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Finding Joy:
The CT COLT Professional Learning Series

CT COLT is pleased to offer eight workshops for our fourth season of Professional Learning Series. Each session will begin with a live presentation featuring our CT COLT Teachers of The Year, followed by an opportunity to connect, network, and chat with other language teachers.

Sessions will be recorded and available afterwards on our website under members only content.

4:30 - 5:30 PM, virtual

Cost is free for CT COLT Members and $10 for non-CT COLT members, unless noted otherwise.

Workshop #1

Join us for a kick-off event for our 2023-2024 Professional Learning Series with CT COLT Teachers of the Year! Our first workshop in the series of eight - Building Lasting Connections with Your Students - will be presented by Moussa Ly on Thursday, September 21st from 4:30-5:30 p.m. In this session, participants will learn how to create meaningful, joyful and lasting connections through student engagement in the classroom and beyond to foster academic, interpersonal, and linguistic growth.
The workshop will begin with a live presentation, which will be recorded and available afterwards on our website under members only content. Following Moussa’s address,  there will be an opportunity to connect, network, and chat with other language teachers.


Moussa Ly is a French teacher at South Windsor High School and Southern Connecticut State University. Moussa participates actively in a variety of language, cultural, and community organizations, including serving on the Board of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF). He is a passionate and caring educator who works to actively promote positive relationships with students, diversity, and inclusion. Moussa is the 2023 CT COLT Teacher of the Year.

Workshop #2 - October 12, 2023

Making AI Work For Language Teachers

Let's embrace the amazing possibilities of Generative AI. In this workshop, we will look at how teachers can use AI to work faster and more efficiently, how students can use AI to differentiate learning, and how to avoid some of the common pitfalls of AI. Participants will come away with lists of activities, prompts, and resources they can use right away in their classrooms.

Maureen Gassert Lamb is a Latin Teacher, Dean of Faculty, and Dean of Academic Technology and Innovative Pedagogy at The Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, CT.

Lamb is also the American Classical League’s Technology Chair, was named the Connecticut Language 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year, and was the recipient of the ACTFL/IALLT Award for Excellence in World Language Instruction Using Technology (K–12) and the Society for Classical Studies Excellence in K-12 Latin Teaching in 2022. She is committed to an inclusive, differentiated classroom environment to support her students.

Workshop #3  - November 9, 2023

Inquiry-based Instruction and Authentic Resources

As educators, we are very familiar with the concept of an essential question as the driving force of a thematic unit, but what happens when students come up with their own essential questions? Including relevant and interesting authentic resources in our curriculum can spark curiosity and motivation for our students to conduct their own investigations of the target language. This webinar will take a deep dive into the world of student-driven essential questions in the language classroom and the types of authentic resources that motivate them.

Yensen Sierra Lambert was born in The Dominican Republic and moved to New Jersey with her family as a child. She attended Rutgers University, New Brunswick, where she graduated with a BA in International Studies and Spanish. Yensen's twenty-two-year-old teaching career began in New York City public schools where she taught middle school Spanish. During her time in NYC, she attended Hunter College, where she obtained a Master's Degree in Romance Languages. After NYC, she taught in Florida and Georgia, where she served as department chair of an international boarding school. Over the last twelve years, Yensen has taught every level of Spanish, including AP Spanish Language and AP Spanish Literature. She has also served as an AP Reader, and a College Board Consultant, and has been recently appointed to the AP Spanish Language Development Committee. In addition to her teaching experience, Yensen is a published author of AP prep book and is currently working on the teachers' edition of a proficiency-based Spanish book series. In addition to teaching, she enjoys reading, running, and weekly trivia nights with colleagues.

Workshop #4 - December 14, 2023

Using the Target Language in Your Classroom

Participants will learn some basic concepts of using the target language in the language classrooms and then work on class activities that can make it happen

Meiching Chang is committed to empowering students to improve their proficiency in a culture-rich environment. She focuses on authentic use of language and fostering the “diversity of perspectives to make our students better world citizens.” As a teacher of Chinese and an English language learner (from Taiwan), she believes language learning requires an attitude of striving for “perfect imperfection:  to just keep using it, communicating with each other, to keep making mistakes and to keep getting better at it.” Over the past  11 years in Glastonbury Public Schools, Meiching has been fully immersed in every aspect of the world languages program, demonstrating tireless professionalism and dedication in all aspects of her work.

Workshop #5 - January 18, 2024

Keeping It Real

Have you ever heard “Why do we have to do this?” In this session we will explore ways to answer that very question. We will look at ways to incorporate community resources and real world scenarios that can increase student motivation and keep language learning relevant.

Trudy Anderson believes in the importance of teaching her students to be curious about other peoples and their cultures and to bravely investigate other perspectives in order to prepare them for life in a multicultural, interconnected world. She enjoys Introducing students to new experiences that will keep them interested in studying the language. Trudy is also passionate about collaborating with colleagues, especially new teachers. She has been a Yale New Haven Teachers Institute Fellow,  a coach and a regular presenter at local and national conferences. Trudy was named the CT COLT Teacher of the Year in 2021 and the NECTFL 2022 Teacher of the Year.

Workshop #6 - February 29, 2024

Connecting to Students Through Contemporary Culture

This webinar will offer teaching resources, templates and ideas to incorporate contemporary culture into the classroom. Participants will have time to collaborate and create an activity to be used in their own classroom. The presenter will share examples and lesson activities to be modified for all languages.

Gina Gallo believes that language classes are a space for creative thinking, compassionate learning and cultural exploration. Gina is a proud SCSU alumna and Italian teacher at Bristol Central High School. She is currently enrolled in an Italian Literacy and Cultural studies program at UConn and is excited to learn and grow. Gina is a lifelong learner of Italian, a Latin newbie and a lover of Spanish. Gina’s goal is to foster a passion for languages to positively impact a world where all voices are heard and respected.

Workshop #7 - March 21, 2024

Fostering Antiracist Instructional Practices in Language Classrooms

As educators of European languages and those of colonized lands, we ought to critically examine the historical racist underpinnings of our field. This webinar presents strategies that not only decolonize and decenter whiteness, but also uplift the cultural legacies of minoritized groups. While exploring ways to teach about race in a manner revealing its institutionalized power dynamics, we’ll also address pressing questions: What does antiracism look like in the WL classroom? Why is its adoption crucial? The discussion will guide participants towards actionable antiracist pedagogies that enrich our teaching environments, culminating in a vision of fostering nurturing classrooms that allow all students to reclaim their birthright of learning languages, and rediscover the joy of doing so across all proficiency levels.

Richard de Meij, 2018-2019 CT COLT Language TOY, is proudly serving in his 33rd year in World Languages Education, blending raciolinguistics, multicultural and multilingual insights with 21st Century language teaching methods. A passionate polyglot, antiracist educator and social justice advocate, he ardently supports high quality language education for all while challenging racial and ethnic stereotypes, and while reframing and promoting language learning as a human birthright.

Workshop #8 - May 2, 2024

Languages for All: Differentiation strategies for the language classroom

Language learning is essential for preparing all students to live and interact in diverse local and global communities. Our students, however, bring different backgrounds and needs to the language classroom. How, then, can we ensure that our instruction, learning activities, and assessments are differentiated to meet the needs of all students? Informed by the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), this session will provide participants with manageable differentiation strategies to help make language learning accessible for all students.

Rebecca Aubrey has over 20 years of teaching experience at the college level, and 15 years of experience teaching Spanish in grades K-8. Rebecca has presented broadly on topics like differentiation, target language use, and language proficiency. She is the 2019 ACTFL National Teacher of the Year, and currently serves as President of CT COLT, Executive Secretary for NNELL, and the PreK-8 representative to the AATSP Board of Directors. Rebecca is passionate about exploring the cultural and linguistic diversity of our world, and equally passionate about empowering students to do the same.