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February 2014
Table of Contents  

Best Use of Class Time:
Grades 4-6

Janet Glass
February 19 @ 4:30pm EST

An Early Start in the Right Direction: Aligning Pre-K through 8 Foreign Language Instruction with the Six Themes of the New AP Language Exams
Terry Caccavale
March 12 @ 4:30pm EST

NNELL Summer Institute

July 11-13, 2014
Glastonbury, CT
Save The Date Info Here!
Registration opens March 15



Welcome to eNNELL News!

Dear NNELL Members,

We are pleased to unveil our new monthly email publication, eNNELL News. It combines both eNNELL Notes and eNewsworthy into one reader-friendly email that will be sent out to our members on or about the 15th of each month. Some highlights of this new design include:

  • Easy to navigate table of contents. Located on the left sidebar, the Table of Contents allows you to quickly see what each issue of eNNELL News contains. With clickable links, you can use the Table of Contents to read the articles most relevant to you.

  • Condensed summaries. eNNELL News will contain brief blurbs of information. If you would like to read more about a particular topic, you can click a link at the end of the blurb to bring you to the full article and further information.

  • Upcoming events. Upcoming events are posted on the left sidebar so you never miss out on any of the great events NNELL has to offer.

  • Invitation to share! At the end of each eNNELL News you will see information on how to submit your own article to eNNELL News. We know our members have so many great articles and resources to share, so we are excited to hear from you!

We hope you enjoy eNNELL News!

Dorie Perugini
NNELL Executive Secretary

NNELL Archived Journals

NNELL is pleased to announce that we have recently archived our print journals. Journals dating back to 1987 can now be found in the Members Only area.

We are still looking for print copies of 5 journals to add to our electronic collection. If you have any of the following journals, please contact Dorie Perugini, NNELL’s Executive Secretary at

  • Fall 1988 Vol 2 No 1
  • Winter 1988-89 Vol 2 no 2
  • Winter 1990-91 Vol 4 No 3
  • Spring 1991 Vol 4 No 4
  • Winter 1991-92 Vol 5 No 2

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Call for Proposals

NNELL is now accepting proposals for our Spring/Summer 2014 Learning Languages Journal. The theme for the journal is Advancing Student Proficiency. The deadline for proposals is March 1, 2014. Proposals can be sent to Rita Oleksak at

A Message from the Chinese Early Language and Immersion Network

I hope this message finds you well. I'd like to take this opportunity to announce the founding of CELIN (the Chinese Early Language and Immersion Network), hosted by Asia Society. This has been a long-term dream of mine and others working in Chinese language education. I was fortunate enough to enlist the support of Dr. Joy Peyton and many others over the past year and a half. We decided to collaborate with Asia Society, and it has now come into being. We believe CELIN will make a strong contribution to language education in general and Chinese language education in particular. The goal of CELIN is to build, strengthen, and expand Chinese language education in the United States, in collaboration with others working in the field.

Ultimately we want to collaborate with like-minded organizations and individuals to develop U.S. students' multilingual and multicultural competency.

Please help us spread the words about CELIN at Asia Society. We look forward to collaborating with you and others.

All the best,

Shuhan Wang, Ph.D.
Director, CELIN

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The Power of the Bilingual Brain

The Power of the Bilingual BrainKeep an eye on Utah where elementary students are studying French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese and, soon, Portuguese. In 2009, Utah kicked off language immersion programs with 1,400 students in 25 schools and by the fall of 2013 included 20% of all the elementary schools in the state, with nearly 95% of school districts participating through grade 12. Students take half their subjects each day in the new language and the other half in English.

Studies increasingly show that multi-linguals are better at reasoning, multitasking, and grasping and reconciling conflicting ideas. As multi-linguals age, they retain their cognitive faculties longer, delaying the onset of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. "Monolingualism," says Gregg Roberts, a language immersion specialist with the Utah state office of education, "is the illiteracy of the 21st century."

According to research, the brain can be bilingual before birth. The human auditory system is functional from the third trimester on when the utero baby hears its mother's voice, speaking whatever language she knows. Those sounds, with their rhythms and phonemes, are absorbed by the baby's brain. The more vigorously a comfortable, well-fed baby sucks on a pacifier, the more stimulated it is by its environment. Developmental psychologist Krista Byers-Heinlein of Concordia University in Montreal has used this technique to study babies three days old and younger. The mothers of some of the children were monolingual English speakers; the mothers of the others spoke both English and Tagalog, a language common in parts of Canada where there are high concentrations of Filipino immigrants. When the babies with pacifiers were played recordings from multiple languages, those with monolingual moms sucked harder only when they heard English; the others perked up both at English and at Tagalog.

Utah's program was initiated in 2009 under then governor and later ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, who is fluent in Mandarin. Huntsman argued that multilingualism would be increasingly essential in the 21st century and while people outside the state speculated that the missionary work of the Utah-based Mormon Church was the motivation behind the plan, state education officials deny that. "This really was mostly about the state and millennial parents seeing the need for language training," says Roberts.

The program is funded by the state legislature at an average of $2 million per year, plus a supplemental appropriation of $10,000 per school per year to buy books. Students who make it through eighth grade in the language program take advanced-placement courses in ninth. For 10th through 12th grade students, the state education office is collaborating with the University of Utah and Brigham Young University to offer college level courses. Officials from 22 other states are studying Utah’s program with an interest in launching their own.

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International Children's Digital Library

The International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL) Foundation, a non-profit organization, recognizes that due to increased intercontinental migration, families moving from, for example, Kenya to Finland have little to no access to children’s literature in their first language (L1) which comes from their homeland. With this in mind, the ICDL makes available online selections of the best children’s literature from around the globe. In doing so, the ICDL seeks to address the needs and interests of families who move among and across continents who want their children to grow up with knowledge of their family’s heritage and L1, in addition to the majority language and heritage in their new home. Among the goals of the ICDL Foundation are:

  • To collect 10,000 books in at least 100 languages and make them available digitally for free.
  • To collaborate with children as design partners to create technologies which promote the research, reading, and sharing of information about children’s literature from around the world.

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Class Dojo

This app, in combination with the Class Dojo website, is a tool that allows teachers to award feedback points to students for in-class behaviors. Each child is randomly assigned a monster, which can be customized as students earn points. The app gives access to class rosters and allows teachers to give feedback, check reports or take attendance.


Through the website, teachers set up a free Class Dojo account with an email and a password and then use the website to set up and edit class rosters. Visitors to the website can access a variety of free resources, which include free certificates, posters, stationery, hall passes and letters to parents.

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Nominations for the National Network for Early Language Learning Award

NNELL is seeking nominations for the NNELL award for Outstanding Support of Early Second Language Learning at the ACTFL conference in San Antonio, TX. At the ACTFL conference in Orlando, NNELL recognized Dr. Bradford Jackson for his support and advocacy for foreign language programs. The NNELL Award for Outstanding Support of Early Second Language Learning will be given to an individual or individuals who have demonstrated outstanding support of early second language learning of languages other than English. Nominees may be actively involved in their efforts in a variety of ways including, but not limited to, the following: principal or other school administrator, district or state school superintendent, classroom teacher, parent, school board member, businessperson, civic leader, politician/elected representative. Nominees should be individuals whose primary job responsibilities are not related to the field of second language education. For more information please go here. Submissions should be postmarked no later than June 1, 2014

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  Thank you to Janine Erickson, Heather Hendry, Zhihong Li, Tammy Dann, Alice Charkes, Veronica Guevara, Sally Hood and Kennedy Schultz for their contributions to this publication.

If you would like to share an interesting article, app, or teaching tool with the NNELL community in our next eNNELL News edition, please contact Dorie Perugini
National Network for Early Language Learning | |