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  • 27 Mar 2012 10:51 AM | Tracy Dinesen

    As April looms, don't forget to apply for a grant, nominate an outstanding fellow teacher or a teacher of promise!

    IWLA grants are for projects that are innovative, creative and directly affect students and student learning. We now have a rubric to evaluate grants, which the executive board hopes will help everyone better understand the grants and will guide members in writing their proposals.

    As always, we ask that you nominate your fellow teachers (or even yourself) for the outstanding educator awards. We have awards for primary, secondary and post-secondary teachers. We have an amazing membership and Iowa is lucky to have so many wonderful teachers at all levels. Help us recognize our colleagues and let the state know what wonderful things language teachers are doing in the state.

    Last, but not least, we have a NEW award this year: the Michael Oates Teacher of Promise Award.  This award is for students completeing their student teaching or teachers in their first year.  We want to award our up and coming teachers who show great promise in the teaching profession and who will inspire thier students for years to come.  The award comes with monies for classroom supplies and a paid registration for the IWLA conference the following year.  Please, if you are a mentor teacher, a teaching supervisor or you work with an inspiring  student teacher or first year teacher, nominate them for this important award!

    ,The award and grants deadline is April 30th.  You can send all nominations and applications to me, Tracy Dinesen at the following address:

    Tracy Dinesen

    World Language and Culture Studies

    Simpson College

     701 North C Street

    Indianola, IA 50125

     

    I look forward to receiving your applications and nominations!

     

  • 02 Dec 2011 11:29 AM | Tracy Dinesen
    Sioux Central CSD lost their Spanish teacher due to tragic circumstantes in the middle of the fall semester.  They are in need of a mid-year replacement, beginning the first full week of January.  Please, visit http://www.sioux-central.k12.ia.us/jobs.cfm?job=52900&cat=361&getjob=1 for more details!  Let's get them a qualified and dynamic replacement!
  • 26 Sep 2011 10:35 AM | Tracy Dinesen

    Dear Language Advocates and Supporters:

    Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee considered and passed the Labor HHS and Education funding bill. Although some education priorities were protected, the bill zeroed out ALL funding for the Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP). This means that for the next fiscal year there will be no funding for new FLAP programs and possibly none for current FLAP grantees. FLAP is the only existing K-12 national program for language learning. 

    In the big picture, the elimination of FLAP demonstrates a lack of commitment to teaching foreign languages in US schools at a time when our nationb them to compete in a global economy. Meanwhile other countries have made language a high priority b students to study language for at least nine years. Cutting FLAP also flies in the face of Department of Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, who is urging the US to prioritize language for national security interests.

    Zeroing out all K-12 language learning in fiscal year 2012 means that the opportunity for thousands of children to learn another language will be jeopardized or eliminated as school districts struggle under tight fiscal constraints. To add to the distressing news b to its previous funding level in the Senate bill.

    We urge you to contact your member of Congress and tell them this decision must be reversed. If you currently have a FLAP grant, your congressional representative needs to know what will be lost if your funding is eliminated. Thank you for your continued support.
  • 13 Aug 2011 1:34 PM | Anonymous

    You can now receive information and important updates about the fall conference through facebook!

    Search IWLA Annual Conference through Facebook or go to http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/IWLA-Annual-Conference/144612092290841?sk=wall and click on the like button.  This will allow you to receive messages about the conference on your Facebook homepage.  There are several posts to view on this page about this year's keynote and luncheon speakers, as well as a reminder about early bird registration.

    CONFERENCE NEWS

    • New this year!  Thursday night conference kick-off wine and cheese reception!Thursday, October 6, 6-7:30pm.  Join us for complimentary wine and cheese and catch up with friends or network.  Room location at Downtown Marriott to be announced.

     

    • Saturday Afternoon Technology Workshop at the DMACC Urban Campus will be FREE this year to conference attendees!  You need to pre-register for the workshop, through the events link on the IWLA website.  There are limited spots available.  See listing in events link for details.

     

    • Iowa All-Star sessions!  Didn't make it to a session last year that you heard so much about?  You can catch it this year as an Iowa All-Star Encore presentation.  Featured sessions include: Tech in Spanish Classroom (Wigant, Smith, Huegerich), Trials, Tribulations & Tenacity (Zwanziger), Learning New Vocab in German (Martin, Carpenter), Web 2.0 Tools for you and your classroom (J.Smith) and Activities that Rock! (Sobotka).

    DATES TO KEEP IN MIND

    *Sept. 9: deadline for early bird registration

    *Sept. 15: deadline for conference rate on rooms at Downtown Marriott, conference site

    *Sept. 23: deadline for regular registration

    Go to conference link and click on conference registration to find 2011 registration form

     

    See you all in Des Moines!

    Sara Blanco, IWLA Past President

    2011 Conference Chair  

  • 21 Apr 2011 12:14 PM | Carrie Morris (Administrator)

    First, a big Gracias and Bravo to the Modern Languages faculty at UNI for such a great event on Saturday, April 9.  Paul Sandrock was an amazing keynote speaker. If you ever get a chance to see him speak, it is a must.  He is so personable, helpful, and inspiring.  He gave comments on global competency, and had a basic outline for how to create it.  For as simple as it could seem, that is what we should try to do. 

    • Start with curiosity
    • Add in experiences to build curiosity
    • Add desire to communicate
    • Provide tools to communicate
    • Instill confidence to communicate across borders

    One really useful part of the day surprised me.  Late in the semester, it's easy to lose focus and motivation.  Sandrock showed a video of a French immersion teacher, Jai Scott that is on the Annenberg Learner website.  It hit me--this is why we do what we do.  That experience, along with others from the UNI events, have helped me keep it up the last few weeks.  Here is a link to the video: http://www.learner.org/libraries/tfl/french/scott/analyze.html?pop=yes&pid=2004.  There are also links to other classrooms.  I haven't watched them yet, but this one did its magic. 

  • 20 Apr 2011 9:08 PM | Wade Petersen
    Info from Pat Westphal (thanks, Pat!)

    We are pleased to bring you OF GODS AND MEN as our next feature.  It starts this Friday, April 22.
     
    Based on the true story of a profound life-and-death crisis faced by a group of French monks in a monastery in Algeria's Atlas Mountains in the mid-1990's. The film emphasizes from the start how well the monks, who are unmistakably there to do service, not proselytize, fit into the town's Muslim community. They attend the birthday parties of local children and run a free medical clinic. But when a gang of terrorists slaughter a group of Croatian construction workers whose only crime is that they are not Muslims, it becomes clear that the monks are living in a different world and must make some hard choices. These days it is unusual to see a screen depiction of faith so entirely devoid of fury, and it is a testimony to the delicacy of the director what remains with you is not the brutality of the monks' fate, but the gentle, sustaining power of their belief.
     
    OF GODS AND MEN will be shown each evening at 7:30 & 9:35.  There will be a 4:00 matinee on Friday, plus the usual 1:30 matinees on Saturday and Sunday.  It is rated PG-13.
     
    Varsity Theatre 
    1207 25th St | Des Moines, IA 50311-3005 

  • 14 Apr 2011 5:31 PM | Wade Petersen

    Dear ACTFL Organizational Members: 

    Congress and the White House are putting the final touches on details of the budget cuts for the current fiscal year. The picture is not good for a number of education programs, including foreign language education. I have attached a list of program cuts provided by the National Education Association that includes all of the Department of Education cuts. What is different about this budget plan is that the U.S. Department of Education will have final determination of the exact funding cuts for those line item programs NOT specified in the legislation. The Department has 30 days after enactment of the legislation to submit its detail of cuts to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. The cuts listed for Title VI - International Education and Foreign Languages total $50 million, but the legislation does not specify exactly which programs are cut. Thus the U.S. Department of Education must specify where those cuts will come from 30 days after the bill is signed by the President. This is a devastating cut to Title VI, which may lead to staffing and program cuts at universities with Title VI programs in critical languages, as well as resource centers.

     

    FLAP was excluded from any specific cuts. However, once all of the specific cuts are made then all programs will be reduced by an across-the-board .2% cut.

     

    Also of note:

     

    Funding for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is eliminated. The only potentially positive news here is that NBPTS will be able to compete for funding from a competitive grants fund, which includes several other programs. As you know, many foreign language educators have attained their NBPTS certification. Officials with NBPTS say that they intend to continue operation and increase their efforts to obtain private funding for their operations.  While the federal funds only provide a portion of their operating income, NBPTS will be severely hampered in its operations, which may set back further our efforts to open up NBPTS certification to more foreign language teachers.


    STEM BA and Masters foreign language teacher training cut $2.2 million – program eliminated. The one bright spot in the STEM program for foreign languages – teacher training – has been eliminated.

     

    As you look at the pitifully small amount of funding foreign languages receives through the Department of Education programs, these cuts are shocking and tell us that we have a long way to go to build a constituency with influence in Congress. We will re-double our efforts to focus attention on the fact that foreign languages are not yet a priority for policymakers. We need to work that much harder to gain support for foreign language provisions in future legislation such as the Elementary Secondary Education Act. Of course, we will be talking with the U.S. Department of Education about the specific cuts they intend to make in Title VI of the Higher Education Act, and we will continue monitoring the status of FLAP.

     

    We have a lot of work ahead of us to regain the ground lost with these budget cuts. One way you can help is to continue to contact your Representatives and ask them to demonstrate their support for foreign language education by cosponsoring the Holt/Tonko bill, H.R. 6036. The bill has not yet been introduced in the new Congress, but you can ask that they contact Congressman Holt and sign on to the bill as a cosponsor when it is reintroduced this year. Representative Holt is preparing to introduce the bill and can add cosponsors now. You can go to our website for details of the legislation and instructions on making contact at http://www.actfl.org/i4a/headlines/headlinedetails.cfm?id=299

     

    Thank you for your continued support and adocacy efforts for language education!

     

    Bret

     

    Bret Lovejoy

    Executive Director

    American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)

    1001 North Fairfax Street

    Suite 200

    Alexandria, VA 22314

    Ph: (703) 894-2900     Fx: (703) 894-2905

  • 13 Apr 2011 10:19 AM | Tracy Dinesen

    We all wish we had a window into our student’s heads from time to time.  Are they understanding the material?  How are they studying?  How confident are they in what we are doing?  Are they prepared for the test?  We imagine what we could or would do with the information that we received; how we would improve activities, give more study tips, try just one more thing to help them understand even better.  Believe it or not, it is possible to get answers to these questions and it won’t require seminar training or a grant to accomplish the task.  It is simple, takes 5 minutes and will give both you and your students a wealth of information about their skills, preparation, weaknesses and strengths helping you guide them to better results and more effective learning.

                    As teachers we use goals use to organize ourselves and communicate with colleagues and administrators but we don’t often share this with our students.  By informing our students of the goals in a way that they can understand and use for self-evaluation we can get answers to our questions and help them become aware of their own skills.  To accomplish this, I reformulate the goals into user friendly “I can” statements so that the students can evaluate themselves.  For example, during a unit on the stresses of daily life one overarching goal is: I can talk about my daily life and its stresses.   The students will say if they can do this Often, Sometimes, Rarely or Never.  In order to help them to be aware of all of the skills they must have in order to complete the goal satisfactorily, I also include sub-goals.  For instance, sub-goals for this task could include: I can use the vocabulary from the unit effectively and appropriately, as well as, I can conjugate verbs in the present tense including reflexive verbs.  Once the students have assessed their progress, we discuss strategies and resources that they can use in their studies and in their practice beyond classroom activities and homework.  I do this activity with my students generally two or three times during a unit, once at the beginning, once a week  later and once three or four days before the learning check or exam.  Additionally, even though the class has moved on to later units, I still have them evaluate their progress towards the goals from previous chapters.  This helps students to understand that while the in class unit may have ended, their progress towards the goals continue, as does our practice.

    This method is used in Linguafolio and I have personally found it very helpful in organizing my activities and my course.  I can keep my focus on the goals, placing them at the center of the course and purposefully creating activities to help meet them.  It also helps me limit activities and information that may be interesting but, will not meet the goals of the unit.  In addition, the students are aware of their own strengths and weaknesses.  This helps them focus their studies and reminds them that they have responsibility and control in the learning process.  The instruction on study skills; outside of class practice and resources have helped my students at all levels incorporate more language and culture into their lives, improve their skills, and working towards personal goals with language.  In addition, language learning is being demystified because they are pulling from skills they use in other courses and in their English communications on a daily basis.   

    For more information on this technique and strategies your students can use in their studies, visit http://linguafolio.unl.edu/.  You can create your own free account, print publications, get additional resources and find example “I can” statements for the language that you teach.  For sample handouts that my colleagues and I use in our Spanish courses or to report your experiences with this method, please email me at tracy.dinesen@simpson.edu.  I look forward to hearing from you!
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