Students in all grade levels received a Flashcard Log and began making flashcards this week, which means we are starting to learn vocabulary in earnest! Why are flashcards important? Glad you asked.
Latin is a language of stems and endings.
It is a highly inflected language, meaning we conjugate verbs and decline nouns to change the words’ grammatical function. (By comparison, English is a mildly inflected language, meaning we add a few endings to a few words: think <‘s>, <ed>, <s>. Spanish is a moderately inflected language because verbs are conjugated but nouns aren’t declined.)
This can make Latin feel like putting together and taking apart puzzles, which makes learning grammar in Latin super FUN!!!
Stems and Endings
In order to make a noun or verb in Latin, we need to have both pieces of the puzzle: the stem and the ending. We learn our endings through memory work (primarily through class recitation at the, beginning of every single class period), and our stems through vocabulary memorization. The best way to memorize vocabulary is to see and say it repeatedly. Enter flashcards!
Third grade has learned 5 verbs and 5 nouns. They need to make flashcards for those words. Here is a sample of a verb card for a third grader. They only need to memorize the first two principle parts: the 1st person singular form and the infinitive. (The infinitive is used to find the stem for our conjugation work.) So on the front they should have the two forms of the Latin verb, and on the reverse they should have the meaning of those forms, a derivative in parentheses, and a “V” in the top left corner to indicate the part of speech.
Front of 3rd grade verb card
Back of 3rd grade verb card
Here is an example of a noun flashcard. Nouns are always listed with two forms: the nominative singular and the genitive singular. On the reverse, the student should have the meaning, a derivative, and an “N” for noun.
Front of noun card
Back of noun card
Fourth grade has learned 5 verbs and 15 nouns, and need to make cards for all of them. For the verb flashcard, they should follow the instructions from above, except that they should list all four principle parts on the front (but only the meaning of the first two principle parts on the back). Here is an example.
Front of 4th grade verb card
Back of 4th grade verb card
Noun cards are made the same as the third graders’ cards.
Fifth grade has learned 7 nouns, 7 prepositional phrases, and 7 verbs. They need to make flashcards using the vocabulary list I sent home from stage 1 of the book. Here is an example of one of each of these cards:
Front of 5th grade noun card
Back of 5th grade noun card
Front of 5th grade prepositional phrase card
Back of 5th grade prepositional phrase card
Front of 5th grade verb card
Back of 5th grade verb card
Beginning this week, students will begin reviewing their flashcards a minimum of three times per week, for at least 10 minutes per session. Students should review the cards English to Latin and Latin to English. They can work alone or with a parent. On days that the do this for at least 10 minutes, they record a”✓” on the corresponding day on their Flashcard Log, which they have glued to the inside the cover of their Latin composition book. At the end of the week, please add up the number of checkmarks, and write that number in the righthand column for the week. I will check this on the first day of class the following week.
Keep the flashcards in the car for handy captive-audience review time! Score!