The Power of Relationships

Better Together

Marcia Davis, OFLA Secondary Language Learning and Diversity Committee Chair
World Language Middle School, Columbus City Schools

Ohio’s Learning Standards for World Languages and Cultures describe what learners should know and be able to do while building language proficiency and interculturality. While there is not one perfect way to do that, strong relationships between teacher and learner provide a powerful foundation.

My entire career had been in urban education – in elementary Spanish immersion and traditional middle school and high school settings. Grammar had always been something I enjoyed and did well with as a student, and as such, it was a focal point of my instruction as a teacher. 

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AATSP Update

Alondra Pacheco, Ohio Buckeye AATSP President 
Spanish Teacher, University School, Hunting Valley

We are delighted to announce that Ryan Casey and Nadine Jacobsen-McLean will serve as National Teach Spanish Week co-chairs of the 2022 event. NTSW aims to promote the teaching of Spanish as a profession and highlight the importance of Spanish as a world language.

The 104th AATSP annual conference will take place in Puerto Rico, and to get everyone excited we hosted a virtual Puerto Rico Trivia night. Over 70 teachers participated, and during the event they tested their knowledge of Puerto Rican culture while competing for amazing prizes.

In partnership with Avant Assessment, AATSP co-hosted a special webinar on gender-inclusive language with a panel of K-16+ educators. Participants were able to share their own experience while listening to the current trends used in various languages.

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Team Traveling: Bringing the World to Our Kids

How 3 Teachers in Stark County Created a Travel Team to Get More Students into the World

Megan Brady

Megan Brady, OFLA Beginning Teacher Chair
Spanish Teacher, Northwest High School

What are we doing to motivate our students to learn languages when many of us are lacking the motivation to do much at all? A group of us decided that travel was the way to inspire more language and cultural learning. Although traveling with groups from across the country has its perks, we decided that banding together with the goal of filling a bus with local schools was something worth looking into. It has been wonderful to see it come to fruition! Many of our smaller schools in Stark County haven’t done much traveling recently, so we decided to come together as a group to help inspire kids (and their parents!) to do just that. 

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Ohio Francophiles: Celebrate “Our House Tavern” & Ohio’s French History

Dr. Roger Anderson, Assistant Professor of International Languages & Cultures, Central State University

In the 18th century, French aristocrats fleeing the violence of the French Revolution were lured to the Ohio River Valley by scammers, who succeeded in swindling them.

Subsequently, a French community sprung up around the present-day Gallipolis, in the southeast part of Ohio. 

A 2021 article to The Cardinal highlighted this history as well. Click here to read.

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Rick Steves Bringing Europe into Our Classrooms

Dr. Roger Anderson, Assistant Professor of International Languages & Cultures, Central State University

For those unfamiliar, Rick Steves is the U.S. European travel expert whose brand (empire?) encompasses travel shows on radio and television, annual guidebooks, and even touring packages abroad. Few Americans have visited Europe as much as Rick, nor know its numerous cultures as he does.

Always supportive of education, Rick wanted to present educators with a gift of some sort.

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60th Annual Ohio Foreign Language Association Conference Update

Richard Emch, Ohio Foreign Language Association President
French Teacher, North Royalton High School

Planning a conference, particularly one the size and quality of the Ohio Foreign Language Association’s Annual Conference, is always quite an undertaking. As you can imagine, it has been especially challenging during a pandemic. As the current President of the Ohio Foreign Language Association, I’d like to thank you for your flexibility, patience, and understanding as we navigate the continued disruptions in holding our conference. I am going to take this opportunity to share how we made the recent decision to postpone the 60th Annual Ohio Foreign Language Association Conference.

First, we took a survey to see if the OFLA members were ready for an in-person conference or wanted to remain virtual. Then, we took a survey to see when the best time of the year would be for the majority of our members. We have traditionally had a spring conference, and that was the time the majority of the survey respondents said they wanted for 2022. Being a member of the OFLA Board since 2006, I am aware of the recurring suggestions to the board to hold the conference during other times in the year. The reasoning usually includes conflicts with spring break, conflicts with state testing, a feeling of a fall conference helping teachers get ready for the new school year, and a feeling of not being able to implement ideas from the conference during the last quarter of the school year with its plethora of activities. Moreover, as conference planners, we are always keeping our fingers crossed for good weather in March or April. Despite these disadvantages, the membership indicated in the survey that they wanted to move forward with an in-person, spring conference.

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The Ohio Foreign Language Association’s Vision Statement

The Ohio Foreign Language Association voted at its February 12, 2022 board meeting to revise its Vision Statement.

The inclusion of the word culture puts OFLA in step with the Ohio Department of Education’s Learning Standards for World Languages and Cultures adopted in March 2020. This is from ODE’s website

In March 2020, the State Board of Education unanimously adopted Ohio’s Learning Standards for World Languages and Cultures. The addition of “Cultures” to the name reflects the essential role of intercultural communicative competence in one’s native culture as well as in global cultures. The addition of a literacy strand to the standards reflects how learning another language builds literacy skills in both the target and native language. These standards will go into effect in the 2021-2022 school year, but teachers may begin to use them immediately.

OFLA’s revised Vision Statement:

The Ohio Foreign Language Association is committed to articulated, standards-based world language and culture study beginning in the primary grades, so that every learner, from early childhood through adult, acquires a high level of language proficiency and intercultural competence.

Interested in becoming a member of the Ohio Foreign Language Association? Join or renew here.

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Tips & Trips for Digital Worksheets

Kaleigh Baker, OFLA Executive Vice President
Spanish Teacher, Butler High School

Kayleigh Baker

If you are newer to being 1:1 with Chromebooks or iPads in your school, you have probably come across the problem where your former Word documents or PowerPoint presentations just do not format correctly on the device.

The easiest “quick fix” for a Word document or PowerPoint presentation is to download the file as a PDF and then share it on your LMS that way. Students can then edit the document using Kami (or another tool like Notability). Of course with the Word document, some of your fonts may not transfer correctly, and with the PowerPoint presentation you will lose the animation factor, such as clicking to show the right answer, when moving to a PDF.

If you are like me, you prefer your worksheets and presentations to look polished and professional. I, personally, also love a good font and Google has so many to choose from that it is overwhelming! Google Docs can get clunky because you need to use tables to get things to line up and display correctly. 

Enter: Google Slides.

With Google Slides you can change the page set up to 8.5” x 11” and then create your worksheet from there! Google Slides is perfect because you can put text boxes and pictures all over and not have the fuss or worry of it messing up the layout like in a Word document or Google doc.

You can download the final product as a PDF (as mentioned above), or you can create a text box within the worksheet for students to type their answer into if you want to keep it all within Google.

Here is an example of a worksheet I made to go along with a song we listen to in Spanish class about love for Valentine’s Day.

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Using Social Annotation in World Language Classrooms

Cheryl Johnson, OFLA Immediate Past President
Instructional Technologist for the Dept of Modern Languages, Denison University

What is social annotation?

As defined by Cornell’s Center for Teaching Innovation, “social annotation is reading and thinking together. It brings the age-old process of marking up texts to the digital learning space while making it a collaborative exercise.” Therefore the private act of close reading by highlighting words or phrases and making notes in the margins of an article or book can be moved online and shared with others so that a text can produce a richer experience.

Why should you consider using social annotation?

Annotating on a digital text creates an anchored conversation. Everyone sees the text that an individual is commenting on or asking a question about. If a student is struggling with comprehending a word or phrase, s/he can ask about it and others in the class can help. Social annotation can help students to identify the main idea or ideas and find supporting details. Teachers can help students to make inferences or cultural comparisons by asking questions at key points in the digital text and also by responding to various students’ comments or questions. 

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March Música Madness 2022



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

I learned about this activity, like so many others I use, at an OFLA conference several years ago. Actually, I believe my colleague first showed me one in German and it took me a couple of years of hearing about it to try it. I did, last year, and my kids LOVED it. I used it in Spanish 3, but I know another teacher who used it in Spanish 1 and 2.

I wish I could give credit where it is due, but I searched all over the website and I can’t find the author/owner of the site. Whoever you are: Thank you! This activity is so well-prepared that we don’t have to do anything and can implement it immediately, as this year’s bracket is already online. 

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