Letter from the President

Mark W. Himmelein, OFLA President
Professor of German, University of Mount Union

Although we are already several weeks into the new school year, allow me to welcome all OFLA members back and to extend my best wishes for this academic year to each of you! By now I suspect that most of us are well into the swing of teaching our classes, grading, advising our language clubs, and attending meetings. The relaxing days of last summer seem like a distant memory to me, and the holiday break in December is just too far off to even imagine. But we are language educators, and we persevere. Let’s make this new school year a productive one for ourselves, for our students, and for OFLA!

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OFLA / CSCTFL Joint Conference: March 9 – 11, 2023

For more information, head to www.csctfl.org!

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Would You Like to be a Part of OFLA?

Kaleigh Baker, OFLA President Elect
Spanish Teacher, Butler High School

Kayleigh Baker

Being a member of OFLA has been a fantastic experience for me and I am so glad that I took the leap to be more involved. Joining the OFLA board is a wonderful opportunity to build relationships with others in the profession and stay up to date with what is happening throughout the state and country!

I am working on the slate for the 2023 election, but wanted to share what positions are available. If you are interested in running or want to join a committee, please do not hesitate to reach out! We would love to have you!

Once the slate is completed, we will publish information about the candidates. Voting will be open to every Professional member of the organization. 

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Megan Brady

Megan Brady, OFLA Executive Vice President
Spanish Teacher, Northwest High School

With more and more newcomers in the US, it seems that our schools are seeing more and more English Language Learners (ELLs) than ever before. In many districts, there is no support readily available, and therefore the administration is relying heavily on world language teachers to fill in some of the missing gaps. While we are already typically bombarded with a full schedule (many of us having 3+ preps), naturally most of us want to help. But, what are we supposed to do? Where do we even begin?

I want to share a few tips that I have given my district administration to pass on to the teachers who are working with ELLs. While everyone’s situation is different, I think it is important to remember a few of these things which will prove to be fairly universal across different countries/populations. I am passing them on to my fellow world language teachers in hopes of lightening your load, while giving valuable feedback to offer fellow colleagues and administration who may be needing some insight. While this information may seem obvious to us, it is often not to our colleagues who don’t have much experience outside the US or with students coming from abroad.

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News from the Treasurer’s Office

Lisa Howie, OFLA Executive Treasurer 
Spanish Teacher, Smithville High School

I thought I would take this opportunity to update you on what has been happening in the Treasurer’s office. When I took over the position last Julyl I had some specific goals. While it has taken me longer than I thought it would, I have accomplished several of those goals.

A big shout out to Lucas Hoffman, the former treasurer, for training me and preparing me for this position. I still call and text him regularly for help. As we were working towards a smooth transition several needs came to the forefront.

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Do You Write & Discuss?

How I love and use this teaching strategy!

Beth Hanlon, OFLA Executive Recorder and Editor of The Cardinal
Spanish Teacher, Oberlin High School

Write & Discuss is one of my favorite teaching strategies that I never tire of and I am always looking for new approaches to.  Do you Write & Discuss?  You should give it a try!

What is Write & Discuss (W&D)?

In a nutshell, W&D is a summary co-constructed between a teacher and students in the target language about content from class.  The teacher leads the discussion by asking questions and clarifying student responses while simultaneously writing the summary on the board, in a Google Doc, etc., for the class based on student responses.  

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Advocacy as an Act of Interpersonal Communication and Social Justice

Milton Alan Turner, OFLA Editor of Electronic Media
French and Spanish Teacher, Saint Ignatius High School

Starting in September, ACTFL and the Joint National Committee for Languages-National Council for Language and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS) co-sponsored the Articulating Change webinar series. Each of the four webinars will focus on one aspect of communication as an act of advocacy. I was honored to participate in the first webinar of the series as the featured educator on Advocacy as an Act of Interpersonal Communication. I spoke about the intersection of interpersonal communication and social justice and how we can incorporate principles of social justice in our interpersonal communicative tasks at all proficiency levels.

As opposed to Presentational Communication where one is talking to or at someone else, Interpersonal Communication is talking with someone else. Interpersonal Communication requires 1) listening to one another, 2) negotiating and interpreting meaning, and 3) arriving at an understanding. Interpersonal Communication: 

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A Fresh Start

Welcome back to a normal year!

Maria Herman, OFLA membership chair 
German Teacher, Maumee High School

Greetings to you all!  I am Maria Herman, the incoming membership chair for OFLA.  I would first of all like to thank Teri Wiechart for all her help in training me in this new position.  I would also like to thank my fellow board members for making me feel welcome in my new role.  And, I would like to thank you, our members, for being a part of this fantastic organization, and for all you do in your classrooms!

I also want to thank everyone for such a fantastic July OFLA conference.  I know it may not have been the ideal time, but it was so nice to see so many of you in person and to collaborate and work together with people in our profession.  It made me ready to dive into what I’m hoping is a “normal” school year.

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Advocating Through Sister Cities International

Kirsten Halling, OFLA Public Relations and Advocacy Chair
Professor of French, Wright State University

In the quest to add experiential learning curriculum to the world language classroom, language teachers sometimes overlook a local resource that can provide a wealth of opportunities for real-life target-language practice and first-hand cultural studies. We notice the names of international sister cities listed on many signposts at the entrance to cities we visit, but do we know what this means, why this is important, or how this can enrich our classrooms, advocate for our profession, and deepen our own understanding of the world? In my experience as a long-term board member for a sister city association, I have been able to combine community service with extra-curricular activities to enhance classroom learning and promote the tangible benefits of language-learning, while earning hands-on professional development. 

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Varied Approaches to Leveled Readers

Tips for Incorporating Novels into Novice Classrooms

Lauren Racela, OFLA Technology Integration Committee Chair
French Teacher, Milford High School

Each year I’ve taught, I’ve elected to teach with a leveled reader. I truly think that the students have benefitted from this experience. It builds the confidence of novice learners to think that they’ve read an entire book in French. I want to share the ways I’ve taught with leveled readers in the past and what I thought about each method. 

Reader’s Theater – This is the way I first taught with leveled readers, and the method I’m employing now. Each day when we’re reading, students know to grab a book, open WordReference on their computer, and find their notes. Most students take all their notes for the whole book on one Google Doc, but others find it more useful to take their notes on paper. We read together, referencing slides on the board where I’ve typed out all the text of the book and added pictures for context. Students take turns reading a few sentences aloud, then we stop and summarize in English. As we’re reading, students are taking notes about new words as well as notes about the major ideas and plot points of the book. We also take multiple choice quizzes, which are all in French, every few chapters. The quizzes cover major plot points in the book, as well as any relevant cultural knowledge.

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