Latin Musical Chairs
Musical chairs is probably the most fun you can have practicing noun-adjective agreement. Once students understand the concept of noun-adjective agreement across declension, it's still difficult to get them to commit the ending pairs to memory. This game will not clarify it for them but once students have the general idea and some of the ending pairs committed to memory, it will make practicing the concept a great deal more lively.
You write one form of a first and second declension noun in large letters on an 8x11 piece of paper. You might, for example have villa, villae, villis, villarum, servus, servi, servo and some forms of a neuter noun as well on different pieces of paper. Each piece of paper with the noun written on it will be placed on a chair. In this game, It is not necessary to have one less chair than there are students. It's good to have as many chairs as you have students. However, if you have a larger class 15+, you can have less chairs. There's no set ratio here. Unlike regular musical chairs, you won't be eliminating chairs. Make as many index cards as you have students that has three forms of a third declension adjective numbered 1-3. For example, one card might say:
1) fortis 1) fortia
2) fortem or 2) fortes
3) fortibus 3) forti
Each card should be different. Each card should contain singular and plural forms of a third declension adjective. Each numbered adjective should match at least one noun that is placed on the chairs.
Right Before You Start the Game:
Put a number of chairs in a circle or semi-circle. Since my desks are attached to chairs, we tend to play Latin musical desks. Then, put one of the pieces of paper that has a first or second declension noun on each of the chairs. To begin, ask the students to walk around the chairs and notice what cases the nouns are. Hopefully, they will notice that some of the nouns could be more than one case. For example, villae could be both genitive singular and nominative plural. Then give each student an index card with the three forms of the third declension adjective and ask them to determine which adjective form goes with which noun.
How to Play:
Students walk around the chairs to music. I personally like to play medieval bagpipe music for this activity but your tastes may be different. Then you turn off the music and yell out a number (one, two or three). The student must go to the chair that matches that numbered adjective on their card. For example, using the first example cards above, if I yelled out "Number two!" the student would need to find the chair that matched fortem. After everyone scrambles to a seat, you walk around and check that those players that are seated have correct noun-adjective agreement. Here, I find it is useful to appoint one student to be an assistant and have them help check. There's usually one student in each class that gets this right off the bat - make that person your helper for this activity. Anyone who didn't find a chair, didn't get to a chair in time or is seated in the wrong chair gets an "S." For the next wrong answer, they get an "E." I spell out the word sella. No one is eliminated from the game, nor do you remove chairs. After two or three times around the chairs, ask students to switch index cards with another student. I find that about 20 minutes of this is enough. When you feel that you have reached the end, ask students how many letters each of them has and declare a winner.
Some Notes about the Game:
This will be chaotic - there's no getting around it. It is the Mad Hatter's tea party version of musical chairs. You will find that sometimes nearly everyone will get a seat and other times, everyone can only use three seats. I'm sure there's a way to map out the ratio of adjectives to nouns to make it more even, but that's beyond my mental capabilities. This game is best played with a group that is generally well-behaved and responsive. You can use Flyswatter or the Verb Olympics to corral a difficult group but this game really requires cooperation right out of the box to work. However, with a good group - this is a truly memorable activity, especially with bagpipe music. Trust me - you gotta play the bagpipe music.
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