A Year in F7 – Week 11 (Latin I)

MONDAY, October 15th, Day 45

  1. Card Talk – Two Truths/Lie

TOPIC: quid tu egisti hoc biduo?

I prepared this PowerPoint presentation in order to give the students the support they needed to compose some basic sentences about themselves and their activities. I just used this to discuss the student’s weekends and interests–we didn’t play “Tria Vera et Unum Falsum” this week.

Prep Time: 25 minutes

  1. Story – Quintus Review (Chapters 1 and 2)

         Read and Discuss followed by “Ridiculum” game (also known as “Stultus”)

with Brain Break Follow-up

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Write and Discuss (Last 5-7 minutes)

Review of the Quintus Story (focus on the new words, the ones glossed on the board)

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Total Prep Time: 25 minutes

 

TUESDAY, October 16th, Day 46

  1. Calendar Talk

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Card Talk – Read and Discuss – Responses

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Quintus – Read and Discuss/Ridiculum/Dice Game

Prep Time: 10 minutes

  1. Discipulus Illustris: Student Interview & Quiz

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Write and Discuss (Time Permitting)

Prep Time: 0 minutes

 

WEDNESDAY, October 17th, Day 47

  1. Calendar Talk (5 minutes)

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Monstrum in Armario – Picture Talk (10 minutes)

I made this PowerPoint comprised of screen caps of the film.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

  1. MovieTalk/ Watch and Discuss (20 minutes) – using the  “El Monstuo in Armario” movie

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Write and Discuss – Summarize Movie in 3 sentences

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Alternate Ending/Picturae

I had the students draw a possible alternate ending for the movie.  We are going to discuss these endings in class on Friday.

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Quick Quiz (V an F) – 7 minutes

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Total Prep Time: 15 minutes

 

Reflection: The “El Monstruo del armario” video is actually perfect to accompany Lance Piantaggini’s excellent “Quintus et Nox Horrifica.” I can read it with my students after they have only had a couple months of Latin, just in time for Halloween.  A lot of the plot of the movie is similar to the novella, so I was able to “preview” some of the novella’s new or less familiar vocabulary with the students.  Below is the script that I wrote for “Monstrum in Armario” (in Latin).

 

 

THURSDAY, October 18th, Day 48

  1. Calendar Talk/Quid Novi?

Prep Time: 0 minutes

2. Read and Draw (Listening Assessment) – based on the “Monstrum in Armario” alternate endings.

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Total Prep Time: 0 minutes

Reflection: I had more planned than this, but these two activities ended up taking the entire class period.  We ended up having some fun with the Listen and Draw activity, as I took student suggestions for details to add to everyone’s pictures, or slightly different directions to take the ends that we had created the day before.  It was a good lesson in knowing when to ditch the plan and go with the direction that the class is pushing you.

 

FRIDAY, October 19th, Day 49

  1. Calendar Talk/Quid Novi?

Prep Time: 0 minutes

2. Alternate Endings (using the pictures that students drew after the Movie Talk on Wednesday)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

3. Write and Discuss (based on the class-chosen favorite picture from the Picture Talk)

Prep Time: 0 minutes

4. Quizlet Live

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

5. Choral Translation/Ridiculum (Monstrum in Armario text)

Prep Time: 0 minutes

6. Timed Write

5 minutes

Prep Time: 0 minutes

               Total Prep Time: 20-25 minutes

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Week 10 – Latin I

 

Monday

Columbus Day Holiday – No School

Tuesday, October 9th, Day 41

  1. Discipulus Illustris

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Quick Quiz – verum an falsum (based on the information from the interview)

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Write and Discuss (a summary of the Interview)

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Total Prep Time: 0 minutes

NB: I changed the format of the interview to interview two students at the same time, and then compare their answers.  This ended up taking most the period, and the Write and Discuss ended up being a compare/contrast discussion.  It was unplanned (I decided somewhat spontaneously to interview two students at once) but it ended up being an interesting activity. A good twist on a routine activity.

 

Wednesday, October 10th, Day 42

  1. Card Talk – Quid actum est feriis autumnis?

(What happened over fall break?)

I turned this in to two truths and a lie.  The game ended up lasting most of the class period. It was a hit that I hope to use again after another break.  Or perhaps right before a break.  I could change it to “What are you going to do over ________ break?” (Quid acturus/actura es feriis_________?)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

I prepared this PowerPoint to help support the students’ writing.

  1. Write and Discuss (based on the information from the game)

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Total Prep Time: 15 minutes

 

Thursday, October 11th, Day 43

  1. Calendar Talk

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. 2. Picture Talk – Insulae Romanae

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Watch and Discuss: “Magister Craft – Insulae Romanae

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Game – Reverse Pictionary (using the script of the Magister Craft Video)

Prep Time: 0 minutes

 

Friday, October 12th, Day 44

  1. Calendar Talk

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Discuss and Write: Insulae Romanae vs. Insulae Americanae

Prep Time: 10 minutes

  1. Kindergarten Day – Story – Fabula “Quintus et Nox Horrifica”

Prep Time: 10 minutes

NB: This is a GREEEEAT first novella for early first semester Latin students by the talented Lance Piantaggini.

  1. Watch and DiscussMagister Craft – Domus Romana

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Write and Discuss – “quid actum est hodie?”

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Total Prep Time: 20 minutes

 

Reflection: Latin I is finally starting to hit its groove.  The weeks can feel long, and I’m often exhausted after school every day, but I’m starting to notice those small drops in the bucket of input each week begin to accumulate.  Students are being to spontaneously use more Latin in class, and I am able to gradually ask more open-ended questions in class, and draw more information from students to personalize the things that we talk about.  “Two Truths and a Lie” (duo vera et unum falsum) was particularly effective.  Discussing eight cards would take nearly and entire class period, and it’s officially one of my emergency no-prep activities that I can do on days where the regularly scheduled activity isn’t working.

A Year in F7 – Week 9 (end of the first quarter)

Latin I

Note: This was a very short week.  Only three days of class.

Monday, October 1st, Day 38

  1. Calendar Talk

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Student Interview

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Quick Quiz: based on the student interviews

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Storytelling with Actors (introduction to the “Gladiator” Movie Talk)

Prep Time: 10 minutes (creating a short story script based vocabulary of the Movie Talk—and              past vocabulary as well)

  1. Write and Discuss

Prep Time: 0 minutes

 

Tuesday, October 2nd, Day 39

  1. Calendar Talk

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Storytelling with Actors (Part II)

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Write and Discuss

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Karaoke Translation

Prep Time: 10 minutes(formatting story for projection)

  1. Movie Talk – Part I (based on the clip: “Gladiator: Battle with a Retired Gladiator”)

Wednesday, October 3rd, Day 40

  1. Calendar Talk

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Movie Talk (“Gladiator: Battle with a Retired Gladiator”– Part II)

Prep Time: 0 minutes (movie talk was prepared last year)

  1. Read and Discuss (time permitting)/Dictatio

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Timed Write

Prep Time: 0 minutes

 

Reflection: One quarter down this week! It’s been quite a ride, but I finally feel like the wrinkles are starting to get ironed out.  I’m toying with the idea of introducing some Roman culture (via Magister Craft) starting next week, and cycling that in with student-created content  CI-based instruction can almost feel like a slow, steady drip, and week after week it can be unclear if the water level in the bucket is rising at all.  As teachers, we tend to put ourselves on our own time schedules.  I always want things to move faster and faster.  I pay too much attention to the product, when really my attention should be on the process.  What’s my goal every day? Communication and providing comprehensible messages to my students.  If I have been maximizing opportunities for input, I’ve done all I can help my students grow in proficiency.

One thing that I want to change/add: I would like to add two things to my rotation that I have neglected so far this year: Storytelling and Kindergarten Day-style reading.  I recently bought Lance Piantaggini’s excellent book “Quintus et Nox Horrifica” and will read the first two chapters with my students next week.  Over the next quarter, I’m going to experiment with different ways of simply telling or reading a story to my students in order to add some much-needed variety.

A Week in F7 – Week 8

Latin I

Monday, September 24th, Day 33

  1. Calendar Talk

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Quick Quiz – True or False: “Dragonboy” ending

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. OWI (inanimate object)

Prep Time: 20 minutes

I created a list of predetermined questions to ask to create the character.  As we developed details of the story, I answered the questions in writing on the board.  This helped guide the discussion, and helped slow down the conversation, and allow processing time.

  1. Write and Discuss

Prep Time: 0 minutes

               Prep Time: 20 minutes

 

Tuesday, Sept. 25th, Day 34

  1. PictureTalk: Review the Character using the artist’s picture.

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Student Interview

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Interview Quiz

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. OWI story

This week, I decided (based on the types of characters that the students created), to create a plot in which the main character is kidnapped and has to escape somehow.

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Write and Discuss (3 sentences) – Time permitting

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Total Prep Time: 0 minutes

 

Wednesday, Sept. 26th, Day 35

  1. Calendar Talk

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. OWI-based Picture Talk

Prep Time: 10 minutes

  1. OWI Story: complete the plot

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Write and Discuss

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Instant Replay

re-enactment of the OWI story with student actors

Prep Time: 0 minutes

               Total Prep Time: 10 minutes

 

Thursday, Sept. 27th, Day 36

  1. Calendar Talk

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Dictatio (short)/Short Translation Assessment

Prep Time: 10 minutes

  1. Character Picture Talk

based on the artist’s pictures of the student-created OWI for earlier in the week.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

  1. Quizlet Live (class stories)

Prep Time: 10 minutes per class

  1. Alea Iacta Est Game (Time permitting)

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Total Prep time: 50 minutes

 

Friday, Sept. 28th, Day 37

  1. introduce the student-illustrated reader templates, and who to create them.
  2. Read and Draw – student-illustrated readers, based on Mike Peto’s cartoon template.

draw and color random pages to put together into booklets.

students who get done early can start illustrating other classes’ stories, earlier class stories, movie talk scripts, etc./designing a cover on card stock, etc.

collect students work and begin to compile them into booklets (FVR with these stories will commence after the break (3 days per week)

have all previously written stories ready, as well as cardstock (for covers), colored pencils (interiors) and markers (for covers).  invest in some pencil sharpeners.

Prep Time: about 20 minutes per class (spread out over the week.  After I finished typing up the stories, I formatted them for illustration).

NOTE: This activity was more prep intensive that usual, but hopefully at the end I will have short, student-illustrated readers based on the class story that I can use for Kindergarten Day/and or Storytelling.  Hopefully the student-created content will be a way to hook student interest and investment in the story.

  1. Reverse Pictionary (Time permitting)

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Total Prep Time: about 1 hour and 20 minutes

Reflection: Creating the booklets worked well in some classes but not in others.  I think future, I think that I will only have students create four pictures instead of eight.  Also, some of the stories ended up having too many new words which added to some confusion when students were drawing them.  I’m going to hold on to these for later reading (in a few weeks they should be more comprehensible).  They really were more invested in the pictures when (a) they knew that other students were going to read their work, and (b) they were able to add color to the pictures.  In a couple of weeks, I’ll try another ask-a-story, and when we create the booklets again, I’ll assign fewer panels to each student.

Also, I can use one class’ pictures to narrate their unique story to the other classes. Storytelling is an activity that I definitely need to add more of to my classes.

A Year in F7 – Week 7 (Latin I)

password for this week: veni vidi vici (I came, I saw, I conquered)

Monday, Sept. 17, Day 28

  1. Calendar Talk

Instead of just talking about the date, weather, birthdays, etc. and pointing to the calendar, I started class everyday filling out this sheet (which I wrote in OneNote as I projected the text)

I then called on two students, one boy and one girl, one older student and one younger student, and asked each the following questions, filling in blanks and circling responses as I went. My classes have grade ranges from 8th grade through 12th grade.

I think that I will continue this again next week but will ask different some different questions.  I even may begin discussing the student’s weekends, maybe starting with a simple questionnaire or card-talk.  It wasn’t until this week (after a year(?) or so of trying) that I’ve been able to sustain Calendar/Weather talk for more than two minutes or so with some genuine student interest.  For instance, we had a good discussion (in Latin) about who had the most tests or quizzes on a certain day, if they were prepared, and which quizzes were more difficult (I think the debate really raged between Biology and Physics).  In fact, I had to stop them frequently from calling out in English, which to me is a good sign, because it shows that the topic was actually one that they had a lot to say about.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

  1. Digitis micare/”morra (a ancient game similar to “Rock, Paper, Scissors” but one in which students have to be fairly quick with their numbers 1-10).

We will do a “digitis micare” tournament sometimes as a Brain Break.  They new all of their cardinal numbers 0-10 already (just having picked them up from classroom conversation).

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Movie Talk: “Dragon Boy (first half)

This short film is a favorite among my students.  I started with Keith Toda’s script, but I ended up with this story after by Thursday.  I tailored the Movie Talk to my students, and took every opportunity to repeat/reuse words from previous stories.

               Prep Time: 10 minutes

               Total Prep Time: 20 minutes

Tuesday, Sept. 18, Day 29

  1. Calendar Talk

A quick recap of yesterday’s calendar talk, and then continued with today, using the same prompts.

               Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Movie Talk (Dragon Boy) – Part II

We watched everything except the ending.  I wanted to try an activity on Wednesday where we predict the ending of the movie.

               Prep Time: 15 minutes

  1. Interview #5

               Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. 4-Word Image/Picture Stories

Rather than take a quiz after the interview, I selected some of the new words from the Movie Talk, and had students create 4-Word Images.  I will use some of them in class tomorrow for a Picture Talk.

               Prep Time: 0 minutes

 

Wednesday, Sept. 19, Day 30

  1. Interview Quiz

a follow-up from yesterday’s interview. Afterwards, we checked the quiz.

               Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Picture Talk (2-3 “4-Word Image” pictures from the day before)

               Prep Time: 15 minutes

  1. “Predict the ending”

One at a time I projected a list of possible endings for “Dragonboy.”  Students responded (on paper):

certum est, probabile est, possibile sed non probabile, impossibile est

The subsequent conversation allowed me to use for repetitions of “putat” and indirect statement.

exempla: quis putat certum esse? Landon putat probabile esse, etc.

               Prep Time: 15 minutes

  1. Movie Talk – DragonBoy (ending) – Watch/Discuss the end of the movie

We compared the actual ending with the students predictions.

Prep Time: 0 minutes

               Total Prep Time: 30 minutes

 

Thursday, Sept. 20, Day 31

  1. Calendar Talk

               Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Picture Matching Quiz (10 minutes) – Based on the “Dragonboy” movie

               Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Dragonboy Story – Reader’s theater re-enactment

I had two actors play all of the props, characters, and scenery in the movie.  I projected the story, and read it in Latin, sentence by sentence, pausing to allow the actors to create a “freeze frame” picture.  The actors were allowed props.  They weren’t allowed to touch.  In each class is a frantic and engaging 10 minutes.

               Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Alea Iacta Est”: My variation of the classic “Word Chunk Game.”

I have NEVER had success playing the traditional “Word Chunk Game.” There was low student interest and A LOT of downtime.  I fully realize I’m probably just playing it wrong, as I have never actually seen someone play it.  I’ve just read the rules.  So this version developed as a way to increase student engagement, and eliminate downtime. I will write up a post about this game soon.

               Prep Time: 0 minutes

               Total Prep Time: 0 minutes

 

Friday, Sept. 21, Day 32

  1. Calendar Talk

               Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Dictatio

10 sentences selected from the “Dragonboy” story

               Prep Time: 10 minutes

  1. Ridiculum: my version of “Stultus”

The text was the same 10 sentences that the students just read.

               Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Whole-Class OWI: “Create-a-dragon”

The student drew a picture of a dragon as we created the details on the fly. We would discuss the details, then I would say “pingite . . .” and the students would draw the detail that we agreed one.  I found it very important to draw everyone’s attention to “pingite,” because sometimes students would start drawing before the class reached a consensus. They found this more engaging than “Read and Draw” (probably because it gave them more choice about the content of the pictures).  I will use some of these pictures next week for a Picture Talk or two.

               Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. 5-minute Timed Write

I plan on sharing some sample results at the end of the first quarter (after 9 weeks)

               Prep Time: 0 minutes

               Total Prep Time: 10 minutes

A Year in F7 – Week 6 (Latin I)

Monday, Sept. 10th – Day 23

  1. Picture Matching Quiz

An unexpected hit. I used pictures that the students drew last week.

               Prep Time: 20 minutes (choosing pictures and preparing them for presentation)

  1. end of Yoda Story – “Yoda est pater”

Kindergarten/Storytelling with pictures (begin with the pictures from the quiz)

This is simple drawing pictures while telling the story and asking students questions.  I will have to establish that for this there is a definite story already established.  I will ask the students what they think will happen, but I have a definite plot.  This is like an activity used in the Story Listening method of teaching.

               Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. OWI – familia
  2. set up student jobs/parameters
  3. create “OWI” family

I’m trying to work to get a OWI created and ready for a story in 15 minutes.   This is going to be tricky because there will be multiple members of the family.  We will create a nuclear family for now, though we may bring in extended family members in the future.

               Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Write and Discuss – description of the family (5 – 10 minutes) [Time permitting]
  2. exit quiz – verum and falsum (description of the family) [Time permitting]

               Prep Time: 0 minutes

               Total Prep Time: 20 minutes

 

Tuesday, Sept. 11th – Day 24

  1. Write and Discuss (a description of the family)

I had the students copy down what I wrote on the board (this was more of a classroom-management thing than an acquisition thing).  In each class I was able to keep this going for about thirty minutes.  At first, I was elated—what great, extended, focused input! But then I began to worry a bit.  If I make Write and Discuss an extended activity, the students may begin to dread it over time.  I may want to back off in the future.

               Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Student Interview #3

               Prep Time: 0 minutes

I asked a couple of new follow-up questions, such as names of siblings and pets.

  1. Student Interview #3 Exit Quiz

As usual, I had the students write in full sentences.  This was not forced output—all of the elements that needed to express the thought was projected as part of the interview and quiz.  I’ve never done this before, and I’m curious to see if it has any eventual effect on their writing or production further down the line.  It is at least a good classroom management tool—they have to stay with me or I will change the slide before they are finished.

               Prep Time: 0 minutes

               Total Prep Time: 0 minutes

 

Wednesday, Sept. 12th – Day 25

  1. Picture Talk (3 Familiae Ridiculae)

               We look at each class’ family OWI portraits and compare the families.  We ran into a bit of difficult with 7th period’s portrait as the family members names weren’t labelled.  I need to remember to add that as a requirement in the future.

Prep Time: 15 minutes (getting  PowerPoint slides together to display the family portraits)

  1. Choral Translation/Ridiculum

we use this to review the text created Monday and Tuesday in class.

Prep Time: 5 minutes (preparing a text for projection)

Brain Break

  1. Storytelling/Ask-a-Story – based on the OWI family portrait.

We began by discussing a few plot point in English, deciding on which character in the family we wanted to focus on.  We determined a family secret that the main character was ignorant of, and how the main character discovered the secret.  Then I began asking the story using the parameters that we discussed as a class (as opposed to a generic TPRS plot).  Towards the end of the day, this activity went a bit off the rails, but the students were interested in the creation process, and at the end of the 10-15 minute session, I ended up with a concrete plot that was completely unique for each class.

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Total Prep Time: 20 minutes

Thursday – Sept. 13th – Day 26

  1. Read and Discuss: story based on the OWI “family”

check/verifty the new details of the story.

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Dictatio/Read and Draw – based on the OWI story
  2. first a dictatio (8 sentences derived from the class story)
  3. after I dictate each sentence three times and the students have copied down the text, they spend a few minutes illustrating.

Next week I may go back to a separate Read and Draw Activity and Dictatio.  The combination is   fairly good for classroom management (and a change of pace), but the artwork, which is             inevitably done in great haste, are almost all but unusable to for a picture talk or storytelling        later.

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes (per class)

  1. Write and Discuss – quickly conclude the story

Prep Time: 0 minutes

               Total Prep Time: 5-10 minutes per class

 

Friday, Sept. 14th, Day 27

  1. Student Interview #4

I added new questions about places where the student used to live, about playing sports, and about how many hours of sleep they get during the school week as opposed to the weekend. I also removed some of the English help from a couple sides, and I asked a few easier questions that didn’t have any vocabulary provided.  The goal is to change up the questions every couple of interviews until by the end of the year an  entire interview can be conducted in Latin with very little vocabulary help.

               Prep Time: 10 minutes (adjusting the existing slides and adding some new questions)

  1. Reading Assessment – Speed Date Reading

each reading passage was approximately 200 word longs, with vocabulary limited to the story         which we created as a class this week using the OWI characters from Monday.

               Prep Time: 15 minutes per class (tying up the class stories)

  1. Brain Break
  2. Choral Translation (“familia” story)

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Student Interview Quiz
  2. students have to write in complete sentences. Note: this is an input activity because all the Latin that would need to state the information in sentence form is provided on the screen when I ask the question.
  3. I will have the students exchange their quizzes and we will check them as a class if time permits.

               Prep Time: 0 minutes

               Total Prep Time: 1 hour

Reflection:

I feel like the kinks are starting to work themselves out.  We had a very creative week.  I hadn’t planned on the family OWIs lasting more than a day or two, and while the final stories began to ramble a bit towards the end, I feel like I was able to much better balance taking the students ideas and converting it into a comprehensible Latin narrative that only occasionally when out of bounds.  I used to get frustrated with OWI, because I would drag them on too long.

My first ever class-created story (about a three-legged giraffe named Walter) went on for four weeks straight, to the point that many students began to lose interest in it towards the end.  Now the narratives are tighter, more focused, and more varied.  The partner reading activity on Friday went very smoothly.  The majority of the students were able to easily read the majority of the text in a short amount of time (about 200 words in 7-8 minutes—and that includes time taken for reading the entire text aloud in Latin, and taking time to switch partners ever two minutes).  Some of my classes can still be a handful due to unfortunate timeslots (right before lunch and the last period of the day).  But things are coming along.  Each week is better than the one before. I feel that this year I’m growing in leaps and bounds as communicative language teacher. But I also still feel that I have a long way to go.

I decided to try to focus on one skill a week to improve.  Next week’s skill to improve: creating a strong cycle of instruction for the week.  I think my main event is going to be a Movie Talk.  I also want to include a couple of student interviews.  I want to end with a Timed Write on Friday.  I want to select or develop strong input-oriented activities to help support or supplement the Movie Talk.  I’m toying right now attempting a Story Listening-style activity (maybe on Wednesday).  Last time I tried this, it lasted two class periods, which I felt like was waaaaaaaaaay too long.  I was able to keep the classes attention, but I just ended up circling and asking students questions—I wasn’t really just telling a story anymore.

So, I’m going to think through all this during the weekend (including what Movie Talk to select), and I will begin selecting a more creative range of support activities for this week.

I feel like I’m getting in to a bit of a rut (and it’s only September!). I need to start planning some novelty on purpose.

5-Minute Mysteries in L2

A novel way to provide engaging input and interaction in a meaningful communicative context.

I’m a huge fan of mysteries and riddles.  The more challenging, the better.  They are highly engaging, interesting, and encourage creative thinking.

When I was a kid I used to play a lot of Mind Trap.  Well, play probably isn’t he best word.  My friends and I used to read the cards and challenge each other.  Often I would pass the time by reading the mysteries to myself and refusing to look at the answer until I was sure of the solution.  I would play this “game” for hours and hours.  I was also a fan of Encyclopedia Brown and 5-Minute Mysteries-type books.

I’m surprised that it took so long for my love of riddles and mysteries to be joined with my almost daily quest to provide interesting (and low-prep!) sources of comprehensible input.

Here is the mystery I presented to my students (Latin III and IV) today:

Latin:

est conclāve.  conclāve est parvum et obscūrum.  conclāve ūnam iānuam et ūnam fenestram habet.  in conclāvī est sella et lectus et mēnsa.  in terrā conclāvis est basipila et magna cōpia aquae et multa fragmenta vitrī.  fenestra est frācta, et sunt fragmenta vitrī prope fenestram frāctam.  in mediō conclāvī est cadāver.  est Robertus.  Robertus mortuus est!

discipulī, quōmodo Robertus necātus est?

English:

There is a room.  The room is small and dark.  The room has one door and one window.  In the room is a chair and a couch and a table.  on the ground of the room is a baseball, a great amount of water, and many pieces of glass.  The window has been broken and there are pieces of glass near the broken window.  In the middle of the room is a body.  It’s Robert.  Robert is dead!

Students, how was Robert killed?

 

I could have used this riddle in any level (with a few adjustments).  I also had my students draw the details as I narrated them to them.  I did not prepare a script ahead of time, but just told them a riddle that I knew and phrased in a way that they could understand.  I also let them ask questions about the riddle until they figured it out. This provided a lot of repetitions and it was a way a personalize the input, especially when they wanted to know details about things that ultimately were irrelevant to solving the riddle. I did have to give the students a hint before they could solve it.

Do you know how Robert was killed?

(I’ll post the solution later in the comments section)