A Year in F7 – Week 4

Lesson Plans – Latin I


Monday – Day 14

  1. Calendar Talk (5 minutes)

               Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Card Talk

Targets: “placet” and “non placet”

I devised this PowerPoint to give our conversation about likes and dislikes.  We did not go through every picture, just enough until student interest waned, and then we moved on the One Word Image.  The students did get in a lot of reps.

NB: I have removed all the images from the presentation for copyright reasons, although you can easily add your own pictures.

               Prep Time: 60 – 90 minutes (I really spent too much time adjusting the pictures and formatting. A similar presentation could be put together much more quickly)

  1. OWI Character #2 creation

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Total Prep Time: 60-90 minutes


Tuesday – Day 15

  1. Card Talk – “placet/non placet”

I used a couple of slides from my “placet/non placet” discussion starter, and had the students record their responses.  I plan to type up a few of them, and pose them as verum/falsum questions.  Exempli gratia: “Martino placet Taylor Swift.  verum an falsum?” After the students commit a guess to paper, I ask Martin, “o Martine, placetne tibi Taylor Swift?” while the class listens (generally intently) to see if they guessed correctly).

Prep Time: 0 minutes (I already has this PowerPoint prepared)

  1. Student Interview 1

I devised this PowerPoint for the first interview which only includes a few general questions based mostly on vocabulary that is already somewhat familiar, though “frater” and “soror” is new to them, among others.  I hope to add and modify questions on a monthly (or even weekly) basis in order to (a) keep the interviews novel and interesting, and (b) to reinforce structures that have been popping up other places in class discussions or activities.

               Prep Time: 15-20 minutes (modifying and updating an existing PowerPoint slide)

  1. Quiz – Student interview

Exit quiz immediately following the Student Interview.

Prep Time: 0 minutes (quiz invented on the spot from the scriba’s script)

Total Prep Time: 15-20 minutes


Wednesday – Day 16

  1. Card Talk – Placet/non placet (continued from yesterday)
  2. Movie Talk – The Present – Part 1 (Stills/Screen caps)

I’m planning to introduce the first MovieTalk this year with stills/screencaps instead of beginning with the movie.  My students tend to get a bit restless when I pause a movie clip too much, but only get restless during a PictureTalk if I stay on the same picture for too long (more than 2-3 minutes).

Prep Time: 20 minutes

  1. Choral (Karaoke) Translation – The Present – Tier 2

Note: I adapted Lance Piantaggini’s MovieTalk script, which he uses much earlier in the school year (Day 4 or so, I believe).

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Prep Time: 25 minutes


Thursday – Day 17

  1. 1. verum et falsum quiz – based on “The Present” MovieTalk

Kahoot-based.  I read a short sentence based on the story, and the students choose “verum” or “falsum.” Internet connection is a bit spotty in my room, and often Kahoot creates more student frustration than anything else.  Also, I’m pretty sure that some kids just press a random button as quickly as possible and hope for the best.  Making the choices a predictable “verum” or “falsum” seems to curb that a bit.  My students seems to favor Quizlet-Live more, although an oral Kahoot quiz provides more input.  We’ll see how this plays out over the rest of the year.

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

  1. Read and Discuss – MovieTalk script

6-frame, traditional Read and Discuss.  Made an aggravatingly rookie mistake first period by having too much going on in each frame.  I pared it down for my next class, and it work well.  I did expand it to 8 frames.

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes (reworking the MovieTalk script and dividing it into 6 frames.  Sometimes I like to think up a twist ending).

  1. OWI #2 (Time permitting)

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Total Prep Time: 30-40 minutes


Friday – Day 18

NOTE: Senior Convocation is today, meaning that I don’t have all of my Latin classes (and in my seventh period class I expect a high amount of absenteeism).

  1. Calendar Talk – Discuss the upcoming Labor Day holiday

NOTA BENE: For those interested in how I sustained this conversation in Latin . . .

exempli gratia:

M: “discipuli, hodie est . . .”

D: “dies Veneris.”

M: “Eugepae! dies Veneris est.  Omnes gaudent!”

D: “eugepae!”

M: “discipuli, cras (pointing to my word wall) erit . . . dies Lunae?”

D: “minime!”

M: “qui dies erit? dies Saturni?”

D: “certe!”

M: “eruntne discipuli in schola die Saturni?”

D: “minime!”

M: “discipuli non erunt in schola die Saturni! [rem] ridiculam!”

[I basically repeat the same thing for Sunday, and when we get to Monday . . . ]

M: “eruntne discipuli in schola die Lunae?”

D: [mixed “certe” and “minime” responses because students honestly didn’t know about the long weekend, or responded without thinking]

M: “minime! ridiculam! dies Lunae erit dies Laboris! disipuli et magister non erunt in schola! eugepae!”

And so on.  They were pretty excited about the long weekend, and I was able to milk this conversation longer than I thought.

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Read and Discuss (and Dramatize): Alternate Version of “The Present”

Again I adapted Lance’s awesome alternate reading—with a dash of Keith Toda’s signature humor.  This way, the classes that I do have get more exposure the main structures in the “Present” MovieTalk, but I can also treat it as a one-off class period (though I may share it with my 1st period class next Tuesday, as my other classes seemed to like it).

I provide my version here.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

  1. Dictatio (based on the alternate version, but with a twist ending). I experimented in my 7th period class (who didn’t get a chance to do the Write and Discuss on Thursday) with merging Dictatio and Read and Draw into . . . Dictatio and Draw. Having to quiet back down and listen to the next “caption” every few minutes helped from a classroom management standpoint.  They were focused all the way until the bell, right before a three-day weekend.  They must have found it engaging to be distracted from THAT.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Prep Time: 30 minutes


Reflection: Okay, the honeymoon is officially OVER. We’ve moved to the testing phase.

Students are testing me.

Testing my limits.  Testing my rules.  Testing to see what they can do without actually crossing the line.  Testing to see if I really mean it when I say I want to teach to their eyes, and that any extraneous conversation or comment meant to steer the conversation somewhere else is an interruption, even if they are making a positive comment.

This week, there’s lots of rule pointing.  Lots of me having to stop talking.  Lots of false starts.  I just kept breathing and try to stay calm.

It’s said that this is the time when many communicative/TCI/TPRS teachers face a real crisis.  The teacher thinks: but it’s been four weeks.  Surely, they should know more than this after four whole weeks! Is this working? Should we just memorize words? Should I start drilling? Should I quiz more for content knowledge? Now, where are those textbooks? But the pre-packed structure and illusion of forward momentum which they provide is so comforting . . . Can we JUST PICK UP THE PACE??


It’s that little explicit teacher voice again, insisting that since we cover this material, the students should have mastered it and now it’s time to move on to the next bit of material.

I just have to choose not to listen.  Explicit knowledge of language is not acquisition.  The effects of explicit instruction fade quickly.  This is a marathon.  I’m in it for the long game.  So what if it is getting difficult? This “testing” period is natural, happens every year around this time, and eventually fades—though never soon enough!  I’m going to stick to my policies, shrug it off if we don’t do every activity, and conference with student habitually showing problem behavior.

Now, to be fair, some of this (much of this?) was on me this week.  Every year during this time I tend to overestimate what they can do.  I move too fast.  I focus on coverage.  I forget about the learners’ experience.  My students need repetition and novel exposures to the same structures.  Once I dialed it back a bit and slowed down, I got more student engagement. Moral:  I. NEED. TO. SLOW. DOWN.

I need to focus on the process (of acquisition), not the product (which I ultimately can’t control anyway).

I’m going to breathe . . . and enjoy my long weekend!

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