ginlindzey: At ACL (Default)

August 2017

  12 345

Custom Text

Most Popular Tags

I must confess that I am disappointed that the Simon's Cat videos that I have been adding Latin subtitles to have been blocked on YouTube. I had, as I said, sent an email to (I guess) Simon, asking for permission or his blessing, providing a link, etc--being very up front and honest.  While I am sad that he never actually replied, I see now the response via the blocked videos. I respect that; I don't have to like it to respect it. I'm sure it seems like I'm interfering with his livelihood, and taking advantage of his art. And for that, I publicly and sincerely apologize.  But as you know (you few teachers who read this), I am but a Latin teacher with no ulterior motives for profit. Just trying to help provide usable materials for Latin teachers.

In any event, the Simon's Cat videos can be used without the Latin subtitles I provided. I encourage you to find them on YouTube, or better yet, go to the website at to support the creator directly. (I myself purchased one of his books this Christmas for a friend who has already opened the present and raved about how funny it is.)

So, in all honesty I was adding the Latin subtitles mainly for me, to make myself simplify what I'm seeing/what's being told in the story, and to make sure that I myself know the vocabulary so that I can do my best when trying to use them in the classroom. This ain't Caesar or Vergil after all. I realized that using the Simon’s Cat videos is one way of introducing some common daily vocabulary that we might need to discuss things around us versus what is introduced in the textbook (Cambridge Latin Course). For instance, I realized, as did my students, that we had never learned the word for “drop” before, yet in “Snow Cat” the dog drops his stick. I was able to contrast this with the stick falling down from the snow cat and the snow cat falling onto the cat. And it really isn’t necessary to have the Latin subtitles. Perhaps it is a crutch as we learn to go from a “dead language on the page” to something with more energy and life. Then again, it saved me time from having to write words on the board that were unfamiliar. And I could have gone from the version of Snow Cat with the Latin subtitles (it is probably blocked--OR TRY HERE through my Google Drive account) to the original without. The possibilities are endless.

I knew that doing a “Movie Talk” for the first time would not be perfect, especially because I am unpracticed at circling. However, I requested that my school’s instructional facilitator film the class so that I could critique myself, study problem areas, and work on ways to improve things.  It’s not brilliant; look to other people’s blogs for brilliant examples of things. But if you would like to see it, you should be able to go here to view it.  (You may have to join, but that just takes a minute.)  The Movie Talk begins around minute 11.

I have been a student/participant at Rusticatio for several years and have experienced circling and TPRS storytelling. I became aware that there was a mix of questions to prompt yes or no answers, etc, but I hadn’t studied it from a teaching perspective.  I thought that perhaps using the latest video which I added Latin subtitles to, Snow Business (here’s a link to the original without the subtitles), I could practice circling by writing it out here. I am using the circling template provided on Susan Gross’s TPRS website.

The sentence under question is a simple subject verb object sentence. Here are the basics from the template. It begins with a statement using a student as the subject and a proper noun or cognate as the object.  In this case, Lana finds a Rolex.

Circle the subject:

  • Wants a YES Answer: (Does Lana find a Rolex? Yes, Lana finds a Rolex.)

  • Provides a CHOICE: (Does Lana find a Rolex or does Pat find a Rolex? Right, Pat doesnʼt find a Rolex, Lana finds a Rolex)

  • Wants a NO Answer: (Does Pat find a Rolex? No, Pat doesnʼt find a Rolex, Lana finds a Rolex)

  • Open Ended / Answer Not in Question: (Who finds a Rolex? Thatʼs right, Lana finds a Rolex.)

Circle the verb:

  • Wants a YES Answer:  (Does Lana find a Rolex? Yes, Lana finds a Rolex.)

  • Provides a CHOICE: (Does Lana find a Rolex or does Lana eat a Rolex? Lana doesnʼt eat a Rolex; Lana finds a Rolex.)

  • Wants a NO Answer:  (Does Lana eat a Rolex? Of course not, Lana doesnʼt eat a Rolex; Lana finds a Rolex.)

  • Open Ended / Answer Not in Question: (What does Lana do? Lana finds a Rolex.)

Circle the complement / object:

  • Wants a YES Answer: (Does Lana find a Rolex? Yes, Lana finds a Rolex.)

  • Provides a CHOICE: (Does Lana find a Hummer or does Lana find a Rolex? Lana doesnʼt find a Hummer, Lana finds a Rolex.)

  • Wants a NO Answer: (Does Lana find a Hummer? How ridiculous, Lana doesnʼt find a Hummer; Lana finds a Rolex.)

  • Open Ended / Answer Not in Question: (What does Lana find? Thatʼs right, Lana finds a Rolex.)

Thus for us Latinists, we are talking about nōnne, aut/vel, num, and quis/quid questions, perhaps with a rectē, a certē and an est ridiculum thrown in for good measure. I suppose what I didn’t fully think about when I was doing my circling with Snow Cat was WHAT I was targeting—nominative, accusative, verb. I also didn’t have good alternatives to offer (like a Hummer instead of a Rolex in the examples above). I was doing well to just remember to try to question.

So, time to see what I can do with preparing to use Snow Business after the holidays. (This will all be thinking out loud sort of stuff, be warned!) I also want to create follow-up materials to get students writing. Here is a screen capture from Snow Business with Latin subtitles (OR TRY SEEING IT HERE!).  (Here is the original without).

I have a compound sentence here; I thought nothing of it when I wrote it. But if I want to circle anything here it would be useful to focus on either the first part or the second part.

So here's what perhaps I would circle: avis pilam niveam facit.

Circle the nominative:

  • nōnne avis pilam niveam facit? ita vērō, avis pilam niveam facit.

  • avis aut fēlēs pilam niveam facit? rectē, fēlēs pilam niveam nōn facit; avis pilam niveam facit.

  • num fēlēs pilam niveam facit? est rīdiculum! fēlēs pilam niveam nōn facit; avis pilam niveam facit.

  • quis pilam niveam facit? certē, avis niveam pilam facit.

Circle the accusative*:
(*Do we want to emphasize the accusative by moving it up in the sentence, since we can in Latin? Why not!)

  • nōnne pilam niveam avis facit? ita vērō, pilam niveam avis facit.

  • pilam niveam aut hominem niveum avis facit? rectē, pilam niveam avis facit.

  • num hominem niveum avis facit? est rīdiculum! hominum niveum avis nōn facit; pilam niveam avis facit.

  • quid avis facit? certē, pilam niveam avis facit.

Circle the verb**:
(**Although we could also move the verb up in the sentence, I’m not going to. Students will truly need to learn to listen for/watch for accusatives coming first in a sentence; it is far less common to have a verb first in a sentence.)

  • nōnne avis pilam niveam facit? ita vērō avis pilam niveam facit.

  • avis pilam niveam facit aut invenit? rectē avis pilam niveam facit.

  • num avis pilam niveam invenit? est rīdiculum! avis pilam niveam nōn invenit; avis pilam niveam facit.

  • quid agit*** avis? certē avis pilam niveam facit. (***I usually use quid facit for what is he doing but clearly with facit/making being targeted, this will not work.)

The alternatives I used here, hominem niveum (snow man) and invenit (find), are not exciting alternatives. Not as engaging as something more unusual or unexpected.  A Rolex and a Hummer will keep the attention of a student. However if I’m daring and think the students are able, I could follow with quō modō avis pilam niveam facit?

But that would be a big leap because the answer would require an ablative of means. That would better be modeled in a sentence first. And I guess I could circle it something like this:

  • avis pilam niveam ālīs aut rostrō facit? or ālīs aut rostrō avis pilam niveam facit?

...and maybe follow that with

  • vīdistīne avis vēra pilam niveam facit? est rīdiculum!

The good aspect of doing this would be making it a personalized question—getting direct student involvement and engagement at a personal level.

In reviewing what I have written for circling the nominative, it is worth noting that a moment later in the video the cat does make a snow ball too.  Thus it will be worth all of the circling so that pila nivea becomes internalized or at least comfortable.

Having hominem niveum for an alternate for the accusative is nice (even if not terribly exciting) because it is masculine and thus we have a different ending on the adjective. And while invenit is fine for an alternate for the verb, looking ahead to this next picture makes me realize that perhaps the alternate verb should have been portat.

In fact, if I had been thinking about how I would teach with this video, I might have used portat instead of habet, as I have above. Also, considering the big cat imprint in the picture (the bird hits the cat in the behind with a snow ball and he lands deep in the snow), I could have used angelam niveam as well as hominem niveum. Then perhaps we could have joked that he made a fēlem niveam when he fell.

So, if I have really circled early on in the video with NOM ACC VERB, I can still continue to do similar things, or I could consider other constructions worth targeting. In this second screen capture, the bird has a huge snowball. I could work adjectives in some sort of circling fashion, I suppose.

Circling positives:

  • nōnne pila nivea est magna? ita vērō, pila nivea est magna.

  • estne pila nivea magna aut parva? rectē pila nivea est magna.

  • num pila nivea est parva? est rīdiculum! pila nivea nōn est parva; pila nivea est magna.

  • quanta est pila nivea? certē pila nivea est magna.

Circling comparatives:

  • nōnne pila nivea est maior quam avis? ita vērō, pila nivea est maior quam avis.

  • estne pila nivea maior quam avis aut fenestra? rectē pila nivea maior quam avis.

  • num pila nivea est maior quam fenestra? est rīdiculum! pila nivea nōn est maior quam fenestra; pila nivea est maior quam avis.

  • quae est maior? (Not sure if this is really doable, since for a comparative you can’t really have something open-ended—after all, you are comparing two things!)

I could return to the earlier snowball, but maybe that is best left for the superlative:

  • quae est maxima—prīma pila nivea,  secunda pila nivea, aut tertia pila nivea avis? certē tertia pila nivea est maxima!

The bird, however, does miss when he throws this huge snowball. I suppose we could develop a line of questioning of which is more accurate, the larger snowball or the smaller one? Unfortunately, off the top of my head I’m not sure what I would use for “more accurate.” A quick look at a dictionary tells me that we could use accūrātus, -a, -um (nice and easy!);  more accurately is adverbial, which would be good to work in since it uses a different ending from the comparative adjective.

  • quae pila nivea accūrātius iacitur—parva pila nivea aut magna pila nivea?


  • quis pilam niveam accūrātius iacit—avis aut fēlēs?

This latter could lead to an interesting discussion towards the end, because at 1:47 (thereabouts) the cat hits the bird while it is flying—a moving object—and the bird then ends up stuck to the window. Some other questions come to mind now, which are admittedly getting away from circling, but that’s ok:

  • quis plūs pilārum niveārum iēcit? (Tense change, plūs + partitive genitive)

  • quis pilās niveās celerius fēcit? (Tense change plus another comparative adverb)

From here, I could work infinitives:

  • nōnne fēlēs avem edere vult? ita vērō fēlēs avem edere vult.

  • fēlēs avem edere aut laudāre vult? rectē fēlēs avem edere vult.

  • num fēlēs avem laudāre vult? est rīdiculum! fēlēs avem laudāre nōn vult; fēlēs avem edere vult.

  • quid fēlēs facit? certē, fēlēs avem edere vult.

  • (quō modō scīs fēlem avem edere velle? quod fēlēs ōs aperit!) (indirect statement!)

I could see side comments worked in as well:

  • fortasse fēlēs avem laudāre vult quod avis magnam pilam niveam fēcit.

And if I keep the video frozen on this particular screen, I could also ask students what they think will happen next. But first, maybe we should recap:

  • prīmum fēlēs in nive lūsit. tum avis et fēlēs pilās niveās iēcērunt. nunc avis ad fenestram adhaesīvit. quid proximē accidet?

Perhaps that is too open-ended. Maybe offer some choices (and work the future tense)?

  • fēlēs avem edet?

  • avis advolābit?

  • avis rostrō fēlem pulsābit?

  • fēlēs fenestram franget?

  • ūnā hominem niveum facient?

To sum up, there’s a lot to be said about working out much of your circling in advance, especially if you are new to it as I am. I certainly saw some different avenues I could take that I think will be fruitful, many of which I wouldn't have seen on the fly. Even now, it occurs to me to think about the level of questioning with regard to ACTFL's Proficiency Ratings as simplified in WAYK speak as "Travels with Charlie" or "Tarzan at the Party":

NOVICE (Tarzan at the Party / Sesame Street)

  • memorized words and phrases

INTERMEDIATE (Get to the party / Dora the Explorer)

  • question and answer

  • full sentences

ADVANCED (What happened at the party last night? / Larry King Live)

  • past/present/future tenses

  • paragraph narrative

SUPERIOR (What if parties were illegal? / Charlie Rose)

  • lengthy discussions of complex issues

  • structured arguments

  • hypothetical speech

Basically we are operating in the intermediate level, albeit low because the circling is pretty leading. But we are modeling full sentences in the questions and answers. We are tiptoeing up to advanced by using different tenses. I might even be able to squeeze a little superior level in if I were to ask something along the lines of "What if snow balls fights were illegal?" (haha)

One last thing I want to do, as I mentioned earlier, is to create a follow-up written assignment. Yes, I could do a timed write, but since my students didn't learn timed writes from Latin 1, I think that could spook them. Instead, I think I will make some more screen captures, maybe without the subtitles, include them on a worksheet with maybe a word bank, and let them write using the pictures as prompts. I have some ideas.... But perhaps that should be for another blog. 

(no subject)

Date: 2015-12-24 02:27 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I will be looking forward to seeing more of these once my grades are all turned in.