Planning year 1

NB: What I currently do in my Latin classes is quite a bit different, and I have removed or modified  specific readings and topics (especially since COVID happened), but I hope that teachers transitioning toward a CI based curriculum will benefit from seeing a specific set of unit plans. 

may When possible, each unit description will include links to documents, resources, etc.

Unit 1: name game, student interest cards, TPR, numbers.
Day 1. The name game, in English. I describe the purpose of the game: “to get to know each other, and help practice the skills we will need to learn a language.When deciding on something you like, say something simple and memorable. Help others remember by gesturing, etc.”
Stand in a big circle, I begin, say “my name is ___ and I like ____.” Student next to me goes next, and on and on. Each student must repeat what those before said. Next day, at end of class, I have students complete this reflection sheet.

Day 2: Name and interest sheets: Hand out this sheet. Students draw three things they enjoy doing, real or imaginary. For complete description of this, see this page.

N.B. For the first 3-4 weeks, I will begin class with class discussion, in Latin, about student interests. each day, I will have a scribe (same student, or different students) write down this student information, in English or Latin. Once I have talked about EVERY STUDENT, I will then transcribe the notes and it will be one of our first readings. Last year, our first reading looked like this and students could read it relatively easily, because it was about them.

Simultaneously, for the first 2 weeks or so, I will spend the first 10 minutes of class doing TPR commands. At first I ask them to point to objects using “ubi est___?” or “monstrate__” gradually moving on to commands of motion, where students move around the room taking things and outting them in other places. Students then will command me and each other. After about a week, I give students this classroom vocabulary handout, for the ones who want lists, and for all to see how much Latin they already know (if I wait a week, they will know most of the words on the handout)

Class rules via the “Daily Engagement Assessment” (DEA)
Also, my DEA poster is up on the board, but I don’t explain it right away. Often students will ask me about it. My job the first days is simply to get to know my students, and see which ones are likely to challenge me, or have trouble following my expectations. During the second week, I usually stop and talk about my expectations and answer any questions. On the linked page, there is the text of my rubric. At the beginning of the year, I will have students complete a self-assessment using the rubric (but I assign them the grade). I will give the self assessment periodically, when I think they need a reminder.

Building unity with In Lak’Ech
Last year, in response to some divisive politics on my campus, I began incorporating In Lak’Ech into my class. We recite this poem (in Latin translation) at the beginning of every class. When I introduce this poem, I have students create mini-posters of the poem, in Latin and a language they identify with. Here is my full description.

Numbers in Latin

Another regular activity to include in the first weeks, counting to 100. Once we have practiced together, and students have their handout, I have them count around the room, snaking up and down each row. The goal is the get to 100 as fast as possible. I put our time on the board, and leave it there, and we try to beat it each day. Number games can then proceed to simple math.

I introduce students to my opening routine: greet the class, then I say the date and weather. students repeat after me.

Near the end of the first or second week, I give a survey asking one simple question:
What do you most want to learn or learn about in Latin class this year?

Essential resources to include in planning: 

1. Lance Piantaggini is creating simple Latin retellings of famous myths (Pygmalion, Romulus-Remus, Minotaur so far). Each story has three videos: a lesson with lots of q and a, the story itself, and follow up comprehension questions. The readings can also be downloaded. Lance has severely limited the unique word count, so students can start reading and understanding these stories very early in their study of Latin.

2. Jessie Craft has created engaging videos on Roman cultural topics and myths using simple Latin, and MineCraft visuals.
Simple readings on Roman culture, history and myth.

3. A workbook for beginning Latin students, by, Donna Gerard  Available from ACL resource catalog. Item b26.  I only recently discovered this amazingly valuable resource. I plan to use it in all of the first three levels that I teach.  For simple Latin stories about cultural content, as well as simple retellings of myths. These readings could accompany culture videos that are in English, or for which there is no Latin text available.

Unit 2, first stories: Donaldus
Inspired by Keith Toda’s description of his first reading, I devised/adapted my own simple stories using the characters Donaldus and Dora. This was before Trump was elected, and what I like about the names, is that they are suggestive of characters/celebrities, but could really be anything in students’ imagination. You could easily substitute a name like Justin, or Jennifer, if you want to evoke other associations. You know your students, and what they can handle vs. what will provoke distraction. It’s a fine line sometimes.

Story #1: Donaldus, Elephantus, et Dora

I do not hand out this story right away, rather I tell it in very simple terms, writing new words on the board, frequently stopping to check comprehension  (“who can tell me what I just said? Raise your hand”). Doing it this way shows me how many students are raising their hands and/or looking like they get it, has no pressure for those who don’t understand, and allows students to provide the answers for each other.

During the telling or retelling, I can designate artists, either with mini white boards, blank paper, or up at the board. Then I can use those images later for retells. I love starting a retell by simply showing a picture/drawing and asking “quid est in pictura?”

At some point, I will bring up student actors. I set the parameters right away: pay attention, act out just the story, be funny but don’t distract from the story. And I reserve the right to fire an actor, with a smile of course.

Once I am sure students know the story, I will do “quis diceret?”Here is a document that you can show on screen or adapt/print out.

Here is my first test, from 2 years ago. Notice that it also covers numbers, as we have been counting to 100 as a class (described above). I have also given this quiz along the way

Next, I do a Movie Talk, using an adorable puppy-horse video that Katya Paukova showed in a TPRS workshop a few years ago. Warning: it is a Budweiser commercial. Feel this out with your school, but there is nothing drinking related, except that the guy is holding a beer when the dog comes home at the end. Here is my rough script for the puppy video. Here is the link to the commercial.

At this point, daily procedures and expectation have been put into place, hopefully. For beginning-of-class routines, I have a few options that I have used in previous years. I know some teachers are of differing opinions about this, but I think for most situations, especially for teachers new to CI, it is important to have VERY CLEAR EXPECTATIONS THE MOMENT STUDENTS ENTER YOUR CLASSROOM. It can be the crappiest warmup, but just have something. Also, make sure it doesn’t take more than a few minutes, and doesn’t add to your workload. Any credit earned should require a quick glance from you, credit/no credit. You may even simply do a visual inspection periodically rather than collecting it. Here are some of the things I have done:
*NLE sample questions (give answers after 2-3 min, then briefly discuss)
*NLE-based warmups created by Rachel Ash, Bob Patrick and Miriam Patrick (who kindly shared these with me)
*Latin Everywhere, Everyday. If you get it as an e-book/pdf, you can print out handouts/worksheets, and project the information pages on the screen. Contains the most common Latin phrases used in English
*Begin class mondays (or after holidays) with a “quid fecisti feriis?” prompt

So, every day, the first 10 mins of class goes as follows:
1. Students enter classroom and begin warm-up activity
2. I greet the class and class responds: Salvete omnes! Salve Magister
3. in Lak-Ech is recited (I put it on screen or on a poster in the room)
4. I say the date, then the weather. Students repeat.
(when we begin fvr second semester, then step 1 is replaced by reading for 8-12 min on Tu and Th. Steps 2-4 remain unchanged)

Unit 3: Donaldus story #2: Donaldus Domi

This next story takes us into household vocabulary, so we can talk and read about homes, ancient and modern.
Here is a madlib script, to help you ask some details. If you are nervius about asking, you can give students THIS QUESTIONNAIRE, collect, and read answers at random as you tell. Just be clear that it is THEIR answers, and they will be on the edge of their seats waiting to hear what comes next.
Here is the version of Donaldus Domi my class came up with 2 years ago.
After this story, I do a movie talk with a video about a runaway fridge. Here’s my Runaway Fridge Folder (levels 1 and 2)

Then, we did a second part of Donaldus Domi, using OWATS. Here is the second Donaldus Domi story my students came up with using this method. Here is the test I gave for this unit. Here’s a V/F quiz I gave on the way.

First Project
At this point, I have students do a “my day” illustrated book, describing a typical day in Latin. Here’s access to the Dies Meus folder, which includes handouts, expectations, materials from Spanish teachers that have inspired me, etc. I usually dedicate 3-5 class days to this. Students then read to each other in groups of 5-6 for the assessment before turning them in. These then go into their writing portfolios. Among the materials I use to prepare them, is pages taken from the Usborne book “Latin For Beginners.” Get a copy of this book (new or used, any edition is fine) if you don’t have one already–better yet, get a classroom set!

Quarter 2:  Rome’s landscape, Roman Animals, culture

Unit 4: Roman landscape
(here is my running Slides document containing most of the slides from this unit as I taught it last year.)

2 readings adapted from LFA: Anna et Rana and Italia

for some reason, my students really love these two stories, especially when they have opportunities to change the stories, or use elements of them in their own stories. Anna et Rana is a silly dialogue, where a frog appears in a water jug. I always have them act it out with props. For the urna, I have students draw it on a portable white board, and then a student can stick their head out above it, to be the rana that pops out. In the story Italia, it describes rural life in Sicily, and I always emphasize when and for whom LFA was written (postwar US, upper middle to upper class, white, mostly boys). Pupa is a fun word that students remember. The images are also memorable, so I use lots of drawing activities once they have understood. Draw pass write is an option, as is draw 123.

Anna et Rana dictatio
Anna et Rana rewrite activity (slides)
trad. test questions for Anna – Rana
full test (old) based on anna rana and a class story
semester final (M/C), based mostly on Anna Rana and Italia

(NB: during my overwhelming first year, I gave mostly MC tests, but I made sure that they tested reading comprehsion above all.)

Roman Homes culture research project (in English). Using online resources and a classroom set of Usborne’s The Romans, I give them this handout. NB, this also overlaps with the culture info on the domus in the first stages of CLC unit 1. Here is a quiz/worksheet for that. For latin language info on the Roman house, see Usborne’s Latin For Beginners (cited above) and Jessie Craft’s videos on the domus Roman and insula Romana.

About this time in the year, Saturnalia is approaching. I usually have a class party on the last day before break, and we spend a few days preparing for it. On the day, students bring refreshments. I provide chips and red grape juice (for vinum) and we have a toast, sing holiday songs in Latin, students then can play games and/or decorate the classroom (or take down if they are the last period of the day)
Latin language materials and activities: here is a celebrationes student sheet on which they write about what holiday is celebrated in their family. Also, Jessie Craft made a Saturnalia video in Latin, which you can also use. He also mentioned that he will be releasing a Latin transcript of the video this summer.
Here is a collection of Latin descriptions of December holidays
Here is link to my current Saturnalia folder, where I keep all related materials, Browse and see what fits your classroom culture.

End of semester exams. I give  this exam in three parts:
1. reading comprehension test (similar to previous tests)
2. 15 minute free write and portfolio self-evaluation of writing progress
3. Song of the week lyric matching activity (Latin and English lyrics)

Second Semester

(2 new routines)

1. EXPLICIT GRAMMAR: For this second half of year one, I will begin to teach some explicit grammar. For the why and the how, see my discussion of teaching grammar. There you will also find a link to a page of grammar videos.

2. Begin FVR. See my FVR/SSR description for how I implement this, starting second semester of Latin 1. Students will read for 8-10 minutes at the beginning of class twice a week. I will collect their first few reading log entries, just while they are learning the expectations. Colleague David Maust has been implementing a rubric for observable habits and traits of good  readers. I may do something like this with  one of my classes that struggles with implulse control.
As for readings, I will limit their choices to textbooks (any textbook, start with chapter 1 Latin readings), Student-created storybooks, Minimus Mini-books, and a few of Lance Piantaggini’s novellas: Rufus (both volumes) and Agrippina

2018 edit:
For the beginning of Semester 2, I am switching to the following readings to begin a Geography unit:

Graecia et America
Imperium Romanum

Both of these are from Donna Gerard’s A Latin Workbook for Beginning Students (item B26 in the ACL’s TMRC resource catalogue)

I have also created two quizlet sets for these readings, and I will give students maps of Europa and Italia from Oerberg’s Lingua Latina vol. 1, Familia Romana.

Our unit story will be Lance Piantaggini’s Romulus et Remus. The link will take you to his videos and an editable text with a low unique Latin word count for beginning students.

unit 5: slavery and gladiators
Google drive folder containing all materials

initially developed from LFA stories, i have adapted those readings and included additional readings and culture projects. Students want to know what the life of slaves was like in ancient Rome.

Reading 1: dominus et servi (embedded) from LFA and LLPSI. Both books give scenarios in a roman household with master-slave interactions.

Culture project: students use books in room and/or online resources to do a venn diagram comparing ancient roman, and american slavery

this work can also raise important topics around modern day slavery, human trafficking, etc.

Reading 2: spartacus (LFA embedded)

reading 3: gladiatores (CLC)

Art appreciation

Each Spring, our school has a large exhibit showcasing student art projects (mostly IB, which is a 1-2 year process). I spend 5 classes preparing students for viewing, speaking, and writing in Latin about works of art. Culminates in a field trip followed by a sharing in class and written report. Handout containing sentence frames
Folder containing pre-activity slide show, handouts, student guide for during field trip, etc.

Consider having a student or colleague film some footage of you at the art exhibit discussing and asking students simple questions about the art pieces (if you prep them right with e.g. the activities contained in my folder, they will be able to do this), you can use that footage to promote your program. I made this simple video with subtitles, and I am working on adding gallery footage to another promotional video.

unit 6: more myths: persephone and hades/pluto

again, more Jessie craft videos for content related to the gods and linking these stories with roman religious practices

Celebration: rome’s birthday on or near apr 21

unit 7: pluto novella, read as a class.
My adapted Pluto materials, handouts, assessments, etc.

NB, I may change things up this year, and read Lance Piantaggini’s Agrippina instead. I would prefer this to his beginner novel Rufus, because I want to feature a female lead role. However there are no supplementary resources available yet.

The reading of Pluto culminates in a compare/contrast extended write in Latin, between the traditional myth and the novella.

Final project: persona romana/ Paper Doll
Folder containing all materials for this

students make a paper doll, and come up with a historically believable person. Students are required to write and present (in English) basic info and a typical day. Be sure to take pictures of the dolls, so that you can show them to students next year when you give the assignment. The folder above contains my pics of student dolls, so you can have something to show students this year. For this project it is helpful to have the following items in your classroom for work days:

cardstock or old manilla folders
scraps of different textured and colored paper
scissors, tape, and glue sticks
cloth scraps (esp. canvas and/or felt)
aluminum foil (for armor)

Final exam.
My exam has three parts, taking place on three separate days.
Part 1, during a regular class period (58 min): traditional test based on passages students have already read.
Part 2. regular class period. Writing: Students complete an extended write/rewrite (25 min), open portfolio. Next, students complete a self-evaluation of their written progress.
Part 3: 2 hr exam period. Students present their paper doll/Roman character in pairs. I evaluate them on this rubric. Students are encouraged to bring refreshments. I provide something simple like chips. This is treated as a farewell celebration, and a break from the rest of their final exams, while still being a summative display of their knowledge and research.
[NB I do this in English, but it could easily be adapted to being a Latin activity. The main challenge would be in providing structure for what students must write/say.]