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


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.

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