Letter from the President


“Learn a new language and get a new soul.” ~ Czech Proverb

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

The musicality and message of the words of Amanda Gorman as she recited her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” on inauguration day moved my soul. This experience once again reminded me of the extraordinary power that language has. Words written or spoken can destroy or build-up, sow seeds of despair or produce the fruits of hope, spew hatred or sow love, divide or unite, obscure or enlighten.  Continue reading

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What Will Become of Our Post-Pandemic Programs?

Lesley Chapman, OFLA Immediate Past President 2019-2020
French Teacher, Sycamore Community Schools

Congratulations, everyone. You have officially made it through your first full semester of teaching during a pandemic. Whether that teaching has been face-to-face, hybrid, live streamed, or a combination of any or all of these, you have persevered and made it to the (hopefully) half-way mark. But our next challenge lies ahead as students choose their schedules for the 2021-2022 school year. How do we mitigate the damage that this year has done to our programs? How will we encourage frustrated students to remain in our programs? How might this year affect our programs in years to come? Continue reading

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Camp OFLA 2021

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

We’re excited to announce that Camp OFLA is back this summer!  Like many events last year, Camp OFLA was unfortunately cancelled due to Covid-19.  Camp OFLA 2021 is scheduled to take place on site in Bellville, Ohio from June 6-12.  We are welcoming seventy-five campers from grades 3-8 to join us for a week of fun learning Arabic, Chinese or Russian.

Camp OFLA has been awarded a STARTALK grant which allows us to offer FREE camperships to all children participating this summer.  If you are not familiar with STARTALK, the program supports the study of critical languages, including Arabic, Chinese and Russian.

Continue reading

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Benefits of an OFLA Membership

Teri Wiechart, OFLA Membership Chair
Delphos Jefferson High School, Retired

OFLA has so much to offer to language teachers in Ohio. We try to be friendly and helpful to each other. We aim to provide information and services that are needed and desired. We also attempt to contain costs so we can keep dues and conference fees as low as possible.

Here is a quick overview of some of what you receive for your OFLA dues: Continue reading

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Song of the Week

Incorporating Music into your Daily Routine

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

In 2017, I attended an NEOTCI (North East Ohio Teaching with Comprehensible Input) workshop at the University of Akron.  Christy Miller presented how she uses music with her French classes.  Her presentation gave me a lot to think about in regards to how I was using music in my classroom and what I could be doing differently. 

How was I using music prior to attending this workshop?  It was very sporadic and usually related to the theme of a unit.  For example, the sports unit always called for Shakira’s “Waka Waka,” and Marc Anthony’s “El Último Beso” was great for irregular preterite verbs.  My students loved music but I felt that I needed to ensure it tied in directly to our current content and that they understood everything in the song.  I felt songs were too cumbersome to teach. Continue reading

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Attitudes of Gratitude Go a Long Way

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

It has been said that “A person that feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected.” I wish I knew to whom to attribute that quote, the message behind it is deeply powerful. Think about a time when someone expressed sincere gratitude to you for something specific – the student who took a moment to return to your classroom after graduation just to say, “Thank you:” the colleague who wrote a note to say, “Thanks,” when you helped out with materials or a lesson; the parents who reached out via email to thank you for your efforts to hold their child to high standards.  Continue reading

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Early Language Learning


Julia Thomas, OFLA Early Language Learning Chair Elementary Spanish Teacher, Oberlin City Schools

When I ask my students how they are feeling, requiring an answer in Spanish, it usually elicits a “good”, “tired”, or “happy.” I used to take those responses and be happy with myself that I was checking in with students. Eventually, I began to ask myself, “Is it enough that they can use feeling words to tell me their emotions in the moment? What am I missing that other teachers get to access because they are communicating with students in their native language?” Soon after that, my district took part in a series of training on restorative practices. Though I was admittedly skeptical about how I could use restorative circles in my elementary world language classes, now I see restorative circles as an integral part of my classes. Continue reading

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Secondary Language Learning


Ideas for teaching and connecting in this toughest of years!

Maureen Gerber, OFLA Secondary Language Learning Committee Chair
French Teacher, World Language Department Head, Perrysburg High School

The good news is, that as I write this we are almost in February.  Of course the bad news is that February is coming, a month that in the best of years is characterized by sickness, angst and day after day of grey skies and mucky weather.  

But, we’ve made it this far!   Here are some strategies and tips that are working for me.  If you aren’t already doing a few of these, here’s an addition to your teacher toolbox.   Continue reading

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Technology Integration


Kayleigh BakerKaleigh Baker, OFLA Technology Integration Chair
Spanish Teacher, Butler High School

While 2020 has finally come to an end, we have a new year ahead of us that is filled with new opportunities and challenges. As we start to navigate our way through the remainder of the school year, it is important to remember that we need to focus our energy not only on our students and the classroom, but also on ourselves. It can be incredibly easy to forget to take time for ourselves, as we are excited to get back to teaching. Staying engaged and keeping our performance up is going to be critical to finishing this year on a strong note.  Continue reading

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Beginning Teachers


Megan Brady, OFLA Beginning Teacher Committee Chair
Spanish Teacher, Marlington Local Schools

The OFLA Beginning Teacher Committee is working hard to connect with new teachers and to support them in becoming excellent, innovative, resourceful, and long-lasting world language teachers. Our goal is to provide a network of resources, strategies, and tools for new teachers. We want new teachers to know that they are not alone and that OFLA is here to help them. To this end, we will be interviewing new teachers throughout the year and highlighting them in The Cardinal. Adele Smith-Buisset is a French teacher at Unioto in Chillicothe, Ohio. This is her first year teaching French.

  1. What is your favorite thing about being a teacher? The connection with the students and being an active participant in their growth is my favorite thing. 
  2. What made you want to teach? When I was a teenager and a young adult, I was a counselor for several camps and loved working with kids. I always knew I wanted to work with kids. I was drawn by the relationships I built with them and by making a positive difference in their lives. My second year of college, I was a guest speaker in a local high school, and that day confirmed that I wanted to be a French teacher. The kids were so interested and excited about learning a new language and culture, and having the chance to be a part of that felt incredible. 
  3. Who has had the biggest impact on your teaching and why? Brigitte Moretti-Coski. She is a professor at Ohio University, and I was blessed to work under her as a teacher assistant and adjunct professor for the university for two years. I learned so much from her. 
  4. What is one thing you learned from another teacher that helped you this year? I can only do my best, and that is good enough!
  5. What is a project or lesson in your classroom that you are really proud of or happy with? The very first day of school, I had the students do a cultural activity (I did not create the activity). They were all given a piece of paper with something weird to do, such as turning their back to people when someone speaks to them. They had to walk around the classroom and when I clapped in my hands, they had to pair up and have a conversation while doing the weird thing on their paper. We did that several times, and afterwards we had a class discussion. The students loved the activity but acknowledged feelings of awkwardness and self-consciousness because they had to act differently. They quickly realized that the purpose of the activity was to experience culture shock. I was very pleased with all the discussions and happy that they quickly were able to make connections with how people from different cultures must feel when exposed to a new culture/language/country. The activity seemed to have made a positive impact on the students. It triggered a good discussion, and they seemed to have fun!
  6. What is one thing that you have struggled with as a new teacher? Time management and balancing work life and home life is a struggle. I have a family, and my daughter is only 14 months old. Between lesson planning, creating materials, and meetings, I barely have time to be with my family and no time at all for myself. It’s been extremely difficult meeting deadlines and staying organized in all other aspects of my life. Being a teacher is definitely a FULL TIME job, and it is very consuming. I’m looking forward to having more years of experience and enough lesson plans under my belt to find a better balance in my work and home life. 
  7. What advice do you have for new teachers? Take it one day at a time; do your best; love the kids; and always have something on the side to help you relax and find yourself again (but also… if you can… plan ahead! Lesson planning is so time consuming!). 
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