One Word Images (OWI)–In Latin

A beginning One Word Image (OWI) Question Sequence for the first week (or so) of Latin.

I’ve really enjoyed reading both A Natural Approach to Stories and A Natural Approach to the Year by Tina Hargaden and Ben Slavic, and I have attempted to incorporate this particular “non-targeted comprehensible input” approach in my communication-focused Latin class.  While it has been surprisingly easy to adapt these techniques to Latin class, it did take a bit of trial and error, as well as a lot of practice.  There are many things that I have to juggle in my mind at once, and this year I worked out a definite questioning sequence to be able start a One Word Image/”Invisible” character in the early weeks of Latin I.

Before beginning, all of my students only had about four or five days of TPR and some TPRS-style Story-Asking activities.  I decided to stick with concrete, physical character details at first, since they would be the easiest for the artist to draw and for class to understand without many English glosses.

Note: I do check frequently for comprehension in English, and freely added English glosses where I felt they were necessary.

The target word was a type of “animal.”

My OWI Question sequence was:

  1. quale animal est? (We did brainstorm this briefly in English)
  2. estne animal magnum an parvum? maximum? minimum? maior quam schola?
  3. quid nomen animali est?
  4. quo colore est? uno colore? multis coloribus?

I used my color wall (murus colorum) to facilitate this discussion, though a slide could have been just as effective.

Color Wall.PNG

(NOTA BENE: In this picture brunneus is misspelled–it has since been fixed, but this was the only picture I had on hand.)

  1. partes corporis: e. g. habetne animal oculos? nasum? os? aures?

     quot oculos? nasos? ora? aures?

the body parts most often discussed: oculus, nasus, os, aures, bracchia, manus, crura, pedes.

  1. est animal obesum an macrum? (I honestly included this pair of adjectives just because students always think that “obesum” sounds funny).
  2. ubi habitat animal?

I used the following pictures to aid comprehension:

Ubi Habitat - OWI.PNG

I chose these locations because have proved popular story settings in years past

8. emotions: gaudetne animal an dolet

9. quid vult animal?

This simple nine-question sequence was a starting point for generating 30-40 continuous minutes of discussion, and in one class we had to cut it short after the physical description section, not having time to move on to the character motivation.  I am still always a bit surprised at how quickly the students are able to process the language when they are highly interested and engaged in the activity.  It was also a nice, low prep way to deliver many comprehensible messages in L2. Also, afterwards I have a growing collection of characters for future stories.

3 thoughts on “One Word Images (OWI)–In Latin

  1. Pingback: A Year in F7 – Week 2 (Latin I) – Comprehensible Classics

    1. I really haven’t had any students confused, at least that I have been aware of. As long as it is used contextually (and “in” is a very clear English cognate). “est mons” is clear to them as “there is a mountain.” while “habitat in monte” (while pointing at the mountain) seems to be clear as well. I try to check often for comprehension, and have students orally translate when I’m not sure if they get it. I guess I just wanted students to get exposure to more of the word family, rather than just one morphological form. Also in my experience, it is easier to move from “mons” to “in monte,” than from “in monte” to “est mons.” Is “in monte” what you mean by the “local use of the word?”


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