Authentic Engagement (in June)

I just wanted to take the opportunity to comment about some authentic engagement and ownership of content that I observed in the past week.

The students (as operative-teams roleplaying the Recentiī) had at long last gained entry to the headquarters of the Societās Potentium and were now going through a series of tasks. After composing a series of three defense speeches about some of the most important figures in the late Repbulic (from Tiberius Gracchus to Juilius Caesar), the door to the final chamber began to open. At that moment, Marcus Maecenas and his cronies rushed in to attempt to thwart the Recentiī’s plans. For many of them they have been waiting the whole year for this moment; a real battle.

Prompt: You have no where to run. Five guards are present. Fight for your lives.

Describe in vivid detail your fight with one of the guards. You should make the fight exciting and engaging.

I turned them loose to compose their own narratives of their individual fights with the guards (five Recentiī - five guards.) As they were beginning to work out the details in class, I also decided to throw in a couple of extra objectives: most exciting narrative as determined by the Demiurge was to be awarded the Mars CARD and the best attempt at Latin composition was to be awarded the Apollo CARD.

The results were absolutely incredible, especially at a time when most students are checking out because, “hey, it’s June, man.” One group roleplaying Recentia Octaviana decided that a direct confrontation was not to their advantage, so (entirely in Latin) they described how they winked, blushed, and blew kisses at the guard to get him to come close to her. When he did, Octaviana pulled out a dagger (which was holding up her hair) and dispatched the guard, while exclaiming a witty line worthy of any action move, “Time to get you... out of my hair!” I should also add that they made great use of the emoticons along with the Latin verbs to help their classmates out with some of the vocabulary.

Another group described their “epic” battle, trading blows back and forth, even receiving a serious wound on one of their arms. Yet another group took a wound to the face that will become a permanent scar. One of the most inventive descriptions came from a group that composed two narratives: one from their point of view and one from the point of view of their opponent.

They researched how Romans would fight and used appropriate vocabulary. These battles were meaningful because they were their own creations -- not some passage that I gave them to translate. A few groups even included a few present participles, their most recent grammatical addition, demonstrating the desire to continue working at their full potential even in June.

When the dust settled and the opportunity to move into the final chamber again presented itself, the Recentiī would soon find themselves in major moral dilemma...

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