Knowing I would be working with students in a noisy environment and with some not having text books, and yet wanting to start immediately with understanding Latin on this first day of the year, I devised the following plans.
For my first year students, they are to read the picture captions on the characters introduced in Stage One of the Cambridge Latin Course, Book I. I gave them question words and tomorrow I will ask them questions about the characters to help them refine a presentation they will do on each character. I had them work in groups to help out the bookless students and in that way I could go from group to group and talk to them rather than yelling at them.
Once they’ve answered questions about each character (who, what, where are they, what do they do/are they doing), they will then work on their presentation of each character in Latin. They were checked for notes but told the notes need not be turned in (this is to combat the obsessive focus on conceiving of learning as turning in pieces of meaningless paper – they are going to tell us about each character in their own Latin words). Eventually I will collec their notes and give credit for making them as well as for answering questions and presenting questions. This will probably take the whole week. I have them for an hour and a half on Thursday when we can finish up and then go on to go over the syllabus, etc.
Same for the second year who are starting a new book with a new set of characters and setting, but the process is the same.
With the third year, I gave them a one page reading from the textbook with 4 new characters: a general, a legion commander, the soldiers and the centurions. There are 3 paragraphs with some mention of each of the four in most of the paragraphs. They will first answer questions about the characters and then present on each, following the story line through the 3 sections into which I divided the story.
The fourth year is entirely different: they have a reading that uses complex grammar formations and I asked them to work on reading the story for meaning and then tomorrow doing textmapping of it, doing a literal and then fluent translation, then marking grammatical categories and usages. That can be finished up within a day or so, allowing us to move on toward the end of the week in reading. There are only 3 students in this class, mixed with the third years, but I was told today a very good student for fourth year is returning to the school; that’ll make 4 and I am trying to develop a pattern of allowing them more independent study.
Questions and comments are welcome.