First Text: A Year To Year Comparison

After the first orientation day of just 12 minute “classes,” I typed up statements using the drawings students did while responding to “what do you like/like to do?” Even though I followed the same plan for the first day as last year, the higher execution of it this year has been…well…crazy.

Last year, each class section read just 50 total words of Latin (10 unique words). This year? There’s 520 total words using 54 unique (17 of which cognates)!!!! Yeah. That’s how much Latin I’ll be able to provide this week after just one very brief meeting, and a decent number of hours writing/typing. Oh, and I’m not keeping track of that kind of work at this point in the school year, doing what I need to do to start off in a calm and confident manner, putting in any extra time beyond the school day I need.

So, how does this year end up including SOOOOO much more input?! First of all, I made sure every 9th grade student was included in the text, clearing the time needed to write about them. Otherwise, I updated a few things. This post looks at those changes…

sample of 2018-19 first text
sample of this year’s first text

The differences you can probably see between the two comparison pics are the following…

Other changes are less obvious. While last year I chose to include ecce, scīlicet, and ēheu, in the first text, I went ahead and ditched those, not wanting to bog down the reader with words that are harder to grasp, not holding much meaning on their own. This year’s statements also repeat key vocab a bit more. There’s also more variation. Look at how the text progresses, both in word order, as well as exposure to grammar. As students continue reading, messages are part of a growing familiar context—peer interests:

But wait, there’s more…

This year’s document is 21 pages in landscape for projecting, but there’s too much good input to leave it there on the board. We won’t get to every statement. That’d be too boring, even as such a confidence enhancing process as that *can* be this time of year. So, I definitely wanted to print these. However, reformatting was necessary. The first step? Moving the in-line glosses to a full glossary in the back resulting in a 3-page comprehensible packet that students can read independently. We can start laying the groundwork for Free Voluntary Reading (FVR) on day 1! I built the glossary by copying the glosses (with pictures, too) into a new document. Then, I copied the statements from the original, changed font to 14, removed in-line glosses, and kept line breaks to single-space. With the glosses removed, I copied the statements into, and then copied back to the end of the glossary, adding English meanings to everything (including ones that had the pictures). Here’s what some of that looks like:

Now, instead of just printing and hoping students would read these, I’m going to use them deliberately in class. Some students will eagerly show people at home how easy the first day of LATIN class was, and also share how successful they feel, but most won’t. Therefore, I need to get the most mileage out of the input in the only place I have control over—class. Here’s my agenda for this upcoming week of school:

Week 1 – Tuesday through Friday

  1. Do Now (reread previous syllabus section)
  2. Card Talk
    -Break- (Rock, Paper, Scissors, in Latin)
  3. READ (Lesson 1 Card Talk statements)
  4. TPR (Total Physical Response)
  5. syllabus (p.2)

Due to my wacky schedule, #3 will ALWAYS be reading for a few minutes, if not the start of the main reading activity for the day, which should be every day. This week, I have simple tasks planned to keep students reading this same text, appropriate for the start of school (vs. some time in January when everyone knows each other). Since statements about every 9th grade student are included in the text, each class section will have to do some reading in order to learn about their peers. Students are to read silently or in pairs (depending on day) for a bit—processing the text as a whole—and then respond to various prompts throughout the week:

  • a) highlight/circle something a student from our/this class likes, b) that you also like.
  • a) Cross out something a student from our/this class likes, b) that you don’t like.
  • How many students like to sleep?
  • What do students who like to read also have in common?

For all of those tasks, students MUST be processing the language again, even if at the phrase level (which is fine considering it’s the first day of reading and there’s a LOT of input throughout the text). For the first two tasks, students also need to know at least another person in the class, so they just might learn a new name or two in the process.

Also, I have NO IDEA who is supposed to be in what class at this point. I have 4 name cards for students who aren’t even in Power Teacher, and other rosters are all messed up. How?! Essential district personnel take their vacation just before school starts—for some reason—. Also, students can change an elective during the first two weeks, so there will be some shuffling around. It turns out that the idea to include every student in one big text ends up saving a lot of hassle during the shuffle. I’ll have to remember that. #noburnout

4 thoughts on “First Text: A Year To Year Comparison

  1. Pingback: Are My Students Reading Every Day? | Magister P.

  2. Pingback: Q1 Stats: 39% Of Input From Novellas | Magister P.

  3. Wow!! You are thinking about learning and kids in ways that I have always thought— but just on my own. I taught myself Latin and now tutor Latin (retired, ex-English teacher). Your thoughts are exciting — going through the texts you’ve created I could feel how quickly I learned as well as intuited about underlying structure. I sent for the book (Rufus) -can’t wait to get it. I wish you were in my life just to talk about teaching and learning Latin— and why I consider it a great choice for lower-ability students, especially kids with reading problems… as well as the old-fashioned elite style student. I’m babbling…just very excited. From Mary Greer

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