TPR, Comics and Movies in Seneca Classroom

Seneca (see) is a language spoken in Ontario, New York and Oklahoma. Known in Seneca as Onödowága or Onötowáka, the language had 175 older speakers in the 1990s according to the Ethnologue.

Yet the language is being taught and an educator has started a blog called Seneca Language Revitalization and Documentation. According to the blog, Seneca is being taught for 40 minutes a day in public schools at the middle and high school levels.

A post put up yesterday mentions the use of TPR or total physical response, a method that incorporates physical movement of students into language learning. TPR was developed by James J. Asher and articles are available on TPR World. Also mentioned are the use of movies. The blog post points out Animoto, a free tool for making movies from images and video clips, and Xtranormal, whose free State program allows you to make animated movies.

Another post talks about using comic strips in the education program. Seneca has a strong oral tradition, and students use the comic strip as a guide for telling a story. The tool used is ToonDoo, which appears to offer free comic strip making online.

To learn more about Seneca, see the Education page on the Seneca Nation of Indians website. See also the incredible Seneca Language Topic Reference Guide (PDF), a document about 100 pages in length covering vocabulary, grammar and culture. To type in Seneca on your computer, see the Language Geek.

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