In Block 4, the Latin 2 students are taking turns being teacher for a day.

Students have been stepping into the teacher's shoes and designing games, quizzes, and tests for their classmates covering the vocabulary and grammar from Chapters 21 and 22 of Wheelock's Latin.

Not only is this a lot of fun for everyone, it also serves several other purposes. The students are finding that by learning the material well enough to introduce it to others, they are learning more thoroughly and deeply. At the same time, the students are also gaining experience with effective (and ineffective) methods of giving instruction to others. Lastly, the students are having the chance to see the classroom from the teacher’s point of view and have been learning a bit about classroom management.

The students have been very creative in designing lessons for their peers! One student-teacher created a game to practice and test the present passive system for the 3rd and 4th conjugations. She worked very hard to come up with challenging questions, while at the same time trying to make it fun and competitive for her classmates. She was well prepared and brought energy and enthusiasm to her presentation, and, with students divided into teams, there was an atmosphere of high competition. The design of the game had a few glitches, and in the competitive mood of the room, her classmates were impatient and voiced their complaints. Understanding the need for the teacher to be responsive and meet the challenges of the situation, she handled the stress well, showing flexibility and and patience. On the spot, she found ways to adapt the game to work better and lower the tension.

Another student used an online application to create a Latin Jeopardy game. The students were excited and enthusiastic to play, especially with the Jeopardy music queued up. The game was fun and entertaining, though we found that the questions were not sufficiently challenging. A third student designed a Latin Mad Libs, which was very clever since Mad Libs specifically addresses grammar and syntax.

Each time a student has tried on the teacher’s hat, we have taken time for reflection. These conversations have given us opportunities to consider how to make learning engaging and instructional, fun and challenging.

-- Ilyse Gordis