Using Spoken Latin in YOUR Classroom, Pars I

Do you want to use more Spoken Latin in your classroom?  Have you shied away from trying because it seems difficult to integrate into your class? No worries!  Over my next few blog posts, I will be writing about how to use more spoken Latin in your classroom, working with everything from basic vocabulary to more complex grammatical concepts, and even discussing literature.
The best piece of advice I can give you is don’t try to jump into speaking Latin all at once.  Work yourself and your students up to it.  At the same time, don’t be timid about it either.  Starting your class every day with “Salvete, discipuli discipulaeque!  Incipiamus!” is one of the best ways to get both yourself and your students thinking in Latin.  From there, you can proceed to take attendance in Latin.  As you call the students’ names, teach them to say “Adsum!” in response.  Let’s say, as you are taking attendance, Aurelia is absent.  At that point, I ask, “Vidistisne Aureliam hodie?”  Students can respond with “Ita,” or “Minimie.  Aurelia abest.”
So how do you get your students speaking?  The method that I use is as follows:
I say: “If you’re here, you should say ‘Adsum!’  Let’s all say that together.”  I make a gesture with my arms (similar to the one that conductors use to get their chorus/orchestra to stand) and indicate that every time I make that gesture, they should repeat together what I just said.
The students all say: “Adsum!”
I say: “Optime!”  And have them say it one more time together.  Then, I can do one of two things.  Either, I can ask for volunteers to say “Adsum!” individually, or I can pick a few students at random.  Judge by how well you know your class.  Have three or four students say “Adsum!” individually when you point to them, and then have the whole class say “Adsum!” together.
That works well with single words.  However, with slight modification, you can make work easily for an entire phrase.
I say: “Eheu!  Aurelia abest! Everyone say ‘abest!’” I make the “together” gesture.
The students say: “Abest.”
I say: “Now say ‘Aurelia abest.’” Once again, I make the “together” gesture.
The students say: “Aurelia abest.”
And continue  from there, picking individual students to say the sentence together and then having the whole group repeat it as a group one last time.
Rule of thumb: whenever you are trying to get the students to say a full sentence, always start from the end and work backwards.
What happens if you make a mistake?  I always tell my students from the outset, that mistakes are normal.  I’m going to make them and so are they.  When we make mistakes, I tell my students to throw their hands in the air and say “Mirable!”  When the person who makes the mistake does it, we all do it.  It’s also good to do it when someone makes a mistake and gets flustered.  (Usually, I lead it at that point!)  It’s a technique I borrowed from Evan Gardner, the creator of Where Are Your Keys.  I have found that it distracts students from the mistake and resets them.
There will be more Spoken Latin posts coming soon!  Hope this one gets you off to a good start this year!
Here are a few helpful links for you as you embark on your new quest to use oral Latin in your classroom.
Multiple resources from Bob Patrick, Parkview HS:  http://www.mygrove.us/for-latin-teachers.html
TPRS, The first Ten Minutes: From Bob Patrick, Parkview HS:  http://www.mygrove.us/uploads/8/1/2/6/8126375/tprten.doc
Fantastic videos from from Nancy Llewellyn, Wyoming Catholic College:  http://www.romeontherange.com/videos.htmly
Miriam Patrick and Rachel Ash: http://pomegranatebeginnings.blogspot.com/
I Speak Latin:  http://www.ispeaklatin.com/
Where Are Your Keys:  http://www.whereareyourkeys.org/