Daily Archives: September 2, 2014

Lessons in Latin

Old Grouch is no stranger to veteran viewers of this blog, and new parents are probably starting to realize he is always somehow present in our classroom…despite never physically leaving his beautiful home in the village of Cluis in central France. He is the person who introduced me to orthography, to a love of words, and to genuine scholarship. He’s also our number one fan! (My mother is a close second.)

The latest crop of 5Allen scientists got to meet O.G. yesterday. Inspired by the students’ immediate comfort with and enthusiasm for orthography, as demonstrated in the “Sneaky Old Grouch” post from the weekend, he prepared a lesson on Latin verbs specifically for our viewing (and Gail Venable’s…another dear friend and blog fan…she wanted to meet this new group!). The first video below is what he used throughout the lesson, stopping occasionally to clarify points or answer questions. It is not a ‘stand alone’ resource, so if you watch, know that you may need the assistance of your local 5Allen student who will gladly clarify any questions you may have.

This will be an invaluable resource during our word investigations. After initially learning of ‘principal parts’ last year, and the significance of the infinitive and supine forms, I made this post to share that group’s investigations. I still struggle with the concept, but these students, with their multiple languages, naturally work with and appreciate conjugations (side note: are the words <conjugate> and <jugular> related?).

In the next video you’ll see the aforementioned introduction between our students and O.G. This is not a rare occurrence. He enjoys Zooming in with our class and participating in investigations just as much as we enjoy his company and contributions.

Before that session on Latin verbs, I shared with the students the buzz of interest that had been generated around the world from their first encounter with orthography. A particularly significant buzz came from Pete Bowers (mentioned in an earlier post…orthographer extraordinaire, groovy on the drums, all-around super cool guy, visiting our class soon…). Pete often highlights our students’ investigations on his web site, in his newsletter, and on Matt Berman’s Real Spellers site. In fact, his latest contribution to Real Spellers was all about our students and their thinking. All of this, along with the various emails and blog comments, piqued the interest of even the most (seemingly) reluctant students. “Wait…there are people from all over the world watching us? Learning from us? Uh…that’s…uh…that’s pretty cool.” They actually didn’t need that extra layer of motivation. Before they even knew of their super star status, these students were curious, asking questions, looking for patterns, debating…all very scientific, and all because children are naturally so. As their teacher, I simply need to find ways to maintain that curiosity, and inspire increasingly rich and reasoned questions. and encourage the pursuit of genuine understanding. Stay tuned to see how I do!

More to come tomorrow. The concept of twin base elements really fired up the students today. Some amazing questions from Thea, Sean, Ritvik, and Nida!