Today I was prepared. I had a list of questions about our reading in Spanish and was able to ask them of the students. I’m moving toward what the tprs folks call circling. The retells for Latin I mentioned are a sort of embedded reading though not as thorough as Laurie’s. In Latin today I began a review of the characters, sites, and events of Book I (we’re starting book III this semester) where I clustered (for them) words associated with each item. What we will do with those is write descriptive and narrative text around each item using those associated words. That is my understanding of clustering. I know it is output and they are not ready for output, but since I have to teach a heavy grammar component, I thought the best way to make it real was to have them use the grammar in composing their own Latin.
Along with that I am using The Teacher’s Handbook data on how long it takes students in h.s. and college to reach particular levels of proficiency. Yesterday I read in Betty Lou Leaver’s book that to reach the highest level, native-like proficiency, takes 17 years, more or less.
My other Spanish class was crippled by absences, a rare thing at my school. The new campus minister isn’t too good about getting out lists of students on field trips and I had four out plus one absence out of a class of 19. So I punted and anticipated an activity that fits with the grammar work I have to do for Spanish as well: I passed out big pieces of butcher paper and markers to each group of 4 or 5 students and had them write down as many irregular verbs in English as possible, giving all 3 forms. They really enjoyed it and it makes the point that English has its peculiarities, too.