The First 10 Minutes of Class

I have a challenge for you, and myself. Commit yourself to spending the first 10 minutes of class to talking to your kids in Latin. It doesn’t matter what about. It doesn’t even matter if they are responding in Latin! All that matters is that you are speaking to them in Latin, they understand what you are saying, and that you genuinely care.


Write on the board “qui musicam in via ad scholam audiverunt” = Who listened to music on the way to school? “

Teacher: (point  to words and pause) qui musicam in via ad scholam audiverunt?

Student: (Raises her hand.)

Teacher: audivistine musicam in via ad scholam?

Student: ita vero.

Teacher: audivistine Kanyem?

Student: minime.

Teacher: audivistine Arianam Grandem?

Student: minime!

Teacher: Quid audivisti?

Student: Justin Bieber.

Teacher: Justin Bieber!? omnes, qui Bieberem quoque audiverunt?

Just give it a try! Don’t worry about “circling” or anything like that. Just ask a bunch of kids questions about anything you feel like talking about. If you are targeting some new words for some kind reading, pick a topic that will naturally include those words. It honestly doesn’t matter if it relates to anything else that you do that day. If the conversation isn’t going anywhere, just end it. If the conversation is going great, keep it going!

A Few Pointers

  1. Make the goal of this activity to find out more about your students.
  2. The better the conversation, the more likely it is that novice students will start interjecting in English. This a good sign! This means that the kids genuinely want to engage in this conversation, but don’t yet have the Latin. Try redirecting the conversation back into Latin if possible. If it becomes the whole class, they probably need a brain break.
  3. Don’t force your students to respond with full sentences. They will do that when they are ready.
  4. NEVER EVER CORRECT THEIR GRAMMAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Correcting their grammar says to them, “I don’t care what you have to say. I just want you to say it right!”.





One thought on “The First 10 Minutes of Class

  1. Euge!
    I have been incorporating this kind of conversation into class recently, taking notes as we go to make stories to read out of the information the students give me. I have been using “quid fecisti?” or, even better, “aliquo ivisti an domi manebas?” after the weekend/breaks and on Fridays: “quid facere vis?”, “quid facere tibi necesse est?” and “aliquo ibis an domi manebis?” We’ve learned so much about each other through this process and it has created a very open classroom community. I’ve also been getting a lot of mileage out of indirect statements in these conversations. Often it’s content from these conversations that appear in their free-writes.


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