Two Weeks in Lockdown

Monday, March 16th, my entire state’s (Virginia) schools went on lockdown for two weeks. We were asked to begin virtual teaching on Tuesday. Locally, my school division asked us to provide educational opportunities for review, remediation, and spiraling, but not to begin teaching anything new.

My best pieces of advice, so far, are: Ask your students how they are. Show you care. Provide feedback beyond academics. Keep technology simple.

Just in case someone is/was in a similar position, here’s what I created for my students:

Latin IV

I assigned them a Song Lyrics Translation project.

Why? Because that’s what they asked for. As the fears about COVID-19 began to circulate and our school division put out the warning that a lockdown may occur, I began talking with my classes about what that may look like. This class of level 4 students had just begun Catullus’ love poetry and before we began Catullus 5, I had them sing-a-long with The Backstreet Boys’ As Long As You Love Me in Latin. (You can find the lyrics here,  with a lot more lyrics, too.) When I last mentioned the potential for a lockdown the week before it happened, they said that they thought it would very cool to try and translate a song into Latin. And thus, this project was born.

Here’s the rubric I created for them: L4_LyricsRubric

Latin III

This class was scheduled to begin reading Pliny’s letter about the eruption of Vesuvius and to learn more about Pompeii. Well, without teaching anything new (grammatical mainly), I still wanted to introduce these students to Vesuvius and Pompeii. Remembering that Cambridge’s Book 1 ends with the eruption of Vesuvius, I was very hopeful the book was still available online. It is. You can find it here. Using Stage 12, I’ve provided my students with a specific vocabulary list of words for each story, helpful guides for reading each story, and then a follow-up activity on each story – verum aut falsum, comprehension questions, and even a timeline to be illustrated. The verum aut falsum and comprehension questions are completed on a form, in my case a Microsoft form, not Google form.

Timeline found here: TimelineIllustration

Latin II

Similar to Latin III, however this class was supposed to begin learning about Hannibal and the Punic Wars. I’m using Operation Lapis’ readings: Bellum Punicum, Hannibal in Italiam, and Carthago delenda est! for reading practice. I instruct the students to listen to the audio, first, as they read along, hovering over underlined words as necessary. Then, I ask them to watch the Visual Walkthrough, visit Grammatica, and take a look at Verba (though I also provide specific vocabulary lists for each story).

To follow-up, I created forms for students to answer the comprehension questions provided under Attunement. In addition, I ask students to rate the likelihood (possible aut impossible) of certain statements based on the reading and to rate their understanding on select passages.

Latin I

This class has been the most fun. Why? Because they are already 100% CI and we have certain routines and activities already established that I’ve found ways of re-creating virtually.

First off, I learned something new while preparing for this lockdown –> how to turn a PowerPoint into a video. It is surprisingly easy!

To start each day, I have created, written, and added video/audio to PowerPoints akin to both our daily Small Talk and Story Listening. Using the days of the week, I introduced one or two Roman deities to my students using sheltered vocabulary. I added images, clipart, and other visuals to each slide to help students comprehend the stories I am telling. Additionally, places where, were I in person, I would have asked some comprehension checks, I have added captions to each slide. Finally, I bolded all past tense words/hints and italicized all future tense words/hints to help draw student attention to the new things we had just begun to discover before the lockdown.

I also added video of me to the PowerPoints to remind students who I am and to give them some semblance of normality.

Here’s a link to my folder of PowerPoints and check-in videos.

To follow-up these videos, I use a Microsoft form which asks students to explain what they think each PowerPoint video is about in two sentences, to rank their listening and reading comprehension ability, to respond to my video prompt in Latin or English, and a check-in question about how they are doing or if they have any questions.

I am most impressed at the level of interaction and involvement my Latin I students have shown me despite none of what I’m asking of them can be graded. They seem to really like the videos and appreciate my effort to continue teaching them despite this set-back. That says a lot to the value of community-building in a CI classroom.

Students Without Access

For the handful of students I have, that are without access, I sent home a novella (based on where each student was academically – either Rufus lululentus, Drusilla in Subura, or Agrippina mater fortis, all by Lance Piantaggini) and a FVR reading log with a Comic Crunch activity.

Here is the Comic Crunch activity with Log, original in Spanish by Profe Glaze: FVR_ComicCrunch

Other Cool Things which Might be Useful

A playlist of songs in Latin (from YouTube):

A very simple and short MovieTalk:

A collection of texts, readings, and unpublished novellas (all written by me):

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