Macintosh HD:Users:lindaallen:Desktop:IWLA Exec. Board Meetings:IWLA Logo-1.pdfIowa World
Language Association

News (blog)

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   Next >  Last >> 
  • 19 Oct 2016 3:13 PM | Jason Noble
    All I can say is WOW!  I came back to my classroom so inspired. 

    I attended the IWLA 2016 conference for the first time this year and learned so much.  I came back and used 2 ideas right way.  I had never heard of Duolingo and at lunch, I talked with other teachers.  By Wednesday after the conference, I had all my students signed up and playing.  Some of my students are addicted.  It is awesome!! 

    In my upper-level classes, I took an idea from a TPRS/CI  session and recreated it to a vocab practice in the upper levels.  Students had to choose a 6 genre, 6 characters, and 6 settings.  Then I had my class choose 6 random numbers between 5 and 20.  We then rolled dice to establish the basics for our script.  The number that was chosen was the number of vocabulary words they had to use.  One of my classes wrote a script for a romance, with a character named Nathan Drake in Madagascar using 19 vocabulary words.  The other class chose a horror script, with a Spanish teacher at the train station using 19 vocabulary words.  I actually ended up doing this activity while my administrator was conducting her formal evaluation.  She was impressed. 

    Thank you IWLA for putting this on every year.  It was fantastic and I can't wait until next year.  

  • 17 Oct 2016 1:10 PM | Jason Noble

    I love the IWLA Conference because it reminds me of the big, important ideas that may slip through the cracks when you get caught up in the day-to-day of teaching, lesson planning, making copies, etc. The keynote speaker, executive director of ACTFL Mary Abbott, discussed core practices that are key to language learning success, and I think that language teachers can’t look at these often enough. These core practices are as follows…

    1. Using the target language 90% of the time. (Both students and teachers)

    2. Using the target language for communicative activities... in other words, using the TL to communicate previously unknown information. Activities where students know beforehand what their partner will say are not communicative activities. Communicative activities have no "right" answer.

    3. When teaching grammar, focus FIRST on how/why the form is used. Then, focus on conjugations and form. (Use the PACE model.)

    4. Use authentic cultural resources. (I really need to do better on this one. I attended an open discussion forum (“EdCamp”) on this topic where teachers shared ideas, and I need to find where the notes from that session are posted.)

    5. Use backwards design: First determine desired results, then evidence, then instruction.

    6. Expand feedback to more than "buen trabajo/muy bien." Another fun fact I learned was that the best error correction strategy for speaking is to repeat the student's utterance up to the error and pause, waiting for the student to supply the correction. 

    Well, there you go! Short, sweet, and hopefully helpful. :)

  • 12 Oct 2016 2:18 PM | Elizabeth Dentlinger

    Would you like to join your world language teaching friends for FREE next year at #IWLA17 on October 13th & 14th at the Des Moines Marriott? Did you also attend #IWLA16 this past weekend? Then this post is for you!

    In an effort to help spread the word about how truly amazing the Iowa World Language Association’s Fall Conference and its members are, we would like to invite you to write a few words about your experience at the #IWLA16 conference in order to encourage others to come in the future. A few ideas that may inspire your writing:

    • your top 5 favorite things from the conference
    • a collection of quotes
    • a summary of a stellar presentation you saw
    • observations as a 1st time attendee
    • observations as a 30th time attendee
    • an activity you plan to try out as a result of something you saw while there
    • why you plan to go to future IWLA conferences as a result of this one

    All submission must be received by Saturday, October 22nd in order to be entered in the drawing for ONE FREE REGISTRATION to #IWLA17! Submissions should be made to current President Jason Noble ( and current Vice President Elizabeth Dentlinger ( There are two ways you can submit your piece:

    • Bloggers - write your post on your own blog and then share the link with us. We will send it out on IWLA social media accounts.
    • Non-Bloggers - write your piece in a Word doc, Google Doc, etc., and then send that to us. We will post it on and then share it on IWLA social media accounts.

    Best of luck to all who enter!


    This information is also pinned at the top of our Facebook page through the end of the competition.  To receive up-to-date information from the Iowa World Language Association, please consider following us on our Facebook page, our Twitter, and our Pinterest page!

  • 14 Jul 2015 9:35 PM | Stacy Amling (Administrator)

    It's been a whirlwind couple of days for us! After months and years of hard work, so much of what we as IWLA members and world language educators have been fighting for is being realized this summer: state world language model competencies for Iowa AND a representative at the Iowa Department of Education!

    If you've seen the pictures we posted earlier today on Facebook & Twitter, you've seen that several IWLA Executive Board members (Kat, Linda, Jason, Kate, and I) have been collaborating with Marcia Powell and Sandra Dop from the Iowa Department of Education and the 2015 Iowa Teacher of the Year, Clemencia Spizzirri, to pull together information from Iowa Learning Online, ACTFL, and other sources to formulate Iowa model competencies in support of the competency-based education movement in the state. We have more work days planned this summer and we will be sharing our work with all of you soon, but it's a great feeling to have this initiative moving forward!

    As part of this process, it has been wonderful to meet Clemencia and to begin to foment a new collaborative relationship with her! Part of her platform as Teacher of the Year is to advocate for language education, and she is doing many exciting things that are great for students, great for us all, and great for our profession. If you are on Twitter, you can follow her there: @elspizzirri. We hope she will join us in October for our fall 2015 IWLA conference, too. 

    The other HUGE event from today was meeting Stephanie Wager, who has worked as the Iowa Department of Education's Social Studies consultant for the past couple of year and who has recently been asked to also support World Languages as part of her job. (As many of you know, we have been lacking a voice within the Dept of Ed and the AEAs in recent years, so this is fantastic!) Stephanie has studied Spanish, and taught English in Mexico for a year, and is excited to support our efforts and be a voice for us at the Department. Please join us in thanking Stephanie for her efforts!

  • 05 May 2015 11:13 AM | Stacy Amling (Administrator)

    The University of Iowa is offering TWO courses online/via distance education this summer that can be counted as graduate Spanish courses. The instructors of both courses welcome in-service teachers looking to get graduate credit, and the Continuing Ed program affirms that students can register for graduate credit for both of these classes.

    Two things to keep in mind:

    • It is the individual enrollee’s responsibility to check that they qualify to take the class(es) for graduate credit, and to be sure that they register appropriately to get it.  The courses are offered for undergraduates as well as graduate students, so attention should be paid to that (there's a point to sign-up as either "undergraduate" or "graduate" - when enrolling). Directions for registering as a non-degree student are here:
    • Similarly, it’s the individual enrollee’s responsibility to be sure that whoever is looking at their transcript will accept the course as graduate credit.

    Here are the two courses:

    SPAN: 4095:0EXZ   Advanced Spanish Grammar

    Course Professor Philip Klein

    SPAN: 4830: 0EXZ The Hispanic World in the Digital Era

    Course Professor Ana Merino

  • 31 Jan 2014 4:09 PM | Carrie Morris

    The Education Office of the Embassy of Spain will be awarding the “Colegio del Año” award 2013. Application deadline is March 31, 2014.

    The aim of this contest is to reward academic excellence among schools in the United States implementing Programs which use CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) methodology using both English and Spanish. The competition is organized by the Education Office of the Embassy of Spain and is sponsored by the Santander Shareholders in the United States of America in collaboration with the Cervantes Institute, the Publishing Companies Anaya and Santillana and the Comillas Foundation.

    More information and application form


  • 16 Jan 2014 3:14 PM | Deleted user

    Last November, while the streets of Des Moines were icing over, I was enjoying ACTFL’s annual convention in sunny Orlando. The weather was just one of the many highlights of this year’s convention. The four days that I spent at ACTFL included a productive Assembly of Delegates, an inspiring keynote address, and sessions full of great ideas.

    On Thursday, I attended the Assembly of Delegates where we spent most of the day discussing advocacy. As IWLA’s new advocacy chair, I was especially interested to see what is going on in other states, and what we might be able to do in Iowa. The delegates went through a list of action items, and I’m proud to say that IWLA is already doing so many of the things that were on the list. For example, we have a teacher of the year award and we’ve established relationships with many of our representatives. Another item on the list was to create PK-16 standards for world language education, which some of our members are currently working on. Many of the action items concerned meeting with administrators and legislators, which we will continue to do.

    I’d also like to share with you a few documents that we went through at the Assembly. ACTFL has revised their standards to make them easier to understand and implement. The PDF can be found here:

    I know that many of us are interested in using ACTFL’s “Can-Do” statements, especially after attending sessions with Paul Sandrock a few years ago. A booklet of these statements can be downloaded here:

    ACTFL Executive Director Marty Abbott recently interviewed Rosetta Stone CEO Steve Swad. They had a very interesting conversation that you can read here:

    On Friday morning, the ACTFL convention officially kicked off with a keynote address from Tony Wagner. I was excited to hear him speak, as my coworkers and I had read one of his books as part of our professional development a few years ago. Much of his address focused on the seven survival skills that he discusses in detail in the book The Global Achievement Gap. If you haven’t read it yet, I would highly recommend it. Wagner’s thesis is that the culture of schooling is radically at odds with the culture of creativity. One of his questions for us was this: what must we do to develop creative problem solvers? One idea that I found very interesting comes, not surprisingly, from the offices of Google. Google employees spend part of their work week on what they call “20% time.” This means that 20% of their time is spent pursuing their own individual ideas and passions. In this model, their work does not necessarily have to fit their job description, and there is no penalty for failure. This idea might be one part (albeit a fraction) of the answer to Wagner’s overarching challenge to teachers, which is to inspire play, passion, and purpose in our students.

    The sessions this year covered many languages. The Asian languages were well-represented, as they have been for the past few years. However, there seemed to be more Spanish and French sessions or sessions that were intended for all languages than at last year’s convention. This may be because the focus was on technology, as the theme was New Spaces New Realities: Learning Any Time, Any Place. Going into the conference, I hoped to find new ways to use my SMARTboard and my iPad in class. Last year, ACTFL board members promised that the technology sessions would really focus on technology as a means and not an end, and that really was the case. . I was not disappointed by any of the sessions that I attended, but my favorite session was one that focused on how to implement Google’s 20% time in a world language classroom. Everything I attended left me feeling very motivated to find new ways to allow my students to be creative and pursue their interests while using all of the amazing technology they have at their fingertips.

    If you are interested in attending ACTFL in the fall, the convention will take place from November 21-23. It’s another chance to escape the cold of Iowa for warmth, as it will be in San Antonio Texas.

    Finally, I would like to thank IWLA for giving me the opportunity to be your representative for the past two years. I have learned many things that I hope will make me a better teacher, and I’ve been lucky to meet some inspiring colleagues along the way. In two years, IWLA will be looking for a representative again, and I would truly encourage anyone who’s interested to run for this position. I can’t even begin to express how wonderful it has been and how grateful I am. 

  • 27 Sep 2013 2:58 PM | Carrie Morris

    Final details are being put into place for the October 11-12 IWLA conference, and having been involved in some of the planning, I'm really excited!  It really is amazing how much work is involved in the conference on so many levels.  We've been fielding registration questions for the last few weeks. Bea Houston, our membership chair, has been sending out receipts from paper registrations.  The executive board has been working on various responsibilities--looking at award and grant nominations, making sure our website is up and running, paying for all the necessities that come along with the conference, preparing for meetings.  Our president, Tracy Dinesen, has been working with the Downtown Marriott for months on our conference arrangements, and last but certainly not least---Kerisa Baedke has put together yet another full slate of great conference presentations!  If you haven't yet, I highly recommend taking a look at the At-A-Glance on the Conference tab (just scroll down a bit--it's there!) and getting an outline of what's in store for this year.

    If this will be your first year at IWLA, I hope you get the opportunity to network with colleagues in your teaching area and in others and really take advantage of all the opportunities that the conference provides.  It can be an overwhelming few hours, so having an idea of what you want to accomplish can really help.  If there is a classroom issue or teaching concept or strategy that you want to address, there may very well be a conference session that can help you.  There may be fellow teachers at your table that can give you suggestions or support. 

    If you've attended before or have been attending for years, please know that we are grateful for your continued trust in IWLA to provide you with a quality conference experience.  We really do try to bring back the things you like and try to fix the things you don't as much as we possibly can.  At the Friday luncheon, there will be a survey for you to share any ideas with us on ways to make our conference even better.  I hope you'll take the time to do so.

    See you in two weeks!

    Carrie Morris

    IWLA Secretary


  • 06 Sep 2013 12:47 PM | Carrie Morris

    Michelle Osberg from Mormon Trail High School is looking for copies of the EMC Navegando series for Levels 1-3. 

    If you're looking to get rid of some books just taking up space, she would greatly appreciate your passing on anything you can!

    You can contact Michelle at






  • 15 May 2013 11:37 AM | Carrie Morris

    Please respond to Paula at her e-mail address below if you have suggestions.


    I need help from our members.  My school is switching to trimesters next year.  Each trimester will be 12 weeks long.  All core classes (Spanish 1 - 2 - 3 - 4) will be taught 1st and 2nd trimester with the 3rd trimester reserved for electives.  So all of my core classes will now be condensed from 36 weeks to 24.  I will teach an 8th grade Exploratory during the 3rd trimester in addition to several English classes. 

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to what should be taught and what "can be omitted"?  I am using the Realidades textbook.  I have several copies of Spanish for Mastery 2 & 3 on hand as well. 


    Paula McDougall

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   Next >  Last >> 

© The Iowa World Language Association

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software