With COVID once again making its rounds. If I were out this time of year, I’d have almost NOTHING productive for first year Latin students to do on their own for a whole week. Last January during the Omicron madness it was a completely different story. Students could read on their own and in small groups with minimal supervision by that time. A sub could have run those classes if I had been out.
But now? No way. Unless…
Last week marked progress report time called P1, our halfway point of the first grading quarter. It’s been just four weeks since the start of school with 10 class meetings. Some kids switched into a different section. Others didn’t start school right away. Some kids have missed one or two classes. Others have missed four. The start of a language course is a horribly unfortunate time to be missing class, with students feeling like they’re way behind, no matter how well they try to let teacher know when the language is unclear. It’s clear that some students could use a bit of catching up. But how do you pause class? Oh wait…you just…pause…class!
It occurred to me that pausing for a week, meaning doing nothing new, with the explicit goal of understanding EVERY word of EVERY text so far these past four weeks, is plain old just a good idea. Could something like that even be used for a COVID leave, or other sub plans? If done right, yup. So, here’s what I got, taken directly from my one hodiē Doc that’s got each class Do Now, agenda, instructions for projecting, and any links needed for class, all in one place:
What do the teachers do? They walk around and monitor. This is serious. DO NOT head back to the desk and catch up on emails. DO NOT sit there in a corner reading the latest novella yourself. You really do need to set a timer every 15 minutes and help with transitions to new activities, pairs, groups, and texts.
Now that I think about it, there has probably always been a handful of students that would’ve benefited from this kind of pause. In the past, I’ve relied on what’s in the input that gets recycled throughout the year, but reality is that some kids have already missed out on whatever’s been recycled in these four weeks alone. This P1 Pausa actually makes so much sense for supporting students, I’m already planning to do it for a whole week at the halfway point of every quarter (i.e., P2 Pausa, P3 Pausa, P4 Pausa). Would I recommend doing this more than that? No. There’s already a lack of communicative purpose to this very direct, almost “catch up” structure to the week’s classes. No need to do more than is beneficial.
So, what do you need? All that’s needed is some texts (right now we have 7 in each class section’s Bibliothēca digital library, plus the first novella read), and this choice board adapted for October Latin 1 (i.e., no producing any Latin, because that would likely just become Google Translate BS):