There are 163 fairly to super clear Latin to English (and even Spanish) cognates, and then just 7 other necessary Latin words (ad, est, et, in, nōn, quoque, sed) found within this tale of nearly 2500 words in length.
“Piso can’t seem to write any poetry. He’s distracted, and can’t sleep. What’s going on?! Is he sick?! Is it anxiety?! Has he lost his inspiration?! On Syra’s advice, Piso seeks mystical remedies that have very—different—effects. Can he persevere?”
Pīsō et Syra… is the 17th novella in the Pisoverse, the collection of Latin novellas written with sheltered (i.e. limited) vocabulary to provide more understandable reading material for the beginning Latin student. The Pisoverse now provides over 44,000 total words of Latin using a vocabulary of 645 (just about half of which—320—are cognates!).
During collaborative storytelling, I’ve often told students that their job is to suggest and/or guess details in the story. That is, sometimes I know the story and they need to guess, and other times they get to influence it. StoryGuessing is a more structured version of this process.
StoryGuessing eliminates any voting, which means you can tell a short story quick, and I mean real quick, like in the first 5 minutes of class (e.g. Darvin is sad because he doesn’t have coffee. Darvin leaves class and gets coffee from Principal HD. Darvin is happy). When you get a particular detail—perhaps from something a student says as they enter the room, like what they want, or how they’re feeling (e.g. “Darvin is sad, but why?”)—ask students to guess on a piece of paper (Do Now/Weekly Sheet, notebook, etc.). Then, tell them what the detail is (e.g. “Darvin is sadbecause he doesn’t have coffee.“), ask who guessed correctly, then continue the story.
Here’s the rub…
Fish for a detail, asking a student or two what they guessed, and go with that (e.g. “yep, you got it!”). N.B. Be sure to limit the fishing to just once or twice! The point is for students to guess your story. If you keep asking students what their guesses were for each detail, that starts to become classic Storyasking, and will take much, much longer, and it will become obvious that you have absolutely no story in mind. StoryGuessing, then, could be one way to prepare students for Storyasking.
All you need is a simple 3-sentence script in mind, and go from there. End by typing story in a projected Google Doc as students copy (i.e. Write & Discuss). Here was my first script:
Mr P is sad because he has a bad tooth.
Mr P goes to Mr E (the Bio teacher), not the dentist.
Mr P doesn’t go to the dentist because he has bad insurance. (This was the one detail I fished for that a student provided.)
This activity was shared quite some time ago. I didn’t look into it at the time, and just sent myself an email for whenever I had the chance. That chance was last week.
This game rules.
In short, it promotes reading, and highlights titles from your Free Voluntary Reading (FVR) library at the same time. Plus, even students who “don’t want to do the work” have a role that ends up bringing them into the fold (see below, *in bold*). This was my process for our team game after 10 minutes of independent reading (Free Reading Friday), also included in the Slides presentation you’ll find at the bottom of this post:
Students hold onto their books, forming teams (3+).
A prompt is revealed (e.g. “something you yell when you stub your toe”), then everyone has a minute or so to look for a word/phrase/quote from their book silently/independently.
Each student shares with their team. *Students who didn’t choose anything open to a random page and read a random sentence.*
After a count-off, teams vote for their favorite quote by pointing to whomever read it. Most votes wins.
Winner from each team shares their quote with the whole class.
A judge chooses best overall quote. That team gets a point, and becomes the next judge. Teacher chooses first judge to get things rolling.
Laugh and continue.
The process I listed above is a simple team-based version of the game I adapted from Jessie Oelke, with the presentation entirely in English. I figured that I’d end up spending more time trying to establish meaning of the prompts in Latin than we’d actually get to playing the game (i.e. students processing some input from their books). Otherwise, there’s this page from Senora Chase along with some Slides in various languages, as well as a longer story-based form of the game. You could always just collect a bunch of prompts that students create (much like Discipulus Illustris questions).
Let’s face it; most school-wide PD is trash. Either only one content area greatly benefits, or in an effort to get every department on the same page the facilitators end up wasting everyone’s time altogether.
Last week, we started Free Voluntary Reading (FVR) in what I’m calling Free Reading Fridays, which is 10 minutes of independent reading at the start of class just before we do some kind of team game. It’s a great way to end the week. I wrote about how first year Latin students have had 143 minutes of FVR so far, but that’s been in segments of 3-5 minutes in the middle of class, with students choosing class texts from their folder. Last Friday was the first day they were able to sit in the back and choose anything from our library…
I started this blog in grad school, primarily as my digital CV, and on advice of a Tech presenter to scoop up the really short domain before any other “teacher P” had the idea. For nearly two years, I occasionally uploaded my work on the rhythms of Latin poetry. Then, at the start of my second year teaching, I had this short announcement about figuring some stuff out, and at the end of that 2014-15 school year, I confessed how wrong I was about “practicing” languages. I’ve been blogging regularly (304 posts) ever since.
Now, aside from scooping up the domain name, I started this blog under the “Free” version, and have been using that ever since. Among other things, this means that visitors see ads. In case there’s any question, I don’t get paid for any clicks on those. Honestly, I’ve ignored them. But ads can be annoying, especially if you don’t have a good pop-up blocker, and don’t click to remove/hide them. Therefore, I went looking into WordPress blog options…
Personal: no ads
Premium, etc.: ads, but monetization
A Premium blog would be an identical experience for visitors to how it’s always been, except that I’d have to pay monthly and have a sliiiiiim chance of making money on ad clicks, lol. I don’t like this idea, especially if the ads might be for something relevant like, say, Babble, Duolingo, or anything else I wouldn’t recommend. As such, I’ve gone ahead and upgraded to the Personal blog for the minimal cost of about a latte each month.
After sharing the strong start to the year from just the first 12 minutes of day 1, and results of a textbook comparison from the first 4 weeks, I’ve now got some stats from Quarter 1. Having arrived at the first 10 week mark of the year (36 hours), the total words read is now 6,500. But that figure isn’t really what I find most remarkable. How about the fact that 39% of the total input was read in just these last two weeks, from novellas alone…