First week of school, recap, part two.
Here’s an overview of what we did in class (Latin I – I do teach a total of 5 preps of Latin, from Latin I through AP Latin). We are on an A/B block schedule, so I only saw the students three times this week, for about an hour and a half each day. There are three posts, each encompassing one day of this first week, with an in-depth look at what I did each day and my reflections.
We started class with the creature card assigned seating, as before. On each desk, I placed a sheet of vocabulary and pictures students could use to respond during our Small Talk, which consisted of reviewing introductions (Hello. My name is… Nice to meet you.) and simple discussions about how I felt, how the students felt, and how the class at large felt.
While I got class started and took numeratio, students used the vocabulary sheet to decide how they felt and write their names on the board under each feeling. This was our jumping off point. I used their names as references to get us started before asking students during introductions exactly how they felt.
I used some circling techniques with the introductions and feelings. I asked random students questions about my statements, changing names and feelings as I went to check for comprehension. As we finished up, I began to ask the class the questions and encouraged full-class responses – having them repeat answers until everyone participated.
Oh, and for any folks wondering if students will really ask about grammar stuff when you don’t introduce it or when to do pop-up grammar – today was our first experience with that in first block. One of my students stopped me in the middle of the circling to ask a simple question/make a simple discovery: “Are you saying laeta because she’s a girl and laetus because he’s a boy?” Yes, yes I was. I told her yes. I repeated her discovery to the class, make a quick note of the difference in words on the board “-a = girl; -us = boy” then got ready to move on… A second student piped up: “So, what about tristis?” Perfect! I got a chance to quickly explain that not all words in Latin work the same way, but if there wasn’t an -a or -us/er (we did have aeger in the board), it could be either male or female. Later, in the last block, another student made the discovery that I said meus canis because my dog was a boy and not a girl.
We had a take a break during 1st block to go over a presentation on school rules and expectations, so they didn’t get to do this next part, but my last block got to continue thus:
My first write and discuss. I’m keeping them on Wakelet in a folder. My plan is to use them for Age Nunc! (Do Now) later in the year and to publish them as a class yearbook to share with students at the end of the year. I’d also like to share them as a class book for FVR.
I asked the class questions, in English, about what we’d talked about during Small Talk. I thought about asking the questions in Latin, but honestly wanted to know how much they understood and wanted them to feel free to speak as much as they wanted, so I kept everything but the Write part in English. I then rewrote what they answered in English into Latin. They copied what I wrote on their weekly Unit MGMT sheet.
Lastly, to end class, we did a Verum/Falsum activity. I made five statements, repeating each statement twice. Students listened and recorded each statement as true or false. Everyone participated and most students got at least 4 of the 5 statements correct. It was a low-stress way to check for comprehension. I loved it and will definitely be doing this more often.
I was impressed that Small Talk when so well today. My dog was injured over the weekend, and so to begin our Small Talk, I talked about how I felt – sum tristis – and why – quia meus canis est aeger – using our Word Walls and TPR gestures/basic acting (tears down my face, “woof, woof” after canis, coughing) to aid comprehension. The students cared. They were actively involved with my story, wondering the dog’s name, what was wrong, etc. Color me a believer – when you show you care, they care, and they listen.
I did better with talking slower, using the board behind me to write words and phrases out as a I spoke, drawing stick figures and faces as needed, to make sure we were all on the same page at the same time.
I forgot about brain breaks again. I did do better about reading the class, though, and checking comprehension more often from more students.
I used ClassroomScreen today to great success – I used the work symbols to record my expectations for their volume level during actvities; the clock to control peeks at phones to check time and keep my on time; the random name widget to be sure I asked students randomly and kept everything more game-like than school-like; the traffic light and text widgets to mark how I want students to answer the questions I’m asking (green – everyone; yellow – called on student; red – think, pause, answer); the background as a Picture Talk/visual guide for some further discussions; and the language feature to keep everything in the target language.
[An overview of Day 3 and my reflections on how that day went will be posted by Wednesday 6pm.]