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WL Events August 2018

Children’s China: Celebrating Culture, Character and Confucius

Omaha Children’s Museum

May 26-August 19

Color and Contour: Provencal Quilts and Domestic Objects

Lois Gottsch Gallery

International Quilt Study Center & Museum


June 15-October 28

Nebraska Asian Festival

Lewis and Clark Landing


July 28

Middle East Forum

CEC OPPD Community Dialogue Room


September 20 and October 18

Chinese Warriors of Peking

Lied Center


October 21

Ballet Folklórico de México

Lied Center


October 30

World Language Societies and Clubs

Alliance Française d’Omaha:
Articles, events, classes, and community activities for French and Francophones.

German-American Society of Nebraska
Activities, clubs, community events, language classes, and student exchange.

Japan America Society of Iowa
Community events, presentations, language school

Asian Community and Cultural Center
Community events, English language support, presentations

Where to Start: Resources for 2018-2019

Classroom Grants

Target Field Trip Grants
Target Foundation offers field trip grants of up to $700 for K-12 schools nationwide. Consider a trip to Joslyn, the Lied, or another performance venue for an artistic exposition of the target culture.

Shopko Foundation Community Grants
Shopko Foundation offers grants of up to $2,500 for K-12 private and public schools within 25 miles of a Shopko location.

Monsanto Fund Education Grants
Monsanto benefits programs in K-12 education. Although the program is primarily for STEM focused programs, Monsanto will consider other content areas. Consider using world language as it applies to agricultural vocabulary, technical training, or biological research.

Teacher Created Materials Classroom Supplies
Win up to $250 in teaching supplies for your classroom from Teacher Created Materials.

Dremel DigiLab 3D Printer Giveaway
WeAreTeachers and Dremel are giving away a 3D printer. Imagine creating your own “authentic resources”.


Free Posters

Vista Higher Learning
Celebrate world language learning with Spanish, French, German, and Italian posters to download.

Language Learning By The Numbers
Middlebury Interactive Languages offers three posters detailing world language studies in the U.S. and abroad.

From Past to Present

This is actually my third Lincoln life. I lived in Lincoln as a child, return to Lincoln as a college student, and have recently moved back as an adult.

My experience with the World Language Standards has been similar. The standards were adopted in 1997 just as I was leaving to take my first teaching position in Oregon. I have returned to Nebraska at a time when the world language standards are scheduled for their first revision. Twenty years is a long time.

While time has changed some of the practices and beliefs of second language teaching, our core values have not altered. The 2017 World Language Teacher Survey results, the conversation at the Colloquium, and the conversation at the Standards Advisory Council reveal that we are still committed to effective communication, cultural competence, interdisciplinary connections, and language use within the community and using the second language to investigate, explain and reflect on the nature of language. I am inspired by how the Standards Advisory Committee was able, in two short and swelteringly hot days, to synthesize these core values with a clearer and higher level of expectation for student skill, an understanding of strategic thinking skills, and a reflection on the hyper connected world around us. Moving forward, I feel that these standards will reflect a stronger second language acquisition practice.

Binational Brings Migrant Educators to Nebraska

This summer, thirteen Mexican teachers traveled to Nebraska to teach in migrant education programs at ESU 1, ESU 7, ESU 9 Head Start, ESU 13, OPS, and Madison Public Schools. Students engaged in reading, writing, and artistic expression focused on Mexican culture and history as well as the Spanish language. Educators shared their experiences at a Binational Reception at the State Capitol on June 18. Mexican Consul Guadalupe Sanchez Salazar and Dr. Lazaro Spindola, Executive Director of the Latino American Commission of Nebraska, acknowledged the teachers for their dedication and professionalism.

The Nebraska Department of Education works with the Secretary of Public Education in Mexico to sponsor teachers from Mexico to work with migrant education in Nebraska. The exchange is part of a larger federal program, the Binational Migrant Education Initiative organized under authority of the US Department of Education. The purpose of the program is to support the education of children who qualify as migrants in the U.S. This year, Nebraska ranked first for the number of qualifying moves of migrant children. Texas and California ranked second and third.

Chinese is Lingua Franca at UNL STARTALK

UNL was the site of the STARTALK Chinese Language, Culture, and Technology Summer Academy again this year. Twenty Nebraska high school students with little to no prior Chinese experience lived in an immersion experience for fourteen days. The Academy also offers a professional development side for teachers who attend from China and throughout the U.S. Fifteen teachers arrived for the ten-day institute to focus on second language acquisition pedagogy. Students and teachers alike cite the experience as a special experience that allows them to make tremendous gains in a short period of time. Dr. Sherri Hurlbut and Dr. Ali Moeller, President of the American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages, organize this annual event.

Hispanic Heritage Month Speakers Available

Humanities Nebraska is offering several speaker events in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month September 15-October 15. Speakers will travel to the site. Each educational institution or youth organization must provide adult supervision before, during, and after the program, incorporate the program as part of teaching or a development mission, prepare participants before and follow up after the program. The educational institution may not charge for the program. If interested in hosting a speaker, the institution will pay a $50 processing fee. There is a $100 processing fee for a second program. Schools with a free/reduced lunch population greater than 50% do have discounted processing fees.

This year’s speaker topics are Nebraska’s Mexican-American Legacy, Storytelling and the Hispanic Oral Tradition, Andean Folk Music and Cultures of South America, and Latinos: Searching for the Good Life in Nebraska. More information about the topics can be found here:

Cultural Encounter Kits

Humanities Nebraska offers encounter kits that include videos, CDs, books, clothing, cultural items, and curriculum materials to public or private schools in Nebraska. Reserve kits for up to three weeks. Humanities Nebraska pays for UPS ground shipping to and from your school. Cultural Encounter Kits are targeted to youth grades 4-8. Topics include “A Treasured Heritage: Mexican Americans in Nebraska” and “Home in the Heartland: Nebraska Sudanese Cultures” among others. For more information, go to:

World Language Standards Revision: Charting a Course for Standards Revision

Eighteen participants from around the state met as the World Language Standards Advisory Council June 4-5 in Lincoln to determine the priorities of world language learning and the course of standards revision.

Participants were asked to define their “essential ingredients” for the world language standards. Groups responded that standards should address effective and culturally appropriate communication, global competency, a growth mindset, and a focus on the application of skills to a variety of settings. The gathering reviewed policies from other states and agencies not specific to language study. Using this information, each small group refined their contributing essential ingredients until a standard became evident. These ideas will go forward to the standards writing team to be used as the guideline for the world language standards.

It’s OK to be a Child Care Snob

Jen Nelson has a message for parents looking for child care: it’s OK to be a snob. It’s OK to expect more out of your current provider, too.

As the sole proprietor of Nurture and Nature Family Child Care, Step Up to Quality’s first rated child care provider, and the first in-home program to make it to Step 5, Jen practices what she preaches. She expects more out of herself every day.

Step by Step

Even though on paper it might sound like Jen breezed her way up the Step Up to Quality ladder, achieving all five steps in six months, it was a challenge.

“No one likes people telling them what they’re doing wrong or what they need to improve on. Honestly, you get a little angry about it,” she said. “But you quickly get over it and start making things better.”

At first Jen thought Step Up to Quality might be more geared toward child care centers and not in-home care. But she worked with her Step Up to Quality coach to personalize the journey to the Step 5 rating, including using the observation tool that is specific to family child care homes.

“When I set my mind to something, I find a way to get it,” Jen said.

Thousands of Moments

In the last few years, Jen has made lots of little changes. She started parent/teacher conferences. She has a monthly rotation schedule for her wall displays. She put up pictures of what vegetable or fruit will come out of the plants in their garden – and also has the name listed in English and Spanish.

These little changes have added up to a lot.

“I’ve noticed a difference in the way the kids talk. And I didn’t think about modeling the way I talk as much before,” she said. “The program changes kids, and it’s changed me.”

She makes the smallest of moments into tiny lessons. If the kids are having crackers for a snack, she might talk about the rectangular shape, or she might make it into a subtraction lesson as the kids eat.

“That’s what I’m most proud of, those little things. Especially when one of the kids says, ‘I’m sorry,’ or ‘do you need help.’ When one kid comforts another, it warms my heart. It makes me want to learn more and more,” she said.

Always Learning

Even after being a child care provider for 33 years, Jen still has the energy, the motivation and the thirst for knowledge to continually improve.

Because she is the only teacher at her in-home center, looking after as many as eight kids, she uses nap time (and some evenings) to study and network online with fellow child care providers to be better every day. After her Step Up to Quality work was finished, she decided to get her associate’s degree. She graduates this fall.

“I was able to do my practicums and observations here, and it ended up being great for the kids, too, to incorporate that into their lessons,” Jen said.

She tries to travel to conferences and meetings to learn from others all across the region and nation. She plans on diving into a bachelor’s degree program next year, too.

And she has no plans of stopping anytime soon. Jen and her husband have five children, and seven grandchildren, all of whom live in the Omaha area.

“I never thought to myself that after my kids were grown that I would quit, or anything like that,” Jen said. “I’ll keep doing this until my body gives out. I just love it.”