Thursday, August 13, 2015

Latin 1 - Week 1 Lesson Plan

I am finishing up the first week of school with students – here is the lesson plan which I used for my Latin 1 class during this week. It has gone SO well! Although this is for a Latin 1 class, it can easily be adapted to your language.

If you saw my Speak Comprehensibly from Day 1 presentation at either ACL or NTPRS this summer, this is the whole lesson plan (my presentation only covered Day 1). Below is the story which I used, and my target vocabulary is vult (want), habet (has), est (is), -ne (?), tristis (sad), laetus (happy). There are links to descriptions of the activity and to the actual documents/powerpoints which I used.

Story (in Latin)
Earl elephantum vult. Earl est tristis. Aliyah elephantum habet. Aliyah est laeta.

elephantus secretum habet. elephantus est tristis. elephantus Aliyahem non vult.

Earl crustulum habet. elephantus crustulum vult. elephantus crustulum consumit. elephantus Earlem consumit.

elephantus est laetus. Earl est tristis.

Story (in English)
Earl wants an elephant. Earl is sad. Aliyah has an elephant. Aliyah is happy.

The elephant has a secret. The elephant is sad. The elephant does not want Aliyah.

Earl has a cookie. The elephant wants the cookie. The elephant eats the cookie. The elephant eats Earl.

The elephant is happy. Earl is sad.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4


  1. Interesting! So you jumped in immediately to a story? How did you find that? I have always thought to start with Circling with Balls and basic TPR in order to a) build personalization, and b) build up basic vocabulary so that the story is totally comprehensible, but they have some choices in it. What benefits did you find to starting directly with a story? Wasn't it hard to introduce that much vocab? What about PQA, or personalization?

    Sorry, for so many questions, but I am intrigued by the idea since we saw stories from day one at NTPRS in Chinese, Romanian, and Japanese. What are the advantages to going right into storytelling?

    1. Yep, I jumped right into telling a story, and it went VERY well. The big things were that I established a safety net, told a very simple story which had LOTS of repetitions of target vocabulary, made the story about students in the class, all necessary vocabulary was projected on the board (in order to establish meaning), used cognates when necessary, I pointed and paused a lot, and got in tons of repetitions through circling and repeating parts of the story. I embedded Circling with Balls and PQAs into the actual circling in order to keep it novel.

      I asked students on Day 1 after I told the story if it was difficult to understand or if it was too much Latin. Overwhelmingly, they said that having the vocabulary on the board was helpful but that after awhile, they did not need to refer to the main target vocabulary.

      Last year, I did Circling with Balls for the first ten minutes of class, and after a few days, students got really bored with it, so this year, I incorporated it into the circling of the story, and it really went well and kept students engaged in the story. In the past, I have also started with TPR, and in my experience, it gets kind of dry after awhile.

      I did not do a true TPRS "Ask a Story," and quite honestly, I probably only do one 1-2 times a semester. I just find them difficult to do.

      In my opinion, if a story has limited vocabulary but lots of repetitions AND is compelling, there is no reason why it can't be used right away in the first week.

  2. Thank you so much. I have struggled to understand so many CI techniques that this lays out so clearly. I have found your blog to be extremely helpful in starting this journey, and this post suddenly clarified so much of what you, and others, have said before.

  3. Perge scribere! Valde mihi et aliis placet!

  4. Thank you for this! It feels like a "safety net" of my own as I jump into CI this year. One question of practicalities - how long are your class periods?

    1. My class periods are 52 minutes and meet daily.

  5. This is very helpful and very clear. Thanks for sharing what a week looks like. Did "dictatio" today using a new story I made up with the 6th graders and it went very well!! The brain craves novelty!

  6. Keith, Thank you so much for sharing this lesson plan with its materials. I stole it basically whole cloth for Latin 1, and it's been a GREAT entry into the year. They're having fun, feeling success, and it caused me to use a few activities from here I'd never tried before (stultus, for example) that went really well!

    1. So glad that you found success with this and that your students have been enjoying a CI approach to learning!

  7. When do you introduce your syllabus and Classroom expectations? Thank you

    1. I used to devote Day 1 of that, but honestly, since every teacher does that, by the time students come to me, they are on auto-pilot and burned out with all of that discussion. I will talk briefly (10 minutes maybe?) about "syllabus stuff" on the first day.