Letter from the President

Fighting Zoom Fatigue and the Value of Self-Care

Cheryl Johnson, 2020-2021 OFLA President
Denison University, Instructional Technologist for the Dept of Modern Languages

Greetings! In pondering for weeks now what to write to you, our members, I find myself searching for words of hope that can shine a light on a year that has been a challenging one for all of us – full of disappointments, natural disasters, conflicts, isolation, illness and the loss of many lives. Added to this is the uncertainty that most of us have gone through with regards to which teaching model – online, in person, hybrid, HyFlex or a combination of models – we would be required to implement this fall. This uncertainty, of course, produces stress that can make us feel exhausted even before the end of the first unit of study. On top of all this, our school budgets have been cut, which impacts our ability to obtain professional development. Then, of course, there is “Zoom fatigue” that those of us who are delivering instruction online either through Google Meet, Zoom, Teams or Webex must combat. All of this can be overwhelming so what do we do to feel more in control and less stressed?

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2021 OFLA Conference Update

CANCELLED: 2021 OFLA ANNUAL CONFERENCE AT EMBASSY SUITES

Cheryl Johnson, 2020-2021 OFLA President
Instructional Technologist for the Dept of Modern Languages, Denison University

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and after careful consideration, we have cancelled the in-person 2021 OFLA Annual Conference at Embassy Suites in Columbus. Currently, we continue to partner with Kathy Shelton, World Languages and Cultures Consultant at the Ohio Department of Education, in offering Virtual Meetups. For the schedule and topics, go to this ODE webpage. You may also view notes and some videos of previous meetups at this site too. 

We are also working on planning other professional development and support opportunities so please read our listserv messages and check our website at http://ofla-online.org for updates.

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OFLA is an Amazon Smile Registered Non-Profit

Consider Supporting OFLA with an Automatic Charitable Donation

Cheryl Johnson, 2020-2021 OFLA President
Instructional Technologist for the Dept of Modern Languages, Denison University

Amazon will donate to OFLA 0.5% of the price of eligible AmazonSmile purchases if you select OFLA as your charity. AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support us every time you shop, at no cost to you. AmazonSmile is available at smile.amazon.com on your web browser and can be activated in the Amazon Shopping app for iOS and Android phones. When you shop AmazonSmile, you’ll find the same prices as on Amazon.com.

All I had to do to select OFLA as my non-profit organization was to go to this link, smile.amazon.com/ch/31-0913469. I was prompted to add OFLA and then I easily went on to do my shopping. 

The OFLA Board would really appreciate your support. Every little bit will help us to serve you better.

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Teaching During a Pandemic

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Lesley Chapman, OFLA Immediate Past President
French Teacher, Sycamore Community Schools

Recently, I received a text message from Kathy Shelton referring to the 2020 school year. It read: Tell me everything.  The good, the bad, and the ugly. My head started spinning. Where do you begin?  Is there good?  There’s a good deal of bad, and I am afraid much of the ugly has not even occurred yet. This got me thinking: what are the answers to those questions? What is the good, the bad, and the ugly of teaching World Language to high school students during a pandemic?

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Design Oral Interpersonal Communication Tasks

A Core Practice of World Language Teaching

Lucas Hoffman, OFLA Executive Treasurer
French/Spanish Teacher, Sylvania Southview High School

This is the sixth and final article in a series about the nationally developed core practices of world language teaching.  In 2015-2016, I started sharing some of the new nationally recognized core practices.  As a reminder, core practices are researched-informed best practices that should be mastered by any beginning teacher in world language education.  In the previous five articles regarding these core practices, I wrote about achieving 90% target language use, using research-informed techniques when giving students feedback, using the backward design model, teaching grammar as a concept and in context, and guiding learners through interpreting authentic resources. 

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PD in the Times of a Pandemic

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

With the onset of the pandemic and the move to online teaching, our Ohio Department of Education World Language Consultants really came through for us with the immediate availability of online professional development.  Social media also became a place to find support.  For example, Facebook teaching groups transitioned to online support, and new groups popped up to meet teachers’ needs.  

While attending an ODE Zoom meeting, another teacher mentioned she was taking a Spanish class through a school in Spain that had also gone online.  Excited, I contacted the school, Taronja School in Valencia, and signed myself up for a week of classes for 50€ in mid-April.  I finally stopped taking the course at the beginning of July when they changed the format as the school began to reopen for in-person classes.

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Teaching the Hybrid Way

How does it work in my Hi-Flex environment?  ¨Hoot hoot¨ is the sound in the classroom.

Marianela Serrano

Marianela Serrano, OFLA Professional Development Chair
Spanish Teacher, Hathaway Brown School

School is in session, and just last week all the students were welcomed on our campus.  Under a number of social distancing restrictions and specific guidelines, we started classes both live and online for those who chose to stay remote.

Our school decided that the best way to safely and successfully operate was for the teachers, rather than the students, to travel between classrooms, minimizing student mobility and interactions.  Each classroom has been equipped with a “Meeting OWL.”  This is an incredible device that connects to your computer when connected to Zoom, and will produce a 360◦ view of the classroom for those students that are remote.  It also follows the sounds produced in the classroom by the students and teacher, zooming onto the speaker to allow the remote students to see who is talking. The “Meeting OWL” is an amazing machine, but it takes some getting used to.

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OFLA 2020 Webinar Series

Register Here: https://ofla.wildapricot.org/event-4015218

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Every Voice Counts

Angela Gardner, OFLA Public Relations and Advocacy Chair
Spanish Teacher, Ross High School

Recently, while scrolling through a social media platform (prompted by quarantine boredom), I happened across a post from a frustrated parent in a district, dissatisfied with the district’s handling of pandemic response. This parent wanted desperately to vote on the issue of whether to reopen schools in their area, in hopes that a majority vote might see a change in the plans for the district. 

It dawned on me that this parent, caught up in the frustration of how leaders and representatives are handling their pandemic response, completely missed the mark in her response. Like many others, the parent took to social media to vent her frustrations. To her credit, she even proposed a solution: for parents in the community to vote on the issue at hand (reopening schools). I realized that, like so many others, she had forgotten how to direct her voice. 

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Welcome Advice

Julia Thomas, OFLA Early Language Learning Chair Elementary Spanish Teacher, Oberlin City Schools Hola. My name is Julia Thomas, and I am an elementary Spanish teacher at Oberlin City Schools. As I began this journey as a chair of the Early Language Learning Committee, I knew that there would be so many opportunities to glean and share good advice. I have some amazing educators in my circle, whether they are teachers of a world language or not, and they impart so much wisdom that I know I must not keep to myself; therefore, for my first Cardinal article, I’d like to share some suggestions given for any early language teacher from my trusted friend, mentor, and OFLA member, Maria Paulina Velez-Girard, and expand on how I’ve implemented her advice so far this year. Continue reading
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