A Year in F7 – Week 2 (Latin III/IV)

Lesson Plans

MONDAY – Day 4

This Weeks Target Texts: “Jason and the Argonauts” (Ritchie), sections 1 and 2

  1. Review Quiz: Quis diceret? (regarding “Iason” first two sentences)

Prep Time: 0 minutes (I make up the questions on the spot)

2.Reader’s Theater Performance: “Jason and the Argonauts” 1st Section.

Two actors, text projected, I read the text, circle new/difficult words, the actors perform the text as I read

Prep Time: 3 minutes (preparing a copy of the text for projection)

  1. Choral (Karaoke) Translation: “Iason et Argonautae” 1st section

Prep Time: 3 minutes (preparing a copy of the text for projection)

Total Prep Time: 6 minutes

Reflection: The first hiccup of the year: the Seniors were out on a retreat, so approximately half of my class was absent.  I decided to stick with the plan and continue with the “reader’s theater” style performance for “Jason and the Argonauts.” My tweak to reader’s theater is that I primarily read (though I frequently extemporize some lines for the actors, which the actors just repeat after me).  My actors don’t hold scripts and just read the text.  Also, by “directing” the scene—i.e. having actors do an action over again or in a different way—creates multiple novel exposures of the text.  At a later time I will post some of my “director’s cues” and some examples of how I use them.



  1. Card Talk: “Quid egisti pridie?”

Instructions: students draw a picture of what they did the day before.

Three possibilities:

  1. Seniors on the retreat drew the most memorable event from the trip.
  2. The other students who were in class drew a picture summary of the story.
  3. Students who were absent and not on the retreat just drew a picture of something that they did

the day before.

I then project some of the cards using my IPEVO document camera.  I then use the pictures for a     whole class Picture Talk.

               Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Storytelling Read and Draw/Pictatio: “Iason” Section 1 – Review

Prep Time: 5 minutes (printing a section of the story to read aloud)

Note: A pictatio is a listening exercise where I read a sentence in the Latin repeatedly and the students draw the details that they hear in the sentence. I know I didn’t coin the term, but for I forget exactly where I heard it first.  I want to say Keith Toda’s blog, but I’m not sure.

  1. Introduce “Iason” Part II – One-Sandaled Man Oracle

               Prep Time: 15 minutes: creating a tiered version of the story and preparing the text for projection.

               Total Prep Time: 20 minutes

Reflection: Students were highly interested in the Picture Talk activity, as many of the seniors really wanted to share some amusing highlights from the trip but lacked the confidence to fully explain in Latin what happened.  I was also able to draw the students in by first asking the non-senior students what they saw in the picture, and what they thought was going on.

Time ran out before the “Pictatio” was completely finished, so the second part of the story will have to wait until tomorrow.



  1. SSR (5-7 minutes)

I may take a few minutes at the beginning of class to introduce the novellas which were recently published this summer.

               Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. One Word at a Time (OWAT story)

Target Vocabulary: words from the next two sections of Jason that I know my students either have no exposure to, or I anticipate that they are going to misunderstand.

               Prep Time: 10 minutes: (reading through

  1. PictureTalk Storytelling Activity: “Jason and the Argonauts – Part II (“The Oracle”)

               Prep Time: 15 minutes (finding five or six pictures on Google images as a basis for the storytelling.  I’m going to use a simpler tiered version of the story as a basis of the storytelling)

Total Prep Time: 25 minutes

Reflection: I ended up adding some Calendar Talk to the beginning of class, which turned into a 10-15 minute discussion (in both classes) about how many people have August birthdays.  After reading, we began the OWAT story, with great success.  I had each pair or group type their stories in Latin as they wrote them (we are a one-to-school), providing an English translation as they went (this helps me edit the texts later).  In one class we did end up talking about the Oracle of Delphi (in Latin) to set up the next section of “Jason.”



  1. OWAT Storytelling – Fabula Prima: Using student actors and props.

               Nota bene: I may do this for two or three shorter stories in my second period class (which has          twice as many students and therefore twice as many stories)

Prep Time: 30-40 minutes: Editing student stories.  The time investment is worth it, though.  Typically, students find these stories fascinating (even when the plot doesn’t exactly go anywhere), and a short, incomplete story just provides the class with an opportunity to create an exciting ending for it.

2. Read and Draw: — Fabula Secunda:

I divide the story into four sections, and students read the projected text one section at a time,  illustrating each section in order to demonstrate their comprehension.

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes (preparing a text for projection)

  1. Brain Break: Video: “Oracle of Delphi” (from Horrible Histories).

Short clip (2-3 min), very funny, lots of historical references, lots of opportunity for improvising        some brief movie talk.  If we run out of time, I will move this to tomorrow.

Note: There used to be a clip of this one Youtube, but it was taken down. Fortunately, I     downloaded it years ago.  I believe that skit is from Horrible Histories Season 2, episode 2, and is          available online on various platforms.  If you have never seen Horrible Histories before, it’s a        British sketch comedy show designed to teach kids about history.  Lots of funny presentations of                Roman culture. It’s very easy for one of these clips to turn into an impromptu Watch and        Discuss.

Reflection: Spent the entire class period telling student stories with actors and props.  Because they wrote them, the students were excited to see their stories featured in class, complete with actors and silly props.  Here’s an example of one of their silly OWAT stories (the target vocabulary words from the game are in bold):

It was a good day—lots of communication, lots of laughter, lots of moments where students got lost in the storytelling.  It’s days like this that remind me why some of the extra work that communicative language teaching requires (personalizing stories, editing student work for whole class presentation) is worth it.  My students in my old traditional program would not have been able to handle two or three texts of this complexity in a single class period.  They would not have been able to listen to and processes continuous sentences in Latin (even if there were very simple). And they certainly wouldn’t have been able to understand without their dictionaries and glossaries.


FRIDAY – Day 8

  1. OWAT Stories (continued): Read and Draw

Prep Time: 0 minutes (already edited student stories)

  1. Dictatio

Prep Time: 10 minutes

  1. Storytelling: “Jason and the Argonauts” – Part II

Prep Time: 0 minutes: I’m using the text that I prepared earlier in the week

Total Prep Time: 10 minutes

Reflection: I ended up using actors again for the “Jason” storytelling, though I had pictures prepared for a Picture Talk.  So far this year, I feel like I’ve utilized student actors well.  I remember previous years using students actually tanked more often than it succeeded.  The key for me has been viewing the actors as props for my storytelling.  Directing the actor causes me to slow down, to establish meaning before the action, to redo an action in different (sometimes humorous) ways to enhance the input.  This is my fourth year teaching communicatively (technically—though the first year was more about dabbling) and finally I feel like my upper level classes are fully buying in to the methodology.  I’m sure this has everything to do with the fact that my seniors (Latin IV) have had now four years (or so) of comprehensible input, whereas my previous advanced classes had a year or two (or three!) of grammar-translation before I took the leap.  I’m excited to be able to enjoy for the first time a fully transitioned program.  I do have a (somewhat flexible) schedule to stick to as my advanced class is dual enrollment and, though I created the syllabus myself, I did have to get plan ahead of time which texts we are going to read.  It will be an interesting experiment to read excerpts of authentic Latin literature with students who have never had any exposure to the grammar-translation method.

On to Week 3!

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