Our students’ first day is Monday, which means (among other things) that my blogging will slow down significantly after this weekend. I wanted to share with you all my plans for the first day of Latin 1. We use CLC (4th edition), so my 9th graders will be starting with Stage 1.
- The board display. As students come in, I like them to know what to do. It saves them from some awkwardness – especially that 1st period class of 9th graders, bless their hearts. This is what they’ll see:
I wrote about the Post-It note system in my room tour for this year. As for the rest of it, if you’d like a copy of my student questionnaire for Latin 1, get it here. The index cards are something I use all year to call on students. I just put the cards in a tiny bucket and pull a student’s name out if I need to call on someone randomly.
- The intro. I really, really, really hate icebreakers. I hate them as a person, student, and teacher. I am sure there are some great icebreakers out there, and I am sure some people really enjoy them, but I am not someone who can really pull them off (probably because I hate them). So I don’t do them. I also do not read the syllabus (or even really go over it with them). I prefer to introduce them to things they need to know about my class as they need to know them.
Instead of doing these things, I have done something different each year. This year I am planning to give them a short talk that I am calling in my head “The Promises.” In short, it’s a list of the promises I can make to my students, even on day 1. In the past I have said these things to students at various points in the year, but I’d like to start off with them in a condensed, bite-sized talk:
- I promise you that by the end of this week, you will be able to read some Latin. By the end of this year, you will be able to read a lot of Latin. What I need from you is your effort and attention in helping me get you to that point.
- I promise you that I will teach you, the specific “you,” not the general “you” (for which I would use the word “y’all” anyway, because I’m Southern and all). I will learn what you need every day in class and do my best to deliver that to you. What I need from you is for you to focus on yourself. Be better than you were yesterday. Don’t worry about anyone else getting an A or an F.
- I promise you that I will make this a home for you at school. Latin ends up being that for so many of our students. It’s not a cosmic accident. I want this to be one of the places at school where you have a built-in family. What I need from you is for you to do your part in making this room feel like that. I need you to never make the room feel like it’s a place some of your classmates don’t want to be.
- I promise you that I will make mistakes, and what I need from you is grace when it happens.
- And then… the magic. The reading! We jump in with the Stage 1 Model Sentences on day 1. Here is an altered version of the Google Slides presentation that I use (I took out the copyrighted stuff from the book). I ask students to work with a classmate sitting next to them on finding these words. That’s kind of an icebreaker, right? I feel like I’m getting a complex about not doing these. (Except it involves Latin, so it’s already infinitely better than any non-Latin icebreaker. 🙂 )
- And then… the next day. And the next day and the next, until they are super-strong Latin readers and I have hopefully kept all of my promises (well, except maybe that last one).