Yearly Archives: 2017


Quid sacco meo electronico insit

This is not a written-out version of a model classroom exercise which you can find done by the Quomodo dicitur? trio and others via Tu tuba. For one thing, I’m not as photogenic as these media stars. For another, it has been a very rough week in Maine–my school was without power for a solid week after the storm on October 29th, and I have been driving to campus under three enormous white pines, hanging precariously on the power lines. I’ve wondered how you say “widowmaker” in Latin (viduifex?) When I haven’t been teaching in dim classrooms by available light, I’ve been checking on elderly friends and offering my shower and laundry room around to the waterless.
Power returned to campus Sunday, and I was able to teach with Web access on Monday! Di laudentur omnes! Under these once-again-normal circumstances, here’s what I have bookmarked and/or have electronically at the ready on my Mac for teaching AP Latin and Catullus (separate courses):
1. A Third Way Glossa Lewis and Short. I’m personally attached to this e-version of the venerable lexicon I used in college 40 years ago. It feels homey at this point, and I always smile happily at not having to turn pages to get the article I want. Several people (including Chris Francese at Dickinson) have pointed out that Logeion offers a great deal more than this Glossa site. Absolutely true, although I have often found that the Glossa site loads a little faster and gives the whole L & S article in every case. With Glossa, however, you must remember the orthographic oddities of L & S: j and v for consonantal i and u; all participles under verbs (e.g. citus); all adverbs under adjectives.
2. Dickinson College Commentaries. When I began to teach the Caesar portion of the AP syllabus, I found this site of immense value, both for me and for my students. I still do–I think it pulls together just the right amount of information for students to understand the text in their preparation for the AP exam.
3. Theoi.com. My Catullus student asked me who the parents were of Aurora/Ἠώς (we were discussing the adjective Eoa in carmen 11). I didn’t remember (if I ever really knew), so we looked it up on the Theoi.com web site. I think this site is a great resource–well organized, citations from virtually all the ancient sources, and a wonderful collection of images from art. (She’s one of the Titanides, the sister of Helios and Selene. Hyperion and Theia are their parents).
The other online tool I must mention in this context is “The Bridge“, the product of a team at Haverford College under the direction of Bret Mulligan there. The Bridge allows you to create vocabulary lists based on a wide range of “texts” in the broad sense–textbooks, lists of most common words, and literary texts. You can narrow the scope of these lists in all sorts of ways–individual poems, chapters, passages by line numbers; or by parts of speech. The Latin (and Greek texts) are macronized/accented, and copy easily into an online flashcard program like Quizlet. Particularly for AP students, this is an incredibly useful tool.
Be well, do good work, and happy teaching!


Quid Agitur (November 5th)

•Don’t forget about CANE’s wonderful Writing Contest for middle and high school students. Submissions are due December 15.
•Northeast Catholic College (Warner, NH) has a call for papers for an undergraduate and graduate conference on the theme “The Classic in the Modern.” The conference is Saturday, February 24th, 2018 from 8:30 – 5:00 in St. Paul’s building. The planning committee welcomes your abstracts for oral papers. Please send abstracts of 150- 250 words to nnnewman@northeastcatholic.edu by Saturday, November 11th for consideration. Please include pertinent contact information and institutional affiliation (if any). For Undergraduate students, please include a brief letter of support from a faculty mentor. For more information, updates and registration please visit northeastcatholic.edu.
•Upcoming Classics lectures in the Pioneer Valley are listed on this Classics page of the Amherst College web site.
•Lectures taking place in the Boston area are listed on the Boston Area Classics Calendar.
•The Western Massachusetts Conversational Hour meets every Thursday at the Esselon Cafe in Hadley, MA for Latin conversation. For details, please contact TJ Howell.
•In the Boston area? Check out the Active Latin Meetup page for events.
•Central Connecticut State University is working to create a certification program for the teaching of Latin. Attached you will find the program of studies. In order to make this idea come to fruition we are seeking support from Latin groups. We need at least 10 students to sign up for this cohort in order to run the program. As an incentive to enroll into the program we are looking for funding to offer scholarships to help defray the cost of course work at the University level. If you are interesting in supporting this initiative in any way please contact me at the below email address. Gina Gallo Reinhard ginagallo@bristolk12.org
Grey Fox Tutors offers several different free online professional development workshops for Latin teachers, including Conversational Latin, Latin Reading Group, and Technology and Latin. The weekly schedule is:

  • Tuesdays 8-9 PM Eastern: Conversational Latin Workshop.
    Thursdays 6-7 PM Eastern: Latin Reading Group or Latin and Technology.
    Saturdays 10-11 AM Eastern: Conversational Latin Workshop.
  • These classes are open to all current, former, or prospective Latin teachers, and they are held online through Skype. Teachers can start at any time. To register for any of our Workshops, please email professionaldevelopment@greyfoxtutors.com.

The CANE News page is a convenient resource listing events sponsored by CANE, conferences in New England, other calendars and events listings, recurrent spoken Latin Meetups and Conventicula, courses and degree programs, fellowships and scholarships, and a link to the jobs page.
•Links to the New England states’ classical associations: NH, VT, ME, MA, RI, CT.


MAFLA 2017

I was an attendant of this year’s Massachusetts Foreign Language Association conference held in Springfield, MA. This is my second time attending a MAFLA conference and already it seems to have grown quite a bit with modern language pedagogy more and more become a boon to the language classroom and instructor therein. I attended sessions that focused on Latin specifically, sessions that use applicable modern language methodologies (from here on in, I will drop the ‘modern language’ in favor of just ‘language pedagogy’), and the keynote address from 2016 ACTFL Teacher of the Year Award recipient Dr. Ted Zarrow. Below I will outline only the highlights of what I saw, heard, and some take-aways.
Firstly, I went to a session in which Mary Elizabeth DeCamp outlined her experience during the Paideia Institute’s Caesar in Gaul program. In this program, of which I am also a prior attendant in the same year as DeCamp, teachers and aspiring teachers go together throughout France to explore Rome’s occupation of the region and Caesar’s conquering of the region whilst additionally reading Caesar’s Commentariī dē bellō Gallicō. We are exploring Caesar as more than just a conqueror but also as man, leader, stylist, author, grammarian, and Roman citizen (with his inclusion into the AP syllabus in mind, though not exclusively). All this is conducted alongside leading scholars Luca Grillo and Christopher Krebs. DeCamp’s presentation focused on presenting aspects of this Roman occupation through presentation of images and description. The program, in my esteem, is far worth the time and money.
The next two sessions I attended were conducted by graduate students from UMass Boston and UMass Amherst respectively. The argumentum of UMass Boston’s presentation conducted by Daphne Bissette and Daniel Hendricks was assessing students without the use of translation. This was a welcome sight among the Latin panels as many of us in the Latin classroom teach as we learned, with translation as the end and not the means.
If I may digress slightly, I believe that translation is a useful activity for many reasons and not a ‘dirty word’ in language pedagogy. Reasons for its inclusion in curricula of many language classrooms include clear comprehension checks, differences in idioms between languages, meaning establishment before active use, and the like but it is just that: an activity. Translation should be a means (and not the only nor the best one), not the only end, meā quidem sententiā.
Bissette and Hendricks effectively outlined some potential activities one can use for grammar comprehension, vocabulary assessment and reading comprehension. Such activities included comic strips, cloze passages, dividing passages into sense units, and sample reading comprehension questions that went beyond the quid and quis and moved to the cūr. This presentation effectively challenged our common notions on how to assess Latin understanding in favor of a system that is both more organic for students and is supported by recent second language acquistion research.
From UMass Amherst, the resident graduate students worked in pairs to develop three presentions to address the connections standards so that teachers may more effectively relate Classics to other disciplines. The first of these presentations conducted by Chris Wilson and Violet Scott discussed a connection between ELA and Classics, specifically in poetry. What was most intriguing was the Roman poet Optatianus who utilized concrete poetry through which he hid messages in otherwise intelligible poems; a sure hit among students.
Next Kendall Farkas and David Jaffe presented on connecting the sciences, praesertim chemistry, through the nomenclature of the chemical elements. Some of these names were rather obvious and would be to students but as one does more exploring, as Jaffe and Farkas did, some of the elements have a rather ‘colorful’ history as with Rubidium, which you might expect to be red from rubidus but you’ll find the alkali metal is actually silver but through its emission spectrum, comes up as the darkest red. Aulus Gellius references rubidus in his Noctēs Atticae as the darkest red in Latin. This all was thought of by the two German scientists Bunsen (c.f. bunsen burner) and Kirchoff  who not only discovered and named the element but also, most interestingly, foot-noted Gellius himself and the passage in which he describes the color.
Among the last of UMass presenters, Meghan Clary and Amelia Wallace discussed the diffusion that occurred on the Silk Routes between Rome and Han-era China. Pliny the Elder accounts of some interactions between these two peoples and there is a second centruy CE text titled The Chronicle of the Western Region which describes the Romans through a Chinese perspective. All in all, I found all the above presentations compelling and suitable for the classroom.
Finally, perhaps the peak of the conference for me was Dr. Ted Zarrow’s keynote speech concerning his experience as a teacher, as ACTFL’s ‘Teacher of the Year,’ and thoroughly well-considered words about the future of not only language teaching but also of our own nation. Dr. Zarrow impassionedly expressed the necessity of language learning for our modern world (for any world, for that matter) in which we must concentrate on building bridges rather than walls. The phrase that most prominently stuck out in this speech was his words of both admonishment and encouragement: ‘we are all advocates.’ Dr. Zarrow argued, and quite compellingly, that it is not only the foreign language teacher’s job to advocate for language learning and its many, many benefits but, rather, it is the responsibility of every person who has participated in a foreign language experience to realize and advocate for the importance of learning languages and living in a world of multilinguality. Seeing Dr. Ted Zarrow speak twice now, I can fully understand the merit of his receipt of this prestigious award, one which does not often come to Latinists but, I believe, has a rich future among our cohort of expert pedagogues.