Required Homework: A Prep-Free Solution

My go-to homework is to read/reread a text from class. This is largely the honor system, banking on students finding the text compelling. There are those who want to see EVIDENCE that reading took place, though. Under such conditions, I don’t really want to hold a reading quiz the next day in order to catch and trap students who had too much Science the night before. Thus, I need a solution…

My 2-for-1 etymology strategy covers part of what I was assigning this past fall on a weekly basis (i.e. making connections with vocabulary used in other content area classes to Greek and Latin roots; Connections). Reading, along with the Connections did fulfill a required homework policy, but I’m thinking I can do better and with even less prep—none, in fact. You’ll see that making connections with Latin and Greek roots is now just one option. Students really into that stuff are free to do so.

Here’s a draft of next year’s homework expectations. The recommendations include options that David Maust and John Piazza use for their ~10% Independent grading category. Since I meet students 1x/week this year, I’ll pilot this for a few individual assignments (e.g. Tuesday’s Latin class gets paper and reports what they do Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Monday, then turn it in the following Tuesday. The score is X/4, one point for each day they reported doing something. This is partly honor system, partly to fulfill a homework requirement (despite all evidence pointing to its pointlessness), and none of it negatively impacts students because the scores are reported in my 0% grading portfolio. Students who read will acquire more Latin. Those who study flashcards will get what they want out of class, which is another way to meet expectations.

Homework Expectations
You are expected to spend some time with Latin each day. The specific assignments will vary depending on what was done in class, your own preferences, as well as how much homework you have in other classes. As you can see, these expectations are very realistic. If you’re super busy, spend 5 minutes on Latin; otherwise, spend more. Consistency is more important for languages rather than stressing out working on a really long assignment for just one night, then blowing off class for a week. Use this policy to develop time management skills. Mr P can always help you with this if you’re stuck.

Homework Log
Keep track of how you spend time with Latin each day. Always place a Homework Log in your daily planner so you remember to fill it out each day when you look to see what you have for homework in every class. These are due Fridays, and are scored X/4, one point for each weekday you spend on Latin.

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Recommendations
There is nothing better than reading and listening to Latin you understand! Some of you, however, might prefer to learn more about how Latin works, or to reinforce vocabulary in other classes. When choosing how to spend your time with Latin each day, consider spending time in the following order:

  1. Read Latin you understand (e.g. a text from class)
  2. Reread Latin you understand (e.g. an older text from class tucked away in your folder)
  3. YouTube videos IN Latin with subtitles so you understand (e.g. search for “Divus Magister Craft”)
  4. Quizlet (e.g. Magister Piazza; search for “magisterpiaz”)
  5. Make connections (e.g. use etymonline.com to search for Latin and Greek roots of words used in other classes)
  6. YouTube videos ABOUT Latin, in English (e.g. Latin Tutorial)
  7. Read a book, or listen to an audiobook about an ancient Greek/Roman theme, then write 2 paragraphs describing what you read/what you learned from it.
  8. Watch a film, then write 2 paragraphs describing what you read/what you learned from it (e.g. Clash of the Titans, Gladiator, Troy, Pompeii, Documentaries on YouTube, History Channel Documentaries, etc.)
  9. Promote SHA Latin at an open house event, or at your middle school
  10. Go to a museum with ancient Greek/Roman art, take photos on your phone of specific pieces of art to discuss in class. Bring a brochure or map of the museum, then write 2 paragraphs describing what you read/what you learned from it.
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