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Summary of April 2015 Language Center Events

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
1:25 to 2:15 p.m.
Nolte 140

Students learning a second or foreign language need to work on productive skills. Audio Journals are a great tool for extensive and focused speaking practice. These recordings help students work on fluency, vocabulary, pronunciation, and/or grammar, all while building their self-monitoring skills. The presenters will explain the logistics of these weekly assignments, share how they've used them in different contexts, and discuss their challenges and benefits.


  • Stephanie Hanson is a Teaching Specialist at the Minnesota English Language Program. She has used audio journals in ITA and IEP programs in the U.S. and at universities in Indonesia and Ecuador.

  • Annie Marrin is a Teaching Specialist and Academic Coordinator at the Minnesota English Language Program. She has recently implemented audio journals to target students' self-evaluation skills in their pronunciation practice.

  • Paula Bramante is a Teaching Specialist at the Minnesota English Language Program. She has used audio journals to help students tell jokes, practice paraphrasing and storytelling, revise goals at midterm, and explore online resources for language practice.

This presentation is sponsored by CARLA and the Minnesota English Language Program.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
McNamara Alumni Center
Register Online

This free, on-campus conference includes several sessions of potential interest to language instructors. Here are just a few of the relevant offerings:

What Works for Today's Second Language Learners: Helping Students Build Roadmaps for Proficiency with the BOSSA Self-Assessment Project

This presentation presents a new tool for self-assessment, the Basic Outcomes Student Self-Assessment (BOSSA). The tool empowers students to create a personal roadmap for language learning that connects realistic proficiency expectations with course goals throughout the learning sequence. As they complete the low-stakes BOSSA protocol (which includes can-do statements aligned with proficiency targets in a series of language tasks throughout the semester), students specify their strengths and challenges, and come up with strategies to support language learning that work for them. Data analyses show that students make changes in their language-learning practices in response to the protocol, which includes regular practice with self-assessment using the components in the BOSSA toolkit. Attendees will learn how to adapt this tool (designed specifically for use across languages and levels) for their circumstances through the use of the standardized assessment design, accessible technology, and an articulated rubric.


  • Gabriela Sweet, PACE Sustainability Coordinator, Language Center

  • Sara Mack, Spanish 1004 Level Coordinator, Spanish and Portuguese

This session is included in the Afternoon Clinic and Paper Presentations.

Today's Learners: (Co)creating meaning in community

The presenters will demonstrate how students have engaged with their own surroundings by examining local public art and by increasing their knowledge of the University community.

Follow novice and intermediate language learners' step-by-step exploration and learn how this process culminated in digital projects they produced in independent groups as a final project.

Participants will gain an understanding of how art, technology and culture can be used to create student led digital stories. Throughout this process students collaborate to create their own meaning, reach consensus and work as a team, develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. Their media literacy and cultural competency are enhanced as they transfer classroom concepts to real world situations while expanding their own language abilities.

These projects culminate in a digital story in one case and a digital video blog in the other.


  • Angela Carlson-Lombardi, Spanish 1003 Level Coordinator, Spanish and Portuguese

  • Frances Matos-Schultz, Spanish 1022 Level Coordinator, Spanish and Portuguese

This session is included in the Afternoon Clinic and Paper Presentations.

Drop-in Moodle Clinic

Staff from Information Technology, the Center for Educational Innovation, the University Libraries, and the Disability Resource Center will be on hand to help you set up your Moodle course sites, activities and resources; help you plan how to teach with Moodle; and assist you in leveraging tools such as and course reserves. Bring your syllabus and course materials if you have specific questions, or just stop by to get the conversation started.


  • Susan McKinnell, Office of Information Technology

  • Lauren Marsh, Office of Information Technology

Getting to Know the Spring 2015 Main Office Staff

Who are the students working at the front desk in Jones Hall 110 this spring? Here are short self-introductions from the new and returning Language Center Main Office student staff.


Chloe Gansen

I'm Chloe, and I'm currently a senior. I'm originally from Janesville, Wisconsin, which is just south of Madison. I'm studying Journalism with a minor in Public Health. I took French throughout high school and then again my sophomore and junior years at the U, finishing 1004 last spring. Outside of school, I really enjoy being active; I love to run and swim and hope to get started doing triathlons some day.


Chris Michaels

Hello, everyone. I'm Chris Michaels from Monticello, MN. My major is Journalism with a Professional Strategic Communication focus. I've been studying Japanese for a few years now, and after what feels like a million years of rescheduling my trip for various reasons, I plan to study abroad in Tokyo next fall. I am also taking my first Korean class this semester. Hobbies of mine include playing and watching sports, listening to music, and watching Japanese comedies.

Krista Rud

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Hi! I'm Krista and I work in the Language Center Main Office. I am from Dayton, Minnesota and I am a sophomore here at the U of M. I studied Spanish in the past and completed the Spanish LPE (Language Proficiency Exam) entering the University as a freshman. Currently, I study Korean and plan on majoring in Asian Languages and Literature. I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, drawing, and playing video games in my free time.


Maya Christensen

Hi, everyone! I'm a sophomore studying Urban Studies and Youth Studies. I'm from Minneapolis, and my family lives about 10 minutes away from campus, right by Lake Harriet. I've studied Spanish since seventh grade and hope to learn more languages in my lifetime. I love being active and being outside, so biking and running are things you will see me doing often!


Nick Ott

I'm Nick Ott from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and I'm a sophomore here at the U. This is my second year at the Language Center. Since high school, I have formally studied both Spanish and German but have learned German informally from my mother since I was young. I have always loved learning foreign languages, although my favorite by far is the German language. That's why I have recently decided to major in it, along with Marketing. Outside of work, I am involved in the University YMCA and am training to compete in my first triathlon!


Rachael Falade

I grew up in Woodbury, Minnesota. I am a sophomore hoping to major in Nutrition with a minor in Yoruba! Although I love English, I have also studied Spanish in high school and currently study Yoruba (a language native to Nigeria). I basically love everything, especially food!

Shoua Thao


Hello, everyone! My name is Shoua Thao. I started working in the Language Center in spring semester of 2014. I was born in Minneapolis but currently reside in Brooklyn Center, MN. I am a junior this year studying Mass Communication, Political Science, and Design. I studied Korean my first year here at the U and followed on to take my LPE in Hmong, passing towards the end of the term. I love to be and stay active, so I play a lot of sports. One huge thing I did a lot this past summer--other than work extensively--was playing football with my team called Bellatrix. We competed in Hmong Festival Tournaments in July and August and got 2nd place for both. I also got on board as an Outreach Co-chair for the Hmong Minnesota Student Association student organization 2014-15 here at the University, so I met a lot with my fellow board members as well.

Meet the Spring 2015 Classroom Support Staff

Meet the hardworking classroom support staff for the spring 2015 semester at the Language Center! Here are some short self-introductions from new and returning staff.

Molly Schloesser


Hey, everyone! I'm Molly and I'm going to be graduating soon with degrees in Early Childhood Education and Family Social Science. I have worked at the Language Center in Classroom Support for about two years now. I am not currently studying any languages at the U, but I took three years of Spanish in high school. I have had a few opportunities to travel outside of the country. About three years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to France and Spain with some of my classmates for about two weeks. It was a short trip and we did not get to spend much time in each of the three cities we went to (Paris, Barcelona and Madrid), but it was an experience I will never forget! I also had the privilege of traveling to South Africa during winter break my sophomore year. I lived in Cape Town for about a month and did some service learning there. Other than traveling, my hobbies include horseback riding, reading, and looking at videos of cute puppies on YouTube.

Anna Sisombat


Bonjour! I'm Anna, and I'm currently a French major. I recently transferred from Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, MN, which is my hometown. I know 3 languages: English, Laotian, and French. I grew up in a Laotian family and started studying French in high school. Two summers ago, I had the privilege of traveling to France for three weeks with my classmates. I had an amazing time there and can't wait to go back again! In my spare time, I love to play phone games or video games on the Xbox, explore the Twin Cities and try new food, or play my guitar and violin.

Brandon Adams


Shalom! I'm Brandon, a senior double-majoring in English and Jewish Studies here at the U. I'm back at the Language Center for my final year of school after studying in Jerusalem last spring. During my adventure I visited all over Israel, as well as Jordan and the Netherlands. I have studied Modern Hebrew for some time now, and I am still working on fluency, but my confidence has gone up after spending time where it's spoken daily! Living abroad and speaking to people from all over the world taught me more than any class ever can. I'm always considering where I want to visit next, who I will meet, and what I will learn!

Keerthana Shankar


Allo! My name is Keerthana. I am Indian by nationality but was born in Saudi Arabia, and I'm majoring in Asian Language and Literature with a focus on Korean. I speak a south Indian language called Tamil with my family. I am trying to learn Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Vietnamese, and Spanish. Although my parents are from India, we've only visited India a few times. In my free time, I love to do digital art pieces. I also participate in various martial arts. This year, I am on the board of the Minnesota International Student Association as well as the Indian Student Association, so I would love to see you at our events!

Lauren Otto


¡Hola! I'm Lauren, and right now I'm planning to major in English with a minor in Spanish, but I'm also very interested in Global Studies and Cultural Studies, so we'll see where that takes me. I love to travel and experience new places and cultures, and I'm pretty adventurous when it comes to trying new things. I left the United States for the first time this last summer when I went on a mission trip to Honduras, which made me very excited to either study abroad or participate in service learning/ volunteering abroad. I hope to eventually set foot on every continent--hopefully even Antarctica. I obviously enjoy reading and writing in my spare time, along with listening to and playing jazz (I play trumpet), playing volleyball, and spending time with friends and family.

Amber Davidson


Hi, everyone! My name is Amber, and I'm a sophomore majoring in History with a minor in Spanish Studies. I grew up near Detroit Lakes, a small town in northern Minnesota. This is my second semester in Classroom Support here at the Language Center. I took Spanish throughout high school, and I'm continuing my studies in Spanish here at the U. I love learning the language and about the different cultures in which it is spoken, and my future plans include traveling all across Latin America. In fact, I'm planning to study abroad in Argentina within the next year. I'm also taking American Sign Language for the first time this semester, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it! In my free time I love to read, listen to music, play my guitar, and spend time with my family.

Carissa Polo

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Hello! I'm Carissa, and I am studying journalism here at the U. I studied Spanish for 9 years but I am currently studying Italian and I love it! In addition to studying abroad in the near future, I'm planning on backpacking through Italy after I graduate. In my free time I create online media content for myself and others, attend concerts, figure skate, watch copious amounts of Netflix, and cry over cute puppies.

Maxine Kobinski

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Hi! I'm Maxine, and I am a double major in German and Linguistics with a minor in ESL. I am returning to Classroom Support after an academic year in Berlin and I'm excited to be back and working in the language center! I speak German and I hope to teach English abroad once I graduate in December.

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