Thursday, September 4, 2014

Parallel Universe

I got this idea from Cynthia Hitz's presentation at ACTFL last November (although I do not think that she called it "Parallel Universe" - that is my addition. Mea culpa, Cynthia, if you indeed did call it this). This is a great post-reading activity, but it needs to be done only after students have reviewed a particular story/reading MANY times, because it is going to require them to know a number of facts from the original story.

The idea is quite basic: tell another story aloud in Latin using sentences from the original story but alter some of them to create a new story. After each sentence in the altered version, ask students if that sentence is from the original story or is from the Parallel Universe.

Here is one which I did with my Latin 1 students during the second week of school.

Original story
Leonard ad Walmart it. infans ad Walmart it. elephantus est in Walmart. infans elephantum sumit. Leonard clamat, "O infans, depone elephantum." infans elephantum deponit. lightsaber est in Walmart. infans lightsabrem sumit. Leonard clamat, "O infans, depone lightsabrem!" infans lightsabrem non deponit. infans ad Leonard it. Leonard in infante considit.

Parallel Universe
Leonard ad Walmart it. elephantus est in Walmart. elephantus Leonardem sumit. Leonard
clamat (shouts), “O elephante, depone me!” elephantus Leonardem non deponit. infans ad 
Walmart it. infans elephantum sumit. Leonard clamat, "O infans, depone elephantum!" 
infans elephantum deponit. elephantus in infante considit. 

- A fun, quick way to review a story! Students pay attention to see where the differences are.
- A great way to get in repetitions of the parts of the original story.
- If it is kept simple, it is a great listening comprehension activity
- A degree of critical thinking does take place. In my example, there were some sentences 
which were identical from the original story. Some students noted, however, that the 
sentences took place in a different time in original story - wow, they were really paying 


  1. Love this idea! I just did a CI unit on grey whale migrations with my upper level students & will do this tomorrow as a quick warm-up. Thanks!

  2. I really like this idea. A question about grammar: If you're only teaching conjugations at this point with "pop-up grammar" (basic answers to direct questions from students), are they composing Latin well? Or do you help them with it? I know part of the goal at this early stage is simply to get them speaking Latin aloud, and even if their grammar is poor, they're showing comprehension of the original story. I'm just curious about the best way to handle bad grammar. Correcting it might stifle shyer students, but there might be more tactful ways of correcting it. Suggestions?

  3. Great, but what does that mean in English?