Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Pacing (Update)

Over the last few years, I've refined my LLPSI curriculum, methods, and pacing. I've held tightly to the philosophy that students need plenty of time to assimilate new information so that they can remember it and use it (multum, nōn multa!) To that end, I've been shrinking the size of each individual reading session, usually to less than ten lines, and increasing students' practice time with the new words acquired in each session. My new daily schedule includes a much wider variety of activities with a much shorter time assigned to each individual activity.

My classes meet five days per week for 55 minutes per class. I expect around 30 minutes of homework outside of class. For three days of the week, we work together through what I have termed "sessions." The fourth day is dedicated to vocabulary review (flashcard games) and exercises that practice the new vocabulary and grammar for the lesson. The fifth day is dedicated to a grammar quiz and Roman culture lesson (daily life in Rome, history, mythology, etc.)

For days one to three, we work through two sessions each day (six sessions for the week), one session in class, and one session at home. This allows the class to complete one Oerberg Lectiō/Lesson per week. Each of the six sessions takes 40 minutes to an hour to complete, depending on the speed of the student or class. One session comprises six activities: 1) A grammar song linked to the grammar covered in first-year Latin (these are linked to my blog under the "Sing" tab; 2) A choral recitation where students practice reading the Latin session aloud (around 5 to 10 lines); we do this as a class and it must be out loud (no silent reading); 3) A translation of the session without any resources; for this section, I usually read sentence by sentence from the section and draw pictures to illustrate the content; I try to speak mostly in Latin, but I freely define words in English on the board; 4) A collection of margin notes for new vocabulary and grammar; students use my definitions and illustrations as their margin notes in their notebook, so the translation and margin notes sections happen at the same time; 5) A short oral conversation using the new vocabulary; these are available to my students who have paid for my class, but you can invent a conversation of your own with the students using the new words, or just ask students comprehension questions in Latin; it's very important at this point to have the students write their own question using at least one of the new words; this activates their new knowledge and makes it personal to them; they should have time to ask and answer these questions with partners; 6) A reverse translation of the section; for this part, students take their English translation and try to retranslate it with good Latin; Oerberg's Latin is the key; I usually write the sentences one at a time on the board, making many mistakes that I think students could make, then I go down the rows asking students if they see any mistakes; students really like to see me make mistakes, and they think it is fun to correct me; I always let students pass if they can't find a mistake.

Students complete each "Session" on one sheet of paper divided into quadrants. Upper-left is for the translation. Upper-right is for the margin notes. Bottom-left is for the conversation notes and questions. Bottom-right is for the reverse translation.

Here's a breakdown of time for each activity: 1) 3 minutes; 2) 2 minutes; 3) 10 minutes; 4) 5 minutes; 5) 10 minutes; 6) 10 minutes. On a good day, I can get through one session in about 40 minutes. Students are responsible for completing the next session at home. By the time that they have finished one session, they remember and can use the new vocabulary and grammar for the new section of text (usually 3-5 new concepts).

Students don't get tired of the story, because they are learning to write and speak Latin with their classmates. They are not just learning to read and recognize a familiar text. The goal is text creation, not just recognition. My students' minds are too active to get bored. I haven't found the need to supplement with other texts.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Rōma Aeterna

Does anyone out there have an old copy of Rōma Aeterna that they are willing to part with? A fellow LLPSI user needs a copy of the old edition (see image below). It must be the edition shown below with the ISBN 978-1-58510-314-0. Thanks!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Summer Pedagogy Seminar

Please read this posting from Patrick Owens, a friend and brilliant Latinist - one of the best in the world.

"I'll be offering a pedagogy seminar introducing active Latin methodology and its classroom applications. The seminar will run from June 19-21, and will be hosted by the Wethersfield Institute in Armenia, NY (with easy transport from NYC airports). Sessions will include (among other topics) a history of the direct (aka "natural") method, how to lesson plan for immersion classrooms, précis and discussion of current research on SLA and Classical language pedagogy, building resources, and how to transition from the grammar-translation method. The event will be professionally catered on the gorgeous and historic Wethersfield Estate, where participants will enjoy exquisite accommodations.

Thanks to a very generous grant from the Wethersfield Institute, the cost of this event, which includes meals, accommodations and the seminar sessions, is just $200.

For more information, please see: . Thank you, in advance, for sharing this announcement."

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


After several years of trial and error, I have settled upon the following schedule for my LLPSI course:

5th Grade - Latin 1/2 - LLPSI 1-8
6th Grade - Latin 1 - LLPSI 9-16
7th Grade - Latin 2 - LLPSI 17-24
8th Grade - Latin 3 - LLPSI 25-32
9th Grade - Latin 4 - LLPSI 33-40
10th Grade - Latin 5 - LLPSI 41-45
11th Grade - Latin 6 - LLPSI 46-51
12th Grade - Latin 7 - LLPSI 52-56

Every year, I recommend that students take the National Latin Exam and use the month of February to prepare. Also, I recommend that students use the summers to read the Colloquia Personarum (after 5th, 6th, and 7th grades),  Fabulae Syrae (after 8th grade), and the Epitome Historiae Sacrae (after 9th grade).  In the summers after 10th and 11th grades, students can go through any of Oerberg's readers, like Caesar, Vergil, Cicero, and Ovid.

I will modify this schedule as necessary with my own students.  Right now, I have a talented senior who has never studied Latin; he is going through Latin 1/2 and 1 in a single year (Capitula I-XVI).  Some colleges go much faster than that.  However, I have found that most, if not all, college professors wish that they had more time to spend on building basic Latin skills, and their pacing is forced upon them by other factors and not by what is ideal for learning.  In my opinion, students need time to internalize new vocabulary and grammar.  It aids long-term memory.  My schedule maintains rigor without outpacing the abilities of a typical student.

Let me know about your successes and failures with the pace of LLPSI.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Chapter 4 - Rap

Theresa Ambat raps her way through Chapter 4.  Dowload, share, and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Friday, September 13, 2013

LLPSI: Study Guide

This site has been re-organized to help make everything, particularly the new resources I am adding, easier to find and use.  The tabs are now arranged roughly in the order you are likely to use them when studying a new lesson in LLPSI.  So, if you are following my recommendations, for each new lesson you would navigate the tabs in the following order (from left to right):

(30 minutes) Participate in the grammar conversation for your lesson.
(10 minutes)  Complete the grammar worksheet for your lesson.

(5 minutes) Sing the song for your lesson (if available).

(5 minutes) Use the systematic grammar key to check your work on the grammar worksheet.

(30 minutes) Participate in the conversation for your lesson.

(5 minutes) Watch the reading tutorial for your lesson.
 (30 minutes) Read (and re-read) the lesson in the LLPSI text.

(5 minutes) Watch the exercitia tutorial.
(30 minutes) Complete the first two exercitia for the lesson.

(30 minutes)  Re-read the lesson (and/or participate in the conversation again).
(20 minutes) Complete the remaining exercitia.

Each of the numbered items should take roughly one hour to complete.  On this schedule, you would complete one lesson in one school week.

For the last lesson of each chapter, the 'grammatica latina', you will need to remove the introductory grammar lesson and add Pensa A-D toward the end.  Therefore, your last week of a chapter would look like this:

(30 minutes) Participate in the conversation for the grammatica latina lesson.

(5 minutes) Watch the reading tutorial for the grammatica latina lesson.
 (30 minutes) Read (and re-read) the grammatica latina lesson in the LLPSI text.

(5 minutes) Watch the exercitia tutorial.
(30 minutes) Complete all the exercitia for the lesson.

(30-60 minutes) Complete Pensa A-C in the text.

 Watch the Pensum D tutorial and complete the Pensum D worksheet.

Re-read text with audio translation.  

Study flash cards.

I hope these instructions and my new resources will make your study of the Latin language more efficient and productive.