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When I introduce new grammar, I sometimes have students make manipulatives. We make an "endings box" early in first year, when we're using Nominative and Accusative only. Later, when I introduce all the personal endings for verbs, I help them create a "present" which will conjugate and translate a sample verb for them. I have others I have used with other tenses, but all of them are the same basic idea in different shapes (a sheep for Imperfect, a crystal ball for Future, and "100" for perfect).

I have stopped doing these manipulatives as much because I felt like my students were relying too much on them, and were not actually learning how to do it themselves. I'm considering having them create one this week for the passive verb endings, emphasizing that when they use it, they are BEING shown how to do it, not doing it themselves (passive vs. active).

I also have some wooden blocks on which I have written some vocabulary words (each face of the block has a different form), and students use them to "build" sentences. It's great because I can tell based on block shape and color whether the words are in the right order, then when I approach their group, I can correct the form by rotating the block as needed. They love this game so I use it every year, but it only lasts a little while because there are only so many blocks! (And they're not cheap!)

Does anyone else use manipulatives, and if so, what?

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I love the box idea! I wonder if you could make boxes out of cardstock rather than buying them? I may try this.

Can you elaborate on the endings box? What does it look like?
The endings box sounds cooler than it is. I cut squares out of the corners of a piece of construction paper, so it looks like a Red Cross cross. I keep it turned "wideways" and on the top flap I write "fold me for direct objects." On the bottom flap, I write "fold me for subjects." On the left flap, I write "fold me for plural" and on the right, "fold me for singular." When folded, each of these flaps will hide the opposite and leave visible whatever it prompted.

That leaves the big square in the middle. I divide it into 4 boxes, and write one ending in each box - Nominative on top, Accusative on bottom; singular on the left, plural on the right.

When they are figuring out which ending to use, they just have to follow the directions. If they do it right, the only ending still visible will be the right one to use.
I used a game in class today and let them "spin" to determine the questions. I chose the verb, then I gave them spinners (homemade) with tenses, persons, and numbers, and a penny to flip for voice. Everybody got to spin several times, and we worked through what each question meant in English and how to form it in Latin. It was a great review on the meanings of person, number, tense, and voice, and helped them associate time frames and mental images with the labels that their book uses.

What do you all do to get students involved in the process?
I have on occasion used dice for a similar type activity.
I adapted my verb game using spinners, and I thought I'd share, in case anyone else has suggestions or would like to use it. Students play in groups of 4 or 5 and make their own playing board with spaces on their paper. This gets them invested from the beginning.

I used a template to make a spinner out of card stock and wrote on the spaces the tenses they have learned already (present, future, perfect). Students draw a card with an infinitive written on it (printable business cards from a warehouse club), roll a die to determine person and number, and spin to get a tense. There are so many active things to do they love it. Then they take 30 seconds to form the verb requested and give its English meaning. If they get it right (agreed upon by all players, checked with me if questions) they move their playing piece forward on the board (roll the die again for number of spaces).

It takes very little preparation and is a great way to review formation of verbs, especially when we learn new conjugations. I love it because when I ask about person and number in class, I can refer to the die they used, which gives them a visual memory and a tactile memory. Person and number are very difficult for my students because they usually don't know those terms when they come to me.
Someone on the latinteach list recently mentioned a Latin flipbook - to help a student with noun / adjective endings. The description seemed to me like one of those children's books where you can choose different head / torso / leg combinations, or eyes / nose / mouth combinations. The flipbook, however, was split left and right instead of top to bottom. Does anyone recognize this description or have an idea of how to make or use such a thing?
It's one of Tom's materials on Perlingua - and it's very nice - check out his page for this and more!
I used to make verb train cubes.  Using one of the cube templates online, I would print out many, many cubes.  Then, I would have students write a set of stems on one of the cubes, then on a second cube they would write the vowels (A,E,I, and U), then on a third cube they would write the personal endings, and on a fourth cube they would write tense markers like ba.  Then when we would conjugate verbs, they could make their little verb trains from the different cubes. It seemed like a good idea to show the patterned nature of verb conjugation as well as a physical manipulative. On the downside, it is very expensive if one uses cardstock for durability...




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