Testing, Testing, V

salvēte, amīcī et sodālēs! As I promised in yesterday’s post, we’ll wrap up that list of assignments and assessments I’ve been using in my face-to-face classes this year, and we’ll also take a look at ways that such assignments might be adapted to an online environment like the Tres Columnae Project.

As I write the first draft of this post on Thursday evening, I’ve just sent a welcome message to the participants in the fall session of that online professional-development course about Differentiated Instruction that I teach for my face-to-face school district. Even though it can be time-consuming, I really enjoy working with the participants in the course. Over a six-week period, we typically move from a group of strangers (many of whom are “just fulfilling a requirement”) to something very much like the Joyful Learning Community that the Tres Columnae Project hopes to build. I’ve never known exactly how that happens, but I think it’s because we form a metaphorical circle around a truly interesting, engaging Subject (to borrow a term from the work of Parker S. Palmer that will be familiar to truly long-time lectōrēs fidēlissimī). As teachers and learners ourselves, we all want our students to be successful, and the course is all about what successful learning looks like and how to make it happen in a face-to-face classroom.

Perhaps that’s another reason why I enjoy teaching the course so much: it gives me an opportunity to learn from the participants in the course, just as I get to learn every day from my face-to-face students. As teachers, we sometimes forget how much we learn – and how much we need to learn – from our students. Obviously we have to learn something about them as learners so that we know best how to reach them, and sometimes we learn about connections between their lives and the subjects we teach. Sometimes we even get great strategies or lesson ideas from our students – if they trust us, they’ll suggest that we try something that worked well in Mrs. X’s or Mr. Y’s class. Just the other day, one of my Latin I students asked if there was a song we could use to help her remember “how verbs work.” I can’t think of an existing song, but developing one is going to be an option for her class as they review verbs over the next few days.

Allowing and encouraging students to develop their own assignments and assessments is a “growth area” for me at the moment. I’ve always been committed to the idea in theory, and as you know, I’ve sought student input and suggestions for a long time. But only this year have I really started letting go of my Ownership of my Latin I classes in particular. For the past few years, I had been striving to develop the “perfect” set of Latin learning materials – and then the idea for the Tres Columnae Project came to me. As I’ve worked on it, and as I’ve seen the implications for my face-to-face teaching, I’ve realized that “perfect” learning materials are an elusive goal. Every class is different, every student is different, every day is different, so the “perfect” materials, even if they could be developed, would immediately be imperfect for the next group that worked with them.

Instead of striving for timeless, unchanging perfection, I’ve been learning to seek a good balance or fit between students and materials, and I’ve re-learned and re-learned the importance of learners’ Ownership of the process as well as the outcomes. Hence the song idea for my Latin I classes … and hence a very directed, closed-ended review of subjunctive verbs for my Latin III’s on Thursday. We’d done more open-ended work, but they were struggling with too much freedom and too many choices, and they were delighted by a more structured, less open-ended task today. My Latin I students are actually more comfortable with open-ended tasks than the III’s at the moment, but even they needed and wanted a more structured, closed-ended task today. And all the groups have been asking for specific work with vocabulary during class, a request which surprised and confused me at first! For the last several years, most of my classes had not needed or wanted to do vocabulary work in class; they liked studying by themselves. But for whatever reason, the current groups love to practice and check vocabulary in class … and the more work we do with it, the better their reading-comprehension skills. That has often not been true in the past, which is another reason I’d been avoiding vocabulary work in class for a while. It was very frustrating to see and hear students who could perfectly define a word in isolation, but would look at me in utter confusion when that same word appeared in the context of a reading or listening passage!

Aside from student-driven work in general, and vocabulary practice in particular, the other area where I’ve been challenging myself this year has to do with formative and informal assessments. I have used these for a long time, but for most of that time I moved too quickly to “put a number” and check for accuracy … which is sad and ironic, I suppose, given my publicly-stated disapproval of teachers who “check homework for accuracy.” But there I was, checking classwork for accuracy before my students were ready! 😦 I’ve started listening to them, paying closer attention to informal self-assessments that I described earlier this week, and giving feedback without numeric grades more often, especially when we’re in the early stages of working with a new concept.

quid respondētis, amīcī?

  • What do you think of my list of assignments and/or assessments?
  • What do you think about formative and informal types of assessment?
  • And how do you suppose these qualitative measures could be adapted to the quantitative, number- and data-driven format of an online environment?

Tune in next time for some preliminary ideas … and for any responses you’re willing to share. intereā, grātiās maximās omnibus iam legentibus et respondentibus.

Published in: on October 1, 2010 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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New Beginnings, IV

salvēte, amīcī et sodālēs! I’m not sure how many of you are aware of the daily online newsletter called Accomplished Teacher by SmartBrief. It’s a free subscription, and almost every day there’s something interesting, amazing, inspiring, or terrifying … well worth the price! For example, check out this amazing blog post at Edutopia by a Latin and history teacher who’s eliminated textbooks completely in all of his classes – on the grounds that textbooks “serve the teacher quite well” but don’t meet students’ needs at all. Shelly’s own blog is even more interesting; I was especially fascinated by the comments on this short post from July. There’s also a great interview with him here; I had to chuckle ruefully at his comment about the correlation between the length of a test and its quality! 🙂

Apparently a lot of teachers around the world – and their students – have been having the same sorts of responses to textbooks that I’ve noticed recently. That’s exciting and invigorating for me as a new school year is rapidly approaching! In a time of severe budget shortfalls for so many schools and districts, I really don’t see how the “traditional” 5-to-7-year textbook adoption cycle can be sustainable anyway … and I’m starting to worry about the “traditional” guarantee of pensions for public employees, too, a concern that only grew after I read this New York Times article!

I’m not ready to abandon textbooks completely for my Latin I and II students, but depending on my students’ preferences this fall, we may be using them as supplementary readers rather than as a primary tool – and that will be a big incentive for me to go ahead and finish those remaining fābulae, fabellae, and exercises for Cursus Prīmus in the next few weeks, won’t it? 🙂 As for the III’s and IV’s, we’ve moved more and more toward using texts that are freely available online anyway; the AP’s do have a book, but they mainly use sites like the Perseus Project and nodictionaries.com for their reading outside of class.

So … how many of you lectōrēs fidēlissimī are considering eliminating textbooks? And what are you planning to replace them with? If you do, especially for your beginning students, I hope you’ll consider the Tres Columnae Project materials as at least one piece of your instructional puzzle. You can’t beat the price for the free materials, and we think the subscription-based resources will give you good value for your money and save you a lot of time and effort, both in correcting student work and in planning your classes. We’ll let you know as soon as those are finished and available.

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that we’d think about these important questions:

  • Do you see other ways to automate the collection and tabulation of “routine” but helpful data?
  • What other types of data might you want to collect to help you meet your students’ learning needs?
  • Do you have any concerns about data security that you’d want to address?
  • And what about actual face-to-face instruction once you have the data you want? How might the Tres Columnae Project materials help you there?

I also said that we would

look at a possible sequence of Tres Columnae Project materials in a one-computer Latin classroom.

In essence, we’ll be looking at several ways to answer this critical question:

How might a teacher use the Tres Columnae Project materials for pre-assessment as well as for instruction? In other words, how might a teacher use our “stuff” to assess Latin I students’ learning profiles, to devise compatible learning groups, and to provide for a high-quality learning environment for diverse learners?

When I talk to teachers, and especially when I first meet new teachers in the online staff-development course about Differentiated Instruction that I teach for my school district, they’re often overwhelmed by “all the work” that seems to be necessary to reach different types of learners. (Most of the course actually involves helping them learn ways to reach more learners, more effectively, which actually saves time and effort in the long run.) So one big goal for the Tres Columnae Project is to provide tools that teachers can use without “recreating the wheel” or making everything from scratch. Of course there are lots of other tools out there; I’d highly recommend Evan Milner’s new audio-visual course, which you can find here. His work is not only an inspiration, but a very practical form of assistance for Latin teachers who want to incorporate oral work in their classes but don’t know where to start. It’s also a return to the real, living tradition of language instruction that stretches back to the Romans themselves, continued unabated through the Renaissance into the nineteenth century, but has been almost completely forgotten by Latinists (and language educators in general) since the historically recent rise of grammar-translation methodology. I find it highly ironic, in a profession that claims a legacy of millennia, to hear and read grammar-translation teachers describe themselves as “traditional” Latin teachers! 🙂 For certain types of learners and for certain purposes, a grammar-translation approach can certainly be effective, but let’s not pretend that Caesar, Cicero, Vergil, or their teachers learned or taught Latin that way.

Anyway, let’s suppose that you’ve decided (as I have) to use the Tres Columnae Project materials at least some of the time in your classroom instruction. As it happens, I have a multiple-computer classroom – there are 5 rather elderly desktop computers for student use, plus a teacher workstation with an interactive whiteboard, a document camera, and an LCD projector – a nice end-of-school-year present from the school district, which had some funds that needed to be spent. Though the whiteboard and document camera are new, I’ve had access to an LCD projector and to three wireless slates for a few years; if you haven’t used one, the slates really allow you, the teacher or learner, to do everything that the big board does, and they have the extra advantage that they can be used simultaneously by small groups. I’m not quite ready to go completely paperless like Shelly, but I am ready to cut back significantly on my paper use; it seems like good environmental and budgetary stewardship as well as a good way to increase students’ engagement with what they’re learning. So, what will the first few days of my revised class look like?

I actually described what I’ve typically done here, in response to that “placement test” post I mentioned yesterday. In the interests of avoiding chaos – and because most of our students haven’t yet returned their Acceptable Internet Use Policy forms on the first day of school – we’ll still begin with the paper-and-pencil information cards and surveys, and we’ll probably work with classroom vocabulary and pronunciation in much the same way as we did in the past. On Day 2, though, when I’d normally distribute textbooks, I’ll be planning to begin with Fabella Prīma of Lectiō Prīma instead. We’ll do a whole-class, choral response lesson with Fabella Prima and Fabella Secunda, and then we’ll probably have volunteers read Fabella Tertia and possibly Fabella Quarta. We’ll pause for a vocabulary check, possibly using one of the exercises I’ve written for the Instructure Demo Course, then have pairs read an equivalent section in the no-longer-primary textbooks. Depending on how many students have reliable Internet access at home, we may move to a completely online homework assignment system, or I may provide printed versions for the students who need them. Since my students and their families are already paying for my editing-and-approval services with their property taxes, they won’t have to pay for Submissions, but I’ll make sure that any Submissions they create are of the highest possible quality. I expect that the opportunity to share their work – and to have it be a model for other subscribers – will give them plenty of Ownership even though they won’t be paying directly.

Obviously the grammatical sequence of Tres Columnae Project materials is very different from that of most conventional textbooks. But our focus is always on reading for comprehension rather than puzzling over grammatical issues. So I expect that my students will be able to read and enjoy textbook stories at roughly the same pace they’ve always done even though their main focus will be on the Tres Columnae storyline. After all, we’ll save the roughly 15 minutes a day that it takes to do a good, thorough job of correcting homework: turning it in, recording credit, return it, going over answers, and reteaching problematic grammatical concepts. You can do a lot of meaningful reading and writing in those 15 minutes a day … or a lot of contextual vocabulary practice or high-level discussion of Big Ideas and essential Understandings, for that matter. By January, when our first semester ends and my Latin I students are ready for Latin II, I expect they will have completed Lectiōnēs I-XXX of the Tres Columnae project and read the relevant stories in the “official” textbook. I’ll keep you posted, of course! The transition to Latin II will be interesting, as most of the students will be coming directly from Latin I but a significant minority will have “just” used the textbook in their Latin I classes last year. But then, the transition from Latin I to II is always an interesting adventure!

quid respondētis, amīcī?

Tune in on Monday for more preliminary thoughts about using Tres Columnae materials with a “real” class. intereā, grātiās maximās omnibus iam legentibus et respondentibus.

Published in: on August 7, 2010 at 12:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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New Beginnings, III

salvēte, amīcī et sodālēs! As I was working on the first draft of this post, I found this interesting message on the CambridgeLatin listserv. It seems that a colleague of ours is trying to find or devise a “placement test” for his new Latin I students; he says that the other language teachers at his school use a similar process. My first response was similar to that of the one other teacher who has responded so far: he questioned why such a thing would be necessary, since Latin students presumably are starting ab initio. Then I started thinking of possible reasons to pre-assess Latin I students:

  1. Perhaps the other language teachers at our colleague’s school have a lot of heritage-language speakers? They would most likely come in with significant oral language skills, but they might need some work on reading, writing, and more “formal” aspects of their heritage language. In that case, perhaps our colleague is following his coworkers’ process without considering their reasons. (But wouldn’t it be nice to have a heritage-language Latin speaker in your class?)
  2. Perhaps some of this colleague’s prior students have come to him with the “I know everything” attitude that often afflicts teenagers? In that case, he may want to burst their bubble with an “impossible” task to show them that they do, in fact, need some instruction and practice. I have occasionally used this strategy myself; I’m not proud of myself for that, since I do think there are better ways to reach most over-confident learners, but it does sometimes work with a particular personality type. On the other hand, it sometimes backfires and causes less-confident students to become paralyzed with self-doubt or to believe that “it’s too hard” or “I can’t do this.”
  3. Perhaps the classes are oversubscribed and our colleague wants to “weed out” some “less-qualified” students, or some students who don’t fit the profile of what a “perfect” or “typical” Latin student should be? As you lectōrēs fidēlissimī know, I am firmly convinced that every learner is a “perfect” Latin student … but I also know the unfortunate tradition that reserves Latin for the “special” or the “elite.”
  4. Perhaps some of our colleague’s incoming students have studied languages, say, in middle school, but haven’t received formal course credit for their work? That’s occasionally an issue in my face-to-face teaching world, where it’s possible for students to receive high-school credit for language courses they take in middle school – but it’s also possible for them to take exploratory courses that don’t receive credit. I’m not sure that a formal, pen-and-paper “test” is the best way to check for prior knowledge, especially so early in the school year.
  5. Perhaps our colleague wants to discover students’ strengths and weaknesses in order to meet the learners’ needs better? That’s a big part of the differentiated instruction approach I’ve tried to describe in posts like this one and this one. For example, if you have a group of strong first-language readers in a class, your approach to reading-comprehension tasks will obviously be different from what you’d do if most of your students had trouble decoding first-language texts. Students who are comfortable with analytical tasks would enjoy certain kinds of grammatical instruction that would baffle and frustrate their less analytical peers. Students with a big English vocabulary will approach derivative work in a very different way from those with a smaller vocabulary, and the benefits for them will be very different. Students who have interacted with a variety of cultures may respond quite differently to cultural study from their peers who “know” that “our way is the only way” or “our way is the best way.” It’s good to find out about these things early on, both to avoid the kinds of unpleasant surprises I mentioned in yesterday’s post and to avoid unnecessary frustration for learners.

After thinking about all the reasons a teacher might have for pre-assessing Latin I students, I realized we need to address some related questions:

  • Other than a pen-and-paper test, what are some other good ways to learn about your students’ strengths, weaknesses, and learning preferences?
  • How might a teacher use the Tres Columnae Project materials for pre-assessment as well as for instruction with beginning Latin students?

I’ve given a lot of thought to that first question. On the first day of class, I have my new students complete several pre-assessment tasks that you might not think of as pre-assessments. First they fill out an information card which asks them about prior language study and about their favorite and least favorite school subjects. Then they complete a learning-style inventory. Then, after an introduction to my expectations and the requirements of the course, they work in small groups to brainstorm and record ideas for what’s known as a K-W-L chart: a list of things they Know, Wonder, and have recently Learned about Latin and the Roman Empire. (Obviously there aren’t many L’s yet, but we’ve done a pronunciation activity and learned some words for classroom objects by now, so those are sometimes listed.) In my face-to-face teaching world, the groups record their ideas on sticky notes and we put them up on a class chart, where they stay – and are added to – for the rest of the course. By the end of Day 1, then, I know several things about my new students:

  • From the information cards, I have a preliminary sense of their learning preferences (especially when they tell me why they like or don’t like their favorite and least favorite school subjects) and of their language backgrounds.
  • From the learning style inventory, I have a fairly good sense of the kinds of learning activities they enjoy – and, equally as important, the kinds that they dislike.
  • From the K-W-L activity, I know “what the class knows,” and from observing the students’ interactions in the small groups, I have a sense of each student’s knowledge and of his or her typical pattern of interactions with others.

All three of these tasks could certainly be automated through the kinds of exercises and surveys you can see at the Tres Columnae Instructure Demo course. I like the idea of a face-to-face K-W-L activity, but the learning-style inventory, in particular, could easily be done online. The advantage for me and for my face-to-face students is obvious: the results are easily, effortlessly tabulated and sorted, and they can be preserved “forever.” We’re not a one-to-one-computing school, but there are enough computers in my classroom that students can rotate to complete the survey over the course of the first few days of school – or, for that matter, they can be asked to complete the learning survey at home by a particular date. For that matter, since almost all of our students come to an Open House before the start of school, they might even be asked to complete the survey before the first “real” day of class if possible. In the same way, if you want to pre-assess students’ reading comprehension, or their English vocabulary, or any other set of Knowledge, Skill, or Understandings that’s important to you, it’s easy to do that electronically, and early in the year. The survey tool now available through Google Docs’ spreadsheets would be an easy way if you want to make your own “stuff” and don’t want (or don’t think you can afford) a paid Tres Columnae Project subscription.

quid respondētis, amīcī?

  • Do you see other ways to automate the collection and tabulation of “routine” but helpful data?
  • What other types of data might you want to collect to help you meet your students’ learning needs?
  • Do you have any concerns about data security that you’d want to address?
  • And what about actual face-to-face instruction once you have the data you want? How might the Tres Columnae Project materials help you there?

Tune in next time, when we’ll address these issues and look at a possible sequence of Tres Columnae Project materials in a one-computer Latin classroom. intereā, grātiās maximās omnibus iam legentibus et respondentibus.

Published in: on August 6, 2010 at 4:06 pm  Comments (1)  
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New Beginnings, II

salvēte, amīcī et sodālēs! As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, one possible use for the Tres Columnae Project materials is as a self-paced review for students returning to Latin. Of course, we’d be thrilled if you also decided to use the materials with your Latin I students, and we’d be ecstatic if you decided to use them in place of a traditional textbook. But for many teachers and students in Latin II and above, the beginning of the year seems to hold a special dread. You know you need to do some sort of review before jumping into new material, but what’s the best way?

  • Some teachers go through an undifferentiated and lengthy process of reteaching everything (or “everything important”) from Latin I. Depending on how you do this, and how much mastery of “old stuff” you want from your students, this can take weeks or months! Of course, by the end, many students will be utterly bored and others will still be completely lost … but you, the teacher, can pat yourself on the back because you “did a thorough review.” I have often been that teacher! 🙂
  • Other teachers attempt to diagnose their students’ areas of strength and weakness, then devise review activities that meet those needs. I’ve been that teacher as well! The problem, of course, is devising the activities and finding the materials. You don’t want to do exactly the same work that the students did in Latin I, but you may not have anything else to use. And you can’t very well re-issue the Latin I textbooks; after all, the current Latin I students are using those!
  • Still other teachers jump into new material right away and pause, as needed, to review things that turn out to be problematic for their students. I don’t think I’ve ever been that teacher :-), but I admire their bravery. The problem with this approach, for me at least, is that I don’t like unpleasant surprises. I would much rather find out in advance that 65% of my class need to review a particular grammatical feature; that way, I can plan ahead and provide them with what they need. An impromptu adjustment in midstream of a lesson can be exciting, but it can quickly deteriorate into “I shall lecture while you take notes, then yell at you because you can’t apply the information from the notes.” I prefer a world with less yelling; it’s much less stressful for everyone concerned! 🙂

In place of these common options, I think the Tres Columnae materials, especially the ones that we’ve made available for Lectiōnēs I-XX on the Version Alpha Wiki site, can provide a really positive alternative. Of course, we’d love for you to choose a paid subscription for your students (those will be available by the end of this month), but we think that even the free materials would provide your upper-level students with an enjoyable, engaging, and different approach to review. Here’s one possible pathway through the materials:

  1. Obviously, if they’ve retained any vocabulary or reading strategies, Latin II students would find the fabellae and fābulae of Lectiōnēs I-II supremely easy to read. That effortless direct comprehension is a big boost in confidence! If you want to check their comprehension, you might use some of the exercises in the Instructure Public Demo course; students can’t keep a permanent record of their scores in the demo, of course, but they can print out or save their results for you to look at.
  2. Depending on the textbook and pacing, your students might not have been exposed to the genitive case in Latin I, so they’d run into “something new” ­– but something easy to understand, and something that hooks a lot of other things together for them – early on. We’ll have a lot of genitive exercises (and even some, designed for my own students, that review other cases) as early as Lectiō II in the “real” exercises and quizzes. You might want to see about subscriptions for your classes, but you’re certainly welcome to make up your own “stuff” for use with your students.
  3. Lectiōnēs I-XX are, of course, written in the present tense. They introduce passive, deponent, and subjunctive forms along the way, so there might be something new for your students. If you want to review other tenses, you might ask your students to rewrite a story in the tense (or tenses) that made the most sense; they could even compare versions and discuss different choices they had made. We’d love for you to Submit these to the project, of course, but you could also keep them and use them just with your own classes if that made more sense to you.
  4. Once you finished the formal review process, you might have your students use the Tres Columnae stories for extensive-reading practice. We’ll provide comprehension exercises for our subscribers, of course, but you could certainly make up your own … or just have your students make summaries of your own design if you want an “accountability” check.
  5. Along the way, you might have students participate in a Virtual Seminar or two that seemed interesting. If you don’t want to subscribe, you might just share the opening question with them (those will be freely visible to everybody) and have them respond to you, or to each other, by email.

In any case, we think you’ll end up with a much more engaging, thoughtful, and enjoyable review for your upper-level Latin students, and with a lot less time, effort, and angst on your part.

quid respondētis, amīcī?

  • What have you typically done for review with your Latin II students?
  • Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the results?
  • What do you think of this possible way to incorporate Tres Columnae materials in a review for upper-level students?
  • Can you see other, different, better ways to use Tres Columnae materials with an upper-level class?
  • We think it would be especially helpful to use these materials with a combined class; in fact, my fall-semester Latin II-and-III class last year was a big inspiration for me in that regard. What do you think about that?

Tune in next time, when we’ll explore your responses and look at ways to use the Tres Columnae materials with a beginning class. intereā, grātiās maximās omnibus iam legentibus et respondentibus.

Published in: on August 5, 2010 at 1:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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quo contendimus? VI

salvēte, amīcī et sodālēs! Today, if all goes well, we’ll wrap up the themes of last week’s posts about Differentiated Instruction and lay the foundation for what’s to come this week. I really appreciate the emails that several lectōrēs fidēlissimī have sent recently, and I want to make sure I thank you all publicly as well as privately for those. It’s especially nice to hear from so many young and relatively new teachers! As many of you know, I was part of the APA/ACL Joint Task Force that worked for the last few years to develop a set of Standards for Latin Teacher Preparation. One of our primary goals was to provide a document that would help new teachers, as well as those who train, mentor, hire, and support them. I hope we accomplished that goal, but I’m also glad to be directly involved in conversations with young Latin teachers.

In some places, early August is “back to school” time; in others, summer stretches on for weeks; in still others, school has been in session for quite a while. Either way, as I think about schools and the people who work in them, I realize how different the world of schools today is from the one that welcomed a brand new teacher named me almost two decades ago. In a lot of ways, despite the economic woes that persist as I write this, it’s a significantly brighter and better world for young teachers, and especially for young Latin teachers.

  • For the first time in a very long time, we have a professional consensus about what young teachers should know and be able to do. Of course, we still need to do a lot of work to make sure that we can provide this body of knowledge, skills, and understandings to all new teachers … but at least we have a general agreement about what it is!
  • The amount of support for new teachers has increased exponentially. I remember very well a crisis I had in mid-October of 1992; I desperately needed some help, validation, and specific guidance. Fortunately I was able to make a (long-distance) phone call and get the help I needed! But what if I hadn’t had that phone number? Or what if the person had been unavailable? My counterparts today can reach hundreds of colleagues online, instantaneously, for free.
  • When I was a new teacher, “materials” were a textbook (which arrived about 36 hours before the students did), a workbook (which the district had not purchased), and a teacher’s manual. Now, in addition to those items, most textbooks have online resources (some free, some by subscription), and some even have their own online communities. And of course there are the many listservs, blogs, and free online tools of every kind. I hope that the Tres Columnae Project and this blog will be among those helpful tools for some new teachers, too!
  • When I was a new teacher, many schools and districts still saw new teachers, in general, as an expendable commodity. It was expected and accepted that attrition would be high; after all, there was an endless supply of new applicants every year. That’s no longer true. Of course, attrition of new teachers is still high, but it’s much more of a concern at every level. Lots of places that offered no support, or perfunctory assistance at best, to new teachers two decades ago now have formal induction programs and ongoing mentoring.
  • Young teachers today are generationally different from my counterparts in the early 1990’s. I really admire Generation Y and the oldest of the post-Millennials! They’re a lot clearer about what they want and more assertive about what they need than we were. They’re also a lot more conversant with technology. And of course, like new teachers throughout the ages, they’re generationally closer to their students than we veterans are now. That can certainly be a mixed blessing, but it definitely helps new teachers understand where their students are coming from and what they need.

Of course, new teachers also need support and guidance. When I went through my state’s training program for mentor teachers several years ago, we talked about the Conscious Competence Learning Model and its four stages:

  1. Unconscious Incompetence – you don’t even know that you don’t know what you’re doing! (Most new teachers are here unless school has already started.)
  2. Conscious Incompetence – you know that you don’t know, but you don’t know what to do about it! (That’s where I was during that plaintive phone call in October 1992.)
  3. Conscious Competence – with effort, you can get the job done! (That’s where we hope our new teachers will be pretty soon … otherwise, they tend to get frustrated and go do something else.)
  4. Unconscious Competence – expert performance without conscious effort. (That’s where many veteran teachers are … but the problem is that we can become stale without realizing it.)

As I reflected on the stages, I realized that they also apply to our learners, and I realized that we probably need to make sure our learners know about the stages! I think a lot of learning difficulties and problems – and a lot of decisions to flee from Latin classes to “something easier” – come when students have reached Stage 2 and think it will be permanent. Schools, in general, aren’t very good at normalizing mistakes and struggles, especially in this age of high-stakes testing; we tend to want to skip right to Stage 4. Of course, if you think about learning in general – and learning skills in particular – you realize that steps can’t be skipped. When a baby is learning to walk, for example, everyone would be happy to avoid the falls, bruises, and screams … but very few babies go directly from crawling one day to running the next.

And yet it’s certainly possible for a wise parent or teacher to help a learner shorten the frustrating time of Steps 2 and 3. One goal of the Tres Columnae Project, and of differentiated instruction in general, is to help teachers help students do this.

  • With carefully chosen activities, we find the right level for each learner to reduce frustration as much as possible.
  • With immediate feedback, we reduce our learners’ worries about wrong answers. No one sees you make them publicly, and rather than causing embarrassment, they just lead you to another explanation and, eventually, to a right answer.
  • This pattern of success builds learners’ self-confidence, and the ongoing opportunities for self-reflection help you become more confident as a learner in general.
  • And of course the Tres Columnae materials are designed to give teachers lots of good information about their students’ progress without a lot of grading time! We want to save teachers’ time so they can spend it on more important things … like planning great lessons for their students or working with them one-on-one if they need an extra boost.

quid respondētis, amīcī?

Tune in next time, when we’ll begin a new series of posts that builds on these themes. intereā, grātiās maximās omnibus iam legentibus et respondentibus.

Published in: on August 2, 2010 at 4:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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quo contendimus? V

salvēte, amīcī et sodālēs! I hope yesterday’s post wasn’t too repetitive for you all! In looking over it, I was afraid I’d simply rehashed what I said on Tuesday and Wednesday; if so, I hope you’ll forgive me. We’ll definitely try to break some new ground today as we consider this critical point about the exercises and quizzes for Lectiō Secunda:

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

If you think back to last week’s posts, especially this one and this one about Differentiated Instruction, you probably realize what I think is missing. There seems to be an assumption that everyone will need to do all parts of every exercise – in other words, that everyone is starting at the same point (knowing nothing about the nominative-genitive distinction) and will need to travel the same route (all the exercises) at more or less the same pace in order to reach the goal. Of course, that’s probably not true.

  • Some learners may come to us with prior experience, either with Latin or with another language (German, Russian, Polish, Greek, …) with noun inflections.
  • Some may be “quick learners” who grasp everything almost instantaneously, needing little practice.
  • Some may struggle with the concept and need some additional practice.

So how does the Tres Columnae Project accommodate different types of learners? Of course, if you’re using the project materials in a “regular” classroom, the teacher can obviously decide which exercises – or how much of a given exercise – to assign. In doing so, the teacher will most likely consider the needs of the learner … although, of course, it’s not necessary for the teacher to do so. Some teachers might well ask all their students to proceed through the materials in lockstep and according to a fixed, unalterable plan developed by the teacher. (We hope none of you will choose to do that, but we do have to admit it’s possible.)

For our homeschooled learners, a parent could obviously play the deciding role if necessary. Of course, many homeschooling families choose that option because they want their children to develop autonomy and ownership of their learning. So in many cases the learners themselves could fill the regulating, differentiating function. But what about learners who don’t have much self-confidence? And what if there was a school, or a homeschooling cooperative, or a group of adult learners using the Tres Columnae Project materials without a trained teacher? In other words, is it possible to differentiate instruction effectively in the absence of an instructor?

We certainly don’t think that such a situation is ideal, but we recognize the possibility. We also recognize that, over time, some young or inexperienced teachers might want a helping hand as they work to devise the right learning paths for their students. So, while the Tres Columnae Project can’t do all the work of matching the task to the learner, it can do quite a bit to help teachers and learners choose appropriate tasks, levels of difficulty, and amounts of work. Here are some ways that can happen even as early as Lectiō Secunda.

If you think back to Wednesday’s list of the existing instructional activities for Lectiō Secunda, you’ll probably remember that we begin with

Fabella Prīma, which contains sentences that introduce genitive case forms in a simple, highly comprehensible way

and we continue with

Quid Novī? I, which helps learners make a comparison between the genitive endings and English possessive markers.

At the end of the quid novī? we can easily invite our learners to rank their comfort with the idea of genitive-case nouns on a scale from 1-5, where 1 is something like “I really have no idea what you just said” and 5 means “I grasp the concept and can recognize the forms easily.” Then it’s just a matter of developing suggested ITINERA (small ones, in this case) for the different levels of self-rating. For example,

  • If you chose 1 or 2, we might provide some more examples of English possessives and Latin genitives, then an exercise where our learners choose the right Latin form (nominative or genitive) to complete a Latin sentence … possibly even with an English version provided. For example, given Lūcius fīlius _____ est (Lucius is Valerius’ son), the learner would choose between Valerius and Valeriī. In previous posts like this one, we’ve considered the types of feedback such an exercise can provide for right and wrong answers. It’s possible to set up exercises like this such that they automatically end themselves after a learner has a certain number of consecutive right answers; we might do that, or we might count on the learners themselves to decide when they are ready to move on.
  • If you chose 3 or 4, your ITER would skip over the examples and proceed directly to the exercise … or perhaps a similar one without an English prompt. (We’d probably include sentences without English prompts later in the “1 or 2” exercise in any case.) Again, the exercise might end itself after the learner had a certain number of answers correct in a row, or might leave the learners themselves in charge.
  • For a 5, the ITER would lead directly to a self-checking quiz similar in structure to the last sentences in the exercise for the “3 or 4” ITER. If you, the learner, did not demonstrate proficiency on the quiz, its feedback would suggest that you go back to one of the other ITINERA … again, depending on your overall score.

While we assume that most learners know themselves well and would tend to rate themselves accurately over time, we also recognize that there are a lot of not-so-confident learners out there – not to mention a lot of formerly-confident learners who have been led to take a passive stance by poor school experiences. Like a released prisoner adjusting to freedom, such learners may need a “halfway house” with a bit more structure for a while … and the Tres Columnae Project can provide it for them. After a while, though, we think our learners will be more than capable of managing their own learning and assessing their own progress. But we certainly encourage all of our teachers and learners to use the structures and supports for as long as necessary, and we definitely want teacher-subscribers to play an active role in guiding, assessing, and encouraging the learners in their classes.

quid respondētis, amicī?

  • What do you think of our model for differentiating instruction in pursuit of our common goal for all learners?
  • What do you think of the goal itself?
  • Do you get the picture, or would you like some more specific examples of how the  Tres Columnae Project can use differentiated assignments in the context of a Joyful Learning Community?

Tune in on Monday, when we’ll respond to your comments, wrap up this thread, and preview the next few topics for blog posts. intereā, grātiās maximās omnibus iam legentibus et respondentibus.

Published in: on July 31, 2010 at 12:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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quo contendimus? III

salvēte, amīcī et sodālēs! Today, as promised, we’ll look at how a sequence of exercises, quizzes, and explanations in the Tres Columnae Project can be designed to fulfill the second of the important goals for Lectiō Secunda. As a reminder, the goals are that the learners will:

  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.

We’ll look more closely at our approach to Goals 3, 4, and 5 in posts later this week.

As you know if you’ve taken a close look at the Version Alpha Wiki site, the sample materials available for Lectiō Secunda are

  1. Fabella Prīma, which contains sentences that introduce genitive case forms in a simple, highly comprehensible way;
  2. Quid Novī? I, which helps learners make a comparison between the genitive endings and English possessive markers;
  3. Fabella Secunda, which has a lot more examples of genitives in context;
  4. some sample Quaestiōnēs in draft form, including a draft self-assessment;
  5. quid novī about the question words quis and cuius;
  6. this quid novī explanation and this one about declension patterns;
  7. an exercise that practices the application of nominative and genitive forms; and
  8. a fābula longa that practices the new forms extensively.

quid respondētis, amīcī?

  • 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?

Tune in next time, when we’ll look at your suggestions and our ideas. We’ll also take a closer look at the process of actually creating exercises, quizzes, and such. intereā, grātiās maximās omnibus iam legentibus et respondentibus.

Published in: on July 28, 2010 at 4:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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quo contendimus? II

salvēte, amīcī et sodālēs! At the end of yesterday’s post, I listed some possible directions we could go this week:

  • We could certainly look at some more sample stories if you’d like.
  • We could consider some more specific examples of differentiated lessons, both with and without the Tres Columnae materials.
  • We could consider the things you like and don’t like about the Version Alpha Wiki site, with a view to planning the “look and feel” and the features of Version Beta.
  • We could consider ways that you might use the Tres Columnae materials in a “real” school or classroom setting, especially if you have limited access to computer technology.
  • We could look at the Tres Columnae exercises and quizzes from the perspective of differentiated instruction.

Apparently many lectōrēs fidēlissimī are busy – or busy relaxing, which is important in the summer, too 🙂 – and don’t have a lot of suggestions. So I think we’ll start with the last item on the list and look for ways to incorporate the others. That’s important because I need to do some significant work on the exercises and quizzes for the first few Lectiōnēs anyway … especially since our pilot school in England will be using those materials before too long!

For those of us who subscribe to the Latinteach listserv, there’s been a very interesting thread recently about “checking homework” that has also addressed the purposes and goals of homework assignments, and of the assignments we teachers give our students in general. In my own case (and this may not be true for everyone), I don’t think it’s possible for me to make good decisions about specific assignments or strategies unless I have a clear sense of the overall goal. Different goals can lead to radically different needs and approaches!

With my face-to-face students, I want them all to experience real success as readers of Latin and to develop a deep Understanding of the language and culture, so I prioritize reading tasks and an inductive-to-deductive approach to grammatical elements as I’ve described in posts like this one. I don’t think culture and history can be separated from the language, so I prefer to have my students think about cultural and historical issues in the context of their reading; we do, of course, read and talk about cultural background information that’s provided in our textbook, but I don’t give “culture lectures” or “history lectures” very often. Hands-on, creative work is important to me, and so are opportunities for students to share their work (especially stories they’ve written) with each other. In a perfect world, with 100% efficiency in class time, I probably would not assign much outside homework; in the world as it stands, I do have students practice choosing, and sometimes making, appropriate grammatical forms in context, and they also do some vocabulary work outside of class.

When I first envisioned the Tres Columnae Project, I was looking for a way to make this work easier and more satisfying for my students and to give them a safe, self-paced way to do extensive reading outside of regular class hours. I also wanted to save precious in-class time and energy by automating the process of checking homework; with self-correcting exercises, students know right away how they’ve done, and I can easily check to see who is having difficulty with any given concept. Having spent a number of years developing and polishing written versions of assignments like these, I had a pretty good idea of what I want the “TC” exercises to look like. But it’s still a challenge to figure out the details … especially since we want to make sure our learners have Ownership of the whole process.

As you know if you’re a long-time reader, you can see some sample exercises and quizzes for Lectiō Prīma at our Instructure Public Demo course. I’ve talked about Instructure, and their Canvas learning management system, in this post and this one. Today I want to start walking through the steps I use to create a learning pathway for material like Lectiō Secunda of the project. If you see an easier, better, or different way to do anything I describe, please tell me! This is important work for the future of the project, but it can also be exhausting – especially with the extreme heat in my face-to-face world, and with the cold (or whatever it is!) that’s been slowing me down for the past few days.

As you know if you’ve looked at the relevant page on the Tres Columnae Version Alpha Wiki site, the goals for Lectiō Secunda are that the learner will

  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.

Since the fabellae and fābulae of Lectiō Secunda are obviously designed to work on Goal 1, it’s possible that some learners won’t need any extra practice. Others, though, might want to check – or at least self-assess – their comprehension of the stories. So we’ll need at least one self-assessment opportunity (probably one per story) and some comprehension questions. These questions, in turn, need to address a variety of learning and processing styles: at a minimum, we need some that are verbally oriented and some that are visual. Given backend software that incorporates question banks, it will be fairly easy to rearrange these questions into different exercises and quizzes. For example, we might have an ITER that features visually-oriented material and one that features word-based questions, followed by a common assessment that includes both types of prompts.

Goal 2 will obviously involve a sequence of quid novī? explanations, guided practice, independent practice, and assessment (including a self-correcting quiz and a self-assessment prompt). We’ll look at those in more detail in tomorrow’s post.

Goal 3 will be similar in form to the equivalent exercise in Lectiō Prīma, but it will involve the core vocabulary for Lectiō Secunda. So we need to establish exactly which words are “core” and give our participants an opportunity to think about how well they know and can use them.

Goals 4 and 5 will be addressed in the Virtual Seminar, which isn’t exactly an exercise. On the other hand, if we send our learners out to read difficult background material (or material with an obvious slant or bias) on the Web or in print, we should probably give them a safe, private, and self-correcting way to check their understanding.

quid respondētis, amīcī?

  • When I was a new teacher, my longterm goal was “finishing the textbook” and my shorter-term goals were things like “find something interesting for the students in X period class to do today.” It’s taken me quite a while to get to this “backward design” approach. Where are you in your planning, and what do you think of this approach?
  • What types of self-correcting exercises would you want to see as a learner at this point in the Tres Columnae Project? Are there any types you would not want to see?
  • What exactly do you think students should be able to do to demonstrate that they have met Goals 1 and 2 for the Lectiō? In other words, how would you measure their achievement of the goals?
  • Are there other important goals that should be – but aren’t – included here?

Since this post is getting a bit long, I’ll stop here. Tune in next time for your responses and for my first attempts at Goals 1 and 2. We’ll probably have more to say about Goal 2 on Thursday, and we’ll save Goal 3 for Friday. intereā, grātiās maximās omnibus iam legentibus et respondentibus.

quo contendimus?

salvēte, amīcī et sodālēs! et grātiās maximās omnibus lectōribus fidēlissimīs! I really enjoyed our conversation last week about differentiated instruction in the pursuit of a common curriculum or set of learning goals. It was great to hear (or at least read) so many of your voices, both in comments here and on the CambridgeLatin and Latin-BestPractices listservs. It was also really interesting to see how much we, the broader community of Latin teachers, seem to agree on:

  • we obviously want our students to learn Latin, and to enjoy learning;
  • we know that different students learn differently;
  • we recognize that learners will have different levels of mastery of any given skill, and that they’ll come to us with different amounts and types of background knowledge; and
  • we’re struggling, like teachers in many other areas, with bridging the gap between what we want for our students and what we’ve “traditionally” done to reach them.

I put “traditionally” in quotation marks because tradition is a long and diverse thing. I would think that, if we could call up a Roman grammaticus or rhetor and have a conversation about pedagogy, he (sorry, but it would most likely be he, especially if it’s a grammaticus or rhetor) would be astounded by a lot of our Industrial-Age assumptions about teaching. If you work with students one-on-one or in a small group, as Roman teachers did, and if you work with them over a period of years, it’s hard to blame “the system” or “those parents” for gaps in your students’ knowledge! It also wouldn’t make very much sense to forge blindly ahead, introducing new knowledge and skills, when your learners hadn’t yet grasped the foundational, prerequisite knowledge. Most likely even a nineteenth-century American teacher (especially one who worked in a multi-age one-room schoolhouse) would be amazed by our systemic lack of flexibility and attention to individual students.

I can see several possible directions to take this week’s posts, but I’d like a bit of advice from you, the Tres Columnae community. What would you like to talk and think about next?

  • We could certainly look at some more sample stories if you’d like.
  • We could consider some more specific examples of differentiated lessons, both with and without the Tres Columnae materials.
  • We could consider the things you like and don’t like about the Version Alpha Wiki site, with a view to planning the “look and feel” and the features of Version Beta.
  • We could consider ways that you might use the Tres Columnae materials in a “real” school or classroom setting, especially if you have limited access to computer technology.
  • We could look at the Tres Columnae exercises and quizzes from the perspective of differentiated instruction.

If I don’t hear from you, I’ll probably do the last of these – largely because I need to do some significant work on the exercises and quizzes for those first few Lectiōnēs anyway! But if you do want to talk about any of the other issues at any point, just let me know. I’d love to know what would be most interesting and helpful for you right now, that odd period of time when some teachers are imminently preparing to return to school and others may have a month or more of “freedom” left.

Tune in next time for more. intereā, grātiās maximās omnibus iam legentibus et respondentibus. Thanks again for all the great comments and conversations!

Published in: on July 26, 2010 at 12:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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dies lustricus

salvēte, amīcī et sodālēs! Today we’ll attempt to wrap up the themes of this week’s posts, which have included

As I made this list, I realized that everything related, somehow or other, to the theme of new birth and new beginnings. Changes in practice are obviously a kind of new birth, especially when teachers adapt or even eliminate practices that we’ve used for years or decades. Paulla’s decision and the lesson structure I described in Thursday’s post are also, in very different ways, examples of a major change and a new beginning. Even though I created the character of Paulla, I realize I don’t know why she decides to go and help. Does she feel some responsibility for the death of Tertius? Is she moved by Lollia’s pleas? Is she just glad to get some money from Lollius? Does she have a sense of professional obligation that overrules her economic calculations? Did she, perhaps, lose a child of her own? Does she identify with Maccia for some other reasons? We don’t know; we just know that she does, in fact, go and help with the delivery … and she seems to be a lot happier than her typical dour, cynical self as a result.

Perhaps that’s a message for all of us about the importance of giving back when you feel down and discouraged, as Paulla definitely is at the start of this story. Like many teachers, I love the summer months, but the lack of structure for my days and weeks can sometimes take a toll on me – even though I’m careful to set up other, self-imposed structures and tasks. This summer, of course, those tasks have largely related to the Tres Columnae Project. It’s really helped to know that we’re creating something that Latin teachers all over the world can freely use, and it’s an even greater help to know that we’re building a community of learners as well as a set of learning materials. So, to all of you lectōrēs fidēlissimī who are part of the Tres Columnae community, grātiās maximās iterum!

Of course, the Tres Columnae Project is by no means the only way to learn Latin. There are all kinds of textbooks and other materials out there, and depending on your needs, you might find one of them to be a better fit for you, your students, or your learning goals. For example, check out this Latin-BestPractices post for a venerable and highly successful programmed-learning approach available both in book form and on CD-ROM.

As I think about the wider community of Latin teachers and learners, I’m always impressed by the thoughtfulness and generosity we tend to show each other. But one thing has been bothering me this week – especially when I read and reflect on the thoughtful things that Latin teachers say to each other on the various lists I subscribe to. For the most part, our hard-won professional knowledge is locked up in our own heads and in our own classrooms. Yes, we share our ideas, strategies, and materials freely when asked, and we ask, quite vocally, when we need help. But still, a new teacher joining our world has so little access to the “tricks of the trade”! Things are certainly better now than they were before the advent of the Internet; at least a young, overwhelmed teacher can now look for help from colleagues online! And if that young teacher knows where to look, there’s even a consensus about what beginning teachers ought to know and be able to do by the end of their first few years of practice. There are, of course, some wonderful books for beginning teachers: Harry Wong’s First Days of School, Fred Jones’s Tools for Teaching, Doug Lemov’s Teach Like a Champion, just to name a few. (These are actually for all teachers, young or “young at heart” – but they’d be especially useful for young teachers who are struggling to survive.) Unfortunately, though, there’s not a collection of content-specific daily survival strategies – things like how to implement differentiated lessons in a Latin class, as Magistrastein noted on Wednesday, or how to reconcile the anti-homework movement with a concern that language learners need more practice than class time allows, as Magistrastein mentions in this blog post. Not that there’s a single right answer for any of these! But there are a lot of good, hard-won answers … and new teachers don’t usually have access to them.

I’ve often said in this space that you can’t directly transfer Understandings, but you can help learners (including new teachers) develop them – and you can definitely help them develop their teaching Knowledge and Skills. I’ve been trying to figure out how the Tres Columnae Project might help with that, but I’m really not sure. quid mihi suādētis, lectōrēs cārissimī?

So much to think about, and so much on the horizon! But sometimes that leaves us in a “hurry up and wait” state. So perhaps it’s fitting that we close the week with this story, which you can now find here on the Tres Columnae Version Alpha Wiki site if you’d like. Little Quartus, of course, has to wait the requisite eight days to be named; his brother Caius had to wait to see him; and there’s a lot of other waiting that goes on, as you’ll see:

quārtō diē post Quārtum nātum, familia Valeria Herculāneum regreditur. Cāius laetus ad cēnāculum currit. “quam mīrābilis est urbs Mediolānum!” exclāmat. Cāius cēnāculum ingreditur et, “heus! quid est? num īnfāns iam adest?” attonitus rogat. Maccia Quārtum īnfantem tollit et “ecce frāter tuus!” inquit. Cāius attonitus et laetissimus ōsculum īnfantī summā cum cūrā dat. tum grātiās maximās dīs omnibus agit et “heus!” exclāmat, “mihi ad domum Valeriī statim regrediendum est! nōnne patrōnus noster hunc nūntium optimum audīre dēbet?”

familia Valeria quoque laetātur, et Valerius ipse Lolliō epistulam mittit. “mī cliēns cārissime,” inquit, “tē decet diem lustricum nōbīscum celebrāre. nōlī timēre; mē decet omnia parāre, quod familia tua mihi cordī est.”

nōnā diē post Quārtum nātum, diem lustricum celebrat familia Lollia. Lollius cum Cāiō Lolliāque scālīs dēscendit et per viās ad domum Valeriī celeriter contendit. Maccia Quārtum īnfantem manibus fert. Lollius iānuam domūs pulsat et Milphiō per faucēs festīnat iānuam apertum.

in ātriō domūs tōta familia Valeria cum augure adventum Lolliōrum exspectat. Valerius ipse Lollium amplectitur et, “nōnne Fortūna tibi favet?” laetus exclāmat. tum omnēs ad peristylium prōgrediuntur. Maccia Quārtum in mediō peristyliō dēpōnit. Lollius ipse crepundia collō pōnit et pompam dūcit. tum bullam quoque collō pōnit et omnēs vehementer plaudunt. “fēlīciter! fēlīciter!” exclāmant omnēs. Lollius sacrificia rīte offert, et omnēs vōta precēsque dīs omnibus offerunt.

tum augur caelum spectat ōmina cognitum. “heus!” exclāmat, “nōnne aquila ad dextram nunc iam volat! ōmina optima dī fīliō tuō dant!” Lollius augurī grātiās maximās agit et sacculum pecūniā plēnum trādit.

tum Gallicus ē culīnā, “nōnne epulae optimae sunt parātae?” exclāmat. omnēs laetī ad triclīnium festīnant epulās optimās ēsum. Lollius manūs Valeriō prēnsat et, “ō mī patrōne,” inquit, “laetissimus tibi grātiās maximās agō, quod tantō honōre familiam meam afficis!”

quid respondētis, amīcī?

Tune in on Monday, when we’ll shift gears yet again and look at an entirely different part of the Tres Columnae Project. But we may find a few recurring themes as so many new things continue to be born. intereā, grātiās maximās omnibus iam legentibus et respondentibus.