Practomimetic Learning in Full View

Presented without comment and unedited (other than removing student names.) This is a single night's worth of engagement from one of my Latin I sections utilizing Operation LAPIS as their only 'text'.

The background for this mission is the student teams-as-their-avatars are attempting to find a scroll hidden in the house of one of their first adversaries, Marcus Maecenas, a fictional grandson of the real Gaius Cilnius Maecenas. Each action that a character takes is discussed in a separate forum by the team before they make the action, and, obviously, the reactions are also discussed.

I apologize if you don't read Latin fluently. You'll have to trust me that the Latin, composed by students only a month in to the course, is pretty darn good.


>Vīlla of Marcus Maecēnās, Pompeiī, 79 CE< 

tū in ātrium intrās. tū larārium dextrā vidēs. larārium est malīgnum. tū quoque lectum geniāle vidēs. ātrium est dēsertum. clāmōrem ē peristyliō in trīclīniō audīs.

Prompt: find the volūmen in vīllā of M. Maecēnās. You are free to explore any area of the house that you wish, but be on the lookout for Marcus and his guards.

Link to the CODEX for 2.3

embedded visual aid for the mission

Team 1: Agricola currit in cubiculo quietly.

TSTT Response: in cubiculō est lectus. tunica et toga in lectō iacent. cista quoque est in cubiculō. cista est clausa. clāvem nōn habēs. aliquid nitidum sub lectō cēlat.

Team 1: Agricola tunicam et togam capit. quoque, Agricola videt sub lecto.

TSTT Response: Agricola nōn potest ambō (both) tunicam et togam capere.


Team 1: Agricola chooses the tunic.

Demiurgic Edit: Agricola tunicam capit.

TSTT Response: Agricola tunicam capit et tunicam in saccō ponit.

Agricola must rest before taking another action.

Team 2: Recentia Octaviana intrat cubiculum et cistam capit.

TSTT Response: cista est gravis (quoque clausa). Octaviana cistam nōn potest capere. ubi est clavis?

Team 1: Agricola quiescit. quoque Agricola ambulat ad tablinum Marci

TSTT Response: Agricola ambulat ad tablīnum sed... ēheu! custōs stat extrā iānuam. Agricola revenit ad ātrium.

Team 3: Priscus ambulat ad tablīnum, et quaerit a key. priscus quaerit rīmam in murō.

TSTT Response: Priscus vīdet Agricolam et ad tablīnum nōn ambulat quod custōs est prope tablīnum.

Team 1: Agricola intrat alia cubiculum.

TSTT Response: in aliō cubiculō est lectus. stola in lectō iacent. aliquid nitidum sub lectō cēlat.

Team 3: Priscus ambulat ad culīam, et capit a sharp knife.

TSTT Response: mēnsa est in mediā culīnā. in mēnsā est cēna optima. ecce! coquus est in sellā. coquus tamen in sellā dormit. prope coquum est mappa ōrnāta. litterae “SP” in mappā sunt. nōn est culter (knife) in culīnā.

Team 4: Recentia Tulliana slowly runs to inanuam ligneus that lead to the cubliculum.

TSTT Response: Tulliāna est in cubiculō cum Agricolā. stola in lectō iacent. aliquid nitidum sub lectō.

Team 1: Agricola videt sub lecto.

TSTT Response: sub lectō est rōbīginōsus gladius!

Team 1: Agricola rōbīginōsum gladium capit.

TSTT Response: Agricola pōnit gladium rōbīginōsum in suō saccō.

Team 4: Recentia Tulliana videt sub lecto

TSTT Response: ēheu! est nihil sub lectō. stola est in lectō! fortasse Tulliana vult (wants) stolam capere?

Team 3: Priscus ambulat ad latrinam, et circumspectat gravis(important) objects.

Team 4: Tuliana capit stolam.

TSTT Response: Tulliāna stolam capit et stolam in saccō pōnit.

TSTT Response: Prīscus ambulat ad lātrīnam. in lātrīnā est multum stercoris. cavum est in mediā lātrīnā. aliquid nitidum prope cavum in lutō cēlat.

Team 4: Tulliana lente et quietly ambulat in desertum hallway ad culinam.

TSTT Response: Tulliāna est in culinā. mēnsa est in mediā culīnā. in mēnsā est cēna optima. ecce! coquus est in sellā. coquus tamen in sellā dormit. prope coquum est mappa ōrnāta. litterae “SP” in mappā sunt.

Team 1: Agricola ambulat lente ad custos in tablinum et inquit, "eheu! sum sordidus! sines ego intro?"

TSTT Response: custōs clāmat, "quid!!! iuvenis in villā? cūr ades? Marcus est iratus quod iuvenis eum vexāt (annoy)."

The custos grabs Agricola's newly found sword before he has a chance to react.

"et meum gladium habēs? fūr! (thief!)" inquit custōs.

Agricola is dragged across the house and thrown out the front door. Thankfully the guard was so distracted with the situation that the rest of the Recentiī went unnoticed and can continue their search for the scroll.

Team 3: Priscus capit nitidum object, et cleans it ad get a closer spectat.

TSTT Response: ecce! Prīscus invenit clāvem in lutō! Prīscus clāvem in saccō pōnit.

Team 2: Recentia Octaviana ambulat ad tablinum (now that the guards are distracted) et intro. Recentia Octavina quearit tablinum.

TSTT Response: The tablīnum is empty of people, but full of papers.

tū in tablīnum intrās. tū mēnsam vidēs in tablīnō. stat mēnsa māgna in tablīnō. in mēnsā est lumen. in mēnsā est tabella. in mēnsā est lapis. in mēnsā est volūmen.

in tablīnō quoque stat mēnsa parva.

TSTT Response: lectus geniālis est in ātriō. lectus est līgneus et imāginem Iūnōnis habet. litterae ‘SP’ in lectō sunt. strāgulum in lectō iacet. aliquid nitidum sub pulvīnō cēlat.

Team 5: Recentia Horatiana quaerit lectus genalis. she looks around in the lectus genalis and looks for the volumen.

Team 5: Recentia Horatiana quaerit sub pulvino

TSTT Response: Horātiāna invenit stolam fulvam sub pulvinō! Horātiāna stolam in saccō suō pōnit.

Team 4: Tulliana capit mappam et in sacco point

TSTT Response: ita vero! Tulliana mappam capit!

Team 3: Priscus ambulat ad cubiculo et aperit cistam clāve (priscus opens chest with key)

TSTT Response: ecce! Prīscus in cistā togam candidam et pallium fulvum invenit! Priscus eōs (them) in suō saccō pōnit.

TSTT Response: The custos turns around when he hears something in viā. This gives Agricola the opportunity to slip back into the vīlla unnoticed.

Team 1: Agricola currit in villa et latet.

Team 2: Recentia Octaviana capit volumen et lapidem

TSTT Response: Recentia Octaviana legit volumen: (link to the volumen). lapidem parvum est modo saxum.

estne volumen verum (true)?

Team 3: Priscus capit togam candidam et pallium fulvum.

Team 5: Recentia Horatiana quaerit lararium

TSTT Response: larārium Marcī est malīgnum et antīquum. statua in larariō est frācta. statua lapidem in manū tenet. statua gladium in aliā manū tenet.

Team 1: Agricola ad ceterus cubiculum ambulat.

TSTT Response: est nihil in certerīs cubiculīs.

Team 1: Agricola ad peristylum currit.

TSTT Response: As Agricola approaches the peristylum, he hears a large commotion coming from tricinlium. Marcus' cena is starting to break up. tempus fugit! Agricola currit ad tablinum cum ceterīs Recentiīs.

Team 4: Tulliana ego aperit ianuam to the tablinium et intrat

Team 2: Recentia Octaviana inquit "volumen est non verum."

Team 5: Recentia Horatiana quaerit rimam in muro

TSTT Response: Recentia Horatiana alium (another) volumen in murō invenit! est volumen verum! (link to the scroll)

omnēs Recentiī currunt ē villā ad Sextum.


  1. Very cool. Two questions, if you don't mind: 1) How often are students given this kind of task to complete at home? ...and... 2) How does the class proceed the day after this task is completed at home?

  2. Hi James,

    Students are given immersion prompts like this (although most aren't as elaborate -- this is more of an 'end of unit' type activity if there's a parallel to a traditional classroom) 3+ times a week. In my implementation, all of the collaborative work of the teams about deciding the actions for their characters is done outside of the classroom. There's nothing to say, though, that one couldn't use in-class time for the collaborative decision making process and the out-of-class time for individualized work.

    I use in-class time for a limited amount of direct instruction, but mostly for collaborative work on 'attunement exercises' (scaffolded and structured practice, much like 'Practicing the Language' sections in Cambridge, or the chapter exercises in Ecce) and for collaborative reading and reading comprehension of 'key-texts' -- relevant additional reading passages that accompany each mission.

    Usually, though, I'll start each class with reviewing the immersion episode from the previous night and the responses from the student-teams-as-their-characters and the 'NPCs' (non-player characters, to use a game term) which I 'play' as.