Summer is coming. As my teaching year comes to an end, I can't help thinking about what I want to improve for next year. This year was my first as a Latin teacher, and I started my program from scratch. As a result, I think I taught a little too traditionally this year, and there are some major changes I would like to make as I get a new crop of Latin I students. The biggest change I'd like to make is a switch to more spoken Latin/comprehensible input. I'm not ready for 100% Latin—I learned the language in the traditional grammar-heavy way—but next year I want at least one third of every class period to be conducted entirely in the Latin language.
To help my students absorb vocabulary and grammar, I want to play more games with them. The mainstream classroom games we played this year—vocab bingo, Kahoot, etc.—are not what I mean by this. Overt review games can be helpful, but the kids still "know they are reviewing" and may or may not care. Instead, I would like to spend some time this summer making bootleg Latin versions of games that they already know and will play. Here are some of the ideas that I had, and I would more than welcome any suggestions in the comments:
1. Latin Clue: A Latin version of Clue with Roman names, rooms, and objects would be an awesome way to teach my students several concepts at once, without them fully realizing that I had an evil plan to teach them things. Not only would they learn the rooms of the house, but they would learn how to use specific grammatical constructions (in the room, with the object) outside of direct instruction/practice sentences. Direct instruction sometimes (...usually) does not stick.
2. Latin Guess Who: This seems like a great way for my students to "naturally pick up" information about physical appearance and the body while also internalizing the format of questions in Latin. I would obviously scaffold this by offering them vocab helps that would let them play entirely in Latin—and while playing, the students might eventually memorize the words for hat, hair (+ colors), man, woman, fat, thin, etc. without me having to do a lot of traditional drilling.
3. Latin Uno: I guarantee my students would know numbers 1–9, Roman numerals, and words for "pick up," "skip," and "reverse" in no time.
4. Any playing card game: I would love to find or make a playing card deck with Roman numerals instead of regular numbers. The face cards could be labeled rex (king), regina (queen), and eques (knight, in place of jack). With fairly minimal vocab lists, I could have the students playing games like Go Fish, Old Maid, and War.
5. Latin Apples to Apples: This game would be about vocabulary exposure. I could use our actual vocab from class with some extensions, and have two levels of the game—one with English helps on it, one without. Some of the noun cards could be historical figures or Greco-Roman gods the students had learned about, so that you could get funny pairings like "faithful" with "Jupiter." (For those whose mythology is rusty, Zeus/Jupiter was a notoriously unfaithful husband.)
These games don't have to be fancy—I'm planning to get a personal laminator for about $30 on Amazon and abuse our school's color printer during teacher workdays in August. But I think that playing "real" games that just happen to be in Latin might help my students internalize and gain confidence in the language.
If you have any suggestions, I am very open to hearing them!
My name is Liz, and I play a lot of games. By day, I am a teacher. By night, I am an avid gamer.