Rūfus et arma ātra: Published

Rūfus et arma ātra, my latest Latin novella, is available now!

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It’s usually bad practice qualify the difficulty of any particular task, but I can confidently say that this new novella is seriously easy to read. Why? It has short sentences and is written with ONLY 40 words—the lowest word count of currently published novellas (both Latin AND modern)! Rufus is the follow-up to Pīsō Ille Poētulus.

For Purchase Orders and bulk discounts, email: poetuluspublishing@gmail.com
Otherwise, click on the links below to preview/purchase Rūfus et arma ātra:

1)  This weekend at CANE’s Annual Meeting in Exeter, NH
2) My eStore (please purchase from my page on this Amazon-owned self-publishing company, CreateSpace, if you wouldn’t mind signing up for one more thing—I know—but especially if you feel like sending about 70% more in royalties my way…$3.44 vs. $2.05 from Amazon)
3) Amazon (purchase here if you really really really want your Prime free shipping, or just want to shop on Amazon, etc.)
4) Free Preview through Chapter 3 (of 7) with some older illustrations

 

Storyasking: Mixed Tenses

“Sheltering vocabulary while unsheltering grammar” refers to using ANY grammar necessary to express ideas while limiting words. This mantra has been instrumental in the design of our latest Latin novellas since it simultaneously reduces cognitive demand while casting a broad net of input, exposing students to different verb forms as they attend to fewer “big content word” meanings. Despite this unsheltering, sometimes we have to make a decision about when our story takes place! This establishes a focus—perhaps unwanted—on one tense or another.

If we, indeed, want to expose students to that broad net of input, we can respond appropriately without sacrificing any communicative value. Here are some very practical ways to conceptualize the use of different tenses in stories, and what to do in order to add variety to the verb forms used in stories and readings:

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“Either/Or” PPT

Here’s a new, reaaaaaally useful PPT inspired by Linda Li’s “Like/Dislike” activity I saw back at iFLT last summer. The concept is simple—slides have two images you can use to ask an “either/or” question. That’s it, no words, so you can say anything you like. Oh, and click the question mark in the corner to jump to a random slide (after prompted to “Enable Content” for Macros upon opening the file).

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Assessment & Grading: Game Changers

When teachers complain about their certain practices that create more work for themselves and take time away from students acquiring the target language, my response is usually “well then, don’t use them.” Follow the logic below to arrive at why you need to wrap your head around changing Assessment & Grading practices so that you can use your prep/planning time, and personal life,  for more useful and enjoyable endeavors…

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The No-Travel Story Script

Also from Von Ray’s recent TPRS workshop, his German demo sheltered (i.e. limited) vocabulary so well that it focused on 3 verbs (e.g. is, has, wants) of those top 5 (+ likes & goes). I’ve always been uncomfortable with the idea of a Day 1 cold opening story, though many skilled TPRS teachers find it to be the most engaging way to start the year, so this script might just be what I was looking for! With no need for any character to travel to the standard 3 locations, the questions and details concern one or two parallel characters—an essential Storyasking skill to begin building.

The conflict to resolve in Von’s story was “is in jail, because doesn’t have.” Here’s the plot outline:

  • there’s a character
  • character is in jail because s/he doesn’t have something
  • parallel character is somewhere, but not in jail
  • character’s mother is in the hospital, and has what the character doesn’t have
  • character laments (e.g. “Ooh noo, mother! I’m in jail! I’m in jail because…I want…”)
  • mother laments (e.g. “Ooh, [character], I’m in the hospital because I’m sick…”)
  • character says s/he wants what the mother has
  • mother says that it’s not her problem (lol!)
  • parallel character(s) has/have what the character wants
  • parallel character(s) may, or may not give the character what s/he wants
  • story resolves, or doesn’t

If a parallel character gives the item to the main character, add “gives,” or the command “have!” if your language can do that, limiting the verbs to just “is, has, wants,” and “says.”

Von Ray on Circling & MovieTalk

I was just with Von Ray—the man, the myth, the legend—at a TPRS workshop in Manchester, NH. It’s been several years since I’ve seen anyone do the 2-day workshop, and I was impressed with the updates. I was also impressed with how magical the experience still was, given my familiarity with all the strategies and techniques of a basic skills workshop, while observing first-time TPRS participants in the room simply dazzled by the experience.

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Input Processing: Implications

On last week’s Tea with BVP, Bill VanPatten discussed what humans do when they listen to and read messages, known as Input Processing (IP), and then elaborated on his work with Processing Instruction (PI). Don’t let that acronym palindrome (PIIP, or IPPI) confuse you! Bill’s Processing Instruction (PI) is an instructional technique used to gently push students into linking form and meaning while processing input, although it’s meaning-based and communicative in nature, not explanation-based like pop-up grammar, etc. Regardless of using Processing Instruction (PI), the language teacher should be aware of what’s going on as students process input. So, what do they do first when they listen to, and read messages?

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