fragmenta Pīsōnis: Published!

Here are 50 new lines of poetry including dactylic hexameter, hendecasyllables, and scazon (i.e. limping iambics)!

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This collection of poetry from the Pisoverse features a prose description of what inspired Piso’s poetry prior to each verse itself. This provides context and exposure to the words found in each verse, adding to its comprehensibility. Despite the lack of a single continuous plot, students should find fragmenta Pīsōnis more readable than the Pīsō Ille Poētulus novella, especially with any background knowledge from reading the other, much easier novellas in the Pisoverse (i.e. Rūfus lutulentus, Rūfus et arma ātra, and Agrippīna: māter fortis). The poetry in this collection includes more “big content words” to clearly convey meaning. fragmenta Pīsōnis can be used as a transition to the Pīsō Ille Poētulus novella, or as additional reading for students already comfortable with poetry having read the novella. The only new word added to the 96 word count from the entire Pisoverse is fragmentum. This collection is 2200 words in total length.

Use fragmenta Pīsōnis as a Free Voluntary Reading (FVR) option, read as a whole class together, or introduce each fragment as “poetry of week.”

fragmenta Pīsōnis is available…

1) Classroom Set Specials (up to $80 off!)
2) On Amazon
3) As a free preview of the first section (includes 12 lines of poetry) (text only)
Poetry of the Week (free audio files to use)
4) Email me for Purchase Orders and classroom set discounts

Rūfus et arma ātra: Teacher’s Materials & Rūfus et gladiātōrēs (Student FVR Reader)

**Updated 6.29.18**

3000 additional total words in 28 scenes and stories for the novice reader featuring more vivid descriptions of weapons, deeper character development, mud, fights with animals, retiarii, baths, rumors, mysterious odors, infants in danger, Crixaflamma’s real name, and more…

This is a different kind of teacher’s guide.

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Making Latin More Comprehensible: Cognates

Teacher’s Materials for Rūfus et arma ātra are just days away from being published, featuring 28 additional stories that expand the unique word count, and increase sentence lengths. This will provide the novice+ student with 3000 more total words to read in Latin, and is the first of my Latin texts written with deliberate attention to super clear cognates—45 of them!

When it comes to a student-centered acquisition-rich classroom, the main responsibility of a teacher is providing input. Given time constraints, as well as what we know about general anxiety over learning languages, the input (I) should be as comprehensible (C) as possible. Therefore, the teacher would benefit from spending most of their time making the target language more comprehensible, but doing so requires training in particular strategies and techniques.

An oft neglect technique for Latin teachers is the liberal use of cognates.

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Kahoot English Quadrant Word Race

The low-tech/no-tech paper version of the English Quadrant Word Race (included in Pīsō Ille Poētulus Teacher’s Guide, as well as the upcoming Teacher’s Materials for Rūfus et arma ātra) is an awesome, simple, input-based competitive activity.

The more-tech version is to take 5min and make a Kahoot quiz for the whole class, or teams. On Kahoot, students earn more points the faster they answer, so you’ll get a whole class/team winner (vs. the 1 winner per pair in the low/no-tech paper version).

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The process is the same—just read slowly in the target language, and when students hear you say one of the options, they choose it on their smartphone/computer.

kahoot 2

Why Novellas? Why “Shelter Vocabulary?”

The new Latin novellas, first published in September of 2015, have been written with sheltered (i.e. limited) vocabulary so the novice student can read Latin confidently after knowing as few as 40 words! This sheltering provides frequent exposure to Latin’s core vocabulary—even more so than textbook narratives, or unadapted ancient texts that seldom repeat words. Why novellas? Why shelter vocabulary? Novellas provide high-frequency repetition for the novice student.

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Expanded Readings (ExR), and Drum Corps: The Hose

It’s DCI finals week, so you get a drum corps analogy. You have no idea what that is, you sort of know, or you marched colorguard in 1984? Well, this is what a DCI champion looks like these days. Drumlines usually begin the season in the winter months with complex and challenging music. In the summer, after hours and hours of rehearsal, that music is usually “watered-down” to something the performers can actually achieve, hence The Hose. I’ve long thought that it might be a more pedagogically-sound practice to write some basic “skeleton” music, and then expand it to be more challenging as performers improve throughout the season. The result would be music appropriate to the performers’ proficiency level (instead of spending time trying to reach something they can’t do, or can’t do well, only to ditch during finals week). Of course, it would take an incredibly patient drum line and staff in the winter to have faith that performer proficiency would improve beyond what appeared to be the “simple, easy beats” to play, and then become something impressive and worthy of playing in front of a crowd. In reality, though, the simple beats are quite rudimental to drumming, just like sheltered vocabulary is to second language learning.

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Rūfus et arma ātra: A New Latin Novella

**Update 3.15.17 – Rufus has been published!**

Rūfus et arma ātra is a spin-off of Pīsō Ille Poētulus written with ONLY 40 words—the lowest word count of currently published novellas! Rūfus is simple, funny, and can be read a) after Pīsō once students have a connection to the character, or b) before Pīsō early on in Latin I. At the end of November, most of my Latin I students read Rūfus over just a few days of Free Voluntary Reading (FVR); some read it within the first 15min!

Click here to access the first 3 chapters (of 7) for previewing/piloting.

In the preview, you’ll recognize some illustrations from Pīsō. Over 50 of them, both old and new, will be used to aid comprehension in the final version of Rūfus. I’ll be editing the book in February for publication in March, so contact me with any suggestions you and/or your students might have by the end of January.

p.s. Rūfus was inspired by Mira Canion’s El capibara con botas containing just 55 Spanish words. The book was a breeze and a blast to read, and I knew that Latin students needed something like this. Granted, the word count figure excludes a lot of Spanish cognates (twice as many?), but that seems to be the industry standard practice. For Pīsō, however, I strayed from this practice and instead chose to include cognates in the word count figure of 108, since I don’t believe cognates are necessarily transparent, and excluded the ~30 additional meanings established in footnotes. Similarly, Rūfus has just ~10 additional meanings established in footnotes. If that reckoning irritates you, it’s fine to say that while Pīsō has under 150, Rūfus has under 50 words—a figure still worthy of note!