Track The Characterization Of…

During a meeting with the Director of Curriculum & Instruction, also an ELA teacher, I noticed on the board that students were to read & analyze Book 9 of The Odyssey and track the characterization of either Odysseus or Polyphemus. “Track the characterization of…” got me thinking…

Historically, Latin teachers haven’t really had many texts of substantial length that their students can also read with ease (i.e., in order to then do the heavy lifting of tracking characterization, etc.). This combination hasn’t been possible for centuries, yet novellas have changed that quite a bit. The continuous narrative and character development of even the shortest novellas contain enough information for students to do a “track the characterization of…” task.

So, just before the holiday break, we spent a few classes reading Poenica purpurāria. At the start of the second day, I had this on the board:

This was not an easy task. Students really had to think beyond the statements. For example, classes thought Poenica must be determined since she immigrated, has her own shop, and already dyed many togas purple. This was a very straightforward task that engaged students in all that higher-order thinking gold.

My thoughts have wondered further. What are some other ELA teacher reading tasks that I could now implement in my own classes when reading novellas (vs. translating passages)?

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