Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Compositio Hodierna

Moving to block scheduling has allowed me to try something new this year: I call it Compositio Hodierna (Daily Composition).

When the students come into the room, there is an English sentence on the board. Their job is to translate this sentence into Latin. I gloss the odd forms or new vocabulary for them. Often the sentence relates to the vocabulary we have been reviewing (particularly on those days on which we have vocabulary quizzes) and/or incorporating the grammar and syntax we have been covering.

I've seen other teachers use similar "focus activities" for their students to begin class. Indeed, this activity was not even my idea. I must give credit to my colleague in a neighboring school who calls them CODs (Compositions of the Day). I have to admit that most of my students balked at the beginning of the year (particularly those who had me the previous year) but they have come around and some even enjoy it! I usually call 2-4 students at a time to the board to write their sentences and then I compare them, emphasing what they get correct, not their mistakes. I have seen definite improvements in their composition skills and nothing beats this type of exercise to pull together all the elements in need of review: vocabulary, grammar, and syntax.


kathy said...

I do a "facite nunc" at the start of all of my classes, which range from reviewing for a vocab quiz to workbook activities to essay excersies. I really like the idea you present. It will definitely have to go into my arsenal :)

Mark A. Keith said...

More than happy to share! I am not bashful about begging, borrowing, or stealing anything from other teachers! If you attend ACL (and I strongly recommend you find a way to get there), be sure to sign up for the materials exchange.