Presenter Bios


Jason Fritze is a National Board Certified teacher of Spanish and a published author. He has been teaching with Comprehensible Input since 1991 at the elementary, middle school, high school and university levels. He has trained teachers throughout the United States as well as in Asia and Europe.  Jason currently resides in Laguna Beach, fritzeCA and teaches elementary Spanish in a program that he created for the Laguna Beach Unified School District.  He is a cofounder of iFLT, the International Forum of Language Teaching where he regularly teaches and presents.  He has also presented at ACTFL, the National TPRS Conference, regional and numerous state conferences.  He currently conducts series of WL teacher trainings with California State University Long Beach, LA STARS at Occidental College and Cal State University San Bernadino, and the COACH Foreign Language Project, in Orange County, CA.  While he loves collaborating with teachers in workshops and conferences his true passion is student language acquisition and teaching students.

Language Acquisition? It’s ELEMENTARY! – Part 1 (AM)

Experience best practices in World Language teaching LIVE in sample lessons from the Laguna Beach Elementary Spanish curriculum. Teachers of ALL languages/levels are encouraged to review their knowledge of principles of second language acquisition as we laugh and play together in fun, communicative activities. In part 1 we will establish class routines in the target language using TPR (Total Physical Response), co-create a story through TPRS (TPR Storytelling) and explore reading and other CI strategies that you can incorporate from from the first week. We will explore ways to adapt these strategies and lessons to your setting so that you will leave with ideas for your classes on Monday as well as a successful model for curriculum design. You can learn a lot about language acquisition from a fourth grader!

Language Acquisition? It’s ELEMENTARY! – Part 2 (PM)

Experience best practices in World Language teaching LIVE in sample lessons from the Laguna Beach Elementary Spanish curriculum. Teachers of ALL languages/levels are encouraged to review their knowledge of principles of second language acquisition as we laugh and play together in fun, communicative activities. In part 2 we will focus on personalized questions and answers (PQA) to co-create a personalized TPR story. We will use technology to engage students with Movie Talk, connect to the larger school curriculum with CBI (Content-Based Instruction), and explore target cultures through cultural thematic units. We will explore ways to adapt these strategies and lessons to your setting so that you will leave with ideas for your classes on Monday as well as a successful model for curriculum design. You can learn a lot about language acquisition from a fourth grader!


Catherine Ousselin is a graduate of the University of Kansas with an M.A. in French Language and Literature. She is a member of ACTFL, NNELL, IALLT, WAFLT, and the AATF of which she is the current Region IX representative. Catherine is the AATF Social Media manager and curator, the chair of the Technology Commission, an avid blogousselinger on World Language technology integration, and a frequenter participant on #langchat and other Twitter Ed-chats. She teaches French at Mount Vernon High in Washington State and serves as a Digital Literacy coach for the school district. Catherine is the 2016 WAFLT Teacher of the Year and the 2017 PNCFL Teacher of the year.

Thinking About Syncing?: World Readiness and Interculturality: The Passport to Global Leadership (AM)

This session will focus on integrating Web-based tools, apps, and techniques for linguistic expression and assessment within global thematic units based on the TPACK/NCSSFL-ACTFL/AP frameworks. Participants will develop competencies and confidence on evaluating and incorporating engaging and meaningful tools into thematic units and assessing student performance. We will explore all three modes of communications through demonstrations, facilitated group work, and guided research. Participants will collaborate on developing a series of global thematic units featuring student-centered instructional strategies that utilize a variety of resources especially designed to motivate and involve all learners. Please bring a laptop computer and, if possible, an Apple mobile device.

Thinking About Syncing? Digital Tools for Assessing for All Three Modes of Communication (PM)

Participants will explore, evaluate, and create thoughtful assessments with a variety of digital tools that support student learning and growth as well as assessment requirements. Topics will include Digital Storytelling, Google Apps for World Language Acquisition, and tools for the Interpersonal, Interpretive, and Presentational modes. Participants will guide the session based on their interests, district-approved devices, and digital abilities. Please bring a laptop and, if possible, an Apple mobile device.


Megan lives in Louisville, Kentucky. She taught Spanish for 7 years in public schools. She studied International Business and Spanish and has a master’s in Education. Her time working and studying abroad inspired her to create more authentic and real world lessons infused with 21st Century issues and tasks. Megan is part of the duo behind the blog, The Creative Language Class.


Currently Kara lives in Pensacola, FL. She is National Board certified and has taught Spanish and ESL for 13 years in private, public and alternative schools. Kara studied linguistics and Spanish at Indiana University and has a MAT in teaching World Languages. She enjoys mentoring teachers and encouraging them to turn their challenges into opportuparkernities. Kara is part of the duo behind the blog, The Creative Language Class.

Let Authentic Resources Take the Lead (AM) and (PM encore)

Create on point lessons completely inspired by authentic resources. First learn some tips to find target language videos, reviews, websites, and social media posts like Twitter that support daily language goals. Then discover how to get the most out of these resources using quick-to-set-up activities that promote student choice, target language use and natural communication tasks. In addition to language skills, see how students gain and apply cultural knowledge. A variety of sample lessons from different units are included for novice to intermediate levels. Participants will be given access to the editable activity templates.


Leslie Grahn is the Coordinator of World Languages for the Howard County Public Schools in Maryland. She has twenty-seven years of language teaching experience at the middle and high school levels. She has been on the Board of Directors of the Maryland Foreign Language Association since 1997, serving as its President from 2002-2004 and 2010-2012.

Leslie servedgrahn as a Teacher Consultant on the Pearson-Prentice Hall series, Realidades, has written curriculum and assessments at the district level, and wrote an article which was featured in the Language Educator magazine in February 2014. She is a course instructor and frequent presenter at state, regional, and national conferences, specializing in best practices, specifically hands-on, interactive strategies, and facilitates workshops on the topics of student engagement, formative assessment, and differentiated instruction.

Assessing Performance Toward Proficiency in the WL Classroom-Foundation and Design (AM)

In the communicative language classroom, how do we know that are students are progressing along the proficiency continuum? In this workshop, explore the foundational tools, exemplars, and thinking behind developing performance assessments through which students may demonstrate their proficiency in the skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. We will examine proficiency rubrics, Can-Do statements, and templates for designing real world and developmentally appropriate assessments for language students.

Assessing Performance Toward Proficiency in the WL Classroom- Planning and Implementation (PM)

With the tools in place for creating performance assessments to gauge our students’ proficiency, how do we design our lessons in order to prepare students for the opportunities to demonstrate their language proficiency? In this workshop, participants will plan learning experiences for their students to build stamina for performing on assessments and will adapt tools for assisting students to own their own proficiency levels through self-assessment and feedback.


Lea Graner Kennedy has served as the Humanities and World Language Coordinator, French and Spanish Teacher and Curriculum Writer for Stonington Public Schools in CT over the past 17 years. Lea has also worked with various districts in a consultant role teaching professional development and has presented at state, regional, and national conferences each year. She has a passion for teacher training and collaborating with dynamic language teachers to design and teach authentic, proficiency-based curriculum ikennedyn alignment with ACTFL Standards. In her roles as President-Elect of CT COLT and NADSFL representative for the Northeast, she helps with the NECTFL Conference and works to bring language educators together to delve into best practices and new initiatives put forth by ACTFL. As the NECTFL representative for LILL, she was chosen to attend the summer institutes for LILL’s inaugural and second year to study research-based Core Practices and develop a plan to share them with educators. Lea’s goal is to empower educators to make a difference at the local, state and national level in order to build an interculturally competent biliterate generation of students.

Building Proficiency and Teacher Effectiveness using LILL’s Core Practices (AM) and (PM encore)

The goal of this workshop is to improve teacher effectiveness and to transform the classroom experience using LILL’s Core Practices. This interactive session will provide an opportunity for educators to examine research-based Core Practices that help students move up the proficiency scale. Participants will examine lessons built in the target language around functional goals using the Can-Do Statements. Participants will receive strategies to guide students through open-ended communication in order to design interpersonal activities. Educators will explore the need to build risk-taking environments by teaching grammar as a concept and in context and design interactive reading and listening activities using the scaffolding techniques for the interpretive, interpersonal and presentational modes of communication. Finally, they will examine the most effective forms of feedback to help students improve in all three modes of communication. This workshop will provide resources and tools to build pathways toward World Language Proficiency.

This session will begin with a presentation focused on each definition of the Core Practices. During the presentation, participants will be following the 4 A’s protocol to chart ideas and reflections in the 4 boxes “Ask, Agree, Argue, Apply.” Following the presentation, participants will complete a think-pair-share activity to discuss their new learning and ideas about how to improve teacher effectiveness with the Core Practices. The session will conclude with a gallery walk and whole group discussion about how to leverage Core Practices to build proficiency.


sextonLaura Sexton is a passion-driven, project-based language educator at Gaston Early College High School in Dallas, North Carolina. In her blog,, she shares ideas for integrating Project-Based Learning in the world language classroom, including example projects, lessons, driving questions, and reflection.

PBL Building Blocks: Build a PBL Unit for Any Language Class (AM) and (PM encore)

Get hands-on practice designing a PBL unit that fits your curriculum, your schedule, and your students. See examples of effective projects from Level I and Level II. Comprehensive Project planning will include routines and assessments that engage all three modes of communication, incorporate comprehensible input, meet district and department expectations, and also scaffold a meaningful real-world experience that engages and inspires your students.


Jim Wooldridge, a Spanish teacher in Evanston, IL, for nine years, used to struggle to find high-quality educational materials for his middle school students. Most existing materials treated students as though they were in kindergarten, or took the opposite approach and treated them like humorless adults.

wooldridgeWhile Wooldridge’s students were beginners, they weren’t babies, and didn’t want simplistic, babyish stuff. They were drawn in, like tweens and teens are, to funny, creative, and absurd stories with unexpected twists. So, Wooldridge decided to make those kinds of stories himself.

In 2005, Wooldridge began writing his own music for his students. Although he had not even considered seeking a wider audience, it wasn’t long before other teachers found his materials.

He created Señor Wooly in 2009, when he released the music videos “Billy la Bufanda” and “¿Puedo ir al baño?” Both were hits. Since then, he has created numerous well-known musical stories, such as “Guapo,” “Las Excusas,” “Ya Está Muerto” and “Sé Chévere,” among many others. His website is now used by thousands of Spanish teachers worldwide.

Jim Wooldridge lives in Skokie, IL with his wife and two children.

Beyond the Play Button: Practical Activities to Enhance Music and Videos that will Make Students, Parents and Administrators Happy

While music and videos are an essential form of language input for students, it can be challenging to figure out how to properly implement them in the classroom. We all know how to click the play button, but isn’t there more?

In this session, Jim Wooldridge, a.k.a. Sr. Wooly, will demonstrate a variety of practical activities that will give you the confidence to use music and videos in the classroom (and with none of the guilt!). Plus, he will model how to win the class over so you have more class singalongs and fewer class eye-rolls.