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August 2017

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The week before Halloween I began an open-ended unit on storms.  I then took a break to take a look at ghosts--Pliny and Vergil. We've returned to the storms in book 1 of Vergil.

I am slipping into old familiar habits, and I am wary of myself.  Yes, we are going so much slower than if I were driving the AP syllabus monster truck. And that part is good. And, after Phaedrus, I realized that we really and truly needed more work on participles, which I feel I teach well with the Cambridge Latin Course.  So, with some breaks for discussing and working on participles and how critical they are--I feel--for good reading skills, we are reading Vergil.

I love the storm scenes.  I wanted to look at several scenes because it would build vocabulary with the repetition without that feel of having to look everything up that so often happens with reading major authors.

But now I'm thinking I need to pause.  To shorten what I had my sights set on.  I need to revisit what I did with Phaedrus. I need to pull the creative stuff back in. I did a micrologue last week that I thought went pretty well. And in fact, let me take a moment to talk about that.

I have tried/used micrologues sporatically for two or three years now.  I write up an embedded/simplified version of a story (usually from CLC), and by the time we get through with it and correcting the dictation, there's hardly time for substitution / transformation drills.  It used up a lot of time--time away from the book and exposure to vocabulary and grammar in context--and thus I was never very satisfied with it.  Then I watched a video of Nancy Llewellyn working with her students. Her micrologue was very simple in many ways--simple sentences, simple vocabulary. And then her substitution / transformation drills also started very simply, more simply than I expected.  And then... and then they started transformations into indirect statement.  And I realized that there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with simplilcity.  NOTHING.  Especially for doing this kind of oral/aural activity. So when I made up a micrologue this time for the Vergil storm scene, it was much simpler. And we had time for the drills.

I also realized that I couldn't use "enodatio" with my students until we had spent a little time practising the concept of "untangling" the poetry (I really wince when I write or even hear that, because I love Latin poetry) and thinking about it in a prose Latin word order. (But NOT English word order.) For this, we were looking at Juno's complaint that Pallas was able to punish Ajax (so exciting to see him pierced with a lightning bolt and breathing fire). I remembered that I had some sentence strips so wrote out two sets of the sentences, color coding parts of speech (really, because I felt like it and was interested to see if it would help us see anything worth noting), and then cut the words apart.  I divided my small Latin 4 class into two teams, and let them discuss and rearrange the sentences.  It was an interesting exercise that we actually ended up taking a couple of days on and led to some profitable discussions on Latin word order.

So now I'm fishing around for what "cool" thing I want to do with the Vergil we've read. I might find some pictures online of storm scenes and have them write about them (this scares all of us, really, because we don't do enough of it). Or I was thinking of having them write a simple version of the storm for beginning students. I dunno.  That's what I will playing with later tonight. And all of this is to say, that this is just that unnerving part of trying to provide a richer, more interesting class.

(Posting more later about reading skills... stay tuned.)


Date: 2016-06-14 05:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Reading back through my WHOLE blog has made me realize I was trying micrologues 11 years ago. I never did many because I never felt like there was not enough time, etc. Yes, it was about at this point where the creativity just collapsed. It was a difficult year, especially 2nd semester. I was not a good teacher for the Latin 4s 2nd semester. I might have been ok for my other classes. Such is life. You do the best you can.