For me, paired translation activities a) are not speaking activities, and b) have a purpose similar to what Justin Slocum Bailey juuuust wrote about Choral Translation, with confidence building as the primary one. This is week 3 of school, which is also the 3rd hour my students have listened to and read (i.e. received input) in Latin.
Today, I used a new update to the classic ABBA paired translation activity I’ve always known as Volleyball Translation (i.e. the role is tossed back and forth like a volleyball “pass”). This comes from Jason Fritze at NTPRS, and I used it with the following text based on events of last week’s class, which includes:
- Something funny that happened on that day, specific to each class
- Details from an Either/Or TPR activity
- sī tibi placet X, surge, et consīde Pompēiīs (i.e. Pompēiī = right side group)
- sī tibi placet Y, surge, et consīde Rōmae (i.e. Rōma = left side group).
You’ll notice that I’m still providing significant assistance with comprehension, both using English and Picturae images whenever possible, else non-commercial usage right Google images. The reverse side of the page had the same text without help for those faster processors who felt confident. N.B. I did observe at least 3 of those students flip the page back just to make sure, which reflects keeping some of those adolescent egos in check.
Silent Volleyball Reading
With this update, instead of Person A reading the Latin aloud, and Person B translating into English, Person B translates into English while Person A reads silently. The roles alternate for each sentence, just like the classic version.
When we did this in class today, I noticed that Person A gets a little break from saying anything aloud, which is exactly what my students need at the end of the day. Uh huh, I see my students 1x per week, last class of the day. Lucky me! Oh, and Silent Volleyball Reading is anything but silent! Students are still translating aloud in English while their partner reads along. BTW, this avoids the kind of poor pronunciation models you get from student-student activities that Terry Waltz famously deemed the “McDonald’s-like nutritional input.”
Also, in the past, I have noticed hesitation when Student A isn’t confident in pronouncing the Latin. This is bad. We don’t want to show a student how well they understand Latin only to give them anxiety over pronouncing Latin?! This is even more noticeable considering my students have had such limited time with Latin, and this update eliminates that risk. So, Silent Volleyball Reading is a big upgrade, not just an update, and will likely replace all of my paired translation activities.