Using Spoken Latin in YOUR Classroom, Pars II

In my last post, I covered some basics about speaking Latin in class. Here are some other techniques I use to get my students speaking and acquiring vocabulary.
One of my favorite boxes in class is an old copy paper box, filled to the brim with stuffed animals and fake fruit. I have so many different old stuffed animals from when I was a kid, it’s crazy. If you need stuffed animals, or fake fruit, Ikea and Michaels/ACmoore are great places to acquire such items. So I take the box, filled with all the animals, show it to the students, and say “Ecce! Est arca!” (you can also use cista! Or whatever other word you have for “box!”) I use the method I talked about in my previous post to get the students to say “Arca est.” Then, pointing to the box, I ask, “Quid est?” The students reply, “Arca est.” Have a couple students say it individually, and then have the whole class repeat it once more.
Then, I set the box down and take something out of the box, usually an adorable stuffed animal, in this case, a dog. “Ecce!” I say. “Canis est!” Have the students repeat, “Canis est.” I pick a student (Clodia, for these purposes) and offer them the dog, making it very obvious that I want them to take it. “Visne canem?” I ask. Clodia should respond with, “ita vero!” or whatever word/phrase they know for “yes.” If I get a blank stare, I ask again, “Visne canem?” and then nod my head to see if I can prompt her. Once she say “yes,” I hold the dog up in the air. “Clodia canem vult,” I tell my students. I have the class repeat, “Clodia canem vult.” Then, I set the dog on my desk and say, “Da mihi canem, quaeso.” I take the sentence and break it down, like I did in my previous post. Once I’ve got the students saying, “Da mihi canem, quaeso,” I ask Clodia to say it alone. Once she does, I give her the dog.
If a student stumbles over saying something in Latin, you can do one of a few things:
1) Have another student say it and then have the struggling student repeat it.
2) Say it yourself and have the struggling student repeat it. (Sometimes it helps to break it down for them again!)
3) Have the whole class say the sentence again and then have the struggling student repeat it.
I always remind my students that mistakes are normal and use the “Mirable!” technique to help reinforce that.
Anyway, you can keep going through the box of animals and foods. Get them handed out to students, and then have the students offer them to other students and have the other students ask for them.
This is not a one-class lesson. This one will take a few classes for your students to get it. It works really well, even if you have high-schoolers, to get them sitting in a circle, so that everyone can see the object that the other students have. (And even high-schoolers love to play with the stuffed animals!)
Enjoy this one. It’s a lot of fun! ☺

Thursday Resources: NoDictionaries.com

NoDictionaries.com/ is a really useful website for reading Latin texts. It takes any Latin text that you enter in (and it already has a lot of the heavy hitters pre-entered) and generates a list of all the vocabulary in it. This is generated by a computer, so you will have to clean up some words (ius is often glossed as ‘soup’), but it can be really useful.
When you have the text entered, you can use the slider to choose how much vocabulary to show. This can be very useful if you’re projecting the text in class; you can choose to show only the uncommon words.
If you have an account, you can use NoDictionaries.com to generate lists of all the words in a text with their meanings. You can also generate a list of only the words that you’ve clicked on, which is a great way of making a custom list of only the unknown words.

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/