Input-Based Strategies & Activities

**Updated 3.22.23**
**Here’s the list of older ones I haven’t used in a while**

When choosing the class agenda beyond the Talk & Read format (now Talk, Read & Reread), it dawned on me years ago that I couldn’t remember all my favorite activities. Thus, here are the input-based strategies & activities I’ve collected, all in one place, and that I currently use (see older ones above). Everything is organized by pre-, dum-, and post- timing. You won’t find prep-intensive activities here beyond typing, copying, and cutting paper. Oh, and for ways to get that one text to start, try here. Enjoy!

**N.B. Any activity with the word “translation” in it means translating what is already understood. This should NOT be confused with the more conventional practice of translating in order to understand.**


  • Quizlet Add-on EZ (Henshaw & Hawkins, 2022)
    This connects the 5-10min. vocab frontload Quizlet time (individual, or Live game) to the actual text. All it takes is students skimming and highlighting a printed version of the text for the words they just previewed. This is super EZ, a tad more scaffolding to help reading flow.
  • K-F-D EZ (me)
    Students sort words they Know, Forget (or will probably forget), and Don’t know into their respective column. Monitor/make note of most common forgotten or unknown words to anticipate establishing meaning, perhaps with more personalized Qs before the text.
  • T/F Pre-read Dictation (Henshaw & Hawkins, 2022)
    True/false dictation in which students copy what they hear, predict, then read and confirm their predictions. I did this with a novella, previewing a chapter ahead of time and making 4 statements. N.B. best when students know most of the words, although you can establish meaning during the dictation. Not recommended for new, unfamiliar texts.
  • Chronological Dictation (Henshaw & Hawkins, 2022)True/false dictation in which students predict, Read segments of a new text out-of-order, students copy what they hear, predict order, teacher reads again in order and students number the statements accordingly. N.B. see above for best use.


  • Interlinear Reverse Translation EZ (me)
    Printed copies of teacher-generated translation
    This strategy helps students make form-meaning connections by providing an English translation showcasing how certain words are contained within target language ones via hyphens (e.g., “I-lost the-book”). Students can use an existing text to place Latin words above their English equivalents, and/or complete as much on their own as possible before using the book to fill in.
  • Table Qs EZ (Bethany Sawyer)
    Printed copies of a text in table form & teacher-generated Qs
    This strategy breaks up a text while giving students something specific to do while reading that focuses their attention (see this post).
  • Read & Reflect EZ (me)
    Students respond to prompts about the reading experience itself (see this post).
  • Interverbal Fan Fic EZ (me)
    Students create their own related narrative (fan fiction) IN ENGLISH by adding things into the text, between words (inter+ verba). Type up, read as a class (just like timed writes).
  • Read & Summarize EZ (me)
    Printed copies of text, or whole-class reading of novels
    Much faster than Read & Translate, students summarize each page. **Do NOT use if students are unable to understand the text in Latin.**
  • Read & Translate EZ (source unknown) **Updated 11.30.22**
    Printed/projected text selection
    In pairs, students first read (for pre-determined X minutes, or monitor progress). Then, either project or hand out selections from a text to translate. This keeps focus on reading, and then acts as a follow-up check for understanding (vs. the feeling of “we just did this!” or focus on completing the product in an effort to complete the product). Save this for when you, or the students need a break. **Do NOT use if students are unable to understand the text in Latin.**
  • Choral Translation EZ (source unknown)
    Teacher points to words/phrases as class translates into English. Change this up by translating aloud yourself, pausing and gesturing for students to fill-in a word/phrase. They often pay more attention because they don’t know what word you’ll ask them to fill-in.
  • mendāx! EZ (a.k.a. “Stultus,” from Keith Toda et al.)
    A student volunteer (job?) points to words as teacher translates. When the teacher intentionally makes mistakes, students yell “mendāx!
  • Highlight Your Confusion EZ (Kelly Gallagher)
    Printed copies of text & maybe highlighters
    In groups of 3-4, students read and circle/highlight their confusion. Next day, reread as a whole class. Students stop when you get to one of their highlighted parts, establish meaning, discuss, etc.
  • Read &… EZ (me)
    Students read and then follow up with an activity of their choosing.
  • Silent Volleyball Reading EZ (update shared by Jason Fritze)
    In pairs, students read a text sentence-by-sentence. Student A translates aloud while Student B reads silently. Student B translates the next sentence aloud while Student A reads silently.
  • Most Points Wins! EZ (me)
    Students read a text, and write down as many X as they can, in English. When the time is up, review text, and students get a point for each detail the teacher calls out. X is any detail the teacher identifies from the text on the spot. Most points wins!
  • Annotation (me)
    This is a close reading you can scale up or down, focusing on a number of language features, or just one throughout as you go. Students annotate on printed texts, or copy just the examples you annotate into their notebook.
  • As Many Details As You Can (me)
    Students read and list as many details as they can using pictures, glossaries, etc. This could be individual or project and whole class. Make it a game with 1 point for each detail. Most points wins. For example, I projected Emma Vanderpool’s Aves text, gave students a glossary, and read aloud each page.


  • Lucky Reading Game EZ (Senora Chase)
    Whiteboards & Playing Cards & Project this for scoring
    Students Read & Translate in groups for X minutes. All members should understand the whole text. If they finish early, predict questions teacher will ask. Each group sends a representative to the front of room (with the text). Teacher asks a question, in English or the target language, then counts down from 5 as students write their response. Correct responses allow students to draw a card, and bring back to show their group, and keep secret. Since the point values are projected on the board, but cards are kept secret until end of the game, groups don’t know who’s in the lead! A new representative is sent up, then play continues. Group members can highlight parts of the text that have been questioned, predicting what might come next.
  • DEBATE! EZ (Caroline Spurr)
    Get a topic and hold an informal debate. See this post for more details.
  • Pop-up EZ (Senora Chase)
    This doc
    Assign pairs of students the same number. Ask a Q to whole class. Roll, or “roll” and first of the two with that number race to respond first. Most points wins.
  • Pencil Grab (source unknown)
    Pairs of students place a pencil between them. Make T/F statements. If false, DO NOTHING. Point for grabbing a TRUE statement first. Deduct a point for grabbing a FLASE statement by mistake.
  • Word Race EZ (Martina Bex)
    Printed Word Cloud with phrases from a text
    Call out English meanings as pairs race to highlight the TL. Or for more input, put all phrases in English as you read text in the TL.
  • The septem game! EZ (adapted from “The sex game!” shared by Keith Toda)
    Oh, and some 10-sided dice (N.B. use any-sided die, and pick any number)
    In groups of 3-4, students get a text, as well as a 10-sided die and 1 pencil. The goal is to be the first to translate the text (or be furthest along). This can be individual against the group, or group against other groups. Take turns rolling until someone gets a 7, yells out that number in the target language (TL), and begins translating sentences from the text. They continue to do so while other team members keep rolling. Once someone else gets a 7, they grab the pencil from whoever was writing, and play continues. Stop after a round (of however many minutes) and reread the text. Students stand. They sit down when you read the end of their translation. Continue until last standing (furthest translated) is the winner.
  • Unfair Game EZ (Martina Bex)
    These slides
    Teacher reads and asks a question one team. Whole team works together and answers the question. Spin wheel to show points. Correct = keep points, or assign to other team. Incorrect = other team chooses what to do with the points.
  • The Fair Game EZ (me)
    The slides at end of this post
    Variation on Unfair Game in which students create the questions and answers, and only lose points for providing teacher with incorrect answers that will be asked to the class. All other point values are positive.

Activities with more-specific corresponding pre-, and post-reading sequences:

Independent Reading

  • POST Game of Quotes EZ (shared by Senora Chase, from Jessie Oelke)
    Team-based follow up to independent reading, and/or longer text. Read about it, and get the Slides here.

Slide Talk EZ (Ben Slavic, digital update me)
This beginning-of-year classic takes on a more-personalized and lively appearance using Google Slides. Instead of students drawing their likes & dislikes, they find/copy/upload pics directly to a slide. Each student has their own slide, and can personalize it however they want, from a blank slide with an official school pic, to custom backgrounds, fonts, and selfies. Slide Talk. Check out my template with some instructions.

  • POST Task (Henshaw & Hawkins, 2022)
    General: (1) Read a list of words/phrases & check off what applies. (2) Compare with a classmate & summarize what was learned. (3) Respond to a final “based on that information…” prompt.
    Specific to Slide Talk: (1) I list some activities from the slides in a Google Form, or just project. (2) Students then rate their interest in each, compare with a classmate, then respond: Activities my classmate likes more than me, Activities I like more than my classmate, Activities we both like, Activities we both hate, (3) Students answer a final prompt: Who would be more likely to be doing something indoors after school? You or your classmate?

Discipulus Illustris & Magistrī Illustrēs

  • POST Type ‘n Talk (Write & Discuss) EZ (shared by Mike Peto)
    Towards the end of class, the teacher discusses & writes/types out what happened that day as students copy into notebooks. This is crucial, and can replace ANY writing/typing you would otherwise do during planning period.


  • POST Summārium personārum EZ (me)
    Summarize what is known about characters, or what is learned about recurring ones, focusing on traits, etc.

Mārcus magulus
Rūfus et arma ātra
Agrippīna aurīga
Pīsō et Syra et pōtiōnēs mysticae


  • PRE Thumbnail Add-on (Henshaw & Hawkins, 2022)
    Instead of the screenshot Picture Talk method of previewing an video clip, slap all those screenshots out of order and as smaller thumbnail views onto one page/slide. Read aloud descriptions as students match them to numbered thumbnails.
  • PRE Hidden PictureTalk (Henshaw & Hawkins, 2022)
    Look at a picture (hidden from student view), make statements, students copy verbatim, then start showing numbered pictures (either cropped from a single image, or a series of them, such as MovieTalk screenshots), then students write picture number next to matching description.
  • PRE Memory Game PictureTalk (Henshaw & Hawkins, 2022)
    Students look at an image for a few minutes, and you do a quick Picture Talk. Then, the image is removed and students use their memory to write down responses to a set of questions (e.g., “how many…?”). Reveal image again, then discuss. Super low-prep in just coming up with several questions about the image.
  • POST What Wasn’t In The Story? EZ (me)
    This works particularly well alongside pre-written texts like embedded MovieTalk stories. There are far more details in the animated clips than appear in the texts, however small, so this is another way to wrap up the MovieTalk sequence: watch, read, write more. It’s a guided Write & Discuss (Type ‘N Talk).
  • POST Flyswatter PictureTalk EZ (my adaptation, shared by Keith Toda, from Jason Fritze)
    Place two drawings side-by-side under a document camera (or use silent T/F Reading drawings all ready to go). Two competing students head to board. Students indicate the picture you’re describing by calling out “left/right” in the target language. It’s best when you can describe things that are in both, reserving any difference for after some input.

Read & Draw EZ (source unknown)
Students read, then draw a scene (favorite?), or mashup of events from the text.
Silent True/False Reading EZ (shared by Alina Filipescu)
In pairs, students read silently for X minutes, then each draw 2 pics about the text (1 true, 1 FALSE). Students swap papers, and partner points to the True pic. Pairs now trade papers with another pair, and determine the new True pics with partner.

  • POST Hidden PictureTalk (see above)
  • POST Memory Game PictureTalk (see above)
  • POST Flyswatter PictureTalk (see above)

The following are one-offs or occur at the end of an entire class, so they don’t have their own pre- or post-reading. Since absolutely everything else I do in class is in this one post, it seems only fitting to include them:

Why Latin?
Flex Time
lector/audītor EZ (Gronewaller)
Find a partner. One partner chooses a book. They’re the lector. lector reads IN LATIN to their partner, the audītor (read slowly, pause and show audītor pictures as you go, answer questions the audītor asks when they don’t understand). After a few minutes, switch roles (change book if not enjoying it). Discuss book, in English.
One Word Image (OWI) (Ben Slavic, structure shared by Tina Hargaten)
Begin with one word, ask questions, and then draw the scene/character, etc. For some structure, establish context in L1, then ask questions to get details of Who, What, With whom?, Problem, Resolution (new character, new place, or both).

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