Teaching Tools: Making Greek More Interesting…

Let’s face it- language learning is both exhausting and, dare I say it, boring sometimes. I am currently teaching masters level basic Greek and in the curriculum here students take Greek as an elective (meaning I have to make it interesting and useful or they will drop the class!).

I have built into the course plan that one hour every two weeks or so we do ‘Review and Tutorial’. In these sessions, I try to do reinforcement activities that are fun. We will sing songs, work on fun projects together and play games. Today we had our first sessions. We played kuklos eudaimonias (wheel of fortune), which I made up. I broke the class into four teams of four. Then each group was allowed to request the revealing of a letter in a Greek sentence I made up. (I only showed the number of letters in each word and the number of words in the sentence).  The catch is, each team had to answer a grammatical question before asking for a letter to be revealed.  They only got one chance to reveal a letter per turn.

Each time a team had a turn, they were allowed the chance to guess the sentence after answering a question correctly and choosing a letter.  But, if they guessed the whole sentence wrong, the team would lose their next turn.

What kind of sentences did I do?  I am in the 3rd chapter of Duff (Wenham, Elements of NT GReek, CUP) which only allows me to do present active indicative verbs and nominative and accusative nouns (and the article).

All in all, this educational game was a success.  They students reinforced their grammar through the questions and got to see Greek sentences materialize before their eyes.

I got this idea from my Hebrew professor (Paul Overland) who did this same game when I took Hebrew and it was a real hit.

I would like to hear from others what other ‘fun’ activities in Greek (or Hebrew) they found helpful.

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4 thoughts on “Teaching Tools: Making Greek More Interesting…

  1. This sounds like a great game. I find I don’t have a ton of time for games, but one I did was after we finished the indicative verbs, and I called it “parse that verb’. It was pretty simple, I put a bunch of keynote slides with verbs. I split the class into two teams, and we were in a fairly large room. I put them into two corners and indicated the way they had to run from their group to a table. At that point, they had to make a paper airplane with the paper they wrote the parsing on, and try and get it into a garbage can I had perched on a table several feet in front of them. The first to get it in answered. If there answer was correct, they got a point, if not, then the other team could keep working on it and throwing their airplane.

    I did a very similar one with parsing just nouns, only instead of the airplane, they just raced to a spot to hit a little sound button I bought from staples. The only thing I had to be sure of is splitting up the stronger students. When parsing the verbs, they could work as groups, which helped.

    You mentioned singing songs— are you writing songs yourself? I am currently finishing up Greek songs (with videos) and will be talking to a publisher at SBL, I’m hoping to have them published later this year or early next year. They are awesome (humbly speaking of course). I currently incorporate these songs right in to the lesson time.

    I have also tried to make vocabulary a little more enjoyable with my multimedia digital flashcards (http://www.deinde.org/ntgreek-flashcards/). My students, especially the visual learners, really like them.

    You’ve made me think of something. I wouldn’t mind starting up a new section on my flashcards site for NTGreek games. Basically, we would give a how-to page plus any files that people could use (like powerpoint slides, or bingo cards, etc) What do you think?

  2. In my intro Hebrew class we played ‘Hebrew Basketball.’ If I remember right, it was essentially splitting the class into two teams. Then each person would get a chance to represent their teams. Questions were divided into free throws (1 point), two pointers and three pointers based on difficulty. If you got the question right you got however many points the question was worth, if you got it wrong you got no points and it was the next teams turn. So you could strategize if you wanted gimme points with free throws (which were usually vocab, or something simple) or take a long shot on a three pointer (which was usually a grammar rule, or more difficult parsing). I recommend it to anyone doing an intro Hebrew class, especially in undergrad.

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