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Lesson Plan with Aesop

Looking over the fables at Latin Via Fables (see other Aesop post) reminds me of a composition project I did with my 9th grade students last Spring. 

  1. I gave them one of Aesop’s fables and had them translate it into English (nothing new there).
  2. I asked them to then translate their English back into Latin (without looking at the original Latin).  We then compared the two to see how close to the original they had come, and perhaps see why they might have missed certain things.
  3. Lastly, I had them adapt that same Aesop’s fable for the younger classes (5/6th grade) so they could read and enjoy Aesop in Latin too, but without wrestling through some tough constructions they hadn’t yet learned.

This proved to be a really good (and even fun) project.  If you think about it, you have to know your grammar pretty well to go back and forth and then simplify constructions without losing the sense of the story.  I got the idea from Ben Franklin, who is said to have used a similar exercise with writing poetry and prose.  Their last Latin passage (#3) had to be accompanied by a complete glossary and an illustration.  They had fun doing this and the younger kids had fun reading them.

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