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Classical Education

Veritas Press Teacher Training 2018

I am pleased to announce that I will return to beautiful Lancaster, Pennsylvania this summer to speak at the annual Veritas Press Teacher Training Conference on July 11- 13. If you attended last year, you may recall that I walked through best practices in teaching through Latin for Children, Latin Alive Book 1, and Wheelock.  This year I will be taking on some different topics, though still related to these same ages and stages. (If you missed the 2017 conference you can get my Latin sessions through Veritas Press).

Here is a sneak peek at the topics I am speaking on this year!

Latin: The Key to the Grammar School

Latin is often considered a core element to a classical education, even in the younger years of grammar school. This session will explore the reasons why Latin is a key component in the grammar years and how this study can support and reinforce other subjects. Topics covered will include vocabulary, grammar, enrichment, and integrative opportunities with other subjects.

Latin: Taking it Beyond Vocabulary

This second session will build on the vocabulary skills introduced in session one. The goal of teaching Latin is to be able to read wonderful stories written in this ancient and beautiful language. In this session the class will move beyond vocabulary to consider how students can apply words to simple sentences, eventually reading simple stories. This class will use lessons within the Latin for Children series along with stories from the Libellus de Historia Reader series to demonstrate how to teach students to read Latin.

Latin I for All Children

As enrollment grows and new students join existing schools and programs, how do we bring new students into our Latin programs? This seminar will explore ways to welcome new students and set them up for success in classical languages. We will look at entry points for grammar, logic, and rhetoric programs. We will also consider opportunities for additional support as students adapt and grow.

Using Latin Alive!

As students mature their styles of learning change, and so must our style of teaching. The paradigms are the same, but we must move beyond them to find ways to make Latin come alive for our students. This session will highlight teaching strategies for older students utilizing some of the lessons and tools of the Latin Alive program. Karen Moore, Latin teacher and author of Latin Alive, will also share a number of techniques she has developed as we review the finer points of Latin grammar, reading, and even a little composition.

 

For more information on the Veritas Teacher Training Conference, including registration visit https://teachertraining.veritaspress.com/#about

 

Latin Practicum @ ACCS with Karen Moore and Tim Griffith

I am very excited to partner with Tim Griffith in bringing a full day of Latin wonder to the pre-conference for the 2018 Repairing the Ruins Conference, hosted by the Association of Classical Christian Schools. My distinguished colleague is a professor of classical studies at New St. Andrews College and the brilliant creator of Picta Dicta (click to see my earlier post extolling this site!). I have enjoyed getting to know him over the last year as we exchanged ideas and shared our passion for Latin.

Our goal as we join forces is to bring together teachers from a variety of disciplines, approaches, and backgrounds to discuss “best practices” for the various ages and stages of learning. Every teacher has their own strengths, weaknesses, and preferences. Likewise, our students all have various approaches to learning. The goal is to find the best ways to engage students in a variety of approaches to strengthen not only their skill sets in language, but their love for learning. Tim and I will also share a wide variety of resources for use inside the classroom as well as for teacher development outside the classroom.

This practicum will be followed by seminars on Latin during the main conference that will build on the sessions from the practicum with the aim of empowering and encouraging teachers for the new year.

Check out the synopses for the practicum as well as our individual seminars at http://2018.repairingtheruins.org/latin-practicum/.  The link will take you to a detailed description for the Practicum. The synopses for our individual sessions during the main conference are provided below.

Practicum Details

ACCS Latin Practicum Details – Tim Griffith & Karen Moore

Teaching Latin that Good Old Way but in the Twenty-First Century – Tim Griffith (main conference)

It may seem impractical to spend valuable class time learning to write or speak in a dead language. As almost everyone capable of using Latin is now dead, even those who see the value of learning the language at all usually only see the value of learning to read it. But composing Latin, whether aloud or on paper, has been proven for centuries to be an excellent way for students to learn to read it better. This workshop will demonstrate how teachers can teach Latin the old and proven way—through composition and oral composition—while using powerful tools from the 21st century.

Latin as the True Liberal Art – Karen Moore (main conference)

In sixth century A.D., Cassiodorus ambitiously outlined a program that would integrate the proven academic studies of Greece and Rome with the study of sacred writing deemed necessary to fully equip the mind and the souls of our youth for a life lived to the glory of God alone. In this text it was Cassiodorus who laid out the seven liberal arts as the pillars of such education. Today the term liberal arts is not so clear cut as it once was. Modern day students and even educators might struggle to give a clear and concise definition. We in classical Christian education still look to Cassiodorus’ framework to define this magnificent seven as grammar, logic, rhetoric (the trivium), along with arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy (the quadrivium). The challenge we face in modern times is to redeem an approach to teaching these seven liberal arts as part of an integrated whole. The Latin classroom may be the last bastion of such study. As the lingua franca of urope for well over a millenia, Latin is the common thread that draws all seven studies together. In Latin we find the rhetoric of Cicero and Quintilian. In Latin we find the scientific treatises of Galileo and Newton. In Latin we find the muses who inspired Vergil and the countless poets and artists who followed him. In Latin we find the writings of the early church fathers, the chronicles of church history. Within a Latin reading course the teacher has the delightful opportunity to lead students through all these studies. Latin is not merely a study of language, but a course in world knowledge. This workshop intends to demonstrate how such readings may be woven together to showcase the seven liberal arts as students grow in their reading proficiency.

  • Hint: This presentation will include some of the lesson plans featured on this blog site that integrate the study of Latin with other disciplines!

Hiding God’s Word in their Hearts – Karen Moore (main conference)

Most of us would readily agree with the importance and even the necessity of memorizing some Scripture. This exercise seems to be emphasized particularly within the grammar school as our dear little sponges readily and eagerly soak up any data to be memorized from grammar chants to math facts to short poems, often using delightful ditties to ease the labor. However, the suggestion of asking older students to commit whole books of the Bible to memory might be considered daunting to say the least. Why? Truly the biggest obstacle may be that in this postmodern era we have no cultural precedent for such a discipline of memory. This is a discipline so far removed from what we have learned that our frame of reference feels inadequate. How can it be done? This resentation provides both an apologetic for the memorization of large quantities of Scripture and a model for accomplishing these goals. Mrs. Moore will call upon examples from Scripture and educational models from the ancient Mediterranean world as she demonstrates what upper school students are presently accomplishing at Grace Academy.

Latin Authors in Italy: A Study Tour for Teachers

This summer I was afforded the great blessing of attending Latin Authors in Italy, a study tour designed specifically for high school Latin teachers. The title and description resonated with me immediately. Here I was promised the opportunity to read Latin authors in situ, to walk through the remains of Ancient Rome with an experienced archaeologist, and to discuss practical pedagogical applications with an experienced high school Latin teacher. The balance of culture, history, art, and literature described seemed almost too good to be true. The experience did not disappoint, on the contrary it exceeded my every expectation. Read on for my full review of the summer study program every Latin teacher dreams of (or should). Read the rest of this entry »

Vocabulary Building with Picta Dicta

Picta Dicta is an innovative and highly engaging tool for students to build their Latin vocabulary. This program could easily serve as an introduction for young students into the delightful world of Latin. The lessons would also prove a wonderful supplement to any Latin curricula, or even as a summer strengthening program for Latin students. The approach engages students in learning vocabulary through pictures and images rather than the usual vocab word list found in most textbooks. Read the rest of this entry »

The Classic Texan – April 21, 753 B.C. and A.D. 1836

All classicists know that today, April 21, is the anniversary of the founding of Rome. All Texans know that today, April 21, is the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto. Do you know the story of the Classic Texan, the legendary figure of Sam Houston and the imprint of the Classics in his own life? His tale is truly that of a modern Odysseus or Aeneas beset with a torment that forces him from his home and sends him wandering through the wild west. Eventually, Providence would guide him to Texas where his destiny and that of the land he came to love became forever inextricably linked. Read the rest of this entry »

How My Road Led to Rome – A Latin Teacher’s Testimony

I am often asked why I became a Latin teacher. The story is not what one might expect. It is every bit a testimony of God's direction in my life. The Lord had a plan and a purpose for me. He made sure to lead me down a path that He clearly purposed for my life, my own Roman road of sorts. Read the rest of this entry »

Scripture Memory

My New Year's Resolution? This year it began in August. I am in the process of joining my daughter and her classmates in memorizing the book of Philippians. This exercise is part of a vision that began in 2010 when my 7th grade ancient humanities class first memorized the book of James. Since then our school, Grace Academy, has challenged our students to commit an entire book of the Bible (or extensive passage) to memory each year, hiding God's Word in their hearts. The Association of Classical Christian schools asked me to write an article for Classis, their quarterly journal, about the vision and implementation of our Scripture Memory program. I share it here with all of you. Read on to learn the historical precedent, the present implementation, and the fruit this work is bearing in the lives of our students. Read the rest of this entry »

Imitation in Writing through Latin

l believe the purpose of learning the Latin language is in order to study Latin literature. By studying Latin literature, I mean studying the Great Books. These are great pieces of literature of outstanding merit that have stood the test of time. Such works reflect the worldview of the culture and time in which they were written. Such works have often influenced not only the people of their own time, but the people of times that would follow. Such works should demonstrate some combination of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. By studying such works we better understand the flow of human thought over the course of history. We better understand our civilization when we know from whence it came. We better understand what is truly great literature. By studying Latin literature, I mean Read the rest of this entry »

Loki Loves Latin!

I have always wanted to create a course on the classical origins of comic book heroes.  So many of them have strong ties to classical mythology.  The Norse themes of the Thor series are among the most notable. So imagine my pure delight to learn that actor Tim Hiddleston, who played Loki in the recent Marvel movies for Thor and the Avengers, holds a Classics degree from Cambridge!  What better training could there be for such a role?!  In the following clip Hiddleston offers a wonderful answer to the question, “what do you do with a classics degree?”

Be prepared to take notes.  You will want to write these answers down!

“Latin . . . Why Study It At All?”

A colleague recently shared an article by William Harris, Prof. Em. Middlebury College, titled “Latin . . . Why Study It At All?” I found the article intriguing. Professor Harris expresses his discontent with the usual line-up of reasons for studying Latin. He then goes on to offer his own reasons for the study, strong reasons which I think must seriously be considered not only by those who question the study, but also by those who seek to support it. A link for the article is provided along with my thoughts on two of his arguments in particular.

“Latin . . . Why Study It At All?”
William Harris, Prof. Em. Middlebury College

While I think the author oversimplifies his objections to the “usual arguments” for Latin (there are still many benefits in the usual line up) the author has made several good points that should be considered. The argument that resonates most strongly with me is the lack of authentic reading most programs provide. I too am frustrated by programs that view Latin grammar as both the means and the end of a Latin program. It saddens me to see students learn a language and then stop just short of reading. How can one not see the value of reading Vergil in the original? Or for Christian schools Augustine or Aquinas? It seems that is like taking a music class, studying the notes, learning “Mary Had a Little Lamb” but never learning to play anything of Gershwin or Mozart. What is the point?  The language in and of itself should not be the goal of study, but the opportunity to read and enjoy the masters in their element.  Reading original texts is the beauty of the Latin Alive! program.  We are having the students read adapted and then authentic passages as soon as they are able. This is vastly different from Cambridge, Ecce, Orberg, etc.  All of our work in each chapter from vocab, to grammar lesson, even to simple sentences is meant to prep them to read a passage. And the passages offered are just marvelous: Cicero, Vergil, Pliny, Tertullian, Augustine, Aquinas, even Newton.  There is not another program that offers the variety of styles and genres found in the LA series, particularly the reader.

Another fantastic point highlighted in this article is the case for reading Latin out loud. In my own classes, I always have students read the Latin out loud before interpreting into English and find that to be very important. Even the finest Roman orations and works of poetry were meant to be heard, not read in silence. The goal is to begin to follow Latin as a Roman would, to hear and feel the language not just look at it as a mathematical equation.  It is also important for students to understand the Roman mind as revealed in Latin grammar.  In many ways, their way of thinking and speaking makes more sense than modern English.  We are looking at the way two different cultures express thought and that is fascinating.  It ought not to be excluded in the classroom.  Both of these points draw attention to studying Latin as the beautiful expression of a language for a culture and a way of thinking. Let’s entice students to continue in Latin by engaging them in the joys of the beauty of this literature and the language in which it is contained.