THE POWER OF LANGUAGE
“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
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
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.
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
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
APPRECIATION AND ADVOCACY
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
EMPOWERED TO RESTORE
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
NEVER LET A PANDEMIC GET YOU DOWN
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
ACHIEVING A WORK-LIFE BALANCE
Kaleigh 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