Saturday, November 15, 2014

Putting it Together

So after a year of blogging about teaching Latin using Comprehensible Input, how do I put it all together to teach a "unit"? To clarify, I do not teach "units" per se, but rather each week, I use a different story which focuses on my targeted vocabulary/structures.

The following is an example of a week's lesson plan which I did this semester, but by no means do I this same lesson plan every week, as I vary it up weekly with different activities in order to preserve the novelty. And by no means is this a definitive list. At the same time, however, I am very deliberate about how I scaffold the week's lesson. In the beginning of the week, it may seem like I am doing a lot of translating into English, but that is purely to establish meaning. By the end of the week, students are retelling the story completely in Latin, both orally and on paper; in order for this to happen, there has to be TONS of meaningful input and of interaction with the language first.

I try to do 3-4 different activites a day with the story. As Carol Gaab always says, "The brain CRAVES novelty." Rachel Ash puts it best: we want to get in repetitions without repetitive activities.

Preparing for the Week
  1. I as the teacher act out/tell the story aloud in Latin, with plenty of pointing and pausing at the target vocabulary/structures which are written on the board. No circling, no PQAs so that I can establish listening flow.
  2. Projecting the written story on the board, with me reading it aloud again and now doing circling and PQA's.
Day 2
  1. Picture Story Retell (2 rounds)
  2. 5-minute timed write of the story using the pictures
Day 5
  1. On the board, I project a couple student-written endings to the story based on their timed writes from the day before. As a class, we read through them
  2. Read Dating of embedded reading Version #2 of the story
Day 6
  1. Consolidation activity, such as Word Chunk Game, Micrologue, Guess the Word, 
Like I said, this is just an example of one particular week, but I found that it was pretty successful. Hope this helps some of you!


  1. Keith, I am trying to get back to basics and am finding this particular entry helpful. Within this week, are you doing anything else other than what you have posted? I.e. a warm-up of any sort? assessment or quick quiz? WAYK? short conversations?

    Once again, thank you for actively working on this blog! It is so helpful to me!


  2. Hi Keith, I have been reading your blog for a few days, as I am at the beginning of this journey. I like your blog:) And I really like your to the point writing style.
    So you present the story? Do you ever ask the story?

    I am also interested in your answer to Tammy's question. Thanks for sharing your experience!!

    1. Although I could Ask a Story a'la TPRS, for me, I find that very difficult. If I do ever Ask a Story, then there are certain parts of the story which are set, because those are my target structures/vocabulary. If I do ask for details, then it is usually incidentals which do not change the overall focus of the story.

      For warm-ups, it may be simply reviewing the words on the word wall, asking a culture question, doing derivatives, etc. - really simple stuff to prime the brain some.

  3. Hey Keith -- How often do you get to see your students and for how much time? Thanks!

    1. Traditional schedule - five days a week for 53 minutes.