quo contendimus? IV

salvēte, amīcī et sodālēs! I’m very sorry there wasn’t a post here yesterday! Both Wednesday and Thursday were busy days for the family, with many demands both on my time and on everybody’s favorite computer. I was also both physically and emotionally drained, and it seems I was fighting off a summer cold or some other minor health issue. Anyway, things are a bit calmer today, so I hope to be able to catch up a bit.

I’m excited to see, from a recent thread on the Latinteach listserv, that so many people are interested in teaching Latin to upper-elementary and middle-school aged children. While there are all kinds of great materials out there already, I hope that some of these learners – and their teachers – will be interested in exploring the Tres Columnae Project. I think we can provide a really exciting, engaging alternative, especially if

  • the learners are meeting after school and don’t want a “traditional” textbook;
  • the teacher or facilitator doesn’t want to deal with a lot of paperwork;
  • there isn’t a lot of money available to buy books, packets, photocopies, or other materials; and
  • the learners would like to make and share beautiful things as part of the learning process.

If you know anyone who would like to start such a program – or if you’ve been thinking about such a thing yourself – I hope you’ll take a look at Tres Columnae and tell us what you think. We’d be happy to help you build an ITER through the materials that would meet your needs and those of your favorite young learners.

Of course, we firmly believe that the Tres Columnae materials are for people of every age. We certainly don’t claim to be in the timeless league of fairy tales, folktales, and fables, but we do aim to have universal appeal on many different levels. We’d love to know what you think, both of our goal and of how well we’ve reached it so far.

Anyway, at the end of Wednesday’s post, after I listed the instructional materials that we’ve already developed for Lectiō Secunda of the Tres Columnae project, I asked us all to think about these questions and issues:

  • I hope you like what you see so far … but if you don’t, please let me know.
  • There are obviously some missing steps – or at least I think there are some missing steps.
  • Before I tell you what else we’re planning, though, I’d love to hear from you. What other steps in the instructional sequence do you think there need to be for learners who use the Tres Columnae materials as a supplement, or even a primary text, in classroom-based instruction?
  • Are there any additional (or different) steps that might be needed for a learner who is using the Tres Columnae materials in a homeschool or self-study environment without a trained Latin teacher?

I want to deal with the “missing step” and “other step” issues today. First, though, let’s step back and consider the goals of Lectiō Secunda as I listed them on the relevant page on the Tres Columnae Version Alpha Wiki site, and in earlier posts this week:

  1. directly comprehend a Latin sentence;
  2. distinguish Latin nominative and genitive case nouns;
  3. continue to recognize and explore English derivatives of Latin words;
  4. continue to compare housing and family structure in Roman world with our own housing and family structure; and
  5. continue to understand, analyze, and explore the concept of pietās.

The exercises and quizzes I listed on Wednesday are all about Goal 2, distinguishing and using Latin nominative and genitive case nouns. We think this large goal needs to be broken down into a number of simpler steps:

  • First, we need some examples of sentences with genitives – sentences that our learners can comprehend directly without explicit knowledge of the genitive forms.
  • Then, after a bit, we need to point out the new words to them.
  • We’d like the learners, rather than “us,” to be the ones who discover the genitive endings.
  • Then we think our learners will need to practice distinguishing nominatives and accusatives with several different kinds of exercises.
  • Since distinguishing the forms is not an end in itself, but a tool to greater Skill and Understanding, we want to practice nominatives and genitives in the context of reading comprehension exercises.
  • Then we want our learners to be able to create sentences and stories that use the nominative and genitive forms.
  • Along the way, we believe our learners will also develop some deeper Understandings about the structure of Latin, and perhaps even about languages in general.

But we think there might be some steps we skipped. We’d really like to know what you think, too.

quid respondētis, amīcī?

Tune in tomorrow for a few of the missing steps we’ve already identified. intereā, grātiās maximās omnibus iam legentibus et respondentibus.

Published in: on July 30, 2010 at 4:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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