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April 2015
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



It's not too late to save the date!

NNELL Summer Institute
July 10-12, 2015
Glastonbury, CT

The 2015 NNELL Summer Institute will be held July 10-12 in Glastonbury, Connecticut. The cost for members is $200 and space is limited, so register today! For more information, including a tentative schedule and list of speakers, please visit our Summer Institute page.

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Member Spotlight on Amy Murphy

Amy Murphy was named the Iowa World Language Elementary Educator of the Year at the fall conference. The award is given to the teacher who exemplifies the best in teaching and provides outstanding service to the profession in the state of Iowa. She was chosen for the award because of her exemplary teaching, professional growth and leadership experiences.

Click here to read an article about Amy in the the Des Moines Register.

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NNELL Breakfast at the Central States Conference

The NNELL Breakfast, networking and content session at the Central States Conference 2015 was attended by 60+ persons! A special thank you to Kathy Olson-Studler, Central States West Rep, for her leadership role and to Veronica Guevara, NNELL-MN Rep., Angie Jones, MN, and Julie Canady, NNELL Central States East rep for making this happen!

Presenters included, Bill Rivers, Executive Director of JNCL-NCLIS, Paul Sandrock and Jacque Van Houten representing ACTFL with round table discussions with Donna Clementi, co-author together with Laura Terrill, of the book: Planning for Learning: Effective Curriculum, Unit and Lesson Design, Rose Egan, discussed new tech tools to engage students in communicating globally, and Helena Curtain led a lively discussion by fielding questions on the latest edition of hers and Carol Ann Dahlberg's book: Languages and Learners: Making the Match, 5th edition (2015). Lucky participants were awarded door prizes donated from ACTFL, NNELL, EMC, Mary Sosnowski, and Real Language, Right Now. Thank you again for inspiring others in your field.

A Day of Sharing Tips and Tricks on the Campus of the University of Iowa

The campus of the University of Iowa welcomed early language teachers from around the state on Saturday, April 4. The exceptionally well-organized event was lead by Kristel Saxton, IA-NELL representative and elementary Spanish teacher in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Presentations throughout the day focused on a variety of topics pertinent to the early language classroom. Abby Pudenz opened the presentations with "Favorite Group Work Activities", followed by Nicholas O’Brien and "Classroom Management". Tammy Dann kicked off the afternoon session with "My Favorite Apps", Anna Ranbarger discussed "New Activities to Bring to the Classroom" and Amy Murphy ended the day with "PowerPoint Tips and Tricks".Throughout the day there were opportunities to share ideas and ask questions about anything related to early language learning. Everyone left feeling rejuvenated and with many new ideas. Thanks to NNELL members Kristel Saxton, Wyatt Brockman and Pam Wesley for all the time and energy they put into making the event such a success!

For ideas on how to replicate this workshop in your state or for updates on IA-NELL, contact Kristel:

Submitted by NNELL Member, Tammy Dann, FLES Teacher from West Des Moines Community School District and NNELL Membership Secretary.

Aussie babies already learning to study maths,
English and even foreign languages

A new trend in Australia toward early learning is seeing babies as young as 5 months old going to 'school' to get a head start on reading, math and foreign language. Parents who enrolled their children in the Shichida Education program rave about the advances their toddlers are making, while some researchers warn that such focus can lead to increased anxiety in young children.

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Gestures and Pictures Boost Foreign Language Learning

A recent study suggests that adding images to reading and listening activity helps develop these skills, but adding gestures helps even more, especially when those gestures, which engage the motor senses, are performed by the learners themselves.

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Bilingual Infants Lip-Read More than Monolingual Infants: Beneficial Implications

By the end of the first year of life, we narrow our ability to perceive different languages if we haven’t been exposed to them. And though children retain a great deal of plasticity throughout childhood, a recent study examining lip-reading behavior of monolingual and bilingual babies at 4 and 12 months, reveals that exposure to multiple languages in the first year may prevent perceptual narrowing. This finding suggests that bilingual infants are more perceptive to salient audiovisual speech cues, than monolinguals.


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Koobits - Engaging the Digital Kids

Koobits has done all the hard work for you in selecting the best 10 free language learning sites for kids. Duolingo, Kids Web Japan, Live Mocha, are among the websites listed. Some of the websites offer both free and paid language learning software. 


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Learn Seasons in Mandarin Chinese!
Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter

This website teaches how to say the four seasons and use them in simple sentences. Children can understand and follow easily. Each character is translated individually.


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App Review: The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends

3D pop-up games and activities involving counting, sorting, remembering - free to try. Also comes in French, Spanish, German and Japanese. This app is designe for both iPhone and iPad for $3.99.


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App Review: French Favorite Kids Songs and Rhymes

50 songs rhymes sung in French and accompanied by English translations. - $1.99


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  Thank you to ACTFL SmartBrief, JNCL-NCLIS NewsBrief, and NNELL members Janine Erickson, Tammy Dann, Kristel Saxton, Heather Hendry, PhD., Alice Charkes, Zhihong Li, Sally Hood, PhD., Kennedy Schultz, PhD., and Robert Raymond, 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 |