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April 2014
Table of Contents  

NNELL Summer Institute

July 11-13, 2014
Glastonbury, CT
Save The Date Info Here!



NNELL Summer Institute

The NNELL Summer Institute is a great way for educators to come together in a casual and relaxed atmosphere to debrief the school year prior as well as pick up new and exciting ideas for the school year to come.

Won't you consider joining us in Glastonbury, CT in July?

Registration is NOW open!

More details are coming soon about the general institute as well as scheduled presenters and workshop titles. Thanks!

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NNELL Northeast Regional Workshop

The stately and prestigious Kent Place School in Summit, NJ opened their doors and warmly welcomed over 65 foreign language educators to the NNELL Northeast Regional Conference on a blustery but sunny Saturday. The well-organized, day-long event on April 5th began with a relaxed breakfast, where attendees networked with colleagues and perused the workshop offerings, all under the theme “Early Language Learning: Planting the Seeds for Tomorrow”. The theme of planting seeds was evident in the green table linens and the mason jars overflowing with yellow tulips! Nathan Lutz, world language teacher at Kent Place School shared the mission of NNELL as a means to network, collaborate and promote early language learning.

Janet Glass, ACTFL’s 2008 Teacher of the Year, delivered the keynote with “NNELL and TELL: Planting the Best Seeds...Why the TELL project is important to us”. She elaborated on many of the 24 points in the TELL (Teacher Effectiveness for Language Learning) project and how it provides guidelines and reflection for becoming an effective world language teacher. Additional information on TELL as well as Janet’s presentation is available at

Three workshop sessions, each with three workshop offerings followed with time built in to visit vendors and enjoy an outstanding luncheon. Participants had a variety of timely and informative educational workshops including several on technology, advocacy, and developing students modes of communication.

Technology themed workshops were “Connect and Create with Apps” presented by Dr. Carmen Campos and “Speaking iPad in Your World Language Class” presented jointly by Shannon Lorenzo and Monica Lluch. Amanda Seewald offered a “Content-Based Learning Snapshot: Las Ciencias” and Leonor Brunes with Elizabeth Whitman shared “Helping Students Write Stories”. Kent Place School’s own Michelle Clarke spoke on “Best Practices in the Middle School Classroom”. Since advocacy is always in the forefront of any elementary foreign language program, Lauren Gobbo shared “Staying Afloat” to assist teachers by providing strategies to use within their districts.

Other workshops centered on developing the modes of communication with “Common Core and FLES-Language Learning with Nonfiction Texts” co-presented by Kate Krotzer and Patty Silvey and with Nathan Lutz on “Making Interpersonal Communication Tasks Engaging and Fun”. Both workshops provided an overview and connected their activities with the appropriate level on the ACTFL NCSSFL Can-Do Statements and ACTFL Performance descriptors, showing how our elementary novice learners are continually striving to move through the modes and skills with the language.

Time was built in for attendees to meet with some of the seven sponsors, many of whom contributed to the raffle items. It was a glorious, relaxed day and a great opportunity for the northeast elementary teachers to come together and share all they are doing with our youngest language learners. Nathan Lutz and his team deserve a huge thank you for hosting this event.

Submitted by NNELL Member, Patty Silvey, FLES Teacher from Glastonbury Public Schools, Glastonbury, Connecticut

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NNELL Member Spotlight: CT COLT Rhyme Celebration

In each eNNELL News, NNELL would like to highlight the work our members do in their classrooms. We hope these submissions help inspire the work you do in your own classrooms! If you would like NNELL to feature a special project, lesson or event you have done in your own classroom in a future edition of eNNELL News, please send your submission to NNELL’s Executive Secretary, Dorie Perugini, at

Member Spotlight on: Connecticut NNELL Members
Representing districts across the State participated in
CT COLT Rhyme Celebration

Name of project/lesson: CT COLT ( Connecticut Council of Language Teachers) Rhyme Celebration
Grade level(s): K-6
Language(s): This year, there were 12 languages represented
Objective: To celebrate early language learning with students reciting rhymes, poems, and songs in languages they study or their heritage languages.

Event Description: This year, the Rhyme Celebration was hosted by Patti Namin from Old Saybrook, with the theme "Our Big Blue Ocean." 192 students participated from grades K-6 from 33 schools in 11 school districts, with 32 teachers and recited poems, rhymes, and songs in 12 different languages. The host school welcomed the participants with an under the sea song as beautifully created ocean animals and props decorated the stage along with a choral warm up rhyme and theme song. Students enjoyed reciting their rhymes and listening to the performances. It was a great opportunity for parents, teachers, and students to share their enthusiasm, talent, and support for early language learning. To learn more about the annual CT COLT Rhyme Celebration, please visit

Student’s Reflection: “I think more teachers should bring their students to the Rhyme Celebration because it is a very fun event!” ~T.R.

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Note of Invitation to Participate in FLES Teachers’ Research Study

I am conducting a dissertation research study as part of the requirements of George Mason University’s Ph. D. in Education program. The purpose of the study is to explore FLES teachers’ attitudes and perceptions about assessment and assessment practices in the elementary foreign/world language classroom. I am asking only FLES teachers to participate in the study.

The study has two phases: phase one; a 15-25 minute online survey, phase two: a follow-up interview of approximately one hour (Skype®). Your participation is entirely voluntary in either phase of the study. The promise of strict confidentiality is assured in both the collection and reporting of the data. The research study is approved by the Office of Research Integrity and Assurance (ORIA) at George Mason University.

To participate in the survey:

  • Step 1 – Click on the link to the survey:

  • Step 2 – Follow instructions, clicking “next” at the bottom of every screen

  • Step 3 – Remember to click “done” at the end of the survey when you are finished

The results from this study have the potential to benefit FLES teachers and language teachers in general, as well as educational administrators, policy makers , and other stakeholders by proposing ways of improving current assessment practices taking place in L2 elementary classrooms.

Thank you in advance for your time and willingness to share your assessment beliefs and practices. This study could not be completed without your help. Should you have any questions about this study, contact me at 703-867-3074 or via email at


Olga I. Corretjer, PhD candidate
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030

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Foreign Language Annals: Elementary School Foreign Language Teaching: Lessons Learned Over Three Decades (1980–2010)

By: Nancy C. Rhodes
Center for Applied Linguistics

Abstract: The purpose of this research was to investigate the major successes and challenges of elementary school language teaching from 1980 to 2010 through the voices of some of the individuals who were instrumental in the development of the field. The author conducted interviews with 16 leaders in the field of early language education to elicit their views on such topics as program models, instructional approaches, proficiency assessment, and advocacy. Ten lessons learned are presented in the form of recommendations for the expansion of proficiency-based language programs in elementary schools. These recommendations will help thefield learn from past successes and failures, develop the highest possible levels of language proficiency, and build on the methodologies (e.g., immersion and content-based instruction) that have been demonstrated to be best practices.

Read the full article in our NNELL Advocacy section dedicated to ACTFL resources.

A special thank you to ACTFL for allowing this document to be reproduced.

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State Advocacy Team Leaders work with ACTFL on World Language Priorities

Over seventy state team leaders for world language advocacy participated in the first of a series of four conference calls led by ACTFL Executive Director Marty Abbott. Marty reported that currently there are 264 language activists in 50 states and Washington D.C. working at the state level trying to effect change. The call was, in part, to follow up on the states’ priorities and goals set at the November 2013 Assembly of Delegates in Orlando, Florida.

The conference call focused on select priorities collected from the results of the “Poll Everywhere” that state team leaders completed at the November meeting. Those topics are: Getting a State Language Supervisor, the Seal of Biliteracy and Educating the Candidate. Advocacy Resources for these topics and more are available on the State Team Toolkit at A recording of the March 10th State Team Call is available on a direct link below the Toolkit.

The intent of a Seal of BIliteracy is to recognize high school graduates who have achieved a high level of proficiency in a second language (including English as a Second Language). The students’ language proficiency is documented on their high school transcripts and diplomas. According to the latest information, currently four states have a Seal of Biliteracy (CA, NY, IL, NM), four states have pending legislation or a Department of Education initiative, and eight states are either in the planning stages, being piloted or reviewed. Linda Egnatz, 2014 ACTFL Teacher of the Year participated on the call sharing her experience in getting the Seal approved in Illinois in 2013. ACTFL provided her with talking points that are listed in the State Team Toolkit on the website.

Thirty percent of the state team leaders chose Getting a State Language Supervisor as their number one priority. Jacque Bott Van Houten, NNELL Past President and ACTFL President-Elect shared how she successfully arranged to get a state supervisor in her home state of Kentucky. You can find helpful advice on Advocating for a State Supervisor for Languages at the State Education Agency on the State Team Toolkit. Jacque strongly suggests that if you don’t have a state supervisor, try to get your state education agency to appoint an associate member to the National Council of State Supervisors for Languages (NCSSFL) and also get support to attend annual meetings of NCSSFL.

Finding opportunities for Educating the Candidate before he/she is elected could provide numerous benefits. Forming a relationship with a potential elected official or local leader will put you in a position as a leading resource on language learning in your community. You can inform the candidate of the importance of language education. This relationship could potentially influence the candidate to champion legislation or funding for language learning in the future.

Jill Allen Murray from the Sheridan Group gave a Capitol Hill Legislative Update including budget requests that may affect language education. Many of the state team leaders will attend the JNCL Legislative Day May 8 & 9 in Washington D.C. for a more in depth follow up of her report.

The NNELL Advocacy website offers ideas and recommendations to assist you in your efforts. Advocacy Tips on how to be an effective advocate, strategies, sample letters, media resources, tips on how to build a program or how to save a program in jeopardy, along with tips on how to be a language advocate everyday with advocacy resources from other organizations are all available on the NNELL website. True change can happen for individual schools and districts using these tools.

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Zambombazo - Los Pileteros -
Mate y bizcochitos

This site contains a collection of cultural artifacts for students learning about Argentina, or foods from Spanish speaking countries. The post centers on ‘bizcochitos’, which are eaten with ‘mate’ a drink that is found in many South American countries including Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. The post includes a song that describes drinking mate and eating bizcochitos by the beach along with background sounds associated with summertime. The post also includes an eight-minute video that shows the recipe for making bizcochitos. Both the video and audio are great tools to not only reference culture in your classroom, but to give students a chance to listen to authentic accents from these South American countries and make meaning out of basic vocabulary. The post includes a link for a worksheet to accompany both cultural artifacts.  

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Animal Sounds in Multiple Languages

This website by Derek Abbott includes a list of animal sounds, animal commands, and pet names from children’s stories in a variety of languages. Languages included are Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.

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YouTube Channels – Crestview Spanish Wiki

Once a Google account is created, users can create their own channels and playlists within YouTube. Teachers can search for child appropriate videos and then add those videos to the playlists in their channel. The link to the channel can be sent to parents to encourage language practice at home.


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This app is a virtual manipulative for teaching about perimeter, area, angles, and fractions. Users stretch colored rubber bands around pegs to create line segments, rectangles, triangles, squares and other polygons. The shading feature allows users to color parts or all of the shapes created. The app includes a 5 x 5 grid and a 10 x 15 grid.

  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 | |