A Year in F7 – Week 23

Monday, February 4th – Day 103

1.) Storytelling/Storyasking (using Rory’s Story Cube and One Upon a Time storytelling cards)

Students turned over the cards to provide options for characters, locations, objects, and emotions.  I use Rory’s Story Cubes to provide options for actions (I have the blue Action sect).  I found both of these resources helpful to create a quick story without having to hash out the details. 

Reflection: Lance Piantaggini has an excellent article about using Story Cubes in class (as well as VERBA cards, and other things). I find that these games can be helpful to take stories in new directions, but I am also careful to use them sparingly (for instance, there are only so many unique characters in the storytelling cards, so over the course of a semester, students could easily have seen all of the cards multiple times, creating the sense that they just get the same old options (even if a card has only come up two or three times).  However, for the sake of novelty, I occasionally bring them out, especially when I feel that storytelling session needs more structure or direction.  For me, projecting the results of the card flops or the dice rolls with a document camera helps keep the students engaged.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

2.) Reader’s Theater Recap (of the student-created story)

This is my bailout activity if the story ends a bit short.  I have actors reenact the story, giving the class license to change details along the way.

Prep Time: 0 minutes

3.) Write and Discuss: (creating a more polished, revised version of the story)

Reflection: This was a bit ambitious to complete in a single day.  I find that I tend to allow my students to over-complicate the story, meaning that the story is often unfinished or fails to really go anywhere. Creating a short, simple story that can be completed in a short time is actually a difficult skill that requires constant practice and honing.  One of my goals this semester is to get better at doing this.

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Total Prep Time: 5 minutes


Tuesday, February, 5th, Day 104

1.) Calendar Talk/Quid Novi?

Prep Time: 0 minutes

2.) Storytelling/Draw and Discuss: Romulus et Remus

“Draw and Discuss” here simply means storytelling with pictures.   I draw pictures illustrating the story as I told it, and then we talked about the pictures.  Some of the story I acted with students when I was teaching a class that found student actors compelling.  When students were unwilling to act or did not seem interested, I continued using pictures, and acted some of it out myself.

Also, in one class I was struggling to maintain focus, even with constant Brain Breaks (see this excellent list of Brain Breaks for the Latin classroom), I simply narrated the story and had the students draw along.

Prep Time: 0 minutes

3.) Quick Quiz – Quis diceret? (Who would say it?) assessment

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Reflection: I did not get very far in the story (which really isn’t very long), and while the students were mostly into it, by the third day of storytelling (Thursday) I could tell that interest in the story was waning.  I continued because (a) I started the story and felt like I had to finish it, and (b) they hadn’t gotten much Roman culture/history this year, and this was going to be where I started.  Because of my focus on the curriculum, I ended up with a LOT of behavior issues by the third day as well.  The story was getting harder and harder to tell, and by Thursday I felt like I was doing more management than storytelling.  I simply fell into the trap of feeling like I had to “cover” this material; my old teacher instincts kicked in a dug in their claws.  It was a good lesson for me about the importance of variety and student interest over topics that I feel like must be covered.


Wednesday, February 6th, Day 105

1.) Picture Talk/Map Talk – a discussion about the layout of Rome and the Tiber River

Prep Time: 5 minutes

2.) Romulus et Remus – Storytelling (using student actors)

I used Lance Piantaggini’s version as a starting pointing.  He has posted some excellent videos and scripts here.  I adapted it based on my students’ known vocabulary.  I tried to limit the amount of new words introduced.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

3.) Ridiculum!/Stultus

Also based on Lance’s script

Prep Time: 0 minutes

4.) Quick Quiz: True or False

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Total Prep Time: 15 Minutes


Thursday, February 7th, Day 106

1.) Storytelling: Romulus et Remus (end of the story)

Prep Time: 0 minutes

2.) Reading Activity – Partner Reading (using print-outs of the story text)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

3.) Pictatio (narrating sentences, which the students draw instead of copying down)

Prep Time: 0 minutes

4.) Quizlet Live: Diagram Mode: Romulus et Remus

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Reflection: My students were really DONE with Romulus and Remus by today, and they began asking when we would start making up student stories and interviewing students again.  Next time I introduce a story from Roman history or mythology, I’m going to attempt to shorten it to one or two class periods at the most.  I’m also contemplating introducing fables (based on Phaedrus and Odo of Cheriton), as many of them are only a couple of sentences long, and would require only a little adapting. While not a total failure, I feel like my first attempt at introducing Roman culture was a bit too ambitious—it was too much, too quickly.


Friday, February 8th, Day 107

Half day of school (30-minute classes)

1.) Picture Talk (student drawings from yesterday’s Pictatio)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

2.) Ludus – “Alea Iacta Est” Word Chunk Game (using the Romulus and Remus Text)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

3.) Dictatio – a short summary of the Romulus et Remus story

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Prep Time: 25 minutes

Reflection: Today was more prep-heavy, but much less intensive for me.  It was a great way to end to an otherwise difficult week.

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