Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Today was the day the accreditation team sat in on my 7th and 8th grade classes.  They slipped in the back of the class in their navy blazers and khaki pants, with their clipboards, opening the manila folder with the carefully-prepared, in-depth lesson plans.  I got the kids to stand up (we had already run through the more boring of our warm-ups) and we did the silly verb songs:

(to the tune of "Three Blind Mice")
o, s, t, mus, tis, nt
bam, bas, bat, bamus, batis, bant
bo bis bit bimus bitis bunt; or am es et emus etis ent
These are the endings for present system
Active voice.  Use the 1st principal part

i, isti, it, imus, istis, erunt
eram, eras, erat, eramus, eratis, erant
ero, eris, erit, erimus, eritis erint
These are the endings for perfect system
Active voice.  Use the 3rd principal part.

(and then to the tune of "Yankee Doodle")
r, ris, tur, mur, mini, ntur
Present system passive
r, ris, tur, mur, mini, ntur
Subject receives the action

Perfect system passive is a compound tense
with the 4th principal part;
PPP agrees with the subject,
then add a form of sum.

Then I hummed the "Twilight zone" theme and we entered the subjunctive zone.  Kids earned the right to sit down by correctly giving a grammar rule or verb form or translation.

Then I felt extremely awkward and self-conscious and I basically ditched my lesson plan.  Well, not really.  But in a flash of self-awareness I realized that I can't stick to a lesson plan when it's written out in that much detail, and the inspectors would not like to see me up at the board diagramming sentences, and anything else we might work on would be too much lecture and too little student involvement, but the kids really needed to work on translating sentences with purpose clauses.

So I invented a game.  I called on a team of two volunteers from each House to come up and jointly race to translate and diagram the 1st sentence from tomorrow's homework.  I called on members of their Houses who remained seated to help them with grammar advice.  This is 7th grade so there was a lot of need for grammar support.  It actually went surprisingly well, for a seat-of-the-pants innovation.  Either I've invented the newest fun Latin game, or I've cost the school its shot at accreditation. 

Eighth grade was a little more traditionally structured.  We had a bread-and-butter lesson to get through.  The fun review happened before the inspectors walked into the classroom, and then it was just going around the room and correcting sentences.  Simple sentences, so we didn't have to put any up on the board.  Then introduction of the new lesson (hic/haec/hoc and ille/illa/illud).  We made vocabulary and grammar cards, we reviewed the honking geese who aren't shy (these geese that come right up to you) and the tweety birds (those shy birds off in the forest).  My kids were troopers and had their homework all done well.  It might have been a more interesting class if they hadn't, but I'm glad they had.

I'm putting an end to it for tonight and making grape pie

Do you suppose spontaneous is just another word for random?

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