Latin basketball has been another huge success. To play Latin basketball, your students need not be athletic, or know how to play basketball. To play Latin basketball, you need some sort of basket and a hoop. For several years, I borrowed the Spanish teacher's basketball hoop and had the students throw a dog toy through it. Eventually, I got around to buying my own. I spent approximately $20 at Olympia Sports for this item. Had I been less lazy and gone several more blocks to the local drugstore, I could have gotten it for half the price. Pictured here is one such item, I think, from Amazon. It's a step up from my purchase but any hoop that you can clip to your whiteboard should work just fine.
To play Latin Basketball, you need to divide the class into two teams. The first team lines up along a pre-determined free throw line and attempts, one at a time, to throw the ball in the basket. It helps to have someone under the basket to get the rebound. While team #1 is making baskets, team #2 is doing some Latin related task that may take some time to finish. For example, they may be declining nouns or conjugating verbs. Perhaps they are writing the correct form of first and second declension adjective that go with a series of third declension nouns. I give each team member a small whiteboard for this activity, but this could be done on paper as well. When everyone on team #2 has the task done and correct, then time is up for team #1. Now the teams switch and it's team #2's turn to make baskets and team #1's turn to complete the task. We usually have time for 3 rounds of play for this game in a 40 minute period. The winner is the team that has scored the most points at the basket.
The great thing about this game is that it motivates even the most disinterested Latin students to do these rote memorization tasks such as declining and conjugating, correctly. Students can share their answers with each other, but no one wants to be completely reliant on someone else's answers. That would slow down the team. "Which vowel do I add to the verb? How do you know what the stem of this noun is?" Students who had been oblivious to your thousand time repeated explanation will suddenly want to know and remember so they can finish the task more quickly in the second round.
For this fine activity, I need to thank Jill Jackson, a charismatic and resourceful Spanish teacher, who had found it first and generously shared it with me - Muchas Gracias, Senora.