Monthly Archives: August 2012


Latin Dictionary Game 1

In a day with a shortened schedule and students missing, one of my favorite games to play is a variation of the Dictionary Game or Fictionary, which is like the commercial game Balderdash.
In this game, there are fake definitions made by the teams and the real definition. The teams have to vote on which is the real definition and which is fake, with points going to the teams that choose correctly and to teams that trick others into picking their definitions.
To play, divide the students into groups. I find that there need to be at least three groups for the game to work well. Groups can be from one person up to about ten; everyone needs to be able to discuss the word.
You need a Latin dictionary. Choose a word, preferably one that most of the class doesn’t know. Write the word on the board and give each team a short period of time to come up with a definition. Each team writes its definition on a sheet of paper and turns it in. All the definitions are written on the board and teams vote for the definition that they think is the real one. The real one is revealed, and each team that voted for it gets two points. Each team also gets one point for each other team that voted for its fake definition. (Sometimes, especially if the words are words that the students may have seen in passing before, I give three points to any team that comes up with the variation on its own.)
So, as an example, Catullus, Clodia, and Cicero are playing. The word is botellus, “a small sausage.” Each team comes up with a definition, and I write the following on the board:
Botellus
1. a little boot
2. a small sausage
3. a Gallic wagon
4. covered with fringe
Cicero had come up with definition four, Clodia with definition three, and Catullus with definition one.
Cicero votes for number one, Clodia for two, and Catullus for three.
Catullus gets one point because Cicero voted for his definition.
Clodia gets two points for choosing the correct definition and one point because Catullus voted for her definition.
Cicero gets no points because he voted for a fake definition and nobody voted for his fake definition.
I’ve also done this with Roman artifacts and architecture that were later adapted for reuse. I had a presentation with ten images and four teams. I had the actual Roman use and the later reuse for each one on a slip of paper, shuffled up the slips, and gave each team two or three. They then had to come up to the image and explain what it was for the Romans and what it was later. The team with the real definitions had to base its presentation in the real information that I gave them, but could embellish as needed.