I'm teaching a three-hour daily intensive college Latin class. Help me come up with ideas to relieve the mind-numbing boredom of endless drills and "The queen sent the letter to the citizens"-type sentences.
I'm teaching the morning part of a daily intensive beginning Latin class. I just do drills and review; the students learn new material in an afternoon class taught by someone else (they have six daily hours of Latin total). I have two groups of about twelve students each, which I see on alternate days (there's one other morning instructor). They're a pretty even mix of undergrads and grad students, with two or three older lifelong-learning types thrown in. This
is the textbook we're using. The students are motivated, smart and engaged, but sometimes the time does drag on. Help me find some creative ideas to mix things up a bit.
They get lots of homework every day, so about half our time is spent reviewing that, which is the most boring part of the class but also the most unavoidable. What I've been doing is mostly just going through the exercises and calling on people for the answers, or sometimes having a number of students write up their answers on the board at the same time and then reviewing them all. Even so, we don't get through all the homework (which is OK as some of it is pretty mechanical). But even an hour of this can be mind-numbingly dull, especially, I imagine, if it's morning and you know you have four or five more hours of Latin to sit through that day.
The rest of the time I've been doing some combination of: review of new concepts/constructions/forms; readings from the textbook (which are from real authors but are still very short selections at this point, so tend to be puzzling or pointless-looking out of context); readings which I bring in (Cicero; they don't know all the forms yet, so I have them read out the Latin and see what they can recognize or understand, and then I give the full translation); and Latin composition exercises where I pair them up and have them use the vocab they know, plus some extra vocab that I give them which I try to make funny, to come up with sentences containing whatever forms or constructions they've recently learned. They seem to like the latter two activities (as far as I can tell: they rarely give that kind of feedback), but it's all getting a bit repetitive.
We're moving through the material really fast, so it's not like I can ever take a break to show them a classics-related video or anything like that; all our time really does have to be spent on mastering the forms, practicing translation and so on. But there must be less zombifying ways of doing this. Ideas?