While certain quantitative evidence points to the various success of Operation LAPIS, and I’ll elaborate on those more this coming week, a great deal of the success can be illustrated best through the plethora of anecdotal evidence that continues to pile up each and every day. As an illustrative point, I want to spend today taking you through the last few minutes of my LAPIS class on this past Friday. Oh, by the way, this was the last period of the day before April vacation. Anyone who has ever taught high school can attest to the usual attention and enthusiasm of the last day before a break (nevermind the last period of the day.)
To set the scene up, the Recentiī (the characters the students are playing) have been cornered by Salvius and strong-armed into joining the Societās Potentium (the equivalent of the optimatēs) although they been working previously for the Militēs Lapidis (the equivalent of the popularēs). This, in of itself, was posing a huge moral dilema for them. With their very lives seemingly on the line, they had a real good debate in their teams about the pros and cons of “switching sides”. Some decided it might be in their best interest to truly join the Societās Potentium, others decided that they might try to become double agents, while one group openly defied Salvius’ not-so-veiled threats.
After working dilligently on polishing their team’s response in Latin, each group posted one by one. When all five Recentiī had stated what their decision was going to be; whether or not they were going to swear the oath to join the Societās Potentium, I immediately posted the conclusion to the episode (and mission). Salvius, outraged at the open defiance of at least one Recentius, flew into a fit of rage, issuing orders for them to be punished. As the guards came rushing into the room, the ground began to shake and the colors and sounds began to fade in an out.
There was a disruption in the mechanism of the TSTT. A disruption they’ve known before.
A familiar voice appeared. The character they’ve had the strangest interactions with; Sinistrus. Simultaneously they received a broken communique from Mission Control at Project Arkhaia. Both messages were cryptic and of little help.
And a foul smell. A very foul smell.
And that’s how the class was about to end. The class right before a break. A perfect cliffhanger.
Well, they weren’t content with that at all. So after some badgering, they convinced me to at least to let them throw some guesses out as to where they actually ended up. We went around the room, all 22 students, trying to guess where they were just sent to. A few of them, unbeknownst to them, were mostly correct: Egypt. Specifically, they are in Alexandria, in a pile of dead fish near the harbor.
But they don’t know that and after they were done guesses they said, “Ok, so where are we?” To which I responded, “Oh, you’ll find out on the Monday after break when Mission 11 begins. You don’t have any work to do over break, so there won’t be a new episode loaded into the TSTT until then.”
The almost universal reaction: “Nooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!! YOU HAVE TO TELL US!!!”
Minutes left in the day, talk about the proverbial music to a teacher’s ears. Talk about engagement. Thinking quickly, I made a deal with them. I told them that the TSTT’s global-temporal positioning device was damaged in the latest power flux and if 10 CARDs were collected over break, it might be just enough to recalibrate to determine their time and location. They laughed. Bell rang and vacation began.
Today, after getting back from coaching the freshman baseball team, I awarded 5 CARDs. Yes, on the first day of April break, students were doing unassigned Latin work.