Sunday, April 19, 2015

Weekly Resource - Todally Comprehensible Latin

Well, there are many things I have tried, found or read about in the past year.  I'll start sharing a few of them.  First, I want to sing the praises of Half Price Books (again).  Yesterday I was trying to get rid of books but found a hardbound interlinear translation of the Aeneid.  I couldn't believe it.  My books sold back for just the amount of the Latin book so now I have an interlinear version.  I was SO pumped - because I am SUPER nerdy.

Now to the resource of the week.  This week I'd like to mention the blog Todally Comprehensible Latin.   The approach that he uses in his classroom is immersion and comprehensible input - so lots of stories in Latin and an attempt to speak Latin most of the time in the classroom.  It has some of the same underpinnings as I Speak Latin.   After reading much about language instruction I know that you have to know a LOT of Latin to pull this idea off full time.  Most homeschooling mom's don't know that much Latin. BUT some of the ideas that he presents could be used in addition to your normal curriculum.

I remember Andrew Kern discussing the use of interlinear Latin texts read aloud to elementary aged students to help them become more comfortable with the language (or anyone really - thus the squealing over the book above).  Basically, this blog gives you lots of games, questions and ways to play (found with search word activity) with a short, easy story in Latin.  More common languages, like Spanish, have short published stories (and full curricula) available to use this approach - but Latin doesn't have a full book- yet.  Kern also discusses using Latin fables and actually mentioned possibly putting together such a resource (there is one google book that has an interlinear version of Aesops).  If that ever did become available you could use some of these techniques as you teach the story.  Although the idea behind the interlinear approach to learning Latin and comprehensible input are very different - for those of us who aren't Latin scholars we need the interlinear to help us teach the comprehensible input.  So we have the cheat sheet to help us teach our students to really read Latin and not just translate it.  The games at Todally Comprehensible could be used in other contexts as well - if you are running out of creative ways to review information.  Although he is using these games in a high school setting - most of them are very appropriate for kids who can write on their own.

In some ways the key idea behind the comprehensible input approach is like reading a story to a three year old.  The minute you finish reading it, they want to read it again.  They pick two or three favorite stories and want you to read them over and over.  Eventually they "read it" which really means they have memorized it.  Here, you do that with a story intentionally (but with some different focus and games to keep it interesting) so that the students really begin to internalize the language. Some of these ideas probably are best for a classroom - but why not have a Latin coop class together so that you don't carry Latin alone. Yes, parsing sentences as a class isn't super exciting (although probably helpful) - but reading a Latin fable and playing games with it - now that might be!  Here are some simple stories that he uses in his classroom.  You'll see that they are about the level of Bob Books in Latin.  If you want something with more classical themes you might write out some of the you tube story from Learning Latin from Virgil.

If you are feeling really inspired you can try your hand at writing a story to use with this format and here he gives some tips on writing a story (which also helps you understand how this method is supposed to help students).

I haven't really tried many of these games yet (remember moving and new baby).  But, I try to find basic Latin texts (often the Bible because my kids are already familiar with the story) and read them aloud in an interlinear fashion during our circle time.  I just use short pieces (one semester I used the translation texts from Visual Latin part C).  I need to get back to this.  The idea of comprehensible input is along the lines of Andrew Pudewa encouraging second language teachers (and everyone) to encourage students to memorize poems because it implants phrases and vocabulary into their minds in ways that just lists of words cannot accomplish.

So try some Latin stories and games this summer as a break from your regular routine!

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