What’s in your teaching bag? -Lydia- (Semester 2 Update)

So, partway through the second trimester, I’ve slightly changed the things in my metaphorical teaching bag. The stamp is still providing yeoman service. Quis has been joined by Hunter (the orange “imperfect” sheep), Squi (the squishy owl), and Cobry (the cobra). I’ve switched to using Attendance2 on the iPad instead of the index cards. The Latin Mallet came in handy for an breaking an instant ice pack to make it get cold earlier this week, as well as keeping time while we chant. A student got me a replacement silent pencil sharpener as a present after the first one broke.

Links for the Week of 11 November

In time for Movember, a piece about beards and mustaches in antiquity: http://hehasawifeyouknow.tumblr.com/post/34927465794/taking-it-on-the-chin-facial-hair-and-barbers-in (via @ancientblogger and @rogueclassicist)

And a piece about caryatids’ hairstyles: @http://www.greenwichcitizen.com/opinion/article/Grecian-formula-Archeologist-unravels-the-4016869.php (via @rogueclassicist)

An interesting MIT course about ancient technology and science: @http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/special-programs/sp-713-recreate-experiments-from-history-inform-the-future-from-the-past-galileo-january-iap-2010/ (via @dancohen)

An article in Scientific American on the Antikythera mechanism: @http://historyoftheancientworld.com/2012/11/decoding-an-ancient-computer/ (via @rogueclassicist)

A pice on ancient voting: http://blogs.getty.edu/iris/voting-with-the-ancient-greeks/ (via @KatyReddick)

The Etruscans: http://romanarcheo.blogspot.com/2012/10/what-have-etruscans-ever-done-for-us.html (via @jntribolo)

A piece about research in the time of Google: http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2012/11/why-googling-it-is-not-enough/#more-24869 (via @anniemurphypaul)

A new Latin app is available from Paul Hudson (Teachers can e-mail help@romansgohome.com for a free copy): https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/latin-builder/id576023631?ls=1&mt=8 (via @twostraws)

iPad Apps for the classroom

My iPad is one of the most useful tools in my classroom. I’ve used it to teach in rooms with a computer projector and ones with a standard whiteboard. It’s great in both settings.

I like the iPad because it’s like a gigantic version of the notebook I used to carry around. I have the text that we’re working on, my class roster, calling cards, a timer for when class ends, a dictionary, and can quickly check other things.

I’ve divided the apps into two sections: ones useful for teaching in general and ones useful specifically for Latin and Classics. I received free copies of some of these apps, but those were part of general public promotions.

(I don’t have a timer app listed because I haven’t found a great one yet.)

Apps Useful for Teachers



If I could only have one app on my iPad, this would be it. I have a Dropbox folder on my computer, and save most of my teaching materials to it. I can then use the Dropbox app to look at any of these files. It’s possible to mark any file as a favorite, which saves it for offline access. If I’m teaching from a textbook that has a pdf copy, the pdf goes into this folder. All the handouts I write are in the folder. This means that I can pull up anything that my students have and follow along without having to shuffle a huge handful of papers around.



Attendance, the predecessor to this app, was one of the first that I downloaded. This version is even better. It lets you mark two different statuses for a list of students. This means that I can go around and mark homework and attendance in one swoop. It also randomly generates groups of any size you want and can generate random lists of students, either calling on everyone once before calling on anyone twice or truly randomly. With some of my younger students, I let the person who was just chosen hit the button to choose the next person.


This is mainly useful for when I have a projector hooked to my computer. It creates a keyboard and a trackpad on the iPad so I can control everything from the computer. Unfortunately, some wireless networks’ security settings block it.

Nebulous Notes

This lets me edit any text file that I have saved in Dropbox or create new files that will be saved there. There are several apps that do that, but this one also has special keys for tabs and lets me set up macros. It’s great for quickly editing something.


This takes plain text notes and syncs them to a cloud location. I tend to use it for shared lists more than for teaching purposes, but it could be very useful for keeping a daily list of notes.

Apps Useful for Latin and Classics



This dictionary app was one of the first apps I got. It’s wonderful being able to check usage of a word quickly while still walking around the room. If I’m prepping an author (or reading for fun), it’s nice having this dictionary on my phone to look things up quickly.


This app has a wide variety of things. There are flashcards, self tests, texts of many authors, a dictionary, texts of grammar books, and a numeral generator. The opening screen also has *dicta* with their translations overlaid on Roman pictures. There’s an editor to type with macrons, and all sorts of new useful things that I keep discovering.

What apps do you use?

(Nebulous Notes icon is from their website; the rest are screen grabs form my computer.)