Monday, October 26, 2020

Sanjay's Super Team - Movie Talk

Here is one more Movie Talk which I would like to share with you: Sanjay's Super Team! It is now one of my all-time favorite animated shorts. Sanjay's Super Team is a Pixar short from 2015, and quite honestly, I do not remember this one at all when it came out (it was paired with Pixar's The Good Dinosaur in the theaters in 2015, and quite honestly, I do not remember that Pixar film at all either). Anyhow, I needed to preview a number of religious-related vocabulary words, such as pray to, worship, divinities, and temples (again, very specific upper-level Latin themes), so I was so glad to come upon this Pixar short.

However, a downside of this particular Movie Talk is that Sanjay's Super Team is only available on Disney + for now (it is not currently on YouTube in its entirety). Essentially, the plot is about a boy named Sanjay who loves watching superheroes on TV, but his father says that it is time to take part in a Hindu worship ceremony. Sanjay half-heartedly takes part in the worship ceremony to these divinities, but he really would rather watch superheroes on telelvision. That is where the action ensues! 

Targeted Words

colere - to worship

precari - to pray to

pupam - action figure/doll

veretur - is afraid

numina/numen - divinity

miratur - is amazed

servat - saves/rescues

ingens/ingentia - huge

templum - temple

English script

Latin script


  1. What a great multicultural animated short! Most students had not seen this Pixar short, so it was nice to be able to introduce this to them. 
  2. Once again, this movie short naturally lends itself to lots of vocabulary repetitions.
If you have Disney +, there are a lot of Pixar shorts there in its catalog which were new to me, and I am already looking for ways to use them!

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Sand Castle - Movie Talk

Once again, like my previous blog post, this may only relate to the teachers in the Latin community, but I hope that other language teachers may find it useful.

So like I stated in my previous blog post, in teaching upper level Latin, we find ourselves having to address some very specific vocabulary, especially words related to war, empire, and imperialism. I shared my Royal Madness movie talk with you which introduced a number of war vocabulary words, and here is another one which addresses many of these words: Sand Castle.

Target words
arma - weapons
gens/gentem - nation
imperium - empire
procul - far away
acies - battle line
delere - to destroy
occupare - to occupy
cancer - crab
dux - leader
eques - cavalry man

English script

Latin script


  1. Another great movie talk which lends itself towards lots of vocabulary repetitions.
  2. As a Latin teacher who has to deal with very specific words such as cavalry, battle line, leader, and weapons, finding this animated short was a godsend!

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Royal Madness - Movie Talk

This blog post probably only relates to the Latin teaching community but hopefully other language teachers can use this.

I have been teaching upper level Latin for the past few years, and if you do too, you know that we start to get into some very specific vocabulary themes in the upper levels, such as war, imperialism, Caesar in Gaul, empire, etc. I have also found that there are not a whole lot of school-appropriate movie shorts involving war vocabulary which I can use as movie talks to preview these words - there definitely are a lot of movie shorts out there about war, but they are either overly violent and gory or are WAY too emotional for the classroom (I once did the Robot and the Grandma as a movie talk and was told by students NEVER to do that one again, because it was way too sad!). Finally, however, I was able to find a movie short which I could manipulate to fit those war words which I needed but was still light-hearted: Royal Madness.

Target Words

appropinquat -  approaches              

bellum gerit - wages war

exercitus - army

imperator - emperor

in dolore - in grief

in proelio - in battle

mortua - dead

non iam - no longer

pax - peace

vicit - has conquered

Latin script


  1. This animated short lends itself naturally to TONS of target word repetitions!
  2. This was the first movie talk which I did this school year, and it was done completely in a digital teaching environment (before we went hybrid). Since I had not physically seen students since March and honestly, since I could not say with confidence that students actually "acquired" any Latin during that time of distance learning in the last half of the semester, I approached this particular movie talk very gingerly and assumed that this was completely new material for students. 
In my next blog post, I will share another movie talk which I did following this one which previewed more "war/imperial" vocabulary.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Using Vocabulary Know-It Boards as a Formative - Google Slides Manipulatives

As I continue to embark on this hybrid environment of teaching both digital and in-person students simultaneously, I am learning how important formative assessments and observations are in informing me as the teacher how to proceed when for most students I cannot physically witness their progress. My colleague Rachel Ash introduced me to Google Slide manipulatives, and she has demonstrated a way in which students can let me know how well they know their vocabulary: Vocabulary Know-It Boards (look for the specific activity on the page - you can actually make a copy for yourself from her example).

Essentially, from the list of 25ish provided words, students will drag the word to the quadrant which best describes their knowledge of the word: I Really Know It, I Know It, I Kind of Know It, I Don't Know It.

Student Examples:


  1. This is a really easy way for students to "check-in" with me about what they feel like they know and what they do not know.
  2. The downside of this is that the vocabulary words are presented in isolation, so in some ways, it may be that students actually do know the words when they see them in context but in isolation, they do not.
  3. Using Google Classroom, this is so easy to assign, because I just "Make a Copy for Each Student" and then they can "Turn It In" when finished.
  4. I do manually tally what words are most commonly being placed in the "I Kind of Know" and "I Don't Know" quadrants. These become the words which I target.
  5. I do make this an assignment for students to ensure that I receive feedback from every student, but I also give them a 100 as a completion grade.
  6. I do this assignment every 3-4 weeks to see what students feel like they know and what they feel like they do not know.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Multiple Stories - Put the Sentences in Order - Google Slides Manipulatives

I am continuing to experiment with Google Slides manipulatives, and here is another activity which i was able to adapt to a digital environment. It is Multiple Stories - Put the Sentences in Order but now converted to an individual virtual assignment (see my blog post about how to create Google Slide manipulatives). 

Due to teaching hybrid classes in this weird digital environment, I have being going deliberately slow and almost painfully overdoing the amount of repetitions of stories in different ways to increase vocabulary and language structure exposure for students. An activity like this allowed for me to consolidate the stories into one assignment as a review. Below is a picture of what the assignment looked like for students - it is based on two Movie Talks and an ongoing story about Augustus (can you tell that I have to introduce war-related, imperial vocabulary this year?):


  1. I love that in Google Classroom, I can assign this as a copy for every student and that when students submit it, I can immediately correct the assignment and then return it with comments.
  2. Again, this is a great higher-order thinking activity, because it forces students to distinguish which sentence is for each story and then to determine the correct order of the sentences.
  3. The "draggable" nature of the assignment lends to its novelty and definitely appeals to tactile learners.
  4. Students did quite well on this, so from a formative perspective, this let me know that they were ready to move onto new vocabulary.
  5. This is a great assignment for an asynchronous learning day (if you are able to do those)!

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Using to Deliver CI

Since I have a degree in Instructional Technology and am furthering my graduate studies in this field, many times I get asked by other teachers, "So what are some web app tools which I can use in my classroom?" Especially now in this time of digital teaching, teachers are searching for new novel ways of delivering instruction. Quite honestly, so am I, but I am actually very selective in what new web app tools which I want to introduce into my classroom. 

When reviewing web app tools for student use in the classroom, here is my primary test: Does it require that my students create an account for them to log in for use? If it does, then I most likely will pass it over. I know for many that sounds like a flimsy reason not to use a particular web app tool for instruction, but hear me out for my reasons:

  1. Practical reasons - I do not need students having to keep track of what log-in IDs and passwords which they are using for all of the various web app tools in all of their classes, because there will always be those few students who cannot remember their information and then cannot take part in the online activity. Even though students in my classroom have a district email account, I am amazed at how many still do not know what it is. 
  2. Student privacy information issues - As teachers in this digital age (and as required by federal laws COPPA and CIPA), we must do everything we can to protect student privacy and any online information which students may knowingly and unknowingly transmit when using digital tools for classroom purposes. The less information which students can provide web app tool companies, the better in my opinion. My district has a list of 3rd-party online vendors which we are allowed to use for classroom purposes, because those companies' student data collection procedures align with my district's guidelines. 
Currently, the only web app tools which I use that require student log-in are Google Classroom, Remind, and GimKit (and I am not happy that GimKit now requires student log-in!). I applaud web app tools such as EdPuzzle and Nearpod which allow for open classroom usage and do not require students to create an account.

With that in mind, last week Meredith White (who is also a teacher in my district) shared a great resource with a number of us: Whiteboard.fiIt is a free web app tool which turns a user's device screen into a digital whiteboard! Best of all, it does NOT require students to create an account or to log-in to use. Yesterday and today, my colleague John Foulk and I have been using it for a drawing dictation, which is how Meredith told us she used

  1. I love how, like the Draw This function in Nearpod, I can see in real time what students are putting down on their whiteboards on my screen! This is a great formative tool for me as a teacher. 
  2. I like how easy it is to set up a "class" and that I can do it at that moment!
  3. This tool works great for a hybrid class (in-person and digital simultaneously), because the focus is on individual device screens and does not require me as the teacher to share a screen/divide my attention. 
  4. After students completed a drawing, I "pushed" some of their drawings onto the class's device screens so that others could see them. 
  5. does not save what students draw/write on their device screens, but you can download everyone's whiteboard screens to a PDF prior to clearing them if you wish to have a record. If you are wanting a whiteboard web app tool which will store images, then consider using Jamboard
  6. The URL for Whiteboard is - if you are curious, the fi stands for Finland.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Using Nearpod to Deliver CI and Higher-Order Technology Use

If you are like me, you are teaching hybrid classrooms - a group of students who are physically in your classrom and those who are in a digital Zoom environment all SIMULTANEOUSLY! Recently, I have begun to implement Nearpod again in my curriculum, and it is really making a difference. I had used it before many years ago and had even demonstrated its use at conferences. Once PearDeck came around, I began to use that (in my opinion, PearDeck is the next generation of Nearpod), but for some reason, i stopped using either of these web app tool in my classroom. Fast forward to this new normal (and the fact that my district has a Nearpod account), I am now using Nearpod again. And I am wondering, "Why did I ever stop using this tool (or PearDeck)?!" 

If you are not familiar with Nearpod or PearDeck, they both are web app tools which allow participants to engage in live interaction with a presentation in real time (you can also have it set for "student-paced" mode). As the presenter, you can pause throughout your presentation and take "time-outs" for comprehension checks through shorts quizzes, ask participants to predict what they think will happen next, take opinion polls, ask participants for comments, ask participants to draw something in particular, etc. And the best part is that you as the presenter control what participants see on their device screens!  

Recently I used Nearpod as an introduction to an expanded, embedded Latin reading, where the base version I had introduced earlier the week before. Although this was an embedded, expanded reading, I still treated as if it were a sight passage, so my goal for students was comprehension. Below is the Nearpod which I created - it is a passage on Augustus which I wrote, and it is patterned after the sentence structures found in Emma Vanderpool's novella Kandake Amanirenas: Regina Nubia, which I will be introducing later, as well as influenced by my district's mandated vocabulary list. You can view it below in the Student-Pace mode, but I played it as live mode in class digitally via Zoom. NOTE - because this Nearpod was the first day of viewing this fuller reading, my goal was comprehension, therefore, my questions and answers were in English.

1) Go to
2) Join Code: KUMAP

The last page of this particular Nearpod is a Collaboration Board, which I have turned off in Student Pace. I posited the statement: According to Augustus in the passage, he brought peace to many lands. Do you agree/disagree? Why/why not?

  1. When used with a live audience (whether it be live or digital), Nearpod rates on the highest level of the SAMR technology model, which evaluates the level of critical and higher-order thinking involved in a particular implementation of technology. It ranks at the Redefinition level, because it is allowing for an outcome which is INCONCEIVABLE without the use of technology, so in this instance, live real-time interaction and feedback from participants during a presentation which can immediately inform the presenter how to proceed.
  2. Students were quite engaged in this activity, and the many breaks in-between passages with different types of questions and activities broke up the monotony and contributed to the novelty of Nearpod. We actually went for a whole period doing this in a hybrid class, and a number of students commented afterwards "Wow, that was fun!"
  3. I liked the Collaboration Board at the end as a discussion board. I hid student names to keep the comments anonymous, but it gave students an opportunity to voice an opinion in a safe environment and for them to read others' opinions. 
  4. I showed all of the drawings which students did during the "Draw This" portion of the Nearpod, and this is where students were the most engaged.
  5. Because this was an embedded, fuller reading of an earlier version of the story, students were still receiving understandable messages, along with a recycling of the former vocabulary now used in new sentences. With 2/3 of my classes doing digital, I erred on the side of caution by overdoing the amount of limiting vocabulary and getting in vocabulary repetitions, since I really have no idea what students are acquiring when they are not in-person.