Spencer Latin Schedule for Blended Learning

October 13, 2020

Dear Wolfpack Families,

We are so looking forward to seeing the students return to school in person beginning this week for 7th and 8th graders, and from October 19 for high school students. There is a lot of change, and Ms Ginocchio's communication this past Friday outlined the general policies and procedures for the district and Spencer Center. As you now know, students will follow the following model of instruction for most classes:

  Mondays Tuesdays and wednesdays Thursdays and Fridays
Cohort A Attend class online via Google Meet In person at school Independent work from home
Cohort B Attend class online via Google Meet Independent work from home In person at school

Learning Model for Latin Students

Students in Latin I, II and III will follow a slightly different model. All students learning from home will log on to Google Meet during their regular class time and participate live. All students will therefore take part in synchronous instruction in Latin five days a week according to the following model:

Latin I, II and III Mondays Tuesdays and wednesdays Thursdays and Fridays
Cohort A Attend class online via Google Meet In person at school Attend class online via Google Meet
Cohort B Attend class online via Google Meet Attend class online via Google Meet In person at school

Students will follow the Bell Schedule emailed out to families on October 9.

In contrast to other Blended Learning courses, there will be much less independent work assigned to students to do between class sessions because they will be engaged in live Latin instruction five days a week. The great majority of their work will be done during live class sessions.

For the week of October 12-16, only 7th and 8th grade students will receive in-person instruction at school. Students in 9th through 12th grades will join class via Google Meet. Beginning the week of October 19, all students in Cohort A will report to school in person on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and all students in Cohort B will report on Thursdays and Fridays.

Expectations for students

Students who participate in class live, whether in person at school or from home via Google Meet, will be marked present for the day. All students, whether attending in person or virtually, are expected to take an active role in class. Classwork should be submitted in class as assigned. Students participating via Google Meet should keep their cameras on so that we can deliver the most effective instruction possible. (If this is not possible or advisable for your student, please contact us.)

Why is Latin different?

Learning a second language is different from learning content in other subject areas. Research in Second Language Acquisition has consistently shown that the number one driver of  language acquisition is language input that students can understand and find compelling. Hours spent interacting in the language cannot be replaced. During live instruction, we provide language input that we carefully tailor and adapt to what students need at that moment, much like a parent does when a child is learning his or her first language. With respect to the specific language learning for Latin, there are far fewer sources outside the classroom of appropriate language input for learners of Latin (compared to learners of commonly taught modern languages), especially learners at the Novice level — this is why we are choosing this continued synchronous model for Latin and not for Spanish at this time.

Spencer was founded on the principle of innovation. We want to run this trial to provide the best instruction possible for our Latin students. Our school building does not have the infrastructure necessary to live stream each teacher’s class all day, nor would it be appropriate for some other content areas. Given the unique nature of second language instruction — especially in the area of Latin — within the curriculum, we believe this model is best instructional practice. If we find that this is not successful for our students, we will adapt as needed. We welcome your input on what is working for your student and what isn’t.

If you have any questions about your child's work in Latin, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Latin — Shift to Blended Learning