On Narrative, Collection, and Re-engagement

Traditionally, this a tough time of year for a certain cross section of my Latin I classes.

Traditionally, this is the point where the complexity of the Latin advances to the point where those skating by, not really understanding what a direct object is, or why it has a different set of endings than a subject, are now underwater.

Traditionally, this is where the extra noun declension sheets, or verb conjugation sheets, run hot off the copier and into their hands in a frantic attempt to prepare for the midterm exam.

Traditionally, this is a point when a small portion, no matter what kind of interventions are in place, fall off completely and check out for the rest of the year.

Tradition isn’t tradition any longer.

One of the powerful affordances of a continuous narrative -- a narrative in which the students have an active role in shaping on a daily basis -- is the opportunity to re-engage at almost every moment. They aren’t reading about some figures whom they have no attachment to but rather they are playing their own characters, characters whom they have a genuine investment in and ones that they genuinely care about.

One of the powerful affordances of working in a permanent social collaborative unit is that on any given night their team is ready to help them get back into the fold and contribute in a meaningful way -- even if they haven’t contributed for the last two weeks. Rather than competing against their classmates, in its place there is a common sense of camaraderie and companionship on their journey of learning Latin and subsequently saving civilization.

One of the powerful affordance of the collection mechanic is that it provides a simple, effective, and straightforward way to focus on small bits of grammar at a time in a way where progress is marked visually not just in their lists but also in their acclimation of Latinity Points for taking part in the grind.

One of the powerful affordances of an easy re-entry is that the student who may have been struggling now has a reason and a way to get back into the game and, more importantly, a way to demonstrate learning and growth that’s real and tangible to them because they can see the immediate effects of their renewed participation and engagement.

One of the powerful affordances of tossing out the old traditions is that you get to rewrite the rules.

Consider the rules rewritten.

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