InterCom, a customizable weekly newsletter for language professionals, is provided by the Center for Applied Second Language Studies (CASLS) at the University of Oregon. InterCom is sponsored through a Title VI Language Resource Center grant.



Congratulations to Kerry O'toole! After reading our Spotlight article about LinguaFolio Online last week, she was the first person to email us and mention InterCom. The 37 free accounts she received will enable three full classes of her students at Sharon Center School to document their language proficiency online. We wish you and your students a productive spring of language learning.

Topic of the Week: Considering Context

by Julie Sykes, CASLS Director

Contextualization of learning experiences is essential for learners when considering what to say in a variety of situations with different types of people. However, contextualization presents a number of challenges for classroom instruction, where contexts must be created and imagined to allow for diverse learning opportunities. Researchers and practitioners alike have proposed a number of ideas for addressing the role of context. Here we present three possibilities for increased integration of contextualized language learning opportunities in the language classroom.

1 – Allow learners to select from a variety of contextual possibilities that relate to the target language function.

Through choice, instructors can increase learners' ownership of, and engagement with, the possible topics and contexts. This could include the option to take on a variety of roles and identities, at the hands of the learner, as they so choose. Choices could include varied professions, personalities, or character traits. Regardless of the options given, learner choice is key to authenticating the imagined scenarios.

2 – Use digital technologies to connect with other speakers.

Digital contexts present an authentic space where learners can decipher context and make decisions about the discourse they would like to use. Learners can either interact with other users themselves or, alternatively, analyze and simulate the context on their own.

3 – Divide context into discernable units.

Asking learners to focus on specific contextual elements can help build learners' skills and aid in their understanding of the multiple complexities involved in understanding and analyzing the relevant contextual features. This week's Activity of the Week is one example of this type of activity.

Activity of the Week

  • Volver and Friends: Context in Interpersonal Communication

    By Patricia Roldan Marcos and Loreli Mann


    • Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of three situational factors, i.e. social distance, power relationship, and degree of imposition.
    • Students will be able to analyze how those elements influence request strategies used in a given situation.
    • Students will be able to analyze and compare 2 videos in English as well as another one in their own language, extracting relevant information related to the three factors above and reaching conclusions.
    • Students will be able to judge how a role play follows or doesn't follow the pragmatic rules in that context and results in a successful or unsuccessful interaction.
    • Students will be able to produce a successful and an unsuccessful role play given a specific scenario and applying a choice of request strategies.


    Resources and materials:


    Procedure & Notes: To see the procedure and notes, click [here].

CASLS Spotlight: Congratulations Stephanie Collins, UO Chinese Flagship Student!

Join us in congratulating UO sophomore and Chinese Flagship student Stephanie Collins for earning the competitive and prestigious Critical Languages Scholarship (CLS) to study Chinese for eight weeks in Beijing this summer 2015. 

The Critical Languages Scholarship Program is offered by the U.S. Department of State to dedicated individuals wishing to study and improve their language skills for languages that are deemed “critical.” Ms. Collins went through a vigorous application and interview process to earn this scholarship which will provide complete funding for her eight week course in Beijing. She is very excited to improve her Chinese skills and to visit China again. Becoming an advanced Chinese speaker is critical for her two career goals of working for the government or a disability nonprofit to help improve limited opportunities for the blind in China.

Ms. Collins studied Chinese in high school and entered the Chinese Flagship program at UO last year, completing an intensive 1st and 2nd year Chinese program in one year. Now, as a UO sophomore, she is performing at the third-year Chinese level. She is very active in the Chinese Flagship program, contributing Spotlights for InterCom and also writing for the Flagship Times, a newsletter in Chinese written by Flagship students to promote, showcase and practice Chinese language skills. One of Ms. Collins’ favorite parts of Flagship is being part of Banzhang, leadership, because she helps plan and execute Flagship events such as visiting the Shanghai tunnels in Portland.

Please join us again in congratulations for her wonderful achievement!

To learn more about the UO Chinese Flagship Program, visit

To learn more about the Critical Languages Scholarship Program, visit

Language Corner

Seal of Biliteracy Guidelines Released

Source: NCSSFL Back to Quick Links


The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), the National Association of Bilingual Education (NABE), the National Council of State Supervisors for Languages (NCSSFL), and TESOL International Association, have officially drafted recommendations for the implementation of the Seal of Biliteracy.

The Seal of Biliteracy is an award made by a state department of education or local district to recognize a student who has attained proficiency in English and one or more other world languages by high school graduation. The recognition of attaining biliteracy becomes part of the high school transcript and diploma for these students.

To ensure consistency in the meaning of this recognition, the guidelines for implementation for state departments of education and for local school districts were developed. All students are eligible to attain the Seal of Biliteracy based on evidence of achieving the designated level of language proficiency in English plus one or more other languages during their high school years.

Read the full announcement at
Access the new guidelines at

Alaska Senator Proposes Teacher Certification for Native Language Teachers

Source: KNBA Back to Quick Links


Sen. Donny Olson proposes promotion of Native languages through teacher certification
by Joaqlin Estus
March 23, 2015

At least 20 distinct Native languages are spoken in Alaska, and every year, the population of speakers gets a little smaller. A Golovin senator now wants to reverse that trend by encouraging immersion language charter schools.

Democrat Donny Olson introduced a bill on Friday that would create a special certification process for instructors of Native languages, so that it would be easier for them to teach in schools. He’s hoping to build on the success of legislation recognizing Alaska’s Native languages as official languages in their own right.

...While the bill would make it easier to set up immersion programs for any language, it makes specific reference to revitalizing endangered languages and providing an education consistent with indigenous cultures.

Read the full article at

Teachers of Arabic Language K-12 (TALK12) Facebook Page

Source: Teachers of Arabic Language K-12 Back to Quick Links


The Teachers of Arabic Language K-12 (TALK12) is a professional organization dedicated to supporting elementary and secondary classroom Arabic teachers in the United States. The purpose of this FaceBook page is to “disseminate information about teacher-training workshops, grants and job opportunities, and for mutual support among practicing teachers.”

Access this resource

2015 Tomodachi U.S. - Japan Youth Exchange

Source: JNCL-NCLIS Back to Quick Links

For the third year, Globalize DC (CGEL) is partnering with American Councils to offer this fully-funded two-way student exchange with Japan, thanks to the support of the US Japan Council. Six (6) DC high school students and two (2) alternates will be selected; DCPS and charter school students are eligible to apply. The purpose of the exchange is to promote cultural understanding and friendship between DC and Japanese teens; provide exposure to social entrepreneurship and community engagement; and develop global leadership skills. Japanese language instruction will be included.  

This year, for the first time, both parts of this two-way exchange will take place during the summer, with follow-up meetings during the 2015-16 school year. The program includes:

  • A one-week orientation program for DC students to prepare for the exchange and international travel.
  • A 2-1/2 week program in Japan, with Japanese peers, including home stays in Tokyo, and a visit to Tohoku, the region of Japan impacted by the 2011 earthquake
  • A 2-1/2 week program of cultural and community exploration in DC, for both DC and Japanese high school students.     
  • Regular meetings throughout the 2015-16 school year. 

Application Deadline: April 10, 2015. Program Dates: July 6 - August 16, 2015 (tentative)

For more information visit

Selection of Japanese Books Recommended for Translation

Source: Japan Foundation Back to Quick Links


The Japan Foundation has compiled a booklet titled Worth Sharing―A Selection of Japanese Books Recommended for Translations "the list of recommendable good books for translation" in order to give people overseas a better understanding of contemporary Japan and to help spread the word in Japan about these brilliant books that depict what the nation is like now, providing readers with authentic views of Japanese society and its people.

Following Vol.1, Shedding light on Japan’s youth, and Vol.2, Exploring Japan’s diverse regions, the theme of the third volume is Illuminating love in Japan.

Access the booklet at

Report: State-level English Language Learner Policies Education Commission of the States

Source: Education Commission of the States Back to Quick Links


State-level English language learner policies
by Micah Ann Wixom
March 2015

In December 2014, the Education Commission of the States convened a group of experts to reflect on available research, practice and state policy around the topic of English language learners' needs and to make recommendations in areas where potential impact at the state level is greatest. The policy recommendations they suggested during the meeting are summarized in this report, which is accompanied by a database with an overview of multiple state policies affecting English language learners across and within states.

Access the report at

Google's Street Art Project

Source: Google Back to Quick Links


Are you or your students interested in street art? Street art can be found all over the world, and the Google Art Project has a website where you and your students can view and learn about street art in your target country. Take a guided audio tour of neighborhoods that are rich in street art, view online exhibitions, or use an interactive map to find art in the country of your choice.

The Google Street Art project is available at

FLIS Day, University of Oregon

Source: University of Oregon Back to Quick Links


The University of Oregon's 37th Annual Foreign Language and International Studies Day
May 1, 2015

FLIS Day is Oregon's largest foreign language and culture event. FLIS presenters are faculty and students from more than 40 different countries, and represent UO's 15 foreign language, linguistics, and international studies programs and departments.

This event is intended for high school students. Find out more at

New to Twitter? – Tips on the Journey from Lurking to Listing to Chat…

Source: Language Sensei Back to Quick Links


As the posts states, “Learning to manage your PLN, can take some time – as you configure what works for you. I wanted to repost some tips that I gathered as I began my Twitter journey and hopefully they will be helpful to you too!” The post lists a few strategies and decisions to make as you step out into the world of Twitter and Twitter chats, such as #langchat.

Access this post


For more about how to use #langchat to grow your PLN, revisit this post from July 21, 2014, when Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell, the blogger behind, the author of the Calico Spanish Homeschool Learning Series, and a founding moderator of #langchat, wrote a Topic of the Week for InterCom entitled “#Langchat as a Professional Development Resource.”

2015 STARTALK Foreign Language Academy in Chinese and Russian

Source: Regents Foreign Language Academy Back to Quick Links


If you are an Ohio high school student, this is an opportunity for you to start on your way to advanced-level proficiency in the critical-need languages of Chinese and Russian! Talk to your parents and guidance counselor about this unique opportunity and apply to the Regents STARTALK Foreign Language Academy at Kent State University! The program runs June 21 through July 18.

About the FLA:

  • The program is intended for students with no prior knowledge of Chinese and Russian
  • The program is entirely free!!!
  • Students can receive up to 5 college credits
  • Students live and study together in the Kent State Honors College (Johnson/Stopher Halls)
  • Students study in a supportive, culture-rich environment
  • Teachers are experienced professionals from local colleges and universities
  • Students are provided with a laptop computer and all necessary software for the course of the program
  • Students must participate in a follow-up academic year session consisting of distance learning and monthly Saturday sessions

Applications are due by April 15, 2015.

Camp OFLA 2015

Source: Camp OFLA Back to Quick Links


Camp OFLA is an elementary foreign language camp for students in grades 3-8 created by the Ohio Foreign Language Association. Students can learn French, German, Japanese, and Spanish. Activities for the week will include language learning, ethnic cooking, dancing, singing, sports, arts and crafts, campfires, games and swimming. The week will culminate with a "Parent Day" on Friday night and Saturday morning for parents and special guests.

High school junior and seniors who are in their 3rd or 4th year of language study are also needed to work as camp counselors.

Learn more at

Webquest: Easter in Germany

Source: Amelia Combs Back to Quick Links

German teacher Amelia Combs has created a webquest for German students in which they'll learn about Easter customs and traditions in Germany while creating a Google Slides presentation. The webquest is available at

Wasser ist Leben - Water is Life

Source: DRK - Deutsche Rote Kreuz Back to Quick Links


This is a 90 minute lesson from the German Red Cross class materials section. The lesson is about clean drinking water in the world and what it means to be healthy. 

Check out the PDF with all the resources at

2 durch Deutschland - Two Travel Through Germany

Source: Planet Schule Back to Quick Links


2 durch Deutschland is a TV show you can find access to on Planet Schule with some extra teaching materials and an online game component. Esther und André visit all 16 Bundesländer in Germany. “In jedem Bundesland gehen die beiden auf Schnitzeljagd und lösen dabei jeweils fünf Rätsel. Dabei entdecken sie bekannte Sehenswürdigkeiten und unbekannte Besonderheiten. "2 durch Deutschland" besteht aus insgesamt 16 Filmen, einem für jedes Bundesland. Dazu gibt es zahlreiche Unterrichtsmaterialien. Im großen Online-Spiel können die Schüler sich durch die 16 Bundesländer spielen und dabei selbst Rätsel lösen.”

Access this resource Explanations of French Expressions

Source: Back to Quick Links

Search or browse for French expressions and find explanations about their origin and meaning along with examples of their use on this website:

Bonjour les amis! French Online Learning

Source: Learn Alberta Back to Quick Links


This website is a virtual classroom game with students from different schools in Canada. You go through the modules and learn items in the classroom, colors, commands, basic pronunciation, meet the characters and can create your own comic strip as well!

Check out this resource

Comment est née la langue française ? History of the French Language

Source: 1 Jour 1 Actu Back to Quick Links


Axel Planté-Bordeneuve posts this episode of 1 Jour 1 Question, which is a 1 minute and 40 second video in French created for children that summarizes how the French language was “born,” starting from Latin and evolving to what we now call French. This could be a great listening and history lesson for your high beginner and intermediate language learners.

Access this video

Daily Literacy Activities in Spanish

Source: DayByDay Back to Quick Links

DayByDay features a daily song, book, activity, and video in Spanish to promote literacy for young children. See today's collection at

False Friends Between Spanish and English

Source: Back to Quick Links


Here is a long list of “false friends,” or words that are very similar in both English and Spanish but mean different things. You could take this list and break it up and have students try to match the Spanish word to the correct English meaning and then discuss the differences. For example, students might be interested to know that “constiparse” means to catch a cold, not to be constipated! 

Access this list

Monarch Butterfly Resources

Source: Annenberg Learner Back to Quick Links

Monarch butterflies are beginning their annual migration north from Mexico and Texas. You and your Spanish and English students can learn about the butterflies and follow their movement with this two resources from Annenberg Learner:

Here are several videos about the migration on YouTube suggested by a Ñandutí listserv user:

Get Ready for the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

Source: Eurovision Song Contest Back to Quick Links


The Eurovision Song Contest 2015 will take place May 19, 21, and 23 in Vienna, Austria. Running up to the event you can have students make predictions, talk about which contestant entries they like best and worst and why, hold their own contest with their own music videos they create, learn about Vienna and/or make travel plans to visit Vienna for the Contest, etc.! If you teach a language or languages from the countries participating in this year’s Song Contest, there are many possibilities. The contestants and their entry videos can be found here:


For some lesson ideas on the topic of Eurovision, check out this post from "The Language Point" and/or this post from Isabel Perez Please note that these two resources were made for past Eurovision contests, and you would need to adapt them to work for this current year’s contest.

Professional Development

Call for Papers: Oklahoma Working Papers in Indigenous Languages

Source: University of Oklahoma Back to Quick Links


The Oklahoma Working Papers in Indigenous Languages

The publication focuses on issues related to Oklahoma Native languages and other indigenous languages of the Americas, but welcoming research done on any endangered indigenous language. They welcome research on all topics related to Native American languages, especially documentary and descriptive linguistics, language revitalization, community-based collaboration, endangered language teaching and curriculum development, language acquisition, language maintenance, sociolinguistics, discourse and corpus linguistics, language typology and universals, language variation and change, language contact, musicology and ethnopoetics, and language ideologies.

All papers are published in online format only as a free-access publication. All papers are reviewed by faculty and graduate students in linguistic anthropology at OU. As a working paper, publication here does not preclude later publication elsewhere of revised versions of these papers.

Submissions for the 2015 volume are due by May 31st, 2015.

For full details and access to the contents of the 2014 volume go to

Call for Papers: Southeast Regional TESOL

Source: Southeast Regional TESOL Back to Quick Links


Proposals are invited for the Southeast Regional TESOL conference, which will take place October 22-24, 2015, in New Orleans. The theme is "Going for the Goal: Empowering English Language Learners." Topics will include second language acquisition, skills development, practical teaching techniques, administration, and policies relating to ESL/Bilingual students.

The deadline for submissions is August 1.

Submit a proposal at and register for the conference at

Call for Papers: Midwest Association of Language Testers Conference

Source: University of Iowa Back to Quick Links


The 17th annual Midwest Association of Language Testers Conference will be held October 3, 2015 in Iowa City, Iowa on the University of Iowa campus. While the plenaries and panels will be focused on writing assessment, papers and posters on a variety of topics are encouraged. All submissions should be on topics related to language assessment. There are two types of presentation options:

  • Paper: Presentations on theoretically-oriented papers or completed research are best suited for this type. The presentations should be 20 minutes in length followed by 10 minutes for a Q&A session and comments from the audience.
  • Poster: Poster presenters will host their posters and discuss their research with conference participants. Posters may include work-in-progress research.

Submission deadline is Monday June 15, 2015.

View the full call for papers at

Request for Proposals: Oregon Association of Bilingual Education Summer Conference

Source: OABE Back to Quick Links


The Oregon Association of Bilingual Education's Summer 2015 Conference will take place June 12-13 at the North Clackamas School District. The online form for submitting proposals is open and available at

Keep up to date with news about the conference at

Princeton Japanese Pedagogy Forum

Source: Princeton University Back to Quick Links


The 22nd Princeton Japanese Pedagogy Forum
Saturday, May 9 - Sunday, May 10, 2015
"Japanese Language Education for the Global Citizen"

Early bird registration ends on April 15th.

Visit the forum website at

Conference on Language, Learning, and Culture

Source: Virginia International University Back to Quick Links


Following a successful inaugural conference in the spring of 2014, the School of Education at Virginia International University (VIU) will be hosting its second Conference on Language, Learning, and Culture (CLLC) on April 10-11, 2015.

The 2015 theme, Next-Generation Assessment, intends to reframe assessment in terms of its ability to meet the needs and achieve the goals of all stakeholders: empowering students with awareness of their strengths and areas for development; giving educators additional diagnostic information and tools to adapt their instruction; and providing administrators, testing organizations, policy makers, and community members with rigorous data on outcomes that can be used to improve educational programs. The goal is to begin a solutions-oriented dialogue on the next generation of innovations in assessment by acknowledging the interplay among a variety of factors related to language, learning, and culture.

Visit the conference website at

Conference: South Central Association for Language Learning Technology

Source: SOCALLT Back to Quick Links


The 2015 Conference of the South Central Association for Language Learning Technology will take place in Austin, Texas, April 24-25. Visit the conference website at Registration is open; you can register at

Teams Sought for Languages and Literacy Collaboration Center

Source: ACTFL Back to Quick Links


Over the next year and a half, the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) will connect collaborative teams of world language educators and colleagues from other disciplines from across the United States in a project focused on developing learners’ literacy skills. The development of the Languages and Literacy Collaboration Center (LLCC) will give all educators access to a multitude of resources. Through webinars, mentoring, a virtual resource portal, and online discussions, educators will collaborate around strategies to reinforce and strengthen learners’ literacy skills. Teams of 5-10 educators will collaboratively develop model units and lessons for diverse learners. These model units and lessons may be discipline-specific or interdisciplinary depending on the site team membership and focus.

Learn more about this initiative and about how to form and sign up as a collaborative team at

2015 SCOLA Users Meeting

Source: SCOLA Back to Quick Links


Do you use SCOLA to provide authentic content for your students? SCOLA is holding a Users Meeting on May 21st and May 22, 2015, in Omaha, Nebraska, and McClelland, Iowa. Learn more about this opportunity at

Northeast Association for Language Learning Technology (NEALLT)

Source: Carnegie Mellon University Back to Quick Links


The Northeast Association for Language Learning Technology (NEALLT) will hold its annual conference at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA from Friday, April 24 to Sunday, April 26, 2015. The conference will be hosted by the CMU Modern Language Resource Center.

This year’s theme will be “BYOD and mobile learning in the Language Center.” Presentations and panel discussions on topics including:

  • Flipped Classrooms
  • Social Networks
  • Student Agency - tasks for student expression
  • Scaffolding Student Learning
  • Emerging technologies
  • Resource Center management and design
  • Mobile technology
  • Online courses
  • Open Educational Resources

To register or learn more visit

Professional Development Opportunity: Sustainability in German and in STEM Classes

Source: AATG-L Back to Quick Links

From the AATG-L listserv:

The Goethe-Institut has a brand new project entitled “Sustainability in German Class and in STEM Class”.

It is an advanced training program for teacher teams (one German teacher and one STEM teacher) in Germany this summer:

The STEM teacher doesn’t need to be in an official STEM program. He/She needs to be a science teacher, or a math teacher or a biology teacher…

You will learn about the topics of water, energy, resources and bio-diversity (all in English) and you will be introduced to new ideas on how to integrate Sustainability topics into your classroom. You will visit German Best Practice schools and have the opportunity to develop your own material and projects.

Additionally, there will be visits to the surrounding area (Luxembourg and Brussels).

All expenses (transatlantic flight and travel in Germany, tuition, accommodations, meals, excursions, and materials) will be covered by the Goethe-Institut!

If accepted into the program, each participant must pay a small fee of 150 €uros.

Application deadline is April 15, 2015.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me:

Anja Schmitt
Language Consultant (IL, WI, MN, ND, SD)
Goethe-Institut Chicago
150 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 200
Chicago IL 60601
Tel. +1- 312-263-0472
Fax +1- 312-263-0476

Schmitt, A. Brand new Goethe program about Sustainability. AATG-L listserv (, 26 Mar 2015).

For more information:


Book: Speed up your Arabic

Source: Routledge Back to Quick Links


Speed up your Arabic: Strategies to Avoid Common Errors
By Sebastian Maisel
Published by Routledge Taylor & Francis Group

Pronunciation, spelling, the concept of roots and patterns and idiomatic phrases are just some of the areas that cause confusion for students of Arabic. Learning how to avoid the common errors that arise repeatedly in these areas is an essential step in successful language learning.

Speed Up Your Arabic is a unique and innovative resource that identifies and explains the most commonly made errors, enabling students to learn from their mistakes and enhance their understanding of the Arabic language.

Each of the nine chapters focuses on a grammatical category where English speakers typically make mistakes in Arabic. Each chapter is divided into sections that classify the concepts and errors into subcategories. Full explanations are provided throughout with clear, comprehensive examples and exercises to help the learner gain an in-depth understanding of Arabic grammar and usage.

Visit the publisher's website at

Book: Working Memory in Second Language Acquisition and Processing

Source: Multilingual Matters Back to Quick Links


Working Memory in Second Language Acquisition and Processing
Edited by Zhisheng (Edward) Wen, Mailce Borges Mota, and Arthur McNeill
Published by Multilingual Matters

This volume offers a comprehensive discussion of essential theoretical and methodological issues concerning the pivotal role of working memory in second language learning and processing. The collection opens with a foreword and introductory theoretical chapters written by leading figures in the field of cognitive psychology. Following these are three research sections containing chapters providing original data and innovative insights into the dynamic and complex relationships between working memory and specific areas of second language processing, instruction, performance and development. Each section concludes with a commentary which is written by a noted SLA researcher and which charts the course for future research. This book provides a fascinating collection of perspectives on the relationship between working memory and second language learning and will appeal to those interested in the integration of cognitive psychology with SLA research.

To see a table of contents and learn more visit

Book: Metrolingualism: Language in the City

Source: Routledge Back to Quick Links


Metrolingualism: Language in the City
By Alastair Pennycook and Emi Otsuji
Published by Routledge

This book is about language and the city. Pennycook and Otsuji introduce the notion of ‘metrolingualism’, showing how language and the city are deeply involved in a perpetual exchange between people, history, migration, architecture, urban landscapes and linguistic resources. Cities and languages are in constant change, as new speakers with new repertoires come into contact as a result of globalization and the increased mobility of people and languages.

Metrolingualism sheds light on the ordinariness of linguistic diversity as people go about their daily lives, getting things done, eating and drinking, buying and selling, talking and joking, drawing on whatever linguistic resources are available. Engaging with current debates about multilingualism, and developing a new way of thinking about language, the authors explore language within a number of contemporary urban situations, including cafés, restaurants, shops, streets, construction sites and other places of work, in two diverse cities, Sydney and Tokyo. This is an invaluable look at how people of different backgrounds get by linguistically.

To see a table of contents and learn more visit

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