPlayGround

ELL: English Language Learners

Language learning boosts brain plasticity and ability to code new information
Brain reacts faster with more languages mastered "These results demonstrate a significant role of earlier language experience in neural plasticity in general and in the rapid formation of memory circuits for novel words in particular. Critically, previous language learning not only influences how strongly the brain responds to novel non-native speech input but tentatively also to new words with native phonology."

Map Gallery of Language in the United States
Despite the calls from certain groups and the passage of official language laws in several states, the United States does not recognize an official language. Part of the reason for this may lie in the widespread dominance of English. And yet, 18 percent of United states population over the age of 5 speaks a language other than English at home. The 2000 Census provides the latest information on language use, and most of the maps in the following series draw on this data source to illustrate the county-level distribution of languages in the United States. The last map shows state-level language legislation patterns, including English-only adoptions. The maps are in GIF format.

The Modern Language Association Map of Languages in the United States intended for use by students, teachers, and anyone interested in learning about the linguistic and cultural composition of the United States. Can tell you how many speakers of African languages live in various units from states down to census tracts. They have maps and data in tables.


WINNING THE FUTURE New White House Report Stresses Importance of Better Educational Outcomes for Latino Students: to Nation's Future Success

The nation cannot achieve President Obama's goal of the United States having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020 without strengthening and expanding educational opportunities for all Latino students, according to a new report from the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. The report, Winning the Future: Improving Education for the Latino Community,projects that Latinos will account for 60 percent of the nation's population growth between 2005 and 2050.
According to the study, Latinos are by far the largest minority group in the U.S. public school system, comprising more than one-fifth of all pre-K-12 students. However, the report also finds that Latino students have the lowest educational attainment level of any group in the United States. Only about half of all Latino students earn their high school diploma on time and of the students who do complete high school, only half are as likely as their peers to be prepared for college. Only 13 percent of Latinos have a bachelor's degree and only 4 percent have completed graduate or professional degree programs, according to the study. In addition, Latino students have fewer opportunities than their peers to take challenging curricular including advanced courses in mathematics and Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate courses.
“Hispanic students have graduated at lower rates than the rest of the population for years, making America's progress impossible if they continue to lag behind,” said Juan Sepulveda, director of White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. “Strengthening and improving educational excellence in this community isn't just a Hispanic problem. It's a challenge to the entire country.”
Winning the Future finds that that the educational disadvantage starts at a young age for Latino children and they are less likely than any other group to enroll in any early learning program. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Obama administration has invested $5 billion in early learning programs including Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care and services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). According to the study, 36 percent of the children served by Head Start are Latino and 19 percent of the nation's child care subsidy recipients are Latino.
The report highlights the federal Race to the Top Initiative, a competitive grant-based program designed to encourage states to implement systematic reforms.
“The 11 states and one district that have been selected as Race to the Top winnersTennessee, Delaware, Rhode Island, Florida, Georgiaa, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and the District of Columbiareach approximately 22 percent of the Nation's Latino student population,” the report notes. “Five of the 15 states with the largest Hispanic populations won, including Florida (3rd), New York (4th), Georgia (10th), North Carolina (11th) and Massachusetts (15th).”
To improve educational opportunities for all students and close achievement gaps, the report recommends higher standards for student learning, innovation that builds on what works in America's classrooms, and effective teachers and school leaders. The study points out that although more than 22 percent of public school students are Latino nationwide, less than 7 percent of teachers are Latino. In addition, Latino males account for less than 2 percent of teachers nationwide. To that end, the White House launched the TEACH Campaign in September 2010 with the goal of increasing the number, quality, and diversity of teacher candidates.
To increase college graduation rates among Latinos, the report calls for strengthening Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI), which are public or private nonprofit colleges or universities with a study body that is at least 25 percent Latino. Although the 334 HSIs in the nation represent only 5 percent of all higher education institutions, they enrolled 51 percent of all Hispanics pursuing higher education degrees in America during the 2003-04 school year.
In late April, senior officials within the Obama administration met with dozens of educators and community leaders at Miami Dade College to release these report findings and to outline strategies to meet President Obama's goal for the nation to have the best educated workforce in the world by 2020.

A pilot study: the effects of music therapy interventions on middle school students' ESL skills. Kennedy R, Scott A.
The University of Georgia, USA.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of music therapy techniques on the story retelling and speaking skills of English as a Second Language (ESL) middle school students. Thirty-four middle school students of Hispanic heritage, ages 10-12, in high and low-functioning groups participated in the study for 12 weeks. Pretest to posttest data yielded significant differences on the story retelling skills between the experimental and control groups. Chi Square comparisons on English speaking skills also yielded significant results over 3 months of music therapy intervention. A variety of music therapy techniques were used including music and movement, active music listening, group chanting and singing, musical games, rhythmic training, music and sign language, and lyric analysis and rewrite activities as supplemental activities to the ESL goals and objectives. Comparisons of individual subjects' scores indicated that all of the students in the experimental groups scored higher than the control groups on story retelling skills (with the exception of 1 pair of identical scores), regardless of high and low functioning placement. Monthly comparisons of the high and low functioning experimental groups indicated significant improvements in English speaking skills as well.

"Music is Language; Language is Music" ~ Karen Ellis


Indigenous Folksong Reading Curriculum
Integrate, Literacy, Music and Technology into the classroom. Use the technology to collect Children's poetry, nursery rhymes, clap pattern chants and songs, playground game songs then have the kids add them to the NCFR database. Use this content in a proven effective reading curriculum that will raise students grade level by years in just a few months.

Integrate Literacy Music and Technology

ncfrNATIONAL CHILDREN'S FOLKSONG REPOSITORY The Historic Electronic Online Archive of Children's Folksongs. The Public Folklore Project built by the children of the United States.Integrate Literacy, Music, and Technology into the classroom.

You can help create and capture our collective heritage in the nation's online archive called the National Children's Folksong Repository. Empower Children who are the unknown culture makers by recording their Voices and sharing their cultural heritage. Empower the lay public by generating new excitement about their history created by a heightened awareness and interest in the larger community that is retained in the cultural landscape. The NCFR project is net centric, embedded in cyberspaceby breaking the meatspace boundaries of neighborhood.




This outstanding resource was created to explain the connections between human evolution, the brain, body, music, speech, and literacy. For the first time, you have 10 pages of selected and compiled research that I have made available in one place for teachers, professors, parents, policy makers, and politicians who care about literacy.


PLUGGED IN: Report Offers Lessons Learned from a Latino-Serving, Workforce Development Program
The successes and challenges of a Latino-serving, community-based, youth workforce development program. The initiative, Escalera Program: Taking Steps to Success, was developed by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) in 2001 and is based on an afterschool model to promote economic mobility through educational attainment and career planning.
The report, Plugged In: Positive Development Strategies for Disconnected Latino Youth, examines many of the challenges facing Latino youth. It notes that only 58 percent of Latino youth graduate with a high school, diploma, compared to 78 percent of white students.. Additionally, Latino youth were more likely than any other student subgroup to be out of school without a General Equivalency Diploma or high school diploma between the ages of 16 and 24.
“Unique life circumstances such as language barriers and questionable immigration statuses are factors that play heavily in the ability of Latino youth to succeed at the rate of their counterparts,” said Delia Pompa, senior vice president of programs at NCLR. “The support given to Hispanic youth through the Escalera program enables them to control their futures. They identify their strengths and build upon them.”
The report examines the results-to-date of the Escalera program, which is underway in three pilot locations including Austin (TX), Los Angeles (CA), and rural New Mexico. Escalera promotes economic mobility through educational attainment, career planning, and access to information about advanced careers. Its goal is to close the economic gap for Latinos by increasing the number of highly skilled and educated Latino youth and the ability of Hispanic community-based organizations to cultivate the talent pipeline. The report notes that this goal is especially important considering that Latinos are one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. population and are projected to make up one-third of the American workforce by 2050.
Plugged In finds that across the three sites, several core competencies are central to success, including reconnection, foundation skills, leadership and personal development, educational attainment, workforce readiness skills, and career exploration. Based on these observations, the report offers several recommendations for policymakers, funders, and program administrators serving the Latino population:

Encourage collaboration and partnership among local communities and youth-serving programs and institutions through funding that rewards the development of a dropout recovery system that provides seamless wraparound services for most-at-risk populations.
Ensure that funding for disconnected youth programs take into account the costs that community-based organizations incur for maintaining appropriate staff-to-youth ratios and training and developing skilled case managers, and the associated costs of providing high-quality case management services.
Invest in the development and implementation of programs that offer services to disconnected youth for longer program cycles, and establish qualitative measures of success in addition to quantitative outcomes.
Explore models that help families become partners, and include them in each step of participants' progress to illustrate the merits of involvement and of supporting participants' educational and professional endeavors.

A Latino History of Hip-Hop, Part 2 From the West Coast to the East Coast

Why a Duck?

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