There are several different tools we use when we teach. The most common methods are those such as PowerPoint and lecture. However, with the integration of technology into classrooms PowerPoint has evolved into interactive exercises. Lectures can be recorded for classes to listen outside of the room or in the event of a substitute.
As part of my standard for the semester, students must compare the sound systems of English and Latin. While it is a struggle to say for certain how Latin is pronounced, there are two commonly accepted ways of pronunciation: Classical and Ecclesiastical. I have learned Classically how to pronounce Latin with hard c’s that are pronounced like an English k’s and v’s pronounced like English w’s. I struggle reading aloud in both English and Latin, but chose this standard regardless, because it is a challenge I need to overcome. This standard is not as well-known among what a first year Latin student must learn. In my experience, most people take Latin so that they avoid having to speak in another language, like modern languages are definitely required. However, more and more Latin educators are reviving the language and speaking it colloquially in the classroom.
As for a way to integrate this standard into a lesson, I created a comic based off the story of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Alicia in Terra Mirabili. Within the comic are QR codes, which when scans will play an audio of me reading the Latin. As aforementioned, I am not the best at reading Latin. I made great effort to denote macrons to help students know when a vowel should be long, indicating a change in tense. Within the comic I have venit and vēnit. The “e” in venit is pronounced like the “i” in “win” while the “ē” in vēnit is pronounced like the “a” in “way.”
However, just a handout alone with some QR audio codes does not make a lesson or engage the students too much. In hand with the comic handout is an example of a task, or project if you will, assigned to the students. The goal is for the students to read through the comic and listen to the audio. They are to pay close attention to words that look like ones we have in English, such as edit, with a long “e,” which means “she ate”, instead of to change or edit a paper.
After seeing my example comic, the students are to pick a well-know children story and make their own comic. I drastically shortened the story due to resources, time and level of the students. I struggled even with the shortened story I had to keep the grammar and vocabulary to that of a level I student. Therefore, a vocabulary list is highly recommended for that advanced grammar for the students to know what it means, but do not have to understand the grammar behind it just yet. If a student is so inclined to know, it allows a great chance for differentiation, and for the student to look into higher content.
The students too, must have audio somehow in their comic, whether it is them reading it, or noting the specific differences in how we would pronounce the word in English versus how it is pronounced in Latin. Other guidelines for the project can be using certain verb tenses and grammatical constructions the students know, in order to see their ability. The most important thing to remember with this project is that the students are only level I, even though I see this as a towards-the-end-of-the-year project, they are not going to be making a comic worthy of Cicero. Base the rubric off of what they know. It’ll possibly be some very vulgar dog Latin, but it is getting them used to the idea of write in Latin.
I hope you enjoy your iter in terra mirabili!