Daily Archives: September 9, 2014

Real Script and LatDict

Every school year I am presented with a new group of gloriously diverse students, each with his/her own unique experiences and idiosyncrasies. The same can be said for their handwriting. Diverse times 21! And not just in the appearance of the letters they write, but the actual formation of the letters…the pathways they’ve developed over the years to form their numbers and letters. Everyone in this group writes legibly, some more than others, but efficiency is far more varied, as is comfort level. Most students, even the ones who have beautiful “handwriting” (quotes because we actually refer to handwriting as “script”), look uncomfortable when writing, perhaps even in pain. Walk into any classroom where students are writing (or just watch them at home) and you’ll see most hunched over their papers, heads tilted awkwardly, usually white-knuckling a pencil to death (pencil! gasp! wrong tool!), occasionally stopping to shake out their overtired wrists and hands.

It need not be so.

Over the last few weeks I’ve slowly introduced script to the students, Real Script. I’ve actually required them to use a pen when writing, and I’m constantly saying “Feet, elbows” to encourage proper posture. The kids have also heard, “Dance of the pen…” over and over as a reminder of the pleasurable experience writing CAN and SHOULD be.

Yesterday the class was enthusiastic about writing their names, so I showed them a video from Old Grouch’s Real Script resource to introduce Majuscular script. As we viewed and attempted our own versions of the various Majuscular forms, Old Grouch emailed us. We called, he enthusiastically shared his expertise, and we eventually moved on to the introduction of a new online resource, LatDict. For those at home who watched the previous videos about Latin verbs and their principal parts, this is a very useful resource, as is the Latdict video below.

I recorded some of our script session. Also, at the end, in order to get to recess, the kids needed to “spell out” <recess>, indicating their hypotheses about its structure by pausing between potential morphemes. Watch to the end to catch that. (I cut Ritvik off prematurely…he offered <success> as a relative.)

And finally, Old Grouch explains how to use LatDict. Also, at the end, when Noah asked, “How does he know all this stuff?”, Old Grouch provided some reflections on the Latin instruction of his youth. And we were all speaking Latin in the end!

Ben Knows what ‘Oculus’ Means

…and he will now most certainly learn what the plural of ‘oculus’ is.

We write every morning…something…anything…just to get pen to paper, reflect on our lives, and share what we want to share. Usually the offerings are quite brief, simple recounts of a morning routine, a weekend sleepover, or what the person next to us just said. I offer one or two prompts so kids have something to fall back on if they are stuck or uninspired. Last week, Edward’s iPad went missing, so one of the prompts was, “What happened to Edward’s iPad?”

Ben knew what happened. Oh…he knew.

I was so impressed with what Ben wrote (over a couple of days), that I decided to type it up and share with our audience below. There were only a few spelling errors (I included them), which was all the more impressive considering the rich vocabulary Ben used. Sentence structure and punctuation were a little less clear, so I did some editing that hopefully makes it easier to follow. So, if you want to know the fate of the missing device, read on.

Here’s a story of a truly noble iPad who died for a great cause…

There once was an iPad named Mini who lay on a shelf in ZIS’s lower school. He was being used daily. He liked it there…but he wanted more action.

So one day he set off on a mighty quest grabbing a capture card for a shield and a splinter for a sword. He set off using his fully body protection (A.K.A. a case” and he hobbled along. For days and days he wandered over hills, meadows, and jumping from rooftops. One day he had his dose of paranormal activity.

As he was starting a fire in his shelter, he saw a shadow moving in the corner. He made a fire with a chip and a stone. He went over to investigate. The iPad found a gold medallion with a picture of a little girl on it. He tried to touch it, but a paranormal wind pushed his hand away.

“How strange,” Edward’s iPad thought.

Something didn’t want him touching it. Suddenly the fire went out. The iPad was scared out of his wits because that naturally doesne’t happen. The iPad’s circuit was racing at 511 beats per minute. Just then the girl’s eyes turned red and the picture turned into a gravestone. A helpless booming wail emmited from the medallion and it exclaimed, “Help me get free from my curse! Slay the dragon!”

At that moment it changed back to normal and the fire was lit again. The iPad was cowering in a corner for he was scarred (“scarred” not scared (Ben actually wrote that in parentheses on his paper)) by that experience. He was well shaken but in his circuits there was determination. He would defeat this mighty dragon!

There was a gaping hole in the wall and he decided to investigate. The iPad walked in and instantly rocks filled the way out. He was absolutely terrified. With no way out he had to venture farther in. His legs were sore, he didn’t know how long it would take because he didn’t know how deep the hole was because he was shrouded in mist. He couldn’t see the ceiling. For all he knew, it could be 16 kilometers long!

He finally saw a glimpse of light. It was a single gold coin. Then in the distance he saw another and followed them. Eventually he came across a vast structure. It was devil red and surrounded by a molten gold moat. A draw bridge came down and inside was the most beautiful view he’d ever seen. There were mounds of coins, gold, and precious gems. But one mound was rumbling and the gold coins erupted like a volcano as a scaly beast stood up. He knew this. He had read about it. With his sword and shield he was ready…ready to fight the dragon. 

The dragon sensed him and went after the iPad. They made contact as the iPad’s sword pierced through a chink in the dragon’s scales. The dragon roared in outrage as the iPad took the sword out of the dragon. The dragon slowly blinked his golden flecked eyes. And its oculuses focused on the iPad. The dragon spurted fire at the iPad. He dodged the fire but could feel the flames melting his armour. He charged at the mighty creature and jumped on its scaly back. The dragon tried to turn its head round and that’s what the iPad planned. The iPad saw as the dragon snapped its own neck, and he quickly jumped off the dragon as it fell to the ground. As it fell he heard a cheerful girl say, “Thank you!” and he fell on the ground panting. He walked back to the classroom and had a lie down behind Emilia’s poster and he dozed off. 

The end of Eddie’s iPad journey.