The Word Chunking Game

Word Chunking With Latin in a Week’s Lesson Plan
Bob Patrick
This is my application of Word Chunking as I took it from Ben Slavic and adapted to my
situation. I usually do Word Chunking AFTER I have asked a story. This is where I do something
a little different from what Ben does, but he took what I did and ran with it, too.
Day 1—ask a story including 4 new words/structures. Recently, my list of words included
verbs/phrases that require an infinitive. So, I asked a story that day, and in each of four Latin 2
classes, got four rather different stories.
That night, I took their story lines, and I wrote 25 more sentences taking off from their plots
and using the four words (review) as well as weaving in 8 new words over the 25 sentences.
The sentences continue to flesh out a story line, so they are not random. One leads into the
Day 2—Divide class into teams of 4-5 students each and set the ground rules (really only
necessary the first time. Thereafter, they know how to play).
a) Each team must give itself a team name in Latin and come up with a gesture that goes
with it. Whenever their team is called upon, they must simultaneously say their name
and do their gesture (everyone in the group) or they are disqualified to play that
b) I read a sentence, and each team then begins to deliberate among themselves about
what the sentence means. Any new words (no more than 4) are on the white board.
They gesture to me when they want the sentence repeated, and each sentence is often
repeated multiple times (3-10 or more), so repetitions are happening in a big and
unusual way.
c) When a team thinks it is ready to respond, they raise their hands. I call on the first team
I see. If there are multiple teams responding, I designated them “prima, secunda, tertia
(grex) in case the first team doesn’t get it right.
d) They say their name, do their gesture, and then I call on someone in the group to the
give answer. I alternate who I call on each time, and they do not know who it is going to
be, so everyone on the team has to be ready. Team members cannot feed the words to
the one called on, but may correct him/her. This adds a really good aspect to how they
work together and listen to each other.
e) If they get the sentence correct (and it must be completely correct), they all go to a preestablished free-throw line where I have 5 whiffle balls placed. A make-shift basket ball
goal (cardboard box on a stool next to the white board) is what they aim for. Each
basket earns the team points. After each round, I announce the score, Latine, by team
f) I conduct the game largely in Latin: “Prima sententia: . . . “
g) At the end of the period, the team with the highest score gets bonus on their daily work
grade (or it could be a bonus quiz grade—you decide).
Day 3—repeat. I have found that it takes 2 days to get that many sentences in and not rush, and
that allows me to get 12 new words in a week which is my personal goal this year..
Day 4—we read a story from CLC or an embedded version of it using all the new words, or a
typed up version of the story that we’ve been telling all week through the game.
Day 5—Review the story, and a short quiz over it followed by a 5 minute timed write.