Using Literature Circles in World Language Classes

Learning something new to teach comprehension-based readers

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

Last year, my district’s Spanish department moved to teaching with comprehensible input.  Our curriculum is primarily based on the use of comprehension-based readers.  I am constantly searching for new ways to teach readers with my classes to keep things interesting and to ensure their understanding.  

Somewhere in my searching I stumbled upon the concept of literature circles.  I was intrigued but thought perhaps it was too much of a concept for me to wrap my head around as I am not an English teacher.   Continue reading

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

Just as every lesson has one or more objectives to guide it, conversations and written correspondence with our representatives have objectives, often referred to as an “ask.” As our lesson objectives may align to state or national standards, similarly, it helps our representatives understand our requests when we are specific in terms of legislation that we want to see changed, supported, or ***denied***.  Continue reading

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Beginning Teachers


“No matter what accomplishments you achieve, somebody helped you.” ― Althea Gibson

Shelly McAlister, Marlington Local Schools

Megan Helgeson

The OFLA Beginning Teacher Committee is working hard to connect with new teachers and to support them to become 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. Megan Helgeson is a French teacher at Dempsey Middle School in Delaware, Ohio who recently participated in one of our resource swap meets. This is her fourth year teaching French full time. Continue reading

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Early Language Learning


A global approach to global languages 

Samantha Bremner, OFLA Early Language Learning Chair, Zid Zid

Our students have more access than ever to the world. From pictures of national monuments to what a popular social media influencer eats for breakfast, they have it all at their fingertips. Using this plethora of information in a way that is educational and communicative is our job.  Continue reading

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Julie Frye, OFLA Scholarship Chair
French Teacher, Lexington High School 

You may have seen the question on social media. You may be in the habit yourself. “What question?” you may ask. “What habit?” you might be wondering.

The question is “What is your word for 2020?” Choosing a word to focus on for the year has a number of benefits. It’s different from making resolutions for the new year. A resolution is a goal that can be crossed off a list. A word becomes a mantra for your life. The word you choose can bring clarity and focus to the choices you encounter each day.  Continue reading

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Secondary Language Learning


The What, Why, When and How of the Process

OFLA Secondary Language Learning Committee:  Maureen Gerber, Perrysburg High School, Chair,  Alexis Blum, Minster High School, and Kerry Parker, Edison High School 

The Secondary Language Learning Committee would like to help encourage more teachers to have students aspire to earn Ohio’s Seal of Biliteracy.  What follows is an article explaining the whats, hows and whys of the new Ohio Seal of Biliteracy. Continue reading

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Technology Integration


Leah Henson, OFLA Technology Integration Chair
Miami University, Senior Lecturer

Have you heard that one year of a high school world language course is equivalent to one semester of the same language at the university level? I’ve heard this many times since I started teaching at Miami University just over 20 years ago, and a Google search will show that this idea is still alive and well. Let’s take a moment to consider the contact hours for those courses.  High school language courses typically have between 135-150 contact hours in one year. College courses require ~60 contact hours for a four-credit hour course (typically the beginning language courses) and ~45 contact hours for a three-credit course (often for the intermediate level language courses). How can college courses cover the same material or increase students’ proficiency when they have half or even a third of the time as a full-year high school course? Realistically, they can’t.  However, they can leverage technology to get closer to that goal by adopting an inverted or flipped classroom.
Continue reading

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Around the State

Ryan Wertz and Kathy Shelton, World Language Consultants
Ohio Department of Education

New Ohio Learning Standards for K-12 World Languages and Cultures in the Home Stretch
At the December meeting of the State Board of Education’s Teaching, Leading and Learning Committee, we had the opportunity to present the final draft of the newly revised Learning Standards for K-12 World Languages and Cultures. This draft incorporates the feedback gathered from our stakeholders back in the fall. We were pleased that members of the committee received our comments and the efforts of our advisory and working committees with great positivity. We returned to the TLL Committee’s January meeting to answer some initial questions that they had after taking a month to review the draft standards. At the upcoming February meeting, we are cautiously optimistic that they will vote to recommend the draft document to the full State Board of Education for adoption. Once the new learning standards have been adopted, we will let you know when they have been posted for general public access. Continue reading

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Megan Murphy, AATF-Ohio Vice President  
French Teacher, Maple Heights High School 

AATF-Ohio organized a meetup on January 25 for members at the Toledo Museum of Art. Seven members gathered to take a French language tour of the exhibition Still Lifes by Pissarro, Cézanne, Manet & Friends at the Toledo Museum of Art. Everyone had a great time socializing and learning together.

If you like comics, there is an upcoming PD opportunity at Ohio State University on February 28 and 29.  The symposium will address representations of gender in French language comics from around the world. For more information and to register, please follow this link.

Don’t miss our Annual Business Meeting and the AATF Movie Club at the OFLA conference in Cincinnati April 2-4. We will elect our next vice-president and discuss upcoming opportunities. We look forward to seeing everyone there!


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Gene Aufderhaar, AATG Ohio President
Van Wert High School

Ohio AATG Meet-and-Greet

50-minute Session
Time Slot: 7
Friday, April 3, 4:30-5:20 p.m.
Room: Salon F-G Continue reading

Posted in Affiliates, Winter 2018 | Leave a comment