Saturday, May 31, 2008

Quod Caelum Est?

(Translation: What's the weather today?)

hic pluit hodie mane! It's raining here this morning!

You'll always be prepared to answer that question with a shirt from the Cafe Press shop of Taberna Magistrae (the shop of a teacher) . Apparently the Magistra's students wanted Latin language weather-themed shirts -- and when she couldn't find any, she created her own. Each shirt bears the question "Quod Caelum Est?" with illustrations and phrases for different kinds of weather. Very clever! In addition to t-shirts, tanks, sweatshirts and golf shirts, she also has messenger bags, mugs and caps with a Latin and meteorological theme!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

National Latin Exam Announces New Latin III Exam!

The National Latin Exam has announced a new Latin III exam for 2009. According to the most recent issue of the National Latin Exam Newsletter (Vol. XXIV, No. 2, Spring 2008) available at their website, next year's Level Three teachers will have three exams to choose from, based upon their students' own particular needs: Latin III-IV Prose, Latin III-IV Poetry, or the Generic Latin III Exam. According to the NLE Committee, this new exam "will strive to represent the middle ground between the Latin II exam and the Latin III-IV Prose exam." The NLE Committee has placed a copy of the proposed syllabus in the aforementioned newsletter and they are asking for feedback.

While you're visiting the NLE site and getting your own copy of the newsletter, make sure to spend some time checking out the rest of the site. You can download syllabuses and sample exams to help your students prepare for next year's tests and try out some practice questions.

The NLE site is also the official site for the Forum Romanum DVD series, which is a collection of Latin news shows based upon significant moments in Roman history, presented entirely in Latin. These videos allow students to experience Latin as a spoken language and learn about Roman history and geography in a realistic context. Students will probably not understand every word in the videos, but it's likely they will be able to follow along and comprehend the main points. The intention for beginning students is to hear the sounds of Latin, whereas intermediate and advanced Latin students will be more able to pick up the gist of what is happening and understand some of the language. A Companion Book to the Roman Forum, written by John Donohoe, who also plays the anchorman in the series, has been published and it contains scripts, worksheets and teaching hints to help you incorporate the series into your lessons. More information is available at the NLE site. Sample videos and excerpts from the scripts and supplementary activities are also available online for examination.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Elusive Latin-English Bible

It is extremely difficult to find a bilingual Latin-English version of the Bible. A Latinteach list member mentions that he uses the Vatican's online version of the Vulgate (mentioned in a previous blog entry) while he keeps his King James version nearby. However, some people really prefer to have print versions of both. There are several other Latin language versions available online (mentioned in that same blog entry) and through booksellers but none of them include an English translation.

While there are several print Latin and Latin-Greek versions of the Bible available, this is one of the only Latin-English versions available, Loreto Publications' Clementine Vulgate & Rheims New Testament. For the money, it appears to be quite reasonably priced at $39.95, bound in burgundy bonded leather with a satin ribbon page marker. A sample excerpt (several chapters from the Gospel of Matthew) is available for download at the aforementioned link.

As might be expected, online booksellers show no shortage of Greek (and Hebrew) - English interlinears, published by a wide variety of denominations.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

One More Freebie from Open University!

I should have known! There's also an Interactive Greek Site at the Open University's Department of Classics! You can review the Greek alphabet, practice recognizing the letters, review the order of the alphabet, form a Greek word and see how sentences work!

Classics Freebies from the Open University!

The Open University is a distance learning university based in the United Kingdom which awards both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees to students around the world. The Open University also offers free non-credit mini-courses through it's Learning Space. Several courses look like they may be of interest to readers of this blog:
  • Getting Started on Classical Latin For students who have no experience whatsoever with Latin. You'll develop "an awareness of the links between English and Latin, an understanding of basic English grammar...and an awareness of the fundamentals of pronunciation in Latin." There's also a similar Greek mini-course!
  • Introducing the Classical World "aims to get you started on exploring the Classical World by introducing you to the sources upon which you can build your knowledge and understanding" as well as "getting you started on an exploration of both time and space in the Classical World."
  • Exploring a Romano-African City investigates the archaeology and history of a Roman North African City. The learner will learn to identify both indigenous and Roman identity and culture and study the development of Romano-African culture.
  • The Roman Empire: Introducing Some Key Terms is a course "introducing key terms that are essential for understanding the Classical Roman world."
The Open University Classics Department also has a neat Interactive Latin Website for students who are learning Latin inflections -- noun, verb and adjective endings -- with vocabulary standard in most Latin courses.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Some More Mnemonics

Not sure how this got missed previously, but here are some great memory chants from Kentucky Educational Television Distance Learning to to help students remember some of the more confusing points of Latin grammar!

Latin Skits!

The Minimus Latin Blog has a simple Latin script for a play about Pandora's Box. An English translation is included. The Minimus Et Cetera Site has even more plays and support sheets.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Keeping Notebooks and Portfolios

Many homeschooling parents, especially those influenced by the teaching philosophy of the 19th century educator Charlotte Mason, are encouraging their children to narrate what they have learned in educational notebooks in order to encourage their children to synthesize and reflect upon their learning. Many regular classroom teachers also use this method to encourage higher level learning skills.

Although starting and maintaining a portfolio can be overwhelming at first, most learners find it to be very rewarding as they are able to see their progress over time. While some students create their own journals free-form, many students need some structure especially when they are young or if they have difficulty organizing their thoughts. Notebooking Pages is a wonderful site with many inexpensive notebooking templates, designed by a homeschooling mom, to help young learners create their own educational journals. You'll find templates for purchase that focus on Ancient Greece and Rome as well as Greek and Latin derivative word study. Pages include clip art and ample space for recording narrations. You can view the templates before ordering a CD or downloading to your home computer.

There are many free sample pages -- including a set of Greek alphabet strips in both upper and lower case, some timeline charts and grammar pages. You'll need to have the free Adobe Acrobat software in order to print out and use the pages.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

SAT II Subject Test in Latin?

Several Latin teachers have suggested the SAT II Subject Test for Latin as an alternative to the doomed Advanced Placement: Latin Literature exam. (Keep in mind that there are two AP Latin exams and the AP Latin Vergil exam is going to be continuing!) The SAT II Subject Tests are also administered by the College Board. The SAT II Latin test is intended to assess Latin language reading ability. You can read the specifics and view sample test questions at the aforementioned link.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Documenta Latina

Documenta Latina is the official Latin page of the Sancta Sedes (or Holy See) of the Vatican. Here you will find many documents of the Roman Catholic Church in Latin, including the Code of Canon Law, the Constitutions, Declarations and Decrees of Vatican II, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Nova Vulgata (New Vulgate) version of the Biblia Sacra (Holy Bible), as well as Latin language encyclicals, letters, homilies and other papers of recent pontiffs since Pope John XXIII.

The Nova Vulgata (translation commissioned during Vatican II, published 1979) is the official Latin Bible of the Roman Catholic Church. There have been several Latin versions of the Vulgate used by the Catholic Church. The Nova Vulgata is the most recent. Your blogger bought a print copy of the Novum Testamentum (New Testament) based upon the Nova Vulgata from the Vatican a few years ago with facing Greek and Latin.

Perusing the Vatican Publishing House to find a current price for a print copy of the Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine, it is apparent you can even download a Latin language copy of their catalog in PDF format! Wow! Your blogger found a listing for the the Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine in that very Latin language catalog and it will set you back 46 Euros! (1 Euro = $1.54 USD these days, ouch!) If you don't need a print copy, the online version is available for free and you get the Old Testament as a bonus.

That being said, the print copy is quite nice and does include the Greek text.

There are also copies of the Latin Vulgate at the Latin Library as well as at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library (downloadable in Adobe Acrobat Reader format, Microsoft Word and Palm Ebook, even) though these public domain versions are likely much older versions than the more recent translation at the Vatican site.

The Vatican Radio has been broadcasting liturgical programs online for a while now -- if you're interested, there's a Holy Mass in Latin every day as well as Lauds (Morning Prayer), the Angelus (mid-day prayer), the Rosary (all four sets of mysteries), Vespers (Evening Prayer), and Compline (the Night Prayer.)

The Classics Library

Hosted by the Classics Department at London's Francis Holland School, The Classics Library is an online resource especially designed for Latin, Greek and Classics teachers in the United Kingdom. Support materials are available for Classics teachers at Key Stages 2/3 (ages 7-14), GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education, ages 14-16) and A Levels (also known as Sixth Form, ages 16-18) as well as the Common Entrance exam (an age 11+ exam for placement in independent schools in the UK). Latin offerings on the Classics Library site include basic syntax at each level as well as prescribed vocabulary lists.

Advanced Placement Latin Update

A few weeks ago Texas Latin teacher Ginny Lindzey wrote a letter to the Board of Trustees of the College Board with regard to the cancellation of the Advanced Placement: Latin Literature examination. (Remember, it is only the Latin Lit exam that is being cancelled. The AP Latin Vergil exam is not being cancelled! The College Board apparently wants just one capstone exam for each world language.) In this letter, Ginny seeks a moratorium on the cancellation and poses some thoughtful questions about the future of the examination and the A.P.-level Latin language curriculum. Ginny has received a response from Trevor Packer, the Vice President of the Advanced Placement program, which explains why a moratorium is not possible and gives some insight as to the future of world languages in the Advanced Placement program.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Charleston Latin

Charleston Latin is a revision of a highly respected elementary level Latin language curriculum devised and used successfully by Los Angeles Unified School District during the 1970s. Students who received instruction through the Los Angeles Language Transfer Program showed rapid increases in reading, vocabulary and comprehension. Regular classroom teachers and homeschooling parents are able to incorporate materials from the Charleston Latin program after a 2 day in-service, even if they have no prior Latin language experience. Visit Charleston Latin to find out more about upcoming workshops (the next is scheduled in mid-July 2008) and see sample materials. Charleston Latin is based at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Latin Day in Seattle

About 5 or 6 times every year, Boreoccidentales, the Latin Speaking Club of Seattle, gathers to converse in Latin. May 17th will be the next Latin Day in Seattle. Latin speakers will gather for coffee at Zoka's, visit the Zoo and then enjoy dinner at Kisaku's. Contact Stephen A. Berard at sberard [at] to RSVP. The full announcement in Latin follows:

Septimo decimo die mensis Mai habebitur Commoratio Seattlensis proxima! Ad venturam Commorationem Seattlensem incipiendam conveniemus undecima hora in thermopolium cui nomen est Zoka et quod situm est prope Lacum Viridem hortosque zoologicos in illa urbis regione quae vulgo nominatur Tangletown ("Intortium") apud 2200 N. 56 St, sc. ad quadrivium viarum 55 et 56 et Keystone Pl.


Forsan facillimum erit hunc locum adire si e Via Publica Quinta in
Stratam 50 exieris atque in occidentem versus procedes usque ad ipsam Keystone Place, in quam dextrorsum flectendum erit. Haec viacula in boreoccidentalem partem tendit usque ad quadrivium nostrum. A dextra parte Viam 56 et Zoka videbis, a sinistra Viam 55. (Talia nempe ob paradoxa Tangletown/Intortium nomen inditum est.) Huc congregabimur non tantum ob caffeam sapidam sed etiam quod in eosdem quadrivio sita est caupona "Kisaku" in qua, post hortos zoologicos inspectos, cenam nostram valedictoriam celebrabimus. Scilicet omnibus iam notus erit cenae locus.

Cum praeter "Kisaku" nulla mihi nota sit alia bona popina Intortiensis, auctor ero ut, post caffeam sumptam, Hortos Zoologicos Silvestres (Woodland Park Zoo) primum intremus atque in huius circo merendario prandium capiamus antequam bestias inspiciamus. Hortos ingrediemur per introitum meridianum prope trivium Viae Freemont ("Liberimontanae") at Occidentalis Stratae 50. Sodalitas Omnium Gentium Aqualbensibus tesseras emet, tribus aliis discipulis poterit solvere introitum Commorationum fiscus.

Post hortos zoologicos inspectos cenam nostram valedictoriam, id quodiam indicavi, in caupona nomine Kisaku habebimus (2101 N. 55th St.) Propono ut cenam incipiamus quinta hora semis. Quia igitur mensa reservanda erit, quaeso ut ante diem 14 quisque nobiscum cenaturus nomen mihi det ut mensam idoneam reservandam curem.

Beginning Latin Poetry Reader

The recent cancellation of the Advanced Placement Latin Literature course and examination came as a great shock to many Latin teachers. Citing declining enrollment and a lack of funding, the Latin literature exam will be eliminated --along with three other undersubscribed courses -- after the 2008-09 academic year. The College Board will continue to offer the Advanced Placement Vergil test.

There are some very real worries that the elimination of the Latin Literature exam will have a negative impact on enrollment in Latin in the United States. A large number of high school students who persevere past the second year of a foreign language do so with the intention of taking the A.P. exams and obtaining college credit. Many schools offer the Latin Literature and Vergil courses in alternating years so that Latin students can have the opportunity to take two tests. Therefore, a Latin student who completes four years of Latin at a school that offers both the Latin Literature and Vergil exam has the opportunity to enter college with credit for two semesters of a foreign language. With the skyrocketing cost of higher education and the competitive admissions process, who can blame students for wanting to get a head start? Many Latin teachers are concerned that students will choose another language simply for the reason that they will have the opportunity to take 2 exams.

The concern remains that students taking the AP Vergil course may never have an opportunity to experience reading a wide range of authentic literature by other Roman authors and poets. Of course, there are also teachers who will be happy to have the chance to write their own courses, freed from the constraints of the AP Latin Literature syllabus. It may be necessary for teachers to ensure that their students get the chance to read more genuine literature in the first two years of high school Latin. Of course, first and second year students will need some ancillary support in order to successfully tackle authentic readings.

I recently came across Gavin Betts' and Daniel Franklin's Beginning Latin Poetry Reader at a local bookstore. Designed for students who have learned to conjugate verbs, decline nouns and adjectives and who possess a working vocabulary of about 750 words, the poems in this volume have ample footnotes providing grammatical and contextual notes. In the table of contents, each poem is assigned a level of difficulty so that the reader may choose to progress gradually. Easy poems receive one star; somewhat difficult poems, two; rather difficult pieces get three. A brief, informative introduction, timelines and maps help students put the poems into their historical perspective. Authors represented in this anthology include, but are not limited to, Plautus and Terence, Lucretius, Catullus, Vergil, Horace, Propertius, Ovid, as well as a range of writers from the Silver Age. (A word of warning: one selection from Propertius, Elegies 4.8.27-36,47-66, might be of concern for high school teachers, so you may want to examine the book before selecting it for a course.) The appendix includes a full glossary of all words included in the poems as well as a very well written and understandable grammar and syntax. There is also a section explaining the scansion of Latin verse along with examples of the different types of meter that occur within the book. Some teachers may be concerned that literal translations of all selections are included in the appendix. Students can and often will seek such translations out on the Internet anyway, so teachers shouldn't be too concerned. The inclusion of the translations will certainly appeal to the independent learner who would like to have them available to check comprehension.

Throughout the text there are occasional sidebars with interesting observations or reflections relating to the poem or author. I found these to be clever and conversational, the sort of thing a college professor might mention in passing while the class reads and discusses a selection. The poems themselves cover a wide range of topics, which are sure to lead to some interesting classroom discussions.

So, if you are interested in incorporating more authentic Latin selections into your classes, I recommend that you consider Gavin Betts' and Daniel Franklin's Beginning Latin Poetry Reader. It would be a shame if students never had the opportunity to read more than just a very few Latin authors.

Need Some Mythology Lesson Plans?

Well, here you go! Twelve lesson plans based on Roman and Greek Mythology, brought to you by the Yale-New Haven Teacher's Insitute!

Summer Webinars for Latin Teachers

Many teachers work on their professional continuing education requirements and recertification during the summer months. With gasoline prices at an all-time high, getting to colleges and universities to take classes and attend seminars will cost a lot more than the per credit hour fee this year. If you're concerned about the cost of transportation this year, you may want to consider participating in an on-line "Webinar." Webinar attendees are able to dialogue with the lecturer and other participants in real-time, view presentations and examine the speaker's teaching materials up close for themselves.

This summer, Bolchazy-Carducci will be offering a number of accredited on-line webinars, led by experienced, respected high school teachers and university professors. (N.B. As always, check with your school district or state department of education before registering to make sure that you can receive professional conference credit).

The upcoming schedule includes presentations by Rose Williams, Ronnie Ancona, Jayni Reinhard, Bonnie Cato, Anna Andresian, LeaAnn Osburn, Marianthe Colakis, and Caroline Perkins. More webinars will be made available in the fall by LeaAnn Osburn, Helena Dettmer and Robert Sonkowsky.

Visit Bolchazy-Carducci to find out more about the summer webinars, including technical details and the subscription costs. While it is difficult to replace the experience of attending an American Classical League Institute and Workshop in person, this should provide a reasonably priced alternative for teachers who would really like to pursue professional enrichment but have other time commitments, especially young teachers who have small children or older teachers who are taking care of their own parents.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

In a Classical State of Mind

AMICI is the Classical Association of Iowa's outreach website. Latin appears to be alive and well in the Midwest. AMICI has started a Latin teacher mentoring program and already has six mentors working with Latin teachers. This promises to be a great networking opportunity for classicists and will undoubtedly help support local programs. Be sure to check out the article "Helping Latin Programs Survive and Thrive." Even if Latin isn't endangered at your school, the tips there will help you build an even stronger program. Also, take a look at the archives of their very professional-looking newsletter. Of course, there's a placement service as well.

One clever article I enjoyed reading was "What's in a Name? Iowa Cities with Classical Roots." About 50 towns and cities in Iowa have names rooted in Classics. It occurs to me that this might make a nice project for Latin students in other states. Have you considered having your students use a map to locate places with Latin, Greek and mythological place names in your state?

Friday, May 02, 2008

Graduation Gift Ideas for Latin Students and Classics Majors

It's the beginning of May and in a few weeks high school and university seniors will be graduating. Some Latinteach listmembers have been discussing ideas for farewell gifts. Here are a few suggestion :
  • Anima Altera has a wide range of Latin-themed products, including beautiful posters, prints, mugs, calendars, notecards, spiral journals, hats, t-shirts, sweats and more. Designed by Latin teacher, Ginny Lindzey, you are sure to find a wide range of wonderful presents. Sentiments that might be appropriate for grads include "Tempus Fugit" and "Carpe Diem," but there are many, many others. If you prefer simply writing a card, Ginny has a wonderful line of stationery too!
  • Amphora, the American Philological Association's outreach publication, includes "accessible articles written by professional scholars and experts on topics of classical interest that include language, mythology, history, culture, classical tradition, and the arts" as well as book, film and web site reviews. You can read back issues (through early 2007) on the website, but your students will undoubtedly enjoy receiving current print issues via subscription. A one year subscription (2 issues) is only $10 and your student will think of you when they find it in their mailbox. This is a particularly nice gift for students who may not be planning on continuing their classical education -- and for those who will. Who knows? You might want to get a subscription for yourself.
  • Gift Certificates and Cards are always nice -- and you can be sure the recipient gets exactly what he or she wants!
  • Membership in a Classical Assocation is also a thoughtful gift. Membership in the American Classical League or the previously mentioned American Philological Association would be a fantastic present for a recent university graduate or brand-new teacher, especially if he or she will be looking for a job. Both the ACL and APA have placement services for members. If your grad is already a member of a national association, consider one of the regional associations. Museum memberships are also great!
  • W.H. Adams Antiqarian Books is a small but enchanting brick and mortar bookstore specializing in Greek and Roman, Biblical, Middle Age, Renaissance, Reformation and 17th-19th century texts. You will receive individualized attention from this wonderful shop. This is the real deal, an old-fashioned antiquarian bookstore run by a small and attentive staff. Click on the link to see their online catalog.
Of course, it's the thought that counts and there are some free -- or very nearly free -- possibilities as well.

  • You could compose a certificate (in Latin, of course) for your graduates. If you know how to do calligraphy, you could hand letter it yourself. Otherwise, there are calligraphic artists who will design your certificate for a fee. You could, of course, use a nice font and print it out yourself!
  • Photographs from JCL inductions, award ceremonies or competitions.
Suggestions are welcome, especially ideas for free and nearly free farewell gifts. This list will be expanded.

Thursday, May 01, 2008