Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Report from the Classroom: Same Conversation

This activity is a spin off of what Keith Toda has written about here:

Part I 

Part II

Part III

Here are my simple instructions for same conversation.

I've done this activity with my students before and it always has its ups and downs. This year, my fellow Latin I teacher, Dr. Robert Patrick, and I came up with some news ways to do this and have had some great success.

In the past I've done this with students, allowing them to call out various things. This year, however, we wanted a focus on Latin and using Latin as much as possible, even in Latin I. So, Dr. Patrick and I brainstormed this list of ways to do a same conversation script in Latin. The list includes things like "with hate" and "with love", as well as things like "loudly", "sadly", and even has some animals like "as frogs", "as cats", etc. 

This list seems to be a really useful way to do this because it keeps offensive ones out of the mix and it keeps students from picking things that are too hard. Plus, they seem to like the randomness of the list. By far, the class favourites are:
  • ut pirati - as pirates
  • ut infantes - as babies
  • magna voce - in a loud voice
  • susurrante - whispering
  • amore - with love
Script and Process

For the lesson today, we used this script:

I want to pause and point a few things about script:
  1. These words are pertinent to our reading. We are beginning to read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in Latin. Chapter 1 takes place on a farm. 
  2. These words are not high frequency words in Latin. And yet, we are doing them. These words are highly compelling to students. Students love being able to talk about the world around them and everyone has a favourite animal, so these words become important and high frequency to our students when the connect and it is compelling. 
  3. These words serve another important purpose. In Latin, the words for animal sounds are examples of onomatopoeia; that is, when said they make a sound. (My students call it a sound in a word). By doing this now, they can listen for and look for these things in the future and rhetorical devices are an important part of vertical instruction towards upper level Latin and AP, as well as being very useful outside the classroom. 
We did each scene separately and had different actors for each. They got to do it once normally and once with direction. Then, we'd sing the appropriate verse. This took up half, if not more, of the period, and we could have continued if the bell hadn't rung. 

  • Already the majority of kids like this game. There are some classes where it is difficult to get volunteers, but even in those classes, they still enjoy watching the scenes. 
  • In one class, they even gave the song a beat, which made it extra fun. 
  • Because the nursery rhyme is so well known in these parts, and the song itself is so repetitive, kids will learn these words very quickly. 
  • This work is VERY compelling for students. They love it! 
Extra Resources:
Minimus Website - shows animals and sounds

Do you do same conversation? Have you ever tried it to teach words like these? How did it go?