A Year in F7: Week 31

Monday, April 8th, Day 138

Returning from a much needed Spring Break, which means . . . .

1.) Card Talk (Feriae Vernales – “Spring Break”)

What? Again? Yes!

Now no longer in the future tense, but now in the past tense (sadly, Spring Break has come and gone).  The Card Talk was even better, as several students in each class were excited to share details about their week off of school.

I provided this list of sentences starters (based on the future tense version from before the break):

Spring Break Talk

Again, students providing three truths and a lie provided material for two different games:

a.) quis dixit? (Who said it, or guess who)

b.) quae sententia falsa est? (which of the statements is false)

I know that this is essentially the same activity I did before the break, but this allowed the students to discuss what they did in the past tense (rather than a future plan).  It also let me say things like: “before the break, you said you were going to . . . did you . . . ? Again, the students were interested in the topic, so I let it ride as long as possible.

And I managed to work some fantastic indirect statement:


Magister die Veneris Charles dixit se vistaturum esse aviam in Colorado.  Charles, visitavistine aviam?”

Charles: “certe.”

Magister: “Discipuli, Charles dixit se vistare aviam! falsum non dixit!”

et cetera.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

2.) Discipulus Illustris/Student Interview: concerning Spring Break

Prep Time: 0 minutes

3.) Write and Discuss (True or False based on the student interview)

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Total Prep Time: 10 minutes


Tuesday, April 9th, Day 139

  1. Opener: Card Talk follow-up – Quis scripsit? (Who wrote it?)

I typed up several of the unused cards from yesterday’s game (about five or six per class).  Students had to match the activity with the student whom they believed did that thing during Spring Break.  It only took a few minutes to play, achieved more repetitions of some of the past tense structures introduced yesterday, and included more students’ ideas.  I think this will be standard practice from now on as a follow-up.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

2.) Calendar Talk – Days remaining in the school year

I had students attempt to figure out the number of days left, decide which days should be included, and the come up with a final figure.  Students did that part in English.  Afterwards I surveyed the class (in Latin) to discover their totals, and we talked about what should and shouldn’t be included in the final tally.

Prep Time: 0 minutes

3.) OWI (begin character creation)

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Total Prep Time: 10 minutes


Wednesday, April 10th, Day 140

1.) FVR (for 3-5 minutes)

2.) Picture Talk: OWI Character

Reviewing student illustration from yesterday.

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

3.) Storyasking – using Rory’s Story Cubes and Once Upon a Time Cards

(a.) establish problem

(b.) begin story

NB: So, this was an experiment, designed to help the students create an unpredictable narrative.  I used the Story Cubes and cards to generate random characters, objects, locations, or events that had to be somehow worked into the storyline.  Since I teach three sections of Latin I, I gradually refined the process throughout the day.  How many dice were too many? Should the students draw two cards and choose one? Draw three and choose two? How often?

In the end, I’m still unsure how I want to use these cards (my colleague did also include VERBA cards, which Magister P also discusses on his blog (and his ideas have been helpful in shaping my own classroom use of story-generating materials).  On the “pro” side, the stories were waaaaay more creative and unpredictable (no one suggested that the character live in Walmart—a major victory), on the “con” side, the students wanted to make the plots more and more complicated and involved, leading to some stories going off the rails and far out of bounds linguistically.  Somehow, also, these stories seem—in the students minds—somehow “throw-away” or not memorable.  Perhaps it’s just the time of year.  Maybe the challenge of the Story Cube/Card-driven narrative requires more linguistic skill and competency than my first year Novice students could handle.  Conversely, Story Cubes were a hit with Latin III and IV.

Prep Time: 0 minutes

4.) Quick Quiz: Kahoot (verum an falsum) [time permitting]

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Total Prep Time: 5-10 minutes


Thursday , April 11th, Day 141

1.) Picture Talk – Story Review

Using pictures of the Story Cubes and Storytelling cards, we recapped the story so far.  For example:

OWI story cube example

Prep Time: 5 minutes

2.) Read and Draw

I typed up yesterday’s installment of the story, and shortened it into six sentences, which students then illustrated.

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes per story

3.) Story Cube Storytelling (story conclusions)

Continued yesterday’s storytelling activity.

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Total Prep Time: 30 minutes


Friday, April 12th, Day 142

1.) FVR

2.) Reader’s Theater: Class Stories

I shared another class’s story with each class, and had the students act them out.  I used pictures of the cards and story cubes that the class had used to help establish meaning and show the structure of the story.  This was a hit, because I felt like seeing the structure helped the students follow the story, and even to mentally make predictions about where they thought the story was going to go based on the pictures.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

3.) Storybook Illustrations

Using pens, markers, and colored pencils, students created colorful illustrations for the story, so that the story could go on the reading shelf.  This is an experiment, as one of my goals for next year is to produce a ton of student-based, comprehensible, illustrated texts for my FVR library.  I tried and tried this year to that off the ground, but I felt that I really needed to spend time first on my fundamentals and my weekly flow.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

4.) Class Movie/Watch and Discuss (Time Permitting)

Reflection: This experiment was only somewhat successful.  Some movies worked better than others for this.  If I do this next year, I might just choose the movie (maybe something with a classical/Roman theme so that we can naturally discuss culture or history or mythology?).  Fortunately Spy Kids was removed from Amazon Prime, so I had an excuse to switch everyone over to the same movie.  This did make things so a bit more smoothly.

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