While quiet and unassuming, English teacher, Michele Fortis is a treasure trove of knowledge, a delight to be around, and beloved by her students. Now in her 22nd year of teaching at OLMA, she never expected to have to bring the English curriculum entirely online, yet she did it and did it well.
“It was a little daunting at first because I had to learn a new online platform,” said Mrs. Fortis. “I’m usually tech-savvy, but I was nervous about implementing Zoom and wasn’t sure how the students would react. Fortunately, the transition went smoothly, with only a few minor hiccups.”
Mrs. Fortis was pleasantly surprised by just how well the students embraced online learning. “My students were extremely enthusiastic and engaged,” she said. ” Several times, my classes went on far beyond their designated end times. That’s always a good sign.”
While Mrs. Fortis has always used technology in the classroom, she discovered some new tools since remote learning began. “I started using resources like Edpuzzle and Vocaroo,” said Mrs. Fortis. “I really like Edpuzzle because I can create interactive videos for my students and post them on Google Classroom, enabling them to become more active learners by responding to written questions while viewing the video.”
Mrs. Fortis’ connection with her girls extended beyond class time. As part of the OLMA Mind, Body and Soul Program, Mrs. Fortis hosted Movie Nights. “We started with The Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice,” she said, “and later, added Zombies. I cautioned my students that there is usually a big difference between the book and the movie, but we all had a great time.”
Thank you, Mrs. Fortis, for always finding a way to make learning English fun.