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October 2015
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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



Congratulations to the KWLA Outstanding NNELL Teacher of the Year, Melissa Willing (right) and to KY Representative Jennifer Kennedy (left) who was a finalist for the KWLA Outstanding New Teacher of the Year award. Jennifer Kennedy is in her 4th year teaching Spanish at Southern Elementary in Lexington, KY and writes the blog Senora Speedy. Melissa Willing teaches Spanish at Garden Springs Elementary in Lexington, KY. In an effort to increase collaboration among FLES teachers who often feel isolated as the only World Language teachers in their schools, Melissa began organizing a series FLES Swap Shops for teachers in her district in 2013. Those Swap Shops quickly expanded to include teachers from all parts of the state and offer support, encouragement, and great ideas to early language teachers in Kentucky. I also enjoyed chatting with members Jorita Addington and Jordan Hensley on issues of advocacy and practical ideas in the classroom. - Nadine Jacobsen-McLean

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Journal: Submit An Article!

LAST CALL!! We are currently accepting submissions for Volume 21, Issue 1 of the Learning Languages Journal: Exploring Creativity and Innovation Through Language Learning. As we transition to the new journal editor, the deadline was extended to Oct. 15th, however, we may be able to squeeze yours in!! Submit it now! See author guidelines.

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Membership Spotlight

"With languages, you are at home anywhere" - Edmond de Waal

NNELL is about networking and sharing! Please share with us your favorite language quote or what you love about being a member of NNELL! Include a picture, your name, city, state and anything else you would like to share about #earlylang! Send this to Nadine Jacobsen-McLean at

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Membership WIN!

And the winner of an additional Membership year or Free NNELL Networking Breakfast at the ACTFL Convention is…….Alexandra Windelman, CT! Thank you to all of you who renewed your 2015-16 Membership and your dedication to early language learning.

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LLC SIG: Nominations for Co-Chair for the 2016-18 term are due Oct. 21, 2015! If you are interested, send a brief academic bio, experience teaching/working with Elem WL programs and a Vision for the LLC SIG to Pattie Davis-Wiley ( and Teresa Kennedy (

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Pre-convention workshop designed especially for Pre-K – Grade 8 language educators!

As you know the ACTFL 2015 Annual Convention and World Languages is one of the largest professional development events in the world with hundreds of sessions for all languages at all levels from Friday, November 20 through Sunday, November 22. However, the day before the convention on Thursday, November 19. One pre-convention workshop is designed especially for Pre-K – Grade 8 language educators.

W19 Transform Your K-6 Units, Assessments, and Lessons to Engage Students from Beginning to End

In K-6 FLES or Immersion programs, educators create numerous units, assessments, and lessons for their classroom. Are there some that “work” and some that fall flat? Which are the most effective in terms of student learning and engagement? During this session, identify what “works” and what does not; then collaborate to transform your most challenging units, assessments, and lessons into your most engaging and effective ones. Participants should bring units, assessments, and/or lessons ready to share, analyze, and improve.

Presenter(s): Jessica Haxhi, New Haven Public Schools

There are a few slots left in the workshop so make sure to register by October 28 to take advantage of the advance registration savings. If you have already registered for the convention and want to add this pre-convention workshop, call 508-743-8561 to sign up for one. We look forward to having you join us in San Diego!

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  • October 29-31st: Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA) Fall
    Conference in Sturbridge, MA Rita Oleksak, NNELL Past President will be presenting workshops on, Achieving Proficiency Goals for Global Competence and Connecting Practice to Assessment in the Foreign Language Classroom

  • October 30-31st: New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers, Inc.(NYSAFLT) Annual Conference in Saratoga Springs, NY

  • November 4-7th: American Translators Association (ATA) Conference in Miami, FL

  • November 6-7th: Tennessee Foreign Language Teaching Association (TFLTS) Conference
    in Franklin, TN

NNELL, in the spirit of networking and collaboration, would like to assist other organizations in their promotion of activities of interest to early language educators.

NNELL Representatives, if there is a professional development opportunity in your area, please submit the name of event, date(s), very brief summary and/or link to the event. We will get it on our calendar as soon as we can. The appearance of an event on this page does not imply an endorsement of the event.

Inside a family's year of kindergarten taught in Mandarin

Here is a story about an English-only speaking family in California who decided to enroll their daughter in a kindergarten Mandarin immersion program, despite having questions about how their daughter might fare. The family’s doubts vanished two months later when the teacher talked with the family about the daughter’s steady progress with both English and Mandarin. The article provides some descriptions of the teaching techniques and activities used to assist the children in learning Mandarin.

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5 Reasons All Children Should Learn a Foreign Language

According to this article, research indicates that learning a foreign language helps students 1) improve their academic performance, 2) foster brain development, 3) understand their native language and language as a whole (metalingiuistic awareness, 4) connect with their heritage, 5) develop cultural awareness.

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3 Reasons You Need a
Multilingual International Marketing Strategy

In his Blog post at Content Standard by Skyword George Levy of Enterprise Marketing explains that consumers prefer to shop and read content on the Web in their own language. Hands down! Due to the fact that the majority of consumers throughout the world speak a language other than English as their first language, marketers are advised to make available what they’re selling in different languages, in order to best reach their audiences.

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Is the 'App Mentality' Killing Students' Creativity?

In this thoughtful article on technology and its effect on developing young minds, the author suggests that apps are shaping the expectations and creativity of youth today. In some instances, technology provides a greater outlet for creativity and expression; however, at times, youth can be stifled by the boundaries of technology's limitations. Examples of each outcome in art and writing are discussed, and provide food for thought on examining how language acquisition might benefit or be hindered by technology in today's classroom.

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La Semaine du Goût

Each year in France there is La Semaine du Goût. It celebrates all things gustatory and is a wonderful chance to look at what French schoolchildren get exposed to vis-a-vis "le bon goût" as part of their elementary education. This year La Semaine du Goût is from October 12-18, and the website offers many ideas from "Leçon du Goût" to "Quel est le plat préféré des Français?"
plus much more.

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Beginner Conversational Chinese - Nationality

This website teaches how to say nationalities in Mandarin Chinese. In this lesson, you'll learn how to introduce your nationality.


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Online Free Spanish

This website offers free activities for children at the beginner, intermediate and advanced level. Other language activities also available.

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Smartz's caras

Touch the parts of Pablo’s face to learn the words in Spanish and then add masks, glasses, mustaches, or change his hairstyle in this free App.


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  Thank you to JNCL, ACTFL, 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 |