November 22, 2013

The STARTALK team (Michele Anciaux Aoki and Svetlana Abramova) attended the ACTFL Fall Conference in Orlando, Florida, where they presented on how to build a successful language program with a strong STEM component through collaboration with community resources and museums.

November 18, 2013

The STARTALK team is pleased to announce that we'll be collaborating with a number of organizations at the UW and beyond to host a Heritage Literacy Symposium on January 25, 2014 9:00 am - 3:00 pm at the University of Washington. You can register now to attend and/or participate in planning the event. (It's free.)

October 18-19, 2013

The STARTALK team attended the STARTALK Fall Conference in Portland, Oregon. Our team was invited to present a session on building a successful program through collaborating with museums. The Conference was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the program just completed, share our success with other participants, and participate in continued professional development.

October 3, 2013

Please join us for the Astronomy Day in the Museum of Flight on October 3rd where our students will showcase their presentations on Comet and Asteroid Hazard. Flyer

October 1, 2013

Students' papers from the Astronomy Project were featured in the October issue of the Russian newspaper "Русский Мир"

August 9, 2013

Final day of the Student Program. In the morning, students worked on the final edits of their Linguafolio and in the afternoon, they presented their projects to their parents and friends at the Closing Ceremony. Everybody did a great job! Students were also awarded certificates. The evening finished with a small reception.

August 8, 2013

A highlight today was an interview with Nikolai Smolyansky, who is a Principal Software Design Engineer at Microsoft. He talked about the importance of applied math for programmers, Microsoft current projects and facial recognition software that he currently works on.

August 7, 2013

Today, students participated in the Documentary Film Festival "Sky without Borders" First, they received a short video (with no sound) about one particular event of space exploration or airplane design they familiarized themselves with during the program. In two hours, students worked in small groups and vocalized the video in a Russian formal style.

August 5, 2013

Last week of the program started with a trip to the Museum of Flight. The students became pilots for one day. They climbed inside a real Cirrus SR20 airplane in the hangar and make sure it's safe to fly. They also planed a flight and flew it in the simulators.

August 1, 2013

A highlight today was an interview with Boeing engineer Dmitrii Kamenetskii. He talked about aerodynamics, wind tunnel experimentation, and issues related to compressible flow and turbulence.

July 30, 2013

Test week continues with ACTFL OPIc (Oral Proficiency Interview computer-based) which makes it possible for our students to earn up to 4 competency-based credits for high school world languages. Airplanes construction and motion in the space was the subject of the rest of the day.

July 29, 2013

Monday started with the UW Slavic Department Placement Test. This test is intended for students who wish to continue their study of a Slavic language at the UW but who are not certain which level of language they are most suited to begin with. The students proceeded with studying about aerodynamics of airplanes. During Math lesson the class talked about overcoming the Earth's gravity and designed their own rockets.

July 26, 2013

The students learned today what constitutes a good essay. They then reflected on their experience at the Museum of Flight during the previous day and wrote an essay on 'Voyage to Mars '. Friday ended with popcorn and the sci-fi animation film "Alisa's Birthday" (2009) by Sergei Seryogin.

July 25, 2013

A highlight today was a trip to the Museum of Flight where student participated in a simulated space mission to Mars.

July 23, 2013

Our STARTALK programs were featured on the REECAS Newsletter site.

July 22, 2013

During the STEM lesson this morning, the students familiarized themselves with physical characteristics of Mars as compared to Earth. The day proceeded with the lesson on 'Evolution of a Star'. The students had an opportunity to work with characteristics of their own star and render history of its evolution using Hertzsprung-Russell diagram.

July 19, 2013

Last day of the Teacher Program. The day started with the teachers presenting their lessons to the students. After that there was a lunch, debriefing of the lessons with the Student Program lead instructor Svetlana Abramova and then the participants were awarded the program certificates. Thanks to all the teachers for the fantastic lessons and for their enthusiasm for Russian and openness to learning new things.

July 18, 2013

Today the participants of the Teacher Program practiced presenting lessons to each other which they will teach on Friday to our students in the Student Program.

The highlight of the Student Program today was the Interview with Dr. Marina Zamarashkina, a professional astronomer who more than twenty years has been working at the Institute of Applied Astronomy in Saint-Petersburg - one of the most famous astronomical institutions in Russia. After being professionally greeted by a student representative (David Kruglov), Dr. Zamarashkina presented a fascinating lecture about the Solar System, and told the students about her professional work. After the lecture, the students interviewed Dr. Zamarashkina and then wrote a Thank You Letter to her.

July 17, 2013

The third day of the program started with student preparations for the Interview with a professional. First, Dr. Svetlana Abramova introduced communicative strategies in face-to-face communication in formal settings. Then she conducted a lesson "How to Make a Good Interview". The group continued with the "Space Race" lesson, during which the students learned highlights of a long and complex history of competition and collaboration between Russia and the USA in the area of space exploration.

July 16, 2013

Today the STARTALK Teachers got to observe Dr. Marina Zamarashkina's math and astronomy lesson about evolution of human perspective on space and Anatoliy Klots' technology lesson on Moodle. In the afternoon, the teachers were preparing for their own lessons which they will present on Friday.

The highlight of our second day was the 'Astronomy & Math' segment, introduced in the STARTALK Student Program for the first time this year. The first lesson presented by Dr. Marina Zamarashkina educated the students about different human perspectives on the Universe. After working with technology and getting acquainted with Moodle, three Elective Projects were introduced by Dr. Svetlana Abramova, Dr. Marina Zamarashkina and Dr. Veronika Egorova. The day ended with students choosing an Elective Project.

July 15, 2013

Today the Teacher program participants took ACFTL OPIc (Oral Proficiency Interview) & WPT (Writing Proficiency Test). A highlight today was a presentation on professionalism and advocacy by Prof. Bridget Yaden from PLU.

The STARTALK Student Program was launched today! Some of our students started arriving as early as 8 am! STARTALK staff welcomed 20 students at the Opening Ceremony. After getting acquainted, the students got right to work and were engaged into an exciting discussion about space exploration facilitated by the Lead Instructor, Dr. Svetlana Abramova. Before their lunch break, the students were introduced to LinguaFolio Online. The day ended with the initial assessment of the students' Russian proficiency levels provided by the ACTFL AAPPL.

July 12, 2013

Last day of week 1 of the program. The program participants learned about performance-based assessment. A highlight today was a presentation of project-based learning by Student Program Lead Instructor Dr. Svetlana Abramova.

July 11, 2013

A highlight today was a trip to The Museum of Flight. The program participants learned how to connect the teaching of language to science, math, geography, and aviation. They also experienced a simulated space mission at The Challenger Learning Center that teaches teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking.

July 10, 2013

A highlight today was the TPEP (Teacher and Principal Evaluation Program) and World Languages workshop presented by Lynn Johnston. Teachers in the Startalk program and other World Language teachers learned the basics of the new teacher evaluation system in Washington public schools -- what's happening at the state and district levels and how this impacts teachers' work and planning in their classrooms

July 9, 2013

Second day of the Teacher Program. A highlight today was the discussion of the STARTALK principles, backward design, and lesson templates. The participants also learned about LinguaFolio online and our Heritage Language Consultant Elena Eremenko introduced Russian resourses.

July 8, 2013

Today was the first day of the 2013 STARTALK Russian Teacher Program. A highlight was the demo STEM lesson "The Space Race" by Svetlana Abramova, lead instructor for the STARTALK Russian Student Program, pictured here. Vince, our lead instructor in the Teacher Program, provided a great introduction to the STARTALK Principles and Characteristics for Effective Language Learning. Tomorrow it's on to lesson planning the LinguaFolio Online.

June 28, 2013

The STARTALK Russian Student Program has finished the selection process! We have 20 excited high school Russian heritage speakers eager to start the program on July 15.

June 20, 2013

Today we had Digital Storytelling workshop, led by Jennifer Geist. Thanks to all the teachers who attended. You can find links to resources from this workshop at:

June 7, 2013

The STARTALK team organized an information session for both the Teacher and Student Programs tonight. Denny 123 was overflowing with 42 attendees! We got great questions and a lot of enthusiasm for the upcoming programs. Thanks to our two 2012 Student Program alumni who attended too. If you have more questions, contact

May 3-4, 2013

Six members of the STARTALK team attended the STARTALK Spring Conference in Orlando, Florida. Our team was invited to present a workshop on Instructional Strategies: Using STEM for High School Students and we attended lots of sessions on the new STARTALK Curriculum Templates. We also met with our new team leader, Peggy Boyles, who will be leading the STARTALK Site Visit to our programs in July.

May 1, 2013

Today was the last of the three spring workshops. Thanks to all the teachers who attended. You can find links to resources from these workshops at:

April, 2013

Three members of the STARTALK team attended the WAFLT Spring Regional Conference in Yakima, WA.The conference theme was: Languages at the Core. Our team presented on "Learning Language through STEM".

March 8, 2013

The Startalk team is working hard even on the International Woman's Day.

February, 2013

The Language Learning Center at the University of Washington has received funding from the National Foreign Language Center under the STARTALK Program. The STARTALK Program is a Presidential Initiative that funds Summer Programs in critical languages seeking to expand and improve the teaching and learning of strategically important world languages that are now not widely taught in the US. For the third year in a row, the LLC will offer a Teacher and Student Program in Russian during the summer.

The STARTALK Teacher Program, "Preparing Russian Teachers for the 21st Century” (July 8-19, 2013) aims to enroll ten or more teachers who are currently teaching Russian in the community or who would like to work toward obtaining a P-12 World Language Endorsement in Russian for teaching Russian language in Washington K-12 public schools. This Teacher Program will prepare native (or near native) speakers of Russian to teach in a standards and content-based program, focused on developing communicative proficiency and accuracy in heritage speakers of Russian. A special focus on integrating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) into language instruction will prepare teachers to work effectively with today's students. The program also provides content knowledge needed to pass the Washington Educator Skills Test - Endorsement (WEST-E) for World Languages and the pedagogical experience that would prepare them for the Performance-Based Pedagogical Assessment (PPA) for those teachers for whom it is required for state endorsement, and to provide scholarship assistance to complete the required assessments (WEST-E and ACTFL OPIc and WPT).

The STARTALK Student Program, "Russian in the Sky and in Outer Space" (July 15-August 9, 2013), is designed for twenty high school Russian heritage students as a four-week intensive language camp. The program combines the history of the most important events of space exploration with that of aircraft design and the language of science and technology. A content-based component STEM is woven into this program through a partnership with the Museum of Flight. Students will be able to sharpen and expand their use of formal Russian language not only inside the classroom, but during the field trips to the Museum of Flight, while meeting with professionals from Boeing and Microsoft, and visiting facilities of these companies. All participants will receive scholarship assistance for ACTFL OPIc (Oral Proficiency Interview computer-based) and WPT (Writing Proficiency Test) with the possibility to earn up to 4 competency-based credits for high school world languages. Upon successful completion of the program, students will be granted transferable 5 University of Washington credits.

University of Washington Language Learning Center Seattle, WA 98195-4340    Phone:(206) 543-0536     Email: