Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Latin is a Lot of Fun, As Fun As It Can Be...

DD Farms, a regular contributor to the Latinteach List, has rewritten
this rhyme, mentioned in a previous blog entry:

Latin is a lot of fun,
As fun as it can be,
First it made the Romans laugh,
And now it tickles me.

-DD has dedicated his version to John Traupman's Latin Is Fun.

Five new Latin Teacher MATs from UGA this summer!

Professor Richard LaFleur reports:

"We have FIVE teachers graduating with their MA's this summer!!"

This is excellent news, especially considering the continuing shortage of Latin teachers.

For more information about the University of Georgia's summer program, see this previous post.

Latin Is a Language, Dead as Dead Can Be...

There's a little rhyme, well-known to Latin teachers and students past and present (and no doubt future):

Latin is a language,
Dead as Dead Can Be,
First it Killed the Romans,
Now It's Killing Me.

This little poem has been written inside many textbooks throughout the decades by students, struggling to learn their declensions and conjugations. (Fortunately, we have some really imaginative and well-written textbooks these days that keep students from giving up!)

A member of the Latinteach discussion list asked this week about the 2nd verse. She quickly received an answer from another list member.

All are dead who spoke it.
All are dead who wrote it.
All are dead who learned it,
Lucky dead, they've earned it.

Of course, this is certainly untrue! Despite the claims in this verse, Latin is being used as a means of communication today. Living people actually do speak and write Latin.

The University of Kentucky sponsors a Conventiculum each summer, in which participants live for an extended period of time in an all-Latin environment, speaking and hearing Latin exclusively.

The North American Institute for Living Latin Studies also is hosting its 7th annual Rusticatio Californiae seminar in Petaluma, California this summer.

UMass Boston runs a week-long residential immersion seminar Conventiculum Bostoniense, aimed primarily at teachers, featuring instructional activities, local excursions and social activities in Latin.

It's too late to sign up for 2007 -- these conventiosn and institutes are happening this week and next -- but interested individuals are encouraged to visit the websites for these Conventicula and make plans for 2008!

If you'd like to read some Latin, written to keep you informed about current events and knowledge, check out:

Nuntii Latini, an online broadcast of world news, read in Latin, brought to you each week from the Finnish Broadcasting Company. This news show is also available as a podcast!

Vikipaedia, the Latin language version of Wikipedia.

Professor John Traupman has written a wonderful manual for anyone interested in developing spoken fluency in Latin. Entitled Conversational Latin for Oral Proficiency, this is a great starting point and a wonderful reference.

The Communicating in Latin page on the main Latinteach.com website includes many podcasts, webcasts and other excellent resources for those of you who would like to hear some Latin. I hope you'll be inspired and and realize the reports of Latin's death have been greatly exaggerated.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

When In Rome, Remember Your Sandals!

That's the unofficial title for a new on-line Latin teaching methods course offering being developed for the University of Georgia's Department of Classics through the University of Georgia's office of Independent and Distance Learning. To find out why this will be the unofficial title, you'll need to read to the end of this blog entry.

Taught by the highly respected Franklin Professor of Classics Richard A. LaFleur, Latin 4770/6770 Methods and Materials for Latin Teaching will carry 3 hours of undergraduate or graduate level credit, depending on the student/teacher'as prior preparation and training. Qualified students may enroll at any time, work at their own pace, and complete the course in as little as two months time or up to nine months from course registration.

In the past, prospective teacher candidates across the country often had to take methodology courses that did not take into account the special preparation necessary to teach a classical language. While Latin teachers can benefit greatly from studying methodologies used by modern language teachers, many teachers in training found themselves in courses taught by professors who simply did not understand (or sometimes did not even care) how current methodological and pedagogical research could be applied to classical languages. Now, Latin teachers everywhere will have the opportunity to study methodology with a professor who really cares about Latin and the Classics and who has years of research and practice in the field!

Methods and Materials for Latin Teaching's website will be open to anyone -- not just students. Professor LaFleur's vision is that:

"it will be of some value, not just to my methods students, but to Latin teachers everywhere, especially to novice teachers and teachers-in-training–though there may be some RES BONAE here even for veterans!"
Without a doubt, this new site will be more than just "of some value." It will be invaluable, with representative materials, lesson plans, handouts, powerpoints, and links. It certainly sounds like it will be RES OPTIMAE!

Currently, Professor LaFleur is in the process of developing the site and is requesting Latin teachers to consider submitting their "exemplary and innovative" materials.

Now, what do SANDALS have to do with a methods course? For years, Professor LaFleur has been exhorting his Latin students to remember their SANDALS, which is a mnemonic for the six multisensory aspects of language learning: "Spectate, Audite, Nunc Dicite, Agite, Legite, Scribite!" ("Look, Listen, Now Say, Do, Read and Write!") To find out more and download a free mnemonic poster, visit the site.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Harry Potter on the Classics Blogs

Mark Keith, a Latin teacher who blogs on the rather cleverly named Marginalia, has written a rather insightful entry on Authors as Prophets, in which he reflects on a passage from the first Harry Potter book:

"in which Professor McGonagall claims, '[Harry Potter will] be famous -- a legend -- I wouldn't be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter day in the future -- there will be books written about Harry -- every child in the world will know his name!' When Rowling was writing this first book, surely she didn't believe that her books would be so wildly successful. She could certainly hope so, but hindsight now proves her prophetic statement to be amazingly correct!"

Mark goes on to refer to Latin authors who have made similar statements in their own works. It's an interesting reflection on the Classical connections in Rowling's work.

I'm sure that many people are going back to re-read the entire series. I've started re-reading it too.

, David Meadows at Rogue Classicism notes that J.K. Rowling's next project may have a direct classical link.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potters Knows -- or Knew -- Latin! (Spoiler Free Zone!)

Nota Bene: To find out whether or not Harry lives or dies, you're just going to have to read the book. I'm not telling.

I finished reading all 759 pages of the Deathly Hallows about 24 hours after I started. I'm not giving away any spoilers though! But I thought that you all might be interested in Harry Potter's Latin connections. Many of the spells Harry, Hermione, Ron and the rest of the wizards use in the series have Latin derivations. J.K Rowling taught herself Latin and uses the language extensively in the series.

Here are a few resources for those of you who would like to find out more.

Wikipedia has a hyperlinked compendium of spells in Harry Potter.

Mugglenet maintains a comprehensive list of spells and charms as well as an index of name origins.

Veritaserum also has an online dictionary of spells and charms.

Children's BBC has a teacher's lesson plan based upon the Latin used in spells in the series.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

No Harry Potter Spoilers Here

My copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows arrived in the mail today! I've only read a few chapters so far. On the one hand, I want to take my time enjoying the final book in the series. I don't want to read it too fast, because it really is quite likely the final book. On the other hand, I would really like to finish it before people really start talking about it. I can't stand it when people spoil a good story!

Those of you who have taken note of J.K. Rowling's literary and word play allusions to the classics will be interested to know that one of the quotations that she has chosen to preface her book with is taken from The Libation Bearers by the Greek playwright Aeschylus (translated by Robert Fagles.) The other quote is from William Penn. That's all I'm saying for now.

Teaching Roman History

The Romans is an outstanding free online resource based upon Antony Kamm's book, Introduction to the Romans, originally published by Routledge. Andrew Wilson, who also maintains the superb Classics Pages, did the work of transcribing and hyperlinking the pages. You may also recognize Andrew Wilson as the person who translated Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone into Ancient Greek!

The Romans website includes not only the text of the Kamm's book, but also photographs, original illustrations, timelines, and best of all, interactive activities and quizzes!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Ancient Bath Complex Unearthed in Rome

Archaeologists have uncovered an incredibly ornate 2nd century bath complex in Rome. This is an unbelievably luxurious bath site. Excavations are still underway.

The most famous baths in the world are the Roman Baths in the city of Bath, England. The official website includes an interactive site plan where you can can find out more about the site in ancient and modern times. If you are ever in England, it's an amazing site to visit in a lovely city, not far from London. You can see more photographs of the Roman Baths in England at the Bluffton University Index of Art Historical Sites as well as the Maecenas archive.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rubrics and Benchmarks

Ginny Lindzey recently wrote about Rubistar, a rubric creation tool, on the Latinteach list.

Teachers can use this tool to create, save and access rubrics, or scoring criteria benchmarks online. There's a searchable database of shared rubrics there too.

4teachers, which hosts the Rubistar site, also maintains an entire suite of teacher tools: Quiz Sar, Academic Skill Builders, Persuade Star, Classroom Architect, Equity (for a Diverse classroom), Trackstar, and more!

Latin Teacher Retires After 30 Years

Gary LeGates, a Maryland Latin teacher, is retiring this year. Read more about his initial job search and outstanding career. (Blind Teacher Could See More Than Most, Examiner, July 14, 2007).

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Latin Teacher Shortage

It's true! There is a Latin teacher shortage! In the State of Maine there are over 60 Latin programs and some schools have waiting lists for Latin classes. There is a real worry that when current Latin teachers retire, there will be no one to replace them. You can read more about the the situation in Maine here. But you should also know that this isn't a regional shortage. It's a national shortage! Every spring and summer, schools are trying to find candidates to fill teaching vacancies.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Updated: Latin Lessons from a Retired Professor

Previously I had written in this blog about Emeritus Professor Bob Milns' online Latin lessons. At that time, there were no audio files to accompany the lessons. Now there are 2 sets of related audio -- both Latin Greetings and Latin Shopping.

Georgia Classics Summer Institute

If you are a Latin teacher who wishes to continue your education, enhance your teaching or would like to earn your Master's Degree on a summer's only basis, you need to check out the Georgia Classics Summer Institute.

The Georgia Classics Summer Institute offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate Latin and Classics courses and, in odd-numbered years, Intensive Beginning Greek, and, in even-numbered years, Intensive Beginning Latin. The Institute curriculum is supplemented by workshops and guest lectures by visiting Master Teachers and other scholars.

Methods courses are offered each summer, and there is a new non-thesis option for teachers.

Out-of-state tuition is WAIVED for Latin teachers, who pay only the low IN-STATE tuition; scholarships are available from the department, and many of the Institute participants are awarded scholarships by ACL, CAMWS, and other organizations.

For details visit this site: http://www.classics.uga.edu/summer/summer.htm

CPL Online Journal

It's summer and an excellent time to catch up on some professional reading. You may not be aware of it, but the Committee for the Promotion of Latin, sponsored by the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, publishes an online journal, CPL Online.

CPL Online's index shows that the journal covers a diverse range of topics: grammar, oral Latin, reading and translation strategies, sight translation, and pedagogical theory and practice. There are articles on teaching Latin to elementary students and to students with disabilities. If you need mnemonics or songs, CPL Online has those too!

Most are written in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf file) format, so you'll need the Acrobat Reader.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Why You Should Read Latinteach

Ginny Lindzey wrote this very insightful entry about teaching -- how teachers must have passion for their subject in order to build their programs. For those who are feeling burned out she recommends conferences and online discussion groups. The American Classical League held its annual Institutes and Workshop last weekend, but its not too late to interact with your colleages. Ginny states: "Lists like Latinteach give you a new way of looking at things and a world of other people to ask for advice."

Latin Lessons from a Retired Professor

From the Australian Broadcasting Company in Brisbane comes a Latin lesson by Emeritus Professor Bob Milns. (Thanks to David Meadows from RogueClassicism for pointing out this gem this morning!)

This short lesson includes 3 dialogues: a greeting, a school exchange and a shopping trip. Sadly, no audio.