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December 2014
Table of Contents  

Become a NNELL State Representative

As a national organization, NNELL operates through a network of state representatives. You could help NNELL to continue with its mission by becoming a representative of your state. As a State Representative, you will serve as an advocate for early language learning, heighten public awareness of foreign languages in elementary and middle school education, serve as state representative for NNELL to your state language association and ensure that foreign languages in grades K-8 are recognized as a priority matter in your state. If you are interested in being more involved with NNELL and its advocacy efforts, please read the description for this position or contact NNELL's National Networking Coordinator, Marcela Summerville (

Download PDF to view responsibilities



NNELL Webinar Survey
Deadline Extensions

We at NNELL remain committed to exploring all avenues possible that allow us to deliver high quality professional development to YOU anytime, anywhere.

NNELL is currently analyzing how we meet your needs through professional development webinars.

This is where we need you.

Please take a minute or two (literally no more than that) and fill out the 6 questions that we've prepared. We will keep the survey open until December 23.

Your answers remain anonymous and help us make the most of your membership dollar!

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2015 Illinois Foreign Language Teacher of the Year: NNELL Member, Kathleen A. Priceman

It is our pleasure to announce that NNELL Member Kathleen A. Priceman is the 2016 Illinois Foreign Language Teacher of the Year. She will compete this spring for the honor of 2015 Central Sates Foreign Language Teacher of the Year.

In 1997 Kathleen began teaching at Oak Park Elementary District 97 as one of the original immersion teachers in the district. Mrs. Priceman is passionate about students’ learning the cultures and traditions of the Spanish-speaking countries around the world. She teaches students traditional Latin dances in preparation for the annual Gran Fandango performance. She exposes students to the many different foods in Spanish cultures. In addition, she coordinates all the immersion students and their parents in preparation for their participation and performances during the District 97 Ethnic Festival and Parade.

Congratulations Kathleen!

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Generation Study Abroad

On behalf of Institute for International Education (IIE)'s Generation Study Abroad Team, I'd like to thank you for the amazing work you are doing with early language learners to open up the minds of students to the world beyond our borders. We would greatly appreciate it if you would "Take the Pledge" and share this initiative with fellow teachers and administrators in your town, across your state and the US. In addition to signing the pledge -- just a commitment to keep doing what you're doing -- you will find all kinds of great resources on the site that has been created for teachers. We recognize that teachers are busy, and would benefit from a centrally-located source of materials, so we've organized resources in the following categories: 1) ways to internationalize the classroom, 2) Study Abroad stories, 3) opportunities for professional development, 4) local, global connections, and 5) information on Generation Study Abroad.

Our goal is to double the number of students studying abroad while in college, and administrators like you can support your teachers as they open the world to students and help plant the seed for study abroad in college.

The official launch of the #I'mOnBoard campaign won't be until January, but we're trying to gin up support and pledges before then to announce! So please take the pledge and share the site with as many people as possible!

It's never too early to talk to our students about opportunities for study and travel abroad!

Stacie Berdan, author and parent

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Call for Proposals: 2015 ACTFL Annual Convention and World Languages Expo

A Message from ACTFL:
Inspire. Engage. Transform.
Submission Deadline: Wednesday, January 14, 2015

While you are relaxing during the holidays, plan to be a part of the 2015 ACTFL Annual Convention and World Languages Expo of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) by submitting to the 2015 Call for Proposals. ACTFL 2015 will be held November 20-22, 2015, at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. With the ACTFL Convention featuring more than 700 educational sessions covering the whole spectrum of the language education profession, we are looking for proposals that will inspire the audience, keep them engaged, and ultimately, help teachers transform their classroom.

The entire selection process is designed to provide attendees with an exciting array of sessions and events to further your knowledge and skills to become better, well-informed teachers, professors, and administrators. We welcome language educators at all levels and of all languages to submit a proposal.

Please note: When you login, it is very important that you carefully read all the information in the Submission Guidelines before proceeding to complete your online submission. The submission deadline is Wednesday, January 14, 2015. All proposals for consideration must be submitted online and will not be accepted after the deadline date.

Visit the ACTFL website for more information and to submit your proposal now.

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How Studying or Working Abroad Makes You Smarter

Researchers have found that the benefits of studying abroad go beyond what one might expect in terms of language proficiency. A study of individuals enrolled in an international MBA program showed that students who were open-minded and adaptive when dealing with diverse cultures also exhibited more ease in making connections among disparate ideas when problem-solving.

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Bilingual Children "show advantage" in noisy classrooms

Numerous studies of bilingual children have focused recently on the cognitive benefits of early language learning. A new study from the United Kingdom attempts to focus on one characteristic--the ability to control auditory interference. Researchers suggest that the ability to control auditory interference increases, as children grow due to their continued practice in identifying and sorting sounds from two languages.

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How to Improve a Baby's Language Skills Before They Start to Talk

A study conducted by neuroscientist April Benasich and colleagues from Rutgers University found that training babies to distinguish between different sounds boosts their language development. The researchers also discovered that the way babies react to different sounds predicts future linguistic challenges. Benasich is developing her test into a parent-friendly toy that will enhance babies' language skills later in life.


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Website: Mama Lisa's World of Children and International Culture

This website has a variety of international music and culture including songs with lyrics, rhymes and traditions from around the world.


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App Review: L'alphabet en s'amusant!

Through 8 activities, the app teaches kids to recognize letters (lower and upper case), trace and draw letters fro a template, order letters, hear and pronounce, and form words with magnets. Cost $ .99.

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Website: Disney Junior

This is the official You Tube Disney Channel from Latin America that includes games, videos and blogs from Disney Junior.


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App Review: Dikie and Dukie

Learn to Read in Spanish, Learn Geography in Spanish, Learn Math in Spanish and Make Funny Faces in Spanish are all separate APPS for this fun, educational App from $ .99 - $1.99.


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App Review: Oy Ahoy

This App presents two cultural stories, Oy Mexico and Oy China, intended to let toddlers explore the world with their fingertips, in a series of apps each representing a unique country or culture and its traditions. Free.

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  Thank you to NNELL members Janine Erickson, Tammy Dann, Kristel Saxton, Heather Hendry, PhD., Alice Charkes, Sally Hood, PhD., and Kennedy Schultz, PhD., 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 |