My curriculum map reflects how I focus on the familiar theme/essential questions of “Who am I? Who are we?” before moving onto the less-familiar distant past of ancient Romans; the rationale being that once students have had decent exposure to the Latin, they can begin reading about the target culture IN the target language, which is actually how those 4 Cs are supposed to be met (i.e. Communication in the target language is required for Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities).
Still, we know that students already find myth compelling. As such, consider this simple strategy to sprinkle class stories with a bit of mythology, avoiding an isolated “Olympian Gods/Goddesses Unit,” which seems to be just as perfunctory as “The Roman Villa”…
Like Chris Stolz’ “how should I teach boring stuff?” (linked and explained at the end of this post)—only we know this isn’t boring—just add a mythological figure to every story. That’s it! Latin teachers might want to consider using this as the very first option to a TPRS problem solution. Do students have to choose it? No, but at least they’ll be exposed to some comprehensible details about the target culture, all within a communicative context.
– subitō, Mercurius adest/appāret/etc.! (Suddeny, Mercury is there/appears/whatever verb!)
– Cūr Mercurius appāreat? (Why would Mercury appear?)
– Mercurius appāreat quia deus fūrum est. (Mercury would appear because he’s the god of theives.)
– subitō, Diāna adest/appāret/etc.! (Suddeny, Diana is there/appears/whatever verb!)
– Cūr Diāna appāreat? (Why would Diana appear?)
– Diāna appāreat quia sagittae eī placent. (Diana would appear because she likes arrows.)
Get creative. Oh, and I recommend familiarizing yourself with Chris’ strategies for the “boring stuff,” though could be used to meet all sorts of vocab expectations. Use a checklist during storyasking until this becomes second nature!
Chris Stolz’ Story Strategies:
1) Add 1 color, and 1 number students don’t know to every story.
2) Add 1 or 2 greetings to every story.
3) Add 1 location word (i.e. preposition) to every story.
4) Add 1 time expression to every story.
5) Label parallel characters with spelled-out letters (e.g. mīles alpha).
6) Add pronouns in a follow-up statement (e.g. Juppiter has a lightning bolt. He really likes it) to every story.