As a new school year gets underway, we, the editors of the CANE Blog, would like to introduce ourselves and give you a sneak peak into the tools we find useful for a new year.
Onward, to my thirteenth year of teaching Latin here in Massachusetts. I’ve been at the same public high school for my entire career, and, despite the occasional setback (such as when our courses were cruelly reduced to merely counting for Foreign Language credit, rather than either for Foreign Language or Unified Arts — meaning that students were once able to take Latin in lieu of Woodshop), I’ve seen the program steadily grow in both enrollment and the diversity of our course-offerings. While I do incorporate some spoken Latin into my teaching, and can appreciate the efficacy of the methods associated with it, I will admit that I remain, for a variety of reasons, fairly traditional in my own pedagogy.
I recently posted some comments of dubious utility on this very blog regarding what texts I was planning on using to get Sisyphus’ boulder rolling this year (as it can feel around this time, when one notes how much seems to have been forgotten over the summer). I should also mention my fondness for Kahoot!, though this resource would only be in my metaphorical “bag,” as I have so far failed, despite my best efforts, to capture the elusive Internet. It takes so little time to put together a review game with Kahoot!, and I can have the students play individually or in groups, with our Chromebooks or with their own phones.
I’m in my tenth year of teaching Latin in independent single-sex (male) boarding schools. My academic background is in Silver Age Latin (particularly Tacitus, Seneca, and Horace), historiography, and historical linguistics. I’m fond of spoken Latin, Latin orthography, etymology, the reading method of language acquisition, and the fact that our profession is finally moving away from the endless recitation of declensions of conjugations. Mirabile visu!
In my bag you’ll likely find my Macbook Air, one or more volumes of the Cambridge Latin Course, the script for whatever show I’m directing that trimester (I’m also head of drama), and exactly one functioning writing utensil. If you ask me if I have a pen or pencil, I will pretend to search through my bag for a minute, and then sadly tell you that no, I can’t find one.
Salvete, contubernales! I’ve been teaching Latin to high school students, on and off, for 30 years. I’ve worked in both private and public schools in 4 states. I hope to finish my career with my current job at Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki, where I work part-time. I have been a proponent of oral Latin in the classroom for a long time: I remember sitting at a Mensa Latina at CANE with Alan Dobsevage in about 1989, and I shocked my fiancee by speaking Latin to my uncle (a Jesuit) at a family gathering in 1990. I’ve also worked hard to learn Russian, so I speak a modern language with a case system like Latin’s and flexible word order.
My best tool is Google Classroom. As a part-time teacher, it’s a really convenient way for my students to stay in touch with me when I’m off campus, and for me to get assignments and handouts to them. I like the fact that it puts documents, audio and video clips on an equal footing. I have my students listen to and make audio recordings quite a lot, and this summer I began to familiarize myself with Garage Band editing. I have a ways to go, but I think it’s going to be worth the effort. And I’m big on colored markers–always travel with a full set from room to room (I haven’t had my own classroom since 1989!)
Salvēte! I teach middle school Latin at a small independent day school in Connecticut. This will be my fifth year teaching Latin at this level. My teaching bag includes a bunch of old things and a few fun and new. Since I started teaching, I have enjoyed using a cache of small whiteboards left in my classroom by a previous (genius) teacher. They are fun for kids to draw on and useful props in a variety of games and activities. Another item which has been stuffed in my bag for a while now is a set of long swaths of fabric, which function as quick a toga, a hood, a cape, or whatever a student might need. Costumes help students get into character and leave their non-Latin selves outside the door. A new item in my bag will be a whole new set of highlighters, which will be helpful for color coding sentences. Diagramming or color coding can be a great way for some students to see simple sentence structure and remember the function of different parts of speech. Lastly, my bag this year will include the camaraderie of a new Latin teacher. Although I will miss my former colleague, I’m so excited to welcome a new Classics friend into the faculty at my school, and I look forward to collaborating with him on field trips, student events, and curriculum design.