After looking at all the collaborative storytelling options for our first class story, we decided Mike Peto’s simple structure of a 20min story—tops—was exactly what we were looking for. In preparation, I suggested that we script out some basic either/or detail options, one of which being a “shadow” (i.e. non-option), and the other what we think they’d likely choose. Student teacher Magister K suggested that we look to each class’ Slide Talk slides to find something they already liked…Continue reading
We’ve noticed that asking questions online takes a looooooooooong time. Whether it’s processing the question (in Latin) and coming up with a response, or tech delays like unmuting and typing into chat, there are definitely obstacles to this most basic way to engage students. Here are some solutions…Continue reading
“Piso and Syra are friends, but is it more than that? Sextus and his non-binary friend, Valens, help Piso understand his new feelings, how to
express them, and how NOT to express them! This is a story of desire,
and discovery. Could it be love?”
I hate what I’ve been seeing and hearing in the world, but Yoda warned us of the dark side path—fear to anger to hate to suffering—and no one needs any of that. Lets face it, the only real way to get out of this mess is to strike down hate with love…and humor. My contribution to all that is a love story that takes more of a lighthearted, comical turn. Piso crashes and burns, falling flat on his face, and deals with all the feels of a young adult. I’ll neither confirm nor deny that any of this draws from personal experience.
In sitne amor?, the Pisoverse characters are getting older in their world. This novella picks up on perhaps one of the most mysterious and powerful emotions—love. Ancient Romans and other Latin writers have been obsessed with the topic for centuries. Love is complicated, relatable…timeless. Perhaps that’s why my students requested a love story among their top choices for a next novella. Therefore, it seemed appropriate to write a tale that includes all the blunders of someone trying to figure it all out for the first time, perhaps not unlike many Latin students!
One major reason for writing sitne amor? is an increasing need for students in more diverse Latin classrooms to refer to themselves. Traditional Latin dictionary entries are organized by masculine forms, yet there are plenty of girls, women, and non-binary students looking to express their identity in the target language. Bob Patrick has written that neutrum means “neither,” as in neither masculine nor feminine, therefore its use for non-binary descriptions in Latin is perfect. I’d like to thank my wife Christa Whitney and other members of the LGBTQ community—especially librarian Katharine Janeczek, MLS, whose career focus includes LGBTQ literature—for all their help with this novella. sitne amor? is available…
Here are more organizational tips and tricks to stay sane.
In general, it’s not a bad idea to turn off all notifications, all the time, for everything. Then, turn on only what you need, like Calendar event reminders, etc. One helpful notification is “late” work. I don’t take off any points for late work because #1…pandemic…and #2 that’s stupid anyway, but I definitely don’t need to be checking responses every hour, either. If a student gets around to something, I want to be notified, not go tracking them down…
Autumn is probably my favorite season, and Halloween most certainly my favorite holiday. No fancy costume for me this year, but I’ll be reading a spooky tale for sure. You should, too. However, you’ve got just a couple weeks to get one of these books in time to read to students over Zoom (Kindergarten Day reading-style), or along with them via eBooks and PDF. Grab that hot apple cider, get spooky lighting, and scare your students this season!
Quīntus et nox horrifica (Amazon, eBook Polyglots, eBook on Storylabs)
Given its low word count (26 cognates, 26 other), and super short length (1100 total words), this novella can be read within a couple classes, and quite early on. In fact, we’ll start reading it on what will be just the 9th class for first year Latin students! This year, I get to use the new audiobook that came out last spring, which is killer for ambiance. My plan is to read a chapter as a whole class, then listen to its audiobook track, continuing for several chapters, and then switch entirely over to the audiobook on the second class day to finish it out.
“Poenica is an immigrant from Tyre, the Phoenician city known for its purple. She’s an extraordinary purple-dyer who wants to become a tightrope walker! In this tale, her shop is visited by different Romans looking to get togas purpled, as well as an honored Vestal in need of a new trim on her sacred veil. Some requests are realistic—others ridiculous. Is life all work and no play? Can Poenica find the time to tightrope walk?”
For this novella, I’ve gone back to my roots of writing Latin that students can read within the first months. The last book written at such a level and scope was Syra sōla in early 2019, with more recent books being written for readers having closer to a year of Latin or more. With its low unique word count (19) and high cognate count (16), Poenica purpurāria is one of the most comprehensible novellas to date. It’s over 1600 total words in length, making for a manageable choice among the first books read, or a quick read for more experienced Latin students.
Poenica purpurāria seriously unshelters (i.e. unleashes, doesn’t limit, etc.) its grammar. In this novella, there are indirect statements, passive voice, gerundives of purpose, perfect and future tenses, ablative absolute, and the future periphrastic. Considering it’s able to be read within the first months of Latin, that’s a lot of grammar exposure for the beginning student.
Regarding target culture, Poenica purpurāria can serve as an introduction to quite a variety of topics for a book of its small scope, including the process of dyeing clothes itself, multicultural Rome, women in antiquity, Phoenicians, trade, not to mention Vestals and the broad topic of religion. Teachers are encouraged to make note of what students find compelling, and consider exploring more of that in class. Poenica purpurāria is available…
As a drummer, and former drum corps and marching band performer, coordination isn’t really a problem. However, the clickity clickness and toggling of teaching remotely via Zoom is enough to give me pause, and that’s no good. The One Doc setup has taken care of organization, sure. This latest update takes care of providing input during class with supports at-the-ready. Oh, and the class libraries are just a cool space for texts…Continue reading
The concept is simple: you establish criteria students must meet in order to get an A in the class, but keep traditional assessments out of it, completely.
Sure, you can still give quizzes if you want. You can even score them and provide feedback, too. Truth is, none of that is necessary to set expectations for class, and for students to meet those expectations. Here’s the process…Continue reading
**Any mention of Google Docs means them being used as screen share during Zoom—what was projecting in class—NOT for any student editing.**
This year, I’m pushing the boundaries of streamlining teaching. For years, my students have used one rubric to self-assess one grade at the end of a term. Google Docs have always been my in-class-go-to for organization and providing input, but a few updates have resulted in magic…