After a most terrible teaching experience (i.e., remote year 2020-21), I wrote about wanting to double my storytelling efforts for the next year. In 2021-22, it didn’t really happen, with us creating only 10 class stories total, all very short, amounting to something like 700 total words of Latin. Come this year, we made just four (about 300 total words) up until November. This is not much Latin at all, and I’ve come to question its value in my classes.
Besides, I don’t miss it one bit, not really enjoying the storytelling process as of late. Did I ever? Not sure. The learning curve for collaborative storytelling is real steep. It’s hard to tell what might have been productive struggle or just stressful struggle. I certainly loved being a student in storytelling demos—what a friend dubbed “Workshop CI”—but I can’t say for sure that I loved asking stories to a classroom of actual teenage kids who were neutral at best, but who usually couldn’t care less. I know I know, the key is to bank on interests and personalize and make class fun and memorable and make students forget they’re learning a language, blah, blah, blah, but that just doesn’t match my reality. It never has (though it was much closer when teaching middle school). Such a magical storyland context certainly exists for some teachers in some schools teaching some languages to some students. Not mine.
So, I’m getting rid of storytelling.
No worries, though. We have plenty of other activities, and plenty of texts since I began writing these for the absolute beginner. Granted, we still need MORE low level books for independent reading options, yet we’ve reached a point where the number of books exceed what could be read as a whole class for the year (which would be boring, anyway, only reading these books by just one author). In terms of novellas (and now novellulas Pīsō… & Quīntus…), we really do begin reading a book the first week. No need to wait until the spring. So, books are a significant part of class content. They’re anchors we use to explore Roman topics. Aside from those anchor texts, we actually have enough sometimes feels like content overload:
- MovieTalk texts (do I even like playing and pausing these anymore instead of just watching then reading the text, either?! Hmm…)
- Discipulus Illustris student interviews
- end-of-class Write & Discuss (Type ‘N Talk)
- Monthly zodiac myths
- one-off activities like The Game, and mystēria
I do, however, want to keep the idea of students-as-content. In my experience, this has helped build a safe learning environment and sense of belongingness right from day one of school. Our class stories were always based on something the student liked. Therefore, this new idea just eliminates the story…Continue reading