“Sheltering vocabulary while unsheltering grammar” refers to using ANY grammar necessary to express ideas while limiting words. This mantra has been instrumental in the design of our latest Latin novellas since it simultaneously reduces cognitive demand while casting a broad net of input, exposing students to different verb forms as they attend to fewer “big content word” meanings. Despite this unsheltering, sometimes we have to make a decision about when our story takes place! This establishes a focus—perhaps unwanted—on one tense or another.
If we, indeed, want to expose students to that broad net of input, we can respond appropriately without sacrificing any communicative value. Here are some very practical ways to conceptualize the use of different tenses in stories, and what to do in order to add variety to the verb forms used in stories and readings:
**Updated 12.13 with this clue tracking sheet for teams**
Every Latin program has that perfunctory “Roman house” unit in which students memorize the layout and names of various rooms in a vīlla or domus, and then read (or translate) a narrative loosely connected to those rooms. This got me thinking; is there a more meaningful way to learn about the Roman house through a game? To be clear, gamification usually sucks (e.g. playing a board game to teach prepositions), so the key is to align the game objective with a communicative task in Latin. On Episode 42 of Tea with BVP, Bill stated that “we communicate in order to learn, build, create, entertain, and socialize,” so what better task covering at least 3 of those purposes than a “whodunit” based on Clue™?
Teachers who use this term mean well, but at the theoretical level it’s absurd.
The reason for a “Hybrid CI/Textbook” program is that teachers aren’t yet comfortable doing something radically different, or have external constraints that prevent them from having a “full/pure CI” program. In both cases, they are tethered to the textbook in some way.
In my last post, I mentioned the importance of parallel stories. Recycled Readings (RR) is my new idea on improving textbook stories known for not providing enough repetitions of new vocabulary. To create a Recycled Reading (RR), just add a parallel character, and recycle the vocabulary from the original as you compare. In the example below, the bold text is my parallel character—Katy Perry.
Ecce Rōmānī – I (Two Roman Girls)
ecce! in pictūrā est puella, nōmine Cornēlia. in pictūrā nōn est puella, nōmine Katy. Katy est puella Americāna quae in L.A. habitat. Cornēlia est puella Rōmāna quae in Italiā habitat…etc.
This isn’t a panacea—the textbook still introduces TOO MUCH vocabulary TOO SOON, but at least now there are more repetitions and something to relate to—instant Personalized Question & Answer (PQA) material. In addition to Recycled Readings (RR), I’ll be creating Embedded Readings (ER) for each chapter using a parallel story. You can read about what I learned at NTPRS about ERs from Michele Whaley, (co-creator of Embedded Readings), here.
So, my plan is to ask a class story, read those parallel stories I shared in the last post, then read the Ecce Rōmānī parallel ERs, and finally look at the RR. From there, we might actually read the original Ecce Rōmānī text, or just move on. I’ll update the document with each chapter throughout the year:
Click here for Ecce Rōmānī Parallel Stories (ER & RR). Feel free to make a copy (under “file”), and change the details to suit the interests of your students.
The latest Tea with BVP episode was “Teaching Without Textbooks.” Whether you’ve already ditched the textbook, or still work alongside one, parallel stories are important. Parallel stories include the same language found in a narrative, but the details (maybe plot) change. This year, I’ll be using a mix of parallel stories that compliment a textbook’s narrative, and co-created stories via TPRS.
For years I used TPRS story scripts to ask a story and then type up and read the exact story as a class. I’m now sold on parallel readings that include all the language found in the class story during acting, but now in a new context with details unknown to the students. Following Michele Whaley’s current practices on Embedded Readings, each of our stories will have at least three versions—this builds interest along the way by withholding information (vs. knowing exactly how the class story ends).
There will be more on how I adapt a textbook’s narrative later, but for now, here’s a link to our Latin 1 parallel stories (updated throughout the year in this single document).
Yesterday, the following events unfolded while riding my motorcycle:
- I notice a car rolling towards towards the road at a TD Bank exit driveway—the driver isn’t looking left (i.e. my direction).
- The driver doesn’t look my way, keeps rolling, then suddenly turns left into the road directly in front of me.
- I stop short. The momentum sends my motorcycle down on its right side, and me forward, also on my right side.
- I’m on the ground now and can’t move, but it’s for an OK reason—I realize that my helmet is stuck between the pavement and bumper of the driver’s car.
- The driver gets out of the car and tries to move me (idiot!).
- I take some time to watch horrified rubberneckers looking downward at a motorcycle on the ground and its rider partly under a car.
- After the disorientation dissipates, I get bored not doing anything under the car, extract myself, take off my gear, and take in the situation.
- Motorcycle doesn’t start (it won’t shift BELOW 3rd gear—the one it was in before going down).
- I wrap things up with the officer, get the moto towed, start calling insurance companies, and text Bob Patrick. No, Bob is not my emergency contact, but he just happened to have caught a typo in Discipulus Illustris, which led to a nice suggestion (i.e. Quō in annō es? for Quō in gradū es?)