New Tools in the Latin Classroom

Every year I find new websites and tools that prove to be helpful in my classroom. This year, my school has gone 1:1, meaning every student has their own device (in our case, a Chromebook.) I am looking forward to the new ways that my students will be able to access tools and advocate for their own learning needs. Below are some sites that I hope will help facilitate this.

The Bridge

This is a vocabulary repository. You can select either Greek or Latin, then the textbook(s) or texts you are currently reading. You can drill down to specific chapters or passages, or keep the list open to all the words in a text. You can also exclude words from texts you’ve already read so that the vocabulary list is only new words. The list that is produced includes the entire dictionary entry for each word, full or simple definitions, and the ability to sort or filter the lists according to parts of speech. The list can be printed or exported to a spreadsheet or CSV file.

I feel the value of this website is that it can save some time for students who keep vocab lists (they could copy and paste entries they find valuable.) This would free up time for more in depth word study (e.g. having the students find derivatives for all the words on their own.) The spreadsheet and CSV exports also allow for import into popular flashcard websites like Quia or Quizlet.

Magistrula

Anna Andresian has created a self-paced drill website. Students can practice declining nouns, conjugating verbs, and many other exercises that involve identifying the attributes of words or adding inflections. There are also exercises involving whole sentences, use of cases, degrees of adjectives, and the like. When a student submits their exercise, the website offers instant feedback with the correct forms. Students and teachers can use the site without registering, or, once registered (it’s free), teachers can create classes and assign specific exercises for the students.

Though I don’t think grammar drills are the end-all be-all for a Latin class, this site definitely has its uses. It could be used for skill remediation and differentiation in a classroom. It could be used in a “flipped classroom” setting where students practice at home, then come to class to put their skills to use in composition or oral Latin. It is also great for when the textbook runs out of drills and you want an infinite number of random exercises.

HiRISE

HiRISE is a camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which takes high resolution images of the surface of Mars. The people behind the project have created blogs in many languages, including Latin, that display images from the camera with captions. Their purpose is to showcase Latin in the context of planetary science. They also have a twitter feed.

This site could be used in a variety of ways. The pictures could be jumping off points for conversational Latin, in which the students are expected to describe what they see (good practice for adjectives and nouns.) Or, a class could analyze the captions of each picture to determine what the terrain must look like. It could serve as an entree to reading some of the seminal planetary scientists like Galileo (and impressing your colleagues with your interdisciplinary STEM prowess.) I would love to have sites like these for other disciplines to show how universal Latin can be.


Announcements for the Week of 28 September

CANE

  • The fall deadline for the quadriannual CANE Discretionary Funds grant is October 1st. If you have a great idea for a class activity but need funds for books and/or materials, please apply! For more information on this or other grants/scholarships that CANE offers, visit this page.
  • Don’t forget to pay your membership dues for the 2014-2015 academic year.

BEYOND CANE

Conferences/Meetings

  • Phillips Exeter Academy’s Classical Languages Department will host Princeton University linguist, classicist and comparative philologist Professor Joshua T. Katz for an evening talk titled “Ancient Egypt and its Hieroglyphs” on Wednesday, Oct. 1.
    The talk will explore the language of ancient Egypt — the land of mummies, pharaohs, pyramids and sphinxes. Fascinating to outsiders for more than a millennium, the secrets of this culture were not revealed until the 19th century when the hieroglyphic system of writing was deciphered. Audience members can learn to “read and write like an Egyptian” from this presentation. The talk will take place at 7 p.m. in the Phelps Academy Center’s Forum, 9 Tan Lane in Exeter, NH, and is free and open to the public.
  • The Classics Program at the University of New Hampshire is pleased to issue a call for papers for its first Rouman Symposium for Research in Classics and the Humanities, to be held on the Durham campus from October 17–19, 2014. The Symposium is sponsored by the John C. Rouman Classical Lecture Series and will run from the afternoon of Friday the 17th until the early afternoon of Sunday the 19th. For more information, or to send in an abstract, contact R. Scott Smith.
  • The Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA) is holding its annual conference in Sturbridge, MA October 23-25. There is a full schedule of Latin workshops and talks, and you can register now at their website through September 26. Please note that the Classical Association of Massachusetts’ Annual Meeting takes place here on Friday night.

Meetups

  • Live in western MA or northern CT and want to practice speaking in Latin? There is a large group that meets weekly in Amherst! For details, contact TJ Howell.
  • In the Boston area? Check out the Active Latin Meetup page for events.

Jobs

  • The American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) is seeking to fill several positions.  See the ASCSA website for information about current positions and to obtain an application.

Awards, Scholarships and Fellowships

  • The Vergilian Society offers many tours in the Mediterranean and offers many scholarships.
  • The Society for Classical Studies has extended the deadline for nominations for its Precollegiate Teaching Award to Friday, November 7, 2014. Instructions for submitting nominations appear at this link.
  • THE AMERICAN SCHOOL OF CLASSICAL STUDIES AT ATHENSTHE M. ALISON FRANTZ FELLOWSHIP IN POST-CLASSICAL STUDIES AT THE GENNADIUS LIBRARY
    Deadline: January 15

    The M. Alison Frantz Fellowship, formerly know as the Gennadeion Fellow in Post-Classical Studies, was named in honor of photographer and archaeologist, M. Alison Frantz (1903 – 1995) whose photographs of antiquities are widely used in books on Greek culture.

    The Frantz Fellowship is awarded to scholars whose fields of study are represented by the Gennadius Library in Athens, i.e. Late Antiquity, Byzantine Studies, post-Byzantine Studies, or Modern Greek Studies.

    Eligibility: Ph.D. candidates and recent Ph.D.’s (up to five years) from a U.S. or Canadian institution. Successful candidates should demonstrate their need to work in the Gennadius Library.

    Terms: A stipend of $11,500 plus room, board, and waiver of School fees. Fellows are expected to be in residence at the School for the full academic year from September 1 to June 1. A final report is due at the end of the award period, and the ASCSA expects that copies of all publications that result from research conducted as a Fellow of the ASCSA be contributed to the Gennadius Library of the School.

    Application: Submit application for Associate Membership with fellowship, curriculum vitae, description of the proposed project, and three letters of reference online on the ASCSA web site .

    Web site: www.ascsa.edu.gr or http://www.ascsa.edu.gr/index.php/admission-membership/grants
    E-mail: application@ascsa.org

    The award will be announced by March 15.

    The American School of Classical Studies at Athens does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, sex, sexual orientation, color, religion, ethnic origin, or disability when considering admission to any form of membership or application for employment.

Miscellanea

  • Odds Bodkin has a new product out that explores the relationship between Greek myths and climate change.

Links for 25 September

Here are some of the interesting things we found around the internet this week!

The Rogue Classicist has a nice critical summary of reporting on the recent finds at Amphipolis.

The Guardian reports that the Museum of London Archaeology is looking for images and reports of the 1954 discovery of the Temple of Mithras in the City in order to restore the site more accurately.

The London Evening Standard posted a short article on the relevancy of Greek and Latin in the modern world.

Schools and individuals can now access the entirety of the Loeb Classical Library online for an annual subscription fee.

The Telegraph gives an article on a cache of jewelery buried during the time of Boudicca’s rebellion that was recently uncovered.