Latin listening materials. Can we as a community offer more?

ACTFL’s Novice Mid descriptor in interpretive communication states:

I can identify some basic facts from memorized or familiar words and phrases when they are supported by gestures or visuals in informational texts

Comprehensible reading materials continue to grow through the hard work of novella writers.  Take a look at all the options for titles if you want to start a Self Directed Reading program.  Grab a copy of Janice Pilgreen’s the SSR Handbook to make sure the reading program is stacked for success.

There is also a growing list of audio materials in Latin as well.  But I find it harder to find them.  I also find it difficult to know what kind of proficiency level is needed to follow certain Latin listening materials.

For example, I enjoy listening to the quomodo dicitur podcast but the proficiency level needed is almost above myself as an instructor.  Even 4th year students recently emerging into the intermediate level will struggle unless the episode happens to be centered around the familiar and memorized terms that specific student has picked up.  Without visual support, Novice level students will more than likely be submerged with such a listening text.

Stepping into CI includes a couple of easy listening story series in a subscription.  I’ve found 3rd year and 4th year students emerging into intermediate level do well with these texts.  Novice level students are able to pick up some of the familiar and memorized words but without visual support they tend to be stuck with disconnected ideas throughout the story line.  Even with those challenges, I highly recommend a subscription from stepping into CI even if just for the easy listening materials.  These are a fantastic change of pace or save your voice text to have when those things are needed and it is the closest listening texts I’ve used to be appropriate for Novice learners.

Here is a list of other listening materials I’ve used, although my use in the classroom has been limited.  Often, students have chosen one of the resources below to listen to Latin and complete a log when they are absent from class.

Magister Craft Mine Craft Youtube videos.  – A series of videos centered around Roman cultural topics that use minecraft as visual support.  Strong visual support gives Novice learners a chance to connect to more than basic facts.

Coquamus Latin cooking Youtube channel.   – This is a popular choice for students to complete at home listening.  Some videos are more complicated than others but the strong visual support gives Novice level students a chance to pick up more than basic facts.

Latinitium – I am not extremely familiar with this channel and few students have used it at this point for absence work.  A first glance seems to convey that this is for advanced learners.  For this to work for intermediate level learners I’d like to see images in the video connected to what is being said in Latin.

Sermo Raedarius – Another resource for advanced learners as there is a lack of visual support.  A great resource for teachers to work on their own listening proficiency.

Legio XIII – This is a resource I want to explore more for potential classroom use.  It seems there are some visual supports at least with the podcast episodes that have been put on youtube.  Once again, I’m not familiar with details yet.

Latin Stories Video Series – I want more materials like this one.  Magister P has recorded simple and comprehensible versions of the Minotaur, Pygmalion and Romulus and Remus stories.  Simple images accompany the story telling which gives novice learners a chance even if they are not familiar with the stories.  How can we as a Latin teacher community create more materials like these?  I know I will use them often if they are simple and offer even simple images as visual support.

Magister Talley’s Youtube page – Another resource that I want to explore in more detail.  Magister Talley narrates adventures in the game Assassin’s Creed in Latin.  I haven’t checked out the Latin yet but I image the visual support is superb and the game in itself offers instant compelling input at least to a certain groups of students.  Continue the great work as we need more resources like this.

Philemon and Baucis myth – a retelling of the story with much visual support.

Youtube offers more listening resources, especially with songs translated into Latin.  Some are better than others.  As you can see, there are not many materials above that are appropriate for Novice level learners.  We need more.  Magister Craft and Magister Talley have created fantastic resources centered around students.  But even Magister P’s simple retells of Roman myths are extremely useful.  What can we do to make more listening materials with strong visual support for the Novice learner?

A resource that I experimented with last year is Powtoon.  Powtoon allows a creator to make simple videos with 20 second frames.  It is loaded with a bunch of free images and templates which makes it simple to add visual support to any story telling.  I image more images are unlocked with a paid version.  My guess is that it isn’t the best web based video creator on the web but the simplicity appeals to me.  Here is an example I put together simply to learn the program.  I hope to create more story tell types of videos now that I’m a bit more comfortable with the program.  This test video is a review of circling which uses some text from a novella project.

Is the next step for novella authors to create simple retells of their texts with a tool like Powtoon?  Perhaps simplified versions of Roman myths or historical stories can be made accessible to Novice level students.  If we can create more simply story listening they will enhance classroom instruction but they will also offer students media to consume that will increase their proficiency.  Students consume so much video.  I know we can tap into that trend by offering them simple content.

Do you create videos for students as Latin listening resources?  How do you do it?  What programs do you use?  Share in the comments what is out there besides Powtoon to make this happen.


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