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ACTFL 2019 CI-focused Sessions


The In(put)s and Out(put)s of Comprehensible Input 

Input is the “in” thing in language education. Giving great, comprehensible input is the best we can give our language students. This input gives students the foundation they need to become part of the world’s community of bilinguals (or MULTIlinguals). The tricky part is knowing when and how to anticipate language production. In this session, participants will learn about ACTFL’s proficiency levels and will explore units that provide a steady stream of essential input while encouraging students to output when they’re ready. Participants will actively engage in activities, readings, and tricks for unit design that they can take back to their classrooms on Monday!


This is a must-see session for those who want to hone their skill in the classroom and help students reach higher levels of proficiency!

Presenter:  Carrie Toth

Thu, 11/21 9:00 AM  – 3:00 PM  Room 151B

AAPPL Familiarization: Connecting Proficiency & Performance

This introduction to the ACTFL Assessment of Performance towards Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL) is intended for all language professionals. This workshop will link proficiency and performance to show how these concepts both inform the AAPPL and can be used to assess growth in the three modes of communication. Identifying the traits of Novice, Intermediate, or Advanced learners will be addressed and ideas for moving students along the continuum will be discussed. Participants will articulate learning goals in addition to creating rubrics and activities for their classrooms based on the proficiency and performance-based constructs presented in the workshop.


We recommend this session for those who are interested in measuring proficiency of learners taught through CI-based strategies/acquisition-driven instruction.

Presenter:  Mindy Lindgren and Camelot Marshall

Thu, 11/21 9:00 AM  – 4:00 PM  Room 141


Engage, Inspire and ACQUIRE!

Sustaining communicative interaction with comprehensible input is the key to helping students develop proficiency. During this interactive workshop, you will experience six CI-driven activities that engage learners, inspire interpersonal communication, and inherently facilitate acquisition.

Participants will receive a voucher for a FREE Fluency Matters Comprehension-based™ reader.

Presenter: Carol Gaab, Kristy Placido, Carrie Toth

Fri, 11/22
10:30 AM
Workshop Room 1

Poised for Proficiency: Using Mind, Body, and Voice to Maximize Learning

How teachers move, speak, and think has a strong effect on students’ mood and learning. This session guides teachers in body, voice, and mindfulness skills that promote calmness, attention, comprehension, and community in the classroom. It also displays ways of training students to get the most from their own minds in the pursuit of proficiency.

Presenter: Justin Slocum Bailey

Fri, 11/22
11:00 AM  – 11:45 AM Room 152A

Content-based Instruction and Tasks with Comprehensible Input

This workshop focuses on helping students progress through and beyond the Intermediate level with the goal of earning the Seal of Biliteracy and on helping learners with a Seal who are already at or near Advanced. Using the Can-Do statements, the focus will be on supporting learners as they move to higher levels of proficiency in all modes of communication. Participants will leave with a plan of specific strategies to incorporate into daily lessons and summative assessments.

Presenter: Pu-mei Leng and Haiyun Lu

Fri, 11/22
11:00 AM  – 11:45 AM Room 209A

Warning: Graphic Content

The complaint about graphic novels is that they hardly have any text. And yet minimal text is the secret weapon that makes the graphic novel such a powerful medium for coaxing readers towards fluency. Visual immersion allows for complex stories without complex language. Join us as we build proficiency through the unique traits of graphic novels.

Presenter: Jim Wooldridge and Carrie Toth

Fri, 11/22
11:00 AM  – 11:45 AM Room 152B

Take a Trip! Geo Tools for an Immersion Experience

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

Presenter: Leslie Davison

Fri, 11/22
11:00 AM  – 11:45 AM Room 151A

I’ve Got a Song, Now What Do I Do?

Songs are valuable as authentic texts in language acquisition. Multimedia and technology tools make songs readily available. But how can teachers make texts comprehensible and align them with curriculum? This session will model ways to use songs and guide teachers in planning to use favorite songs effectively. Demos in Russian and Spanish.

Presenter: Laurie Clarcq and Michele Whaley

Fri, 11/22
11:00 AM  – 11:45 AM Room 147A

Using the Textbook to Develop Proficiency

In this demonstration-focused session, participants will learn how to adapt a textbook unit by choosing essential vocabulary, teaching grammar as a concept in a meaningful context, and developing communicative activities that provide comprehensible input such as questioning, storytelling, character creation, and picture talk.

Presenter: Kaitlin Leppert

Fri, 11/22
12:00 AM  – 12:45 AM Room  145B

Teaching Proficiency Through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS)

Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS) is a holistic, communicative methodology for teaching second language through the power of story. The session will consist of a brief overview of the core principles and best practices of TPRS, a live demonstration, and a debrief.

Presenter: Von Ray

Fri, 11/22
1:30 PM  – 2:15 PM Room 152B

Tilting at Windmills: Teaching the Quixote and Other Classics from Level 1

Reader’s Theater empowers even students who cannot normally create images while reading to move beyond basic decoding to access the greatest stories of all time. Adventures, giants, epic quests, deception, dangerous battles, narrow escapes, daring rescues, and true love become accessible to reluctant readers in any language at any level.

Presenter: Karen Rowan and Mr Jason Fritze

Fri, 11/22
2:30 PM  – 3:15 PM Room 146A


Teachers need funding for their innovations. In this collaborative session participants will learn successful grant writing strategies from the initial idea stage through the application process, including tips for effective documentation and follow through. Participants will practice these techniques using group-generated ideas.

Presenter: Lynn Heil

Fri, 11/22
2:30 PM  – 3:15 PM Room 144B

Acquisition Gone Viral: Videos in the Language Classroom

Videos are one of the most compelling authentic resources available, but they can also be one of the most incomprehensible. In this highly interactive session, participants will learn how to make video content comprehensible and how to sustain interpersonal communication before, during, and after a video. Engage learners and facilitate acquisition!

Presenter: Donna Tatum-Johns and Carol Gaab

Fri, 11/22
3:30 PM  – 4:15 PM Room 151B

Assess with Finesse

You’re providing comprehensible input, reading readers, embracing authentic resources, and have proficiency descriptors posted around the room. When it comes to presenting your content, you know that you and your students are on the path to proficiency… but how do you show what they know? Join us as we learn to assess with finesse!

Presenter: Carrie Toth

Fri, 11/22
3:30 PM  – 4:15 PM Room 145B

ACTFL Collab Zone: Hosting ACTFL Proficiency and Performance Assessment Workshops at Your School

Learn how to schedule and host your OPI, Modified OPI (MOPI), AAPPL or other assessment-focused workshops such as the Writing Guidelines Familiarization. Understand the different options along with pricing and scheduling information. Speak directly with a member of our Workshops and Certification teams to help you identify the right workshop to meet your institutional needs.

NOTE: This is obviously not a CI-focused session, but it may help you to learn about assessments that will help you determine your students’ proficiency growth/level.

Presenter: Ann Aly and Rula Malky

Fri, 11/22
3:30 PM  – 4:00 PM ACTFL Collab Zone, Exhibit Halls D-E

Game-Changer: Revamping Classroom “Games” to Bolster Proficiency

Students love to play games in class; however, are these classroom “games” truly helping students move along the path to proficiency or merely a means of “practicing” language? This session takes a look at the “games” we play and proposes ways to fine-tune them into vehicles for delivering engaging, communicative, comprehensible input.

Presenter: Andrea Schweitzer

Fri, 11/22
4:30 PM  – 5:15 PM Room 146B

How to “Teach” a Novel

There are a plethora of novellas designed for use in the L2 classroom, but teachers may be wondering how to optimize their use in the classroom. In this session, teachers will learn strategies to use for reading a novel as a whole class as well as post-reading activities. Examples will be given for teaching novels from several publishers.

Presenter: Elisabeth Hayles

Fri, 11/22
4:30 PM  – 5:15 PM Room 145B

On the Move: Comprehensible Input to Communicative Output in Arabic Class

Guiding learners from input to output takes careful planning, especially in K-12 Arabic contexts where age-appropriate listening resources are rare. This presentation presents texts and scaffolded experiences around the theme of transit, adaptable to any language classroom, that move learners from the interpretive mode to the interpersonal.

Presenter: Richard Cozzens

Fri, 11/22
4:30 PM  – 5:15 PM Room 153

Juggling Co-created Stories for Comprehensible Input and Student Engagement

Co-creating stories is an engaging way to provide comprehensible input and whole class interaction, but juggling the demands of classroom management and differentiation is challenging. Participants will learn the basics of story creation, strategies for managing student responses, and practical ideas for how to differentiate for learner needs.

Presenter: Elicia Cardenas

Fri, 11/22
5:30 PM  – 6:15 PM Room 151B

Maximize Authentic Resources with Comprehensible Input Strategies

Learn how to guide students to get the most out of authentic resources. Participants will learn strategies for selecting appropriate resources, connecting them to learning objectives, facilitating comprehensibility, and creating tasks to foster student language development. Sample novice unit will be discussed and shared.

Presenter: Christa Gould

Fri, 11/22
5:30 PM  – 6:15 PM Room 150B

Writing Comprehensible Stories to Support Authentic Texts

Learn how to use Comprehensible Input to make upper level language classes more inclusive, accessible, and engaging without sacrificing rigor. In this session, the presenters discuss how they augmented units of authentic Latin with comprehensible stories. Attendees will be guided through the process of creating and utilizing their own stories.

Presenter: Jennifer Jerger and Elizabeth Bartlett

Fri, 11/22
5:30 PM  – 6:15 PM Room 159B

ACTFL Comprehension-based Communicative Language Teaching SIG Business Meeting

Join us for a presentation by Bill VanPatten and Karen Lichtman (“Was Krashen Right?”) and for our regular business that includes reports from subcommittees, announcement of the new chair for 2020-2022, and other matters. Food and socializing included!

Presenter: Diane Neubauer, Karen Rowan and Bill VanPatten

Fri, 11/22
5:30 PM  – 6:15 PM Room 146B


Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) impact a student’s brain function. However, caring, connected relationships and a sense of belonging can foster resiliency. Starting at the door, participants will experience techniques for building relationships, such as personalized questions, rejoinders, celebrating successes and positive peer connections.

Presenter: Leslie Kronemeyer

Fri, 11/22
5:30 PM  – 6:15 PM Room 142


Comprehensible Input as a Tool for Community-based Language Revival

Learners of all languages acquire language through comprehensible input, but programs teaching Indigenous languages face unique challenges in providing culturally- and level-appropriate comprehensible input. Learn successful strategies and techniques from the experiences of three Mohawk language programs and brainstorm solutions to issues you face.

Presenter: Mr. Scott Longboat, Kahsto’serakwathe Moore, and Terry Waltz

Sat, 11/23
8:00 AM – 8:45 AM
Room 159B

Best of SWCOLT: Agent CI to the Rescue

Are you wondering how you can increase use of the target language in your classroom without causing a panic? This session will explain how to use comprehensible input to increase target language use and energize your lessons. In addition, the session will help you backwards design in order to help students increase fluency and confidence.

Presenter: Marjorie Fitzpatrick

Sat, 11/23
9:00 AM – 9:45 AM
Room 102B

Plan for Proficiency: What Does Proficiency Oriented Instruction Look Like?

Unpack the definition of Proficiency Oriented Language Instruction (POLI) and consider its practical application to lesson design! Participants will consider the core elements of POLI through guided reflection on three demo lessons and will leave with an adaptable template for planning proficiency oriented lessons.

Presenter: Martina Bex

Sat, 11/23
9:00 AM – 9:45 AM
Room 147A

Authentic Assessments: How to Really Grade Reading Comprehension

Do reading assessments accurately measure how well learners make meaning of the text? Do they inform daily instruction? Do teachers model and practice the reading skills they assess like finding the main idea? Should only authentic texts provide assessment data? See how reading strategies can generate assessment data and improve instruction.

Presenter: Mira Canion

Sat, 11/23
9:00 AM – 9:45 AM
Room 146A

Taking the Plunge into Acquisition-driven Instruction

Teaching with comprehensible input is not a ‘method’; it’s a MUST! What’s holding you back? Get step-by-step guidance to immediately transition to proficiency-driven instruction. Prepare for tomorrow– the first day of the rest of the school year.

Participants will receive a voucher for a FREE Fluency Matters Teacher’s Guide Download!

Presenter: Carol Gaab, Kristy Placido and Carrie Toth

Sat, 11/23
9:30 AM Workshop room 1

Making Input Comprehensible

Ever wonder how to speak 90% in the target language and have students understand? Participants in this session will experience comprehensible input as students and be able to discuss the implications of teaching in the target language, planning for instruction, and how they relate to a proficiency-focused classroom.

Presenter: Zach Neumann

Sat, 11/23
10:00 AM – 10:45 AM
Room 152B

CLIPS: A Video App to Share Student Engagement, Success, and Growth

Advocate for your language program by sharing students’ successes and language journeys with parents, administrators, and school board members with the use of the CLIPS app. In this session, participants will see examples of videos made with the CLIPS app, and create a 30-second video with text, effects, photos, and graphics

Presenter: Cynthia Hitz

Sat, 11/23
10:00 AM – 10:45 AM
Room 146A


Play for a chance to win Fluency Matters prizes! Learn how to play here.

Sat, 11/23
11:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Booth 1000

Reaching Intercultural Competence with Story-based Methods

Where does culture belong in a course emphasizing comprehensible input (CI)? Teaching culture as content can lead to unpredictable L1 conversations. Teaching interculturally, however, is compatible with CI. Participants will leave with activities that can be adapted to enhance traditional storytelling techniques and build intercultural competence.

Presenter: Rachel Emery and Bill Langley and Amanda Lanier

Sat, 11/23
1:30 PM – 2:15 PM
Room 146C

Best of SCOLT: The Great CI Umbrella

A common misconception amongst language teachers exploring new methodologies is that Comprehensible Input (CI) is Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS). TPRS is just one component of the great CI umbrella! Come hear about some of the MANY strategies teachers across the world are using to build student’s communication, confidence and proficiency through compelling CI! All while meeting ACTFL’s expectation that we are spending 90% of our class-time in the target language!

Presenter: Annabelle Allen

Sat, 11/23
1:30 PM – 2:15 PM
Room 102B

Students that Understand, Speak! Empower Them Through Comprehensible Input

How can teachers and students use the target language 90% of the time at all levels of instruction? This session focuses on fun and challenging comprehensible input strategies and activities that support a classroom immersion environment, address the 3 modes of communication and intrinsically motivate students to speak the target language.

Presenter: Amy Hornby Uribe

Sat, 11/23
2:30 PM – 3:15 PM
Room 201

Art of Personalizing Cultural Content and Deepening Cultural Competence

How can educators best integrate cultural awareness with comprehension-based instruction? Learn how to flow a lesson from personalized questions to cultural knowledge. Intuitively select key vocabulary to direct classroom discourse and build cultural competence with images and texts.

Presenter: Michele Whaley and Mira Canion

Sat, 11/23
2:30 PM – 3:15 PM
Room 146C

World Language Teachers’ Use of Professional Development Conferences

This roundtable presents a descriptive, qualitative research study of twelve K-12 world language teachers and how they used summer conferences in their professional development and classroom practices. Interview data were analyzed for themes; findings relate to teachers’ agency to make changes in the midst of internal and external constraints.

Presenter: Diane Neubauer and Pam Wesely

Sat, 11/23
2:30 PM – 3:15 PM
Exhibit Halls D-E 

E83 Real Comprehensible: Teaching Content in the Target Language

Content Based Instruction (CBI) is an integrated approach to language teaching in which language is the vehicle for instruction, not the immediate goal. In this session, the presenter will share a duplicatable instructional sequence for CBI lessons, and participants will experience an application of the sequence in a mini lesson.

Presenter: Martina Bex, Garbanzo

Sat, 11/23
2:30 PM – 3:20 PM
Exhibit Halls D-E,
Workshop Room #5

CI Activities to Foster Emergent Global Citizens At the Elementary Level

This workshop will enable participants to address global citizenship with younger world language students. Definitions of global citizenship pertaining to this age group will be followed by impactful activities that provide opportunities for cultivating empathy, exploration, and connections, while staying in the target language using C.I. strategies.

Presenter: Anne-Sophie Roure

Sat, 11/23
2:30 PM – 3:15 PM
Room 147B 


Play for a chance to win Fluency Matters prizes! Learn how to play here.

Sat, 11/23
3:45 PM – 4:15 PM
Booth 1000

Experience Comprehensible Input for Yourself

Välkommen! Welcome to Swedish class! Put yourself in the student desk to experience a beginning Swedish lesson taught with Comprehensible Input (CI) strategies. This interactive demonstration uses a well-loved Swedish children’s story that you will completely understand while being taught 90% in the target language. Language acquisition is joyful.

Presenter: Barbara Cartford

Sat, 11/23
4:30 PM – 5:15 PM
Room 152B

Speaking Before They Can with Rejoinders

Empower authentic and spontaneous student interaction using memorized social language chunks – Rejoinders. Use rhythm and gesture to train students to creatively demonstrate comprehension, express personality, keep target language flowing and respond in socially and emotionally appropriate ways. Drive communication down student-generated paths.

Presenter: Grant Boulanger

Sat, 11/23
4:30 PM – 5:15 PM
Room 146C

Transitioning to CI: Strategies for Agents of Change

A supervisor and teachers will share their collaborative experiences and strategies in fostering district-wide change and innovation in World Languages teaching. Beginning with the success of one “experimental” classroom, an entire district begins a journey of transition from legacy teaching methods towards an acquisition focused approach.

Presenter: Kevin LaMastra, Eliana Penaranda and Sobeida Peñaranda

Sat, 11/23
5:30 PM – 6:15 PM
Room 144B


With language acquisition as a bridge to inclusivity, language teaching can affirm both students and target cultures. Presenters will share comprehension-based instructional strategies in Spanish and Mandarin, while participants discover ways to evaluate and enhance the content to reflect intercultural awareness while building proficiency.

Presenter: : Kristin Shipler

Sat, 11/23
5:30 PM – 6:15 PM
Room 151B



The presenters share their Why– the goal of teaching so every student can acquire language– by elaborating four teacher training principles, asking participants to reflect on how each principle is embodied in a variety of training practices, and brainstorming how the principles serve as lenses through which to view and build a training program.

Presenter: Anny Ewing, Co-Presenter: Leslie Kronemeyer

Sun, 11/24
8:00 AM  – 8:45 AM Room 147A

Input Again: Awareness Exercises and Fantasy Trips in the German Classroom

In this workshop/presentation, the audience will experience and reflect on classroom techniques based on awareness exercises and fantasy trips from Gestalt therapy. The aim is to facilitate German language acquisition via understandable input presented in a creative and imaginative, fun way which can facilitate comprehension and retention.

Presenter: Martina Caspari

Sun, 11/24
10:00 AM – 10:15 AM
Room 144A

Capitalizing on Your Classroom Library

This session highlights the development, organization and regular use of a target language classroom library in a World Language classroom. Participants will discover how to provide compelling reading content for language learners and will gain strategies to utilize the classroom library in support of language acquisition.

Presenter: Michelle Kindt

Sun, 11/24
10:00 AM – 10:45 AM
Room 103A