A Year in F7 – Week 21


MLK Day – No School


TUESDAY, January, 22nd – Day 95

  1. Calendar Talk
  2. Card Talk: Picturae Verae et Falsae

Topic: Winter Break.  Students drew two pictures: something that they did over break, and something that they wish they did.

  1. Picture Talk/Guessing Game:

Using a document camera, I projected the students’ pictures, briefly discussed each one (in Latin, of course), and finally let the students vote on which picture was false.

NB: This is my go-to activity for the first day back from a long break (Winter or Summer), generally because it builds continuity with what we discussed before the break, and because it allows me to assess on the fly where the students are and adjust my language accordingly.

Prep Time: 0 minutes

  1. Reader’s Theater: “Europa et Taurus”

Using actors who followed the narration as I read, and delivered the dialogue (all of which I made up on the spot and fed to the actors phrase by phrase).

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Reflection: I chose this story, because their most recent substitute translation assignment had been translating Chapter 2 of the textbook Latin Via Ovid (as I said in an earlier post, I have a closet full of textbooks). I was able to tell this story quickly because the students were familiar with the plot, though some students were a bit confused about what was happening, mostly due to extremely compressed narrative in the book.

I found this confusion fascinating, actually, because when I looked at their translations, they were fairly accurate.   It reminded me of one of the realizations that drove me to change my Latin class: the fact that students could translates accurately (focusing on vocabulary, syntax, etc), but afterwards had little understanding or recall of what they had just translated.  They could spend twenty minutes working with a text very closely, and completely miss the message of the words.  Without attending to the meaning, the students’ acquisition is sharply impeded (since comprehended input—or intake—builds mental representation).


WEDNESDAY, January 23rd – Day 96

  1. Reader’s Theater/Sound Effects Theater: “Europa et Taurus”

A continuation of the previous day’s activity (in one class, the Picture Talk activity lasted nearly the entire period due to high student engagement and interest.

  1. Fabula Ridicula/Alternate Story (based on a short “Europa et Taurus” text)

This was extremely low prep.  First I projected the text, and read it with the students.  Then I paused at various nouns and verbs, crossed the words out, and ask the students to come up with a suitable replacement, trying to see how ridiculous we could make the story.  Manipulating the text live in from of the students allowed us to both read through the same text in a new way, but also to personalize the text in a very structured way.  And it was also good for me to have to slow down to ask for suggestions and circle the text more.

  1. Quick Quiz (Verum an Falsum?)

based on the “fabula ridicula” – another opportunity to retread the same ground in a new way.

Total Prep Time: 0 minutes  Euge! A “No-Prep” Day!


THURSDAY, January 24th, Day 97

I was out again, so I had students translate this version of the Europa story, loosely adapted from Chapter 2 of Latin Via Ovid, but retold from Europa’s point of view.

caveat lector: I wrote it quickly before an unplanned absence, so it is probably riddle with errors.  You may want to check it over before you use it.

Total Prep Time: 40 minutes


FRIDAY, January 25th, Day 98

1.) Reading Game: “The Lucky Number Reading Game”

A great activity from AnneMarie Chase (read about it on her blog). I just played a quick version where students yell out the answers and I generously give cards out.  We can play in 5-7 minutes, and then during the following brain break the tabulators count up the points and announce the winners.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

2.) Picture Talk – Alternate Endings of “Europa”

This was one of the only creative assignments I managed to come up during my absence.  The day after students translated the “Europa” story, I had them write a short alternative ending (2-3 sentences) and provide an illustration.  I chose the best four pictures from each class.

Prep Time: 0 minutes

3.) Write and Discuss – Alternate Endings

After voting for the best ending, I led a Write and Discuss in which we created the official alternate ending.

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Reflection: I don’t think that I could ever go back to grammar/translation/memorization/skill-building teaching paradigm again.  While some days can be exhausting—especially when trying to sleep with a newborn baby in the house—the effort is worth it to me for the simple reason that I don’t have to review anymore.  I haaaaaaate review.  Now the students have way more language in their heads and coming back from a break is easy: we just pick up the conversation where we left off.


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