It’s been a busy few weeks for me, for a variety of reasons. While I try to balance the load of my courses pretty evenly, sometimes one ends up suffering in terms of prep work. This term, it’s been Latin — mainly because this year I gave up on the idea of flipping the classroom and decided to ditch the textbook instead. (Note to self and others: this is a bad idea.) I had planned, last spring, to make a whole website for my class that outlined every point of Latin grammar. I got through two lessons and realized that there were already a hundred websites that did the same thing, and stopped.
But my students, rightly, want something more permanent than what I say in three hours of class a week. And so I’ve been giving it to them from elsewhere.
Usually I give the materials a once-over to make sure that they’re okay in terms of difficulty and vocab. Because I’ve been really pressed for time, this has turned into a check of how long it is and what type of exercises there are. For two classes, it worked. And then disaster.
One of the sheets I’d grabbed was just wrong. There were four or five cloze exercises that had expressions that worked in English, but couldn’t be done in Latin: for example (some words changed to protect the original author),
Marcus (dare) pecuniam servos emit.
Because this was an exercise on participial phrases vs. the ablative absolute, I think that it was supposed to read (dare) pecunia. It may have been a typo, although there were several similar mistakes, but because this was meant to be a reinforcement of a new grammar concept, it ended up confusing my students even more.
So this was my fault, and I don’t want to call out others who may have had a bad day (and just happened to have that bad day preserved by Google). Instead, I want to highlight a few of my more frequent go-to sites for exercises.
Mark Damen has some fantastic resources, which are keyed to Wheelock by chapter. If you don’t use Wheelock, that’s okay — neither do I. But since many Latin textbooks use a broadly similar vocabulary list, these worksheets have worked in my non-Wheelock classroom. Also, since most students come to class with their smartphones, I let them use the Perseus dictionary to look up words they don’t know. Our class LMS (Moodle) site has the link to the dictionary itself, rather than the parsing tool, so that they are encouraged to use the electronic dictionary like a paper dictionary — although I admit that it’s hard to police.
I also like John Porter’s website. It’s designed for use with Jones & Sidwell, but again, I haven’t had much trouble adapting. This site is better for peer-correction or self-directed learning, because the worksheets come with an answer key.
My students, on the other hand, love The Latin Library’s Latin 101. This site doesn’t provide exercises, but it does offer succinct (1-2 page) explanations, paradigms, and examples for almost every aspect of Latin grammar. This has in essence become my textbook for the term — it offers students something to take home with them, and lets me give it to them for free. Because Latin textbooks are often expensive, this means that I can focus their money where (I think) it matters more: in texts and commentaries, which we use in the spring.
I would love to hear more suggestions below!
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