Latin Halloween Activities
Latin Halloween Activities: A Work in Progress
When it comes to Halloween activities in the Latin classroom, I have had very few ideas. When I was in middle school Latin, I do remember my Magister having us translate some horrifying passage that seemed scary at the time… and that has been in the back of my head ever since! Since I’ve been composing stories for my all of my classes non-stop (as we are re-writing a lot of our curriculum), the idea of writing three new Halloween Latin stories based on classical mythology seemed a bit much just for one day. I wanted to incorporate a Halloween feel without tripling any work for myself.
Latin Halloween Stories
If I had adapted a Classical Latin passage for a Halloween activity, I would have chosen one of the following:
Pliny’s description of monsters
Because I try to bring Latin to life at every opportunity, I didn’t want another Halloween to pass without enhancing my Latin class activities with a Halloween theme somehow. I had incorporated the cave of Polyphemus as a unique take on Valentine’s Day, so I thought that might be a fun place to start brainstorming at least the decorations for a Latin Halloween activity. This fell in line perfectly with the pedagogical research I like to keep up with on my nights and weekends.
I had recently discovered how to create not only a digital escape room (very fun!) but a 360 DEGREE VR DIGITAL ESCAPE ROOM. I’m just a little proud of myself. I think that any activity that can pull students into any sort of immersive experience needs to be capitalized in a Latin classroom.
Digital Escape Room as a Latin Halloween Activity
What about Digital Escape Rooms makes them a great Latin Halloween activity?
Students for the most part are self-contained and intrigued by what is right in front of them
It is a hands-off activity for the teacher— once you give them the code you are a moderator, checking for technical issues and gathering observational data on what student strengths are emerging: problem solving skills, leadership, active participation, engagement, Latin noun case reasoning, etc. (more of a “guide on the side” rather than the “sage on the stage”)
My goal with gamifying my Latin classes this year was to incorporate more exploration by my students, and the essence of digital escape rooms pushes for students to explore and discover a path through which they can apply their Latin knowledge
Because I create my own digital escape rooms, I make sure that students are both adequately engaged and challenged by the rigor of the eight tasks!
360 degree digital escape rooms are the perfect Latin Halloween activity because they set the scene: a classroom decorated in the spookiest of ways combines perfect with this digital experience!
Four Steps to a Latin Halloween Activity:
Decide what content to cover within digital escape room challenges
For my 6th graders: parts of speech, simple sentences, definitions, mythology, and geography
For my 7th graders: vocabulary, 1st and 2nd declension Nominative, Accusative, and Ablative forms, identifying functions such as subject, direct object, and prepositional phrase, plus the present tense of 1st and 2nd conjugation
For my 8th graders: all of the above and adding Dative, Genitive, and a few more Ablative functions such as Place Where and Accompaniment. Also, the present, imperfect, and future tense of ALL conjugations!
Embed these digital challenges in an interactive 360 degree escape room picture so that substance and theme are combined into a Latin Halloween activity
Decorate the room to be spooky and set the mood. (Luckily, I had the essentials left over from my Cyclops Cave from a previous room transformation)
Instruct students so that they knew their success is dependent on their exploration and self-efficacy. I give no hints!