ACTFL 2018
CI-focused Sessions

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W14 Creating a Culture of Communication Through Trust and Comprehensible Input

Learn to elicit and assess effective interpersonal communication skills in any language, on any topic. Empower your students to prepare, interact and engage with intentionality in the language classroom. Learn to build confidence and self-awareness while developing learners’ performance to higher levels of proficiency; to create a class culture that develops trust and fosters community; to engage learners to interact and negotiate meaning as they analyze a wide variety of texts (websites, film/video, news); to foster collaboration as learners create and share a variety of messages (blogs/opinions, summaries, stories – to inform/explain, persuade, narrate); and to support learners to sustain interactions with something to react to (invitation/message, issue/problem, media/image, challenge/task) and the language to discuss it. 

Presenter:  Grant Boulanger

Thu, 11/15 9:00 AM  – 12:00 PM  Room 210 


Pre-Reading: Priming the Pump!

Discover key strategies to prime your students for optimum acquisition before you even crack open a book. Learn how to calculate the ‘Reading Ratio’, pique interest, and build familiarity with vocabulary and concepts through a variety of techniques that will leave you empowered and your students dying to start reading!

Presenter: Carol Gaab


Fri, 11/16        10:30 AM  – 11:15 AM  Workshop Room #2  

Brain Breaks: Increasing Engagement, Proficiency, and Joy

The rigor of sustaining 90% use of target language for the sake of facilitating language acquisition can be overwhelming for both teachers and students. Brain breaks offer a rest in rigor, increase student engagement, and streamline classroom management. Learn how to use brain breaks to build a safe classroom community and to maximize acquisition.

Presenter: Annabelle Allen- La Maestra Loca

Fri, 11/16 11:00 AM  – 11:45 AM Room R08

Ap Through a CI Lens: Planning, Scaffolding, Assessing Oh My!

Have you ever wondered what a comprehensible AP language class looks like? After making the paradigm shift to proficiency-based, communicative teaching, language programs grew and AP scores skyrocketed! The presenter will share how they adapt and create engaging communicative activities that simulate the exam without using explicit grammar.

Presenter: Darcy Pippins

Fri, 11/16 11:00 AM  – 11:45 AM Room 206

Evidence Chains: Engineering the Complexity of Learning for All Students

Should a learning task stay or go? Evidence chains provide timely and effective feedback and inform instructional cycles to better align with learning goals and provide mindful transfer and application of learning. Therefore, proficiencies guide the design of the intentional tasks in a unit learning progression to provide the feedback and evidence.

Presenter: Toni Theisen
Co-Presenter: Mira Canion

Fri, 11/16 11:00 AM – 11:45 AM Room 210

Recipe for Output: High-Quality Comprehensible Input!

Do your students always produce as much spoken language as you expect? Sometimes, we want students to produce before we have provided all of the “ingredients” they need. This presentation will walk you through a recipe for specific, engaging, target-language activities that will scaffold up to the speaking output you are looking for!

Presenter: Jessica Haxhi

Fri, 11/16 11:00 AM – 11:45 AM Room R07

CI for the Little Guy: Comprehensible Input for Young Language Learners

Learners young and old alike acquire language through compelling comprehensible input. Yet elementary language teachers often face unique challenges in providing age and level appropriate comprehensible input. Learn fun and engaging strategies for comprehensible input which lead to joyful language acquisition for young learners.

Presenter: Emily Ibrahim

Fri, 11/16 1:00 PM  – 1:45 PM  Room 244 

Unleash the Power of Storytelling in the Elementary Classroom

Based on Dr. Mason’s “Story Listening” research-based methodology, this workshop will enable participants to select, adapt, and effectively deliver stories in rich yet simple language to early language learners, in order to maximize language acquisition, student engagement, and cultural exposure.

Presenter: Cecile Laine
Co-Presenter: Megan Hayes

Fri, 11/16 1:00 PM  – 1:45 PM  Room 210

Digital Storytelling Toolbox

Tired of having your students memorize vocabulary lists out of context? Stories are one of the most effective ways for language learners to acquire language in a contextual setting. This session will focus on several different digital storytelling platforms used to create comprehensible, compelling stories with your K-12 classes.

Presenter: Rebecca Collora
Co-Presenter: Niki Tottingham

Fri, 11/16 1:00 PM  – 1:45 PM  Room 206 

Fostering Community while Differentiating for Multiple Levels with Music

What magic unifies a group more than singing together? Language teachers know the power of songs for language acquisition and making cultural connections. In this session, teachers will learn to use authentic target language songs to foster community while differentiating instruction and making cultural connections for multiple classroom levels.

Presenter: Michele Whaley

Fri, 11/16        2:00 PM  – 2:45 PM  Room R07

Comprehensible Culture: Teaching Language with Culture

The presenter will demonstrate ways to create brief cultural lessons that are integrated into the class through the use of targeted vocabulary and grammar in a novice level class while maintaining instruction in the target language. Student comprehension and engagement is aided through the use of comprehensible language and visuals.

Presenter: Jennifer Burchill

Fri, 11/16        2:00 PM  – 2:45 PM  Room 244 

Get Out Of Town! Using Geo Tools to Explore the World!

Without even leaving the classroom, Google’s Geo tools today can easily transport students to amazing places around the world. Learn how tools like My Maps, Street View and Tour Builder allow students to explore products and practices of the target culture and help learners better comprehend and appreciate class units, novels, and current events.

Presenter: Leslie Davison

Fri, 11/16        2:00 PM  – 2:45 PM  Room 219 

Let Improv Move Intermediates to Spontaneous Interpersonal Communication

At the Intermediate proficiency levels, Interpersonal communication calls for participation in spontaneous language. This session will delve into activities derived from improvisational theatre games to help build contexts and foster student growth. All participants will participate in the activities after implementation strategies are discussed.

Presenter: Gary DiBianca

Fri, 11/16        2:00 PM  – 2:45 PM  Room 214 

Worth A Thousand Words: The Power of Visuals in the Language Classroom

Current brain research shows that images are a powerful tool for engaging students, including those who might not otherwise be reached. Discover how to immerse students in the target culture through authentic photos, ads, animated gifs and more. Learn five ways to incorporate images in lessons, all while staying 90% or more in the target language.

Presenter: Amy Vander Deen

Fri, 11/16        2:00 PM  – 2:45 PM  Room R05

Your Heritage Learners Think You Are Weird (Probably)

“We don’t speak like that”. Heritage learners previously exposed to a single dialect of Spanish may reject the speech of non-native speaking teachers. Even the speech of some native speakers may be seen as “irrelevant”, akin to a strong cockney accent in an AP English class. There is a solution: expand your students’ language community.

Roundtable Presenter: Michael Peto
Co-Presenter: Sean Lawler 

Fri, 11/16        2:00 PM  – 2:45 PM  Room: Confer-sation Corner, Exhibit Hall  

Beyond Flashcards: Using Online Tools For Real Proficiency

Online tools can either be rote memorization and regurgitation devices, or their power can be harnessed to deliver comprehensible input, drive the acquisition process, make authentic language accessible, deliver meaningful feedback, and build community. Participants will learn how to maximize the potential for proficiency with online tools!

Presenter: Kristy Placido


Fri, 11/16        3:00 PM  – 3:45 PM  Room 208 

Movie Talk: Ageless, Timeless, Priceless

Movie Talk (MT) is a fun and engaging way to deliver content to students. Regardless of level, well-chosen short video clips allow teachers to provide meaningful input and captivate students. Attendees will see various approaches to a MT as well examples of a variety of follow-up activities to use as both formative and summative assessments.

Presenter: Lindsay Smythe Doucet
Co-Presenter: Allison Litten

Fri, 11/16        3:00 PM  – 3:45 PM  Room 207 

‘Interactivities’: Turning Ordinary Activities into Communicative Events

Comprehensible input (CI) is a fundamental element for helping learners develop proficiency. However, CI that is conducive to acquisition requires more than merely implementing activities. Learn how to transform typical classroom activities into authentic interpersonal exchanges that engage learners, deepen comprehension and inspire acquisition.

Presenter: Carol Gaab


Fri, 11/16        4:00 PM  – 4:45 PM  Room R02 

Using Ci to Address Serious Topics in the Target Language in 3rd Grade

The presenter will show how serious topics such as racism, multicultural diversity, social justice, global citizenship can be addressed successfully in the Comprehensible Input French classroom and lead to literacy. The various supports used, including books, songs and videos will be presented as well a variety of fun and motivating activities.

Electronic Poster Presenter: Anne-Sophie Roure

Fri, 11/16        4:00 PM  – 5:00 PM  Exhibit Halls B-C 

All for One or One for All

Which is a greater challenge, creating strong units that build proficiency and inspire engagement or finding the time to create those units? This session will focus on maximizing the impact of 1 unit across many levels or many units at one level. From finding the perfect resource to the final assessment, these three complete units are a sure fit.

Presenter: Carrie Toth

Fri, 11/16        5:00 PM  – 5:45 PM  Room R02 

Writing Good Stories: The Brain, Stories and Second Language Acquisition

Scores of brain studies across eleven different disciplines demonstrate that storytelling is not just a feature of the human brain but functions as its organizing core. This workshop features key elements of effective stories and how to use them while drawing students into a variety of communicative events in the target language.

Presenter: Robert Patrick

Fri, 11/16        5:00 PM  – 5:45 PM  Room 207

Tap into the Musicality of Language

Every teacher can tap into the power of music. This fun and interactive session demonstrates classroom strategies for comprehensible input using songs, chants, choral readings and teacher read-alouds. Learn how attention to the musicality of spoken language (words, rhythm, sound patterns) accelerates the language acquisition process.

Presenter: Janice Kittok

Fri, 11/16        5:00 PM  – 5:45 PM  Room 214


Comprehensible Input and Classroom Management

Teaching through Comprehensible Input (CI) relies on developing a diverse repertoire of activities to engage your students. Keeping them from becoming over stimulated or losing control of the class is a reason many teachers are reluctant to “go all in. This workshop offers specific strategies to manage a dynamic CI classroom.

Presenter: Mary Holmes

Sat, 11/17        8:00 AM  – 8:45 AM  Room 214 

Teacher Presence: Essential Strategies for Boosting Proficiency

In this highly interactive session, participants will learn to use their body and voice to scaffold students’ comprehension by practicing movements, breathing techniques, and vocal intonation. Participants will gain a new perspective on their physical presence in the classroom and concrete techniques to make their speech come alive.

Presenter: Tina Hargaden
Co-Presenter: Brett Chonko

Sat, 11/17        8:00 AM  – 8:45 AM  Room R05 

Independent Reading Programs for Heritage Language Learners

Classes for heritage learners are often heterogeneous; students who read at a college level are among those reading at a second grade level, and everything in between! Differentiating instruction around one text creates an unhappy reading experience for everyone. Solution: learn the ten essential tenets of effective independent reading programs.

Roundtable Presenter: Sean Lawler
Co-Presenter: Michael Peto

Sat, 11/17        8:00 AM  – 8:45 AM  Room: Confer-sation Corner, Exhibit Hall    

 Transforming a District through Acquisition-Driven Instruction

Learn how a diverse urban school district shifted the entire district to acquisition-driven instruction through peer observation, leader cohorts, and ACTFL/NCSSFL Can-Do Statements. See how one of the most proficiency-minded districts in the U.S. successfully leads professional development and guides educators in curriculum/assessment design.

Presenter: Diana Noonan
Co-Presenter: Paul Kirschling

Sat, 11/17        9:00 AM  – 9:45 AM  Room 219   

Input to Output: Games, Drawing, Writing, and Conversational Proficiency

Learn ways to engage students with games and drawing to first teach language structures under the umbrella of comprehensible input. Then turn that input to output through writing exercises and interesting conversational prompts to get students writing and speaking with gains in confidence and proficiency. Ideal for teachers of many sections.

Presenter: Carlos Zerzan

Sat, 11/17        9:00 AM  – 9:45 AM  Room R04   

Making Input Comprehensible and Maximizing Use of Target Language

Facilitating Target Language comprehensibility is essential to engaging learners and preparing for comprehensible output. Join this session to explore research and strategies supported by ACTFL’s statement on use of TL in the classroom. Participants will receive a packet of scaffolding techniques for input, output and maximizing time with learners.

Presenter: Lea Graner Kennedy

Sat, 11/17        9:00 AM  – 9:45 AM   Room R02  

Best of CSCTFL: Transitioning to a CI Classroom: It’s Not that Scary!

This session shares lessons learned and best practices from the presenter’s experiences in the WL classroom. Like many, he was afraid to step away from the ways he observed and was taught. After transitioning and implementing CI strategies, the changes have been well worth it: proficiency increased, teaching more fun, and students love it.

Presenter: Brett Avila

Sat, 11/17        9:00 AM  – 9:45 AM     Room 338

A Real Game Changer! 

There are days when every teacher needs a fail-safe activity guaranteed to inspire students to acquire. Learn how to use input-driven games to even out the playing field, engage all types of learners, and most importantly, facilitate acquisition! Applicable to all languages, levels and curriculum.

Presenters: Carol Gaab, Kristy Placido & Carrie Toth


Sat, 11/17        9:30 AM  – 10:15 AM  Workshop Room #2

Survival Tips to Avoid Burnout for Heritage Teachers

The challenge of teaching heritage classes has been a stumbling block for teacher recruitment and retention in schools striving to meet unique the needs of Spanish heritage learners. Presenters will share practical advice they have gleaned while building a heritage program from the ground up, in order to help other heritage teachers avoid burnout.

Presenter: Mary Johnson 

Co-Presenter: Adrienne Brandenburg 

Sat, 11/17 11:00 AM  – 11:45 AM Room 206

Head to Head: Applying Brain Science to The Language Classroom

Attendees will learn what happens in your brain when you acquire a second language, and how to use that knowledge to maximize learning potential in the classroom. The impact of brain based learning will be experienced in the session, and teachers will leave with ways to apply their knowledge in their classrooms immediately.

Presenter: Erica Peplinski

Sat, 11/17        1:30 PM  – 2:15 PM  Room 228   

“We Don’t Learn Anything In Class:” Moving Away From Explicit Instruction

Learn strategies, techniques, and activities that will help to move away from the textbook and into the world of comprehensible communication in the TL based on Can-Do Statements and ACTFL Standards.

Presenter: Albert Fernandez

Sat, 11/17        1:30 PM  – 2:15 PM  Room 209   

Secret Input: Low Prep Activities to Sneak In More Comprehensible Input

Learn how to use simple tools and texts to create a variety of input-based activities and extend lessons. Engage individuals, partners, and groups with strategies that require little preparation for the teacher. Meet expectations for interactive classroom practices (group and partner activities) while still providing quality comprehensible input.

Presenter: Elicia Cárdenas

Sat, 11/17        1:30 PM  – 2:15 PM  Room R02   

Cibus Romanus: Serving Community and Communicative Skill on a Platter

Food is not only the easiest way into a student’s heart, it’s also a great connector between worlds and a conduit between ancient authors and modern learners. Guided by Comprehensible Input, this session will demonstrate ways to turn an ancient Roman recipe into a communicative task that combines meaningful Latin discussion with food and fun.

Presenter: Rachel Ash

Sat, 11/17        2:30 PM  – 3:15 PM  Room  236   

Comprehension-based Communicative Language Teaching SIG Business Meeting

ACTFL has adopted a new SIG (Special interest Group), thanks to the efforts of Dr. Bill VanPatten. Join acquisition-minded educators for this first-ever meeting!…


…unless, of course you would rather learn something new from other like-minded colleagues. This time slot has FOUR (yes, 4) CI-based sessions scheduled simultaneously. How do we choose????…

Sat, 11/17        4:30 PM  – 5:15 PM  Room  R02   

Language Doesn’t Happen With Lists: Acquisition in Immersion Programs

Storytelling, games and even Snapchat all have a place in Immersion Programs. Learn how lining up for recess or taking the lunch count is an opportunity to facilitate language acquisition. Participants will experience first hand how infusing of 21-century literacies into everyday instruction inspires students to communicate in the target language.

Presenter: Elena Gallacha
Co-Presenter: Leslie Davison

Sat, 11/17        4:30 PM  – 5:15 PM  Room  229   

Time-Saving Tricks in the CI (Comprehensible Input) Classroom

In this session, teachers will leave with an idea of how to use TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling) skills in their classes to provide comprehensible input in any classroom. Skills included are Personalized Question and Answer, Asking a Story, Reading Strategies, Movie Talk, and more.

Presenter: Elisabeth Hayles

Sat, 11/17        4:30 PM  – 5:15 PM  Room  214   

Co-Create Characters to Engage Students in 90% Target Language

In this session, experience the high level of interest, imagination, and community-building that are possible when co-creating unique characters. Learn a specific questioning sequence and scaffolding techniques to engage students in the target language that is simple yet compelling.

Presenter: Shawna Wheeler
Co-Presenters: Tina Hargaden & Agar Rojas

Sat, 11/17        4:30 PM  – 5:15 PM  Room  R06 

Adapting Antiquity: Using Tiered Readings in the Ci Latin Classroom

One way for language educators to facilitate students’ understanding of advanced, authentic texts is through tiered readings, comprehensible versions of a text designed to aid in reading the original. This workshop will show how to create tiered readings from an authentic source and use them to increase students’ interpretive reading proficiency.

Presenter: Lindsay Sears
Co-Presenters: Kevin Ballestrini & Mark Pearsall

Sat, 11/17        4:30 PM  – 5:15 PM  Room  236 

Using Film, Theatre, and Original Art to Deliver Comprehensible Input (CI)
Presented during: ACTFL Film (Cinema) Sig Business Meeting & Presentation

In this session the presenter will explore methods of utilizing authentic resources in the forms of movies, art, and plays to create compelling and comprehensible input in the classroom. How to incorporate the 5 C’s while maintaining a high level of student interest will be illustrated.

Researcher: Amy Currie

Sat, 11/17        5:30 PM  – 6:15 PM  Room  235   

Appropriate Scaffolding: Pathways to Literacy

How is comprehensibility addressed when it comes to reading? Literacy begins with accessible texts that learners read in volumes. When learners are not reading, often it is because the texts are not appropriately scaffolded for their proficiency level. It is time to fix that.

Researcher: Laurie Clarcq
Co-Presenter: Mira Canion

Sat, 11/17        5:30 PM  – 6:15 PM  Room  206   


Every Moment Matters

Explore ideas, techniques and tools from master teachers around the country to create an environment that facilitates the flow of comprehensible input. Experience concrete tools that aid in maximizing every moment with students. Put the pieces together and optimize your classroom management, student engagement and class transitions.

Presenter: Faith Laux

Sun, 11/18 11:00 AM – 11:45 AM Room 208

Comprehensible Input on a Cart, Japanese, Spanish, Chinese, French, German

Your comprehensible input, 5Cs, TPRS, natural approach, “I can” statements, full or partial immersion, and fabulous language experience CAN be delivered from a cart. The presenter teaches at 14 elementary schools each week, and without carrying around excess baggage. Make your life easier with real traveling foreign language teacher solutions.

Roundtable Presenter: Christine Ladner

Sun, 11/18 11:00 AM – 11:45 AM Room 204

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