Time off for PD is a scarce commodity, and we know you don’t want to waste a minute of precious learning time. To help you  get the maximum professional development for your time, we have listed the workshops and sessions being presented by members of our “Fluency Matters Family” and also combed through the program searching for workshops and sessions that we feel will best represent the philosophy of teaching with comprehensible input. We look forward to seeing you at Central States!


Thursday 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

W-17 Lesson Planning with TCI in Mind

Presenters: Gary DiBianca & Teri Wiechart

Do you understand the fundamentals of how teaching with Comprehensible Input can lead to student language acquisition and proficiency, but you are unsure how to maximize this each day as you meet the standards? If so, this workshop is for you. The presenters will show examples of daily lesson plans and how they relate to units of study with or without a textbook. As we analyze daily, weekly, unit, and yearlong plans, participants will experience a variety of ways to provide CI for all levels while also planning some of their own lessons.

Friday 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

W-20 It’s all about THEM! Developing Proficiency with the Most Compelling Content–Your Students!

Presenter: Kelly Ferguson

Language is acquired through compelling comprehensible input. This workshop will define, explain, & practice ways to engage students & increase proficiency through interviews, structured questioning, & discussion as students are engaged in the target language–in any level & with any theme! Participants will have ample time to practice questioning/interviewing/discussion techniques relating to a relevant course theme that they teach.

Saturday 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

W-32 Adapting and Creating Comprehensible Reading Materials for the Elementary World Language Classroom

Presenters: Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg, Carla Tarini and Su Pesa

In order to exploit the power of reading to provide 100% comprehensible input to all elementary levels, reinforce language and enhance vocabulary, the session focuses on choosing and adapting existing elementary reading material, as well as authoring original texts based on student interest and/or class-spun stories. Considerations in adapting and creating reading materials for the classroom include: Story types and elements; book appeal and format, and linguistic considerations, such as hi-frequency structures; grammatical concerns; length/complexity; and proficiency level. A step-by-step process to create original leveled stories will be offered. Guided and independent self-selected reading often referred to as Free Voluntary Reading (FVR) will be discussed. Literacy extension activities, including Listen & Draw and Book Talk will be demonstrated.


Friday 8:00 a.m.

Best of Wisconsin:

Comprehensible Input: Maximizing Target Language in Levels 1 and 2

Presenters: Rachel Arendt, Michele Nuttelman, Brianna Hemauer, Katy Wolner

Learn how to stay in the target language, make texts comprehensible, and develop greater language acquisition for novice learners. Participants will receive tools, ideas, and resources that can be immediately implemented in the classroom. #novelty #teamci

Friday 8:00a.m.

Reading for Proficiency: Writing High-Interest Pattern Stories with or for your Students

Presenter: Carla Tarini

Research shows that reading is key to successful language acquisition. Yet we often don’t have enough high-interest stories that are a perfect fit for our students, especially at the beginning and intermediate levels. In this session, participants will learn how write compelling, humorous stories (based on a simple pattern story concept) that are tailored to their students’ interests and that could also fit into an established curriculum. If time, we will electronically share our stories with the group. This session is ideal for Comprehensible Input, traditional or hybrid teachers wishing to create compelling stories that are perfectly leveled for beginners and intermediates.

8:00 a.m.

Interactive Input: Beyond Simple Questions and Personalization

Presenter: Mira Canion

Keeping the input flowing and monitoring every student’s comprehension can be daunting. Learn and practice the skills of scaffolded questions, non-verbal checks, and purposeful personalization.

Friday 11:15

Movie Talk Basics

Presenter: Carol Gaab

Videos are an ideal tool to ensure student engagement and a powerful tool for facilitating continuous interaction in L2. Learn how to use videos to inspire interpersonal communication/exceed the 90% target. From preview to review, attendees will see exactly how to set the stage for blockbuster acquisition!

Friday 11:15
All Around the World in 90%: Tough Topics in Target Language

Presenter: Carrie Toth

Global citizenship? Social Justice? Human Rights? For some, these concepts seem intimidating, for others, comfortable. In this session, participants will explore dozens of ways that every classroom, from novice to advanced, can make a difference both globally and locally. Authentic resources, culturally based units, giving projects, and many more helpful hints will allow each participant to leave the workshop with ideas for kicking global awareness in the classroom up a notch. Global citizenship is an achievable goal if we equip students with deep cultural connections throughout their language study. Examples will be given in Spanish but will be applicable to all languages.

Friday 11:15

Teaching on Your Toes: How to Tap Every Teachable Moment

Presenter: Justin Slocum Bailey

Surprises and interruptions don’t have to foil your plans—in fact, they can lead to some of your best lessons! Come experience examples of opportunistic teaching and learn practices to help you think on your feet, go with the flow, and make the most of every little language teaching opportunity.

Friday 2:15 p.m.

Finding Story in the Simplest of Spanish

Presenter: Señor Wooly

Jim Wooldridge, a.k.a Sr. Wooly, tells his story about how he went from apathetic Spanish learner to Spanish teacher, and how that initial lack of interest spurred him on to create some of the most well-known educational Spanish videos in the world, such as Billy la Bufanda, Guapo, and ¿Puedo ir al baño? Sr. Wooly will also walk you through the process of how he creates his materials, and how he manages to craft highly engaging stories without needlessly complicating the language. Plus, you’ll see great videos along the way. A very fun and relaxed session with great storytelling, fun videos, and tips on how to find story in the simplest Spanish.

Friday 3:45 p.m.

Creating Culture: Speaking Before They Can

Presenter: Grant Boulanger

Learn to elicit and assess effective interpersonal communication skills in any language, on any topic. Empower students to prepare, interact and engage with intentionality in a CI classroom. Build confidence and self-awareness appropriate to the proficiency level. Create class culture that breeds trust and honors the TL. All with one simple rubric.

Friday 3:45 p.m.

From Fragmentation to Unification: Aligning a K-8 Program

Presenters: Faith Laux, Rebecca Collora

How can we create maximum proficiency in an aligned world language program? The World Language Department in the Winnetka Public Schools has spent the last five years redesigning and articulating its program to address this question. In the past, our curriculum was fragmented, each teacher an island in their own classroom. In this session, we will discuss the process the department went through to collaboratively build a vertically and horizontally aligned scope and sequence. The work that we have done has resulted in significant gains in the proficiency of our students as well as the cohesion of our department. The road is not always smooth, and we will share our challenges and mistakes, as well as our successes and achievements. Teachers will walk away with ideas and tools to implement in their own districts.


Saturday 8:00 a.m.
CI: Necessary, but not Sufficient!
Presenter: Carol Gaab

Although CI is the key to facilitating SLA, it alone is not sufficient. In this interactive session, you will learn how to refine input to make it comprehensible, compelling, contextualized and inherently communicative. From authentic to generic, learn how to use any resource as a vehicle for SLA.

Saturday 9:30 a.m.
“Here’s Johnny!” – Paradigm Shifts, Talk Shows, & Language Classes
Presenters: Meredith White, Grant Boulanger

In this session, Meredith and Grant will charge participants to reflect on their educational paradigms in the context of “hosting” their class each day. The parallels between successful talk shows and classrooms will be examined in the context of 21st-century learning, student participation, effective management, purposeful planning, TL use, and proficiency. In exploring the lens of talk shows and how teachers can apply a successful talk show framework to their classroom, participants will engage in simulations, receive materials and ideas, and leave with a holistic, philosophical framework for curating their classroom experience. Come ready to reshape, reconsider, and refine multiple facets of your teaching in a high-energy, engaging environment with experienced teacher-presenters.

Saturday 9:30 a.m.
Reading for Proficiency: Writing Stories Your Students will Love!

Presenter: Carla Tarini

In addition to dynamic teaching, students need lots of exciting readings to propel them into higher levels of proficiency. Such readings need not always come from a publishing house. In this workshop, we will learn how to write a simple 10-sentence starter story and turn it into a 250 – 800 word story. After demonstrating the process, participants will write a 10-sentence starter story. We will review several of them and work collaboratively to write at least one extended version. If time, we will share the starter stories on a Google doc so everyone can leave with a variety of starter stories to work with after the conference. This session is perfect for Comprehensible Input teachers looking to expand their FVR libraries as well as traditional or hybrid teachers needing more compelling readings.

Saturday 9:30 a.m.
Comprehensible Novels to Increase Proficiency
Presenter: Allison Wienhold

This session will focus on using novels as the center of your comprehensible input classroom curriculum. The presenter will break down the basics of planning for and teaching a unit centered around a novel in the target language. Ideas presented will include a variety of reading activities to mix up your instruction, as well as incorporate culture. See how using novels as the heart of your curriculum can dramatically increase your students’ language proficiency.

Saturday 12:15 p.m.
Three Repeatable Activities with Compelling, Customizable Input
Presenter: Justin Slocum Bailey

These low-prep, high-yield activities can be used repeatedly, at any level, to generate fascinating, fruitful input and sustain communication in the target language. Incorporating cultural content and students’ interests, the activities foster buy-in and community as well as acquisition.

Saturday 2:45 p.m.
Lead with Literacy
Presenters: Carrie Toth, Kristy Placido

There is no doubt that Comprehensible Input is the foundation of solid language output but where do students get that rich, comprehensible input? In this session, participants will follow one school’s journey to literacy via a rich diet of free reading, authentic resources, literature for learners, and reading club. Kick classroom reading up a notch and watch student performance soar as they gain confidence and build proficiency no matter the students’ level. From differentiation by reading style to student voice and choice in novels, you’re sure to leave with ideas to get your reading program fired up!

Saturday 2:45 p.m.

Tea with BVP – Live at Central States

Presenters:  Bill VanPatten, Angelika Kraemer, Walter Hopkins, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

Join us for the wildly popular podcast Tea with BVP! Bill VanPatten and his co-hosts, Angelika Kraemer and Walter Hopkins, will answer questions live about language, language acquisition, and language teaching. Bring your questions and comments!

Saturday 4:00 p.m.
Every Second Counts! Classroom Management, Student Engagement and Seamless Transition
Presenter: Faith Laux

What would a ninjas classroom be like? What tricks would they have up their sleeve to captivate, motivate and inspire? In this workshop we will explore ideas, techniques and tools from master teachers around the country that will help us be as intentional and effective as a ninja. Creating an environment that facilitates the flow of comprehensible input is a key factor in supporting language acquisition. This session will dive into concrete tools that help us take advantage of every moment we have with our students. This is an opportunity to put the pieces together and maximize our classroom management, engagement and transitions. We will discuss ways to stay in the target language throughout many different activities. Specific, concrete ideas will be discussed that can be implemented immediately.

Saturday 4:00 p.m.
Making Authentic Resources Comprehensible
Presenter: Kristy Placido

Languages are acquired through comprehensible input. Authentic resources are engaging, fun and real! By bringing the two together with discussion and engaging input-based activities we can create a language-rich environment that is comprehensible to all.

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