Friday, December 20, 2013

Changing the Mechanics

Well, it is the last day of the semester, and this article came out from a couple of different sources today, so it's definitely a good day to update the blog. I don't think I have put anything up for about two weeks now. That's because as we've gotten farther along we've transitioned a bit of how we work in class.

In our first days, all learning was oral and auricular. We practiced hearing and we practiced speaking. So, if only we could surround our students with nothing but Latin all day, every day, this would be a sufficient way to learn until they were about four or five years old, when they'd need to learn a few things about reading and writing as well. But of course, even in this classroom they never quite leave the Anglophone world. (I don't try to stop them from speaking English to each other, or asking me questions in English, and I don't always stay completely "in character". Sometimes a floor game has complex enough rules that English must be used.)

As the vocabulary of their second language has grown, since it's not something constantly in use around them, we needed a second, less ephemeral, way to solidify their knowledge base. As noted in previous posts, I started to give them some worksheets, both to have them practice reading and writing, and to test their comprehension skills a bit. And then I got thinking about how the Rosetta Stone program has you learn, and it's trademark move of using lots of pictures for word association, so I started using PowerPoints and putting in stock photos with Latin sentence there. The difference is the Rosetta Stone people know what they're going to be saying, and then go out and takes tens of thousands of pictures to depict that. Google images is a great help for "friends two boys", is a lot weaker on "pointing at a third person" (for "he is", "she was"), and nobody anywhere has a good image for "but". I loathe to have any English words on the picture slide, but I finally broke down and found an image from "Conjunction Junction" from old Schoolhouse Rock fame to depict sed.

The picture slides I was able to pull off ok, the harder part was figuring out how to explain these or post these on this blog. Luckily I found out from some blog advice website that you can post Microsoft documents onto a blog using I already went back and linked some things on previous pages. And now I want to get the PowerPoints on there too. 

Well, no time for that now. I have to go give their semester final, which I will also be posting sometime soon.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Time Off — Day 7 & Thanksgiving

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving I was busy watching my parish boys win their first football state championship, and the next day we had a number of people missing for helping out on a junior high retreat, so I had them do their first-ever worksheet. It followed up on what we did on Monday, and later on I'll attach a link for it here.

I had them break off into groups of three and four and illustrate, in their own way, the ideas of persons and roles and who was addressing whom. This was a place where what I had in my mind is definitely not the direction they went. I was thinking that they would draw pictures which could only represents something like Est Iacobus discipula aut discipulus?; they just thought of a picture that kinda-sorta represented this statement or idea. My idea, based on my experience of doing things like Rosetta Stone, was for them to create a one-for-one image that represents this statement and vice versa.

On the second page they were to take basic English sentences and turn them in the Latin. Anyone who has taken a Latin class knows that going from English to Latin is generally more daunting than going from Latin to English. The latter is basically playing "crack the code" and trying to smooth out a literal translation into something more fluid. But at this point, our vocabulary is so simple, and I really want them to get a feel for the flexibility of the word order in Latin, that I thought it was a worthwhile exercise. Heck, I even included a Word Box, just so they wouldn't feel pressed on vocabulary and could rather focus on the sentence structure. That part went more according to my plan.

Wednesday we looked over these sheets, discuss what I actually had planned on but had failed to communicate, and tried to do a little review to just batten down our mental hatches before a four-day weekend. We'll see what results.