Quid Agitur? (February 26th)

As always, check the NEWS page for the latest updates, but a couple of upcoming events that you might especially want to consider attending…

 

THE 111th ANNUAL MEETING — MARCH 17th & 18th @ PHILLIPS EXETER

The deadline for regular registration is MARCH 1st, so festinate!  All the information that you need for registering can be found here.

 

THE 2017 CANE SUMMER INSTITUTE — JULY 10th through 15th @ BROWN UNIVERSITY

“The organizers of the 2017 CANE Summer Institute invite you to join us for a weeklong exploration of the Classical Greek and Roman worlds from the perspectives of outsiders — in both space and time. We will consider the views and responses to Greece and Rome by contemporaneous ‘others’ from around the ancient world, as well as reactions and adaptations of Greek and Roman culture in later literature and physical art.

“Whether you are a high school or college teacher of Latin and/or Greek, History, English, the Arts, or other related disciplines, an undergraduate or graduate student, or a devoted lifelong learner, you will enjoy a thoughtful and enriching experience that includes a wide variety of mini-courses, lectures, workshops, reading groups, and special events while also offering many opportunities for conversation and collegial interaction among participants.”

Don’t miss out — click right here to enroll today!


What’s in my teaching bag: Roman Carbohydrates   Recently updated !

Food is a great vehicle for learning. In addition to the fact that students tend to enjoy creating and consuming it, food is vitally important; it has sustained us as a species and defined our societies. It stands at the crossroads of history, language, culture, biological and agricultural science, and economics. In short, as a focus of study, it has a great deal of potential. However, in terms of bringing food studies into the Latin classroom, the Roman palate offers certain impediments. Romans commonly favored dishes like baked mackerel, grain mush, and liquified, fermented fish guts (liquamen or garum). While you can titillate a few students by describing black fish juices and porridge, ultimately, as a teacher in Middle School I needed a recipe or type of food that would pull the whole class’s interest and make them all clamor for more. 

Several years ago, after learning about the ancient loaves of bread preserved in the ash of Mt. Vesuvius, I realized that this might be just the ticket: an appealing, familiar, tasty cornerstone of Roman cuisine with direct links to our modern diet. Every so often I would come across a resource–a helpful tutorial from the British museum, the website Pass the Garum, as well as plenty of other sites–and at last I came to the conclusion that Ceres was on my side. It was time to bring this idea to the classroom. Why let French class have all the fun?

I picked out helpful terms and ideas from the resources available on Roman bread-making, double checked with my school’s kitchen to ensure that baking could take place, designated a day for the project on our calendar, and we were ready to go. I also created a post-project reflection to punctuate our work and to give students a chance to delve back into their materials and consider the significance of what they had done. In addition to complementing our unit on Pompeii and daily life for this quarter, the project provided ample opportunity to cross the border into other areas of study, as we discussed the amazing properties of yeast and gluten and the processes of refining grains, in addition to Roman farmers, the horrea where grain was stored, the bakeries in Pompeii, the Roman diet, and the derivatives of panis in English and Romance languages. It was an experiential project and led to some pretty interesting lines of inquiry.

For the purposes of time and space, instead of detailing the project in its entirety, I will include a few take-aways for me from this project:

I. dē fermentō: Yeast is fascinating. When I started this project, I knew that yeast was responsible for leavening bread and I wondered where Romans got it. The only bread yeast I used came in packets or jars at the grocery store. I soon found out that this perky little fungus is so plentiful in the environment that in order to create a bread starter, the Romans had to do no more than mix flour and water and wait. They probably did it by mistake. When the bubbles appear, you know your yeast is alive and you feed it until it is highly active. For the sourdough starter, I had my class make one sample of the initial starter and I cultivated it until it was time to use. There are myriad recipes for sourdough starter online, all of which I’m sure will work. I have tried making starter with different types of flour (white unbleached, white bleached, and rye) and water (both filtered and chlorinated from the tap) and the yeast have never failed to spring to life. The yeast industrial complex apparently has us all fooled.     

II. dē gaudiō: Students do indeed love making and eating food. It was a field trip within the confines of the school. They enjoyed the messy work of mixing, kneading, and shaping their loaves, and they couldn’t get enough of the baked product, which turned out to be beyond delicious. Fluffy, warm, and nutty. The room smelled like a million denariī:

bread

III. dē cibō: If you’re not into baking, this might not be the project for you. In the process of tailoring the recipe and designing the activity, I made a half dozen different loaves of bread and babied sourdough starter for days. As a lover of food–and bread in particular–I enjoyed the process, but it may not be your cup of tea.

IV. dē labore: As an addition to our unit on Pompeii, this was a lovely project. Students were invested in the process of making bread and learning about it along the way. This said, it took hours of planning, shopping, coordination, and a day of dedicated class time. If you are already running short on time, it might not be your first choice. Nonetheless, it could be a fun activity for a Latin or History club at your school.

V. dē faciendō: Here is the recipe I used (dē faciendō panem). I adapted and simplified it somewhat from several recipes for Roman bread and sourdough bread. I hope you can try it out and let me know what happens!

 


Quid agitur? (February 20th)   Recently updated !

  • The Futures of Classical Antiquity, March 4 at Smith College, presented by the Department of Classical Languages and Literatures. Here is a link to the PosterRegistration deadline is February 24.
  • Three Universities in New Hampshire (University of New Hampshire, Plymouth State University and Keene State University) are collaborating in staging Sophocles’ Oedipus cycle during the end of February and in March. All three tragedies will be staged on each campus, but not in the “chronological” order of the myth. See the linked descriptions above.
  • The Bernice L. Fox writing contest, sponsored by the Classics Department at Monmouth College, has announced its topic: A Figure from Classical History, Literature, or Mythology as the Next President of the United States. High school students are asked to “make a pitch for a classical figure as president, or depict that person acting as president or on the campaign trail,” with $250 awarded to the author of the best submission. Entries are due March 15.
  • National Latin Teacher Recruitment Week is scheduled for March but can be celebrated whenever convenient for your classroom; you can use any day or week to talk to your students about the joys and realities of becoming a Latin teacher. We need more teachers ready to take up the charge, as we know from the article which Ronnie Ancona and Kathleen Durkin wrote for Amphora. There are many resources to be found here, including a mini-grant application. Grants of up to $200 can be requested every other year and can be put toward receptions, speakers, giveaways, and more. It would be especially wonderful to see more K-12 teachers taking advantage of the funding opportunities available. Please contact Keely Lake (klake@wayland.org) for more information.
    And of course, remember to register for the 2017 CANE Annual
  • Meeting, March 17-18 at Phillips Exeter Academy. Register online here. If you prefer snail mail, please go here to find a printable registration form.
    For your convenience, attached are the program, hotel information, and information regarding directions and parking.
    The Finnegan-Plante scholarship will grant $150 to first time attendees who are members of CANE and whose schools do not cover their costs.
  • Grey Fox Tutors is offering a free weekly Skype Conversational Latin Workshop for all current or former Latin teachers or TAs. The Workshop is an opportunity for teachers to gain Latin speaking skills that they can then use in their own classrooms. It is currently held on Saturdays at 2 PM EST; additional times and days, however, may be added in the future as needed. For more information please contact

    Katerina Ourgi at assist…@greyfoxtutors.com or call (212)
    203-8734.

  • Links to the New England states’ classical associations: NH, VT, ME, MA, RI, CT.