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Fun Latin Stories

Composition Assignment: Classic Narratives

Our 3rd grade grammar school students love that first special moment that they are able to read a story in Latin for themselves. This is a huge milestone. Their eyes just light up with the realization that they are truly comprehending a story in another language. From that moment on, Latin stories become a favorite class activity. Another great milestone comes at the end of 5th grade when they are then able to compose a story in Latin for others to read. Up until this moment they have received the joyful gift of reading, now they are able to give that gift in return. This post outlines our grammar school composition project. 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 »

The Horatii, A Short Film

The following links are to a short film created by one of our sixth grade students at Grace Academy.  The story, told entirely in Latin, recounts the thrilling story of the Horatii vs. the Curiatii.  The lego animation accompanied by the dramatic Latin reading makes for a wonderful short film.

Spoiler Alert: The synopses below will reveal key events and the story’s ending.

Horatii, The Movie

 

Click here to watch video: Horatii_video1

The Romans and the Albans were at war for some time when the suggestion was made that representatives from each tribe should fight on behalf of their people, thus deciding victory and limiting bloodshed.  According to Roman legend there happened to be two sets of triplet brothers both distinguished in courage and valor.  These fought for honor and for country; the Horatii for Rome, the Curiatii for Alba Longa.  The battle did not start off well for the Horatii.  Two of the brothers were killed by the Curiatii.  The odds were now stacked 3 against 1.

 

Horatii, The Sequel

Click here to watch video: Horatii_video2

The last of the Horatii is now faced with the loss of his two brothers and a battle with 3 Curiatii who probably think this gig is in the bag.  Fortunately, this is a clever Horatius.  He starts off running, faking his retreat.  The Curiatii, exulting in near victory, start sprinting after him and lose formation.  As the first of the Curiatii brothers reaches Horatius3, Horatius turns and delivers a death blow.  The next two brothers suffer the same fate each in their turn.

 

The impetus for this creative video was a dramatic interpretation assignment.  Each year at Grace Academy we give students a Latin passage based on an oration or story from ancient Rome.  The students first translate this story, then they memorize the passage, and then they must perform the passage with dramatic flare.  Much attention is given to understanding what they are saying and how they are saying/performing the passage.  This video, which was not assigned, flows from a young creative mind who clearly loves learning Latin!

 

 

 

 

Circus Maximus in Gingerbread!

Latin is sweet to the Max(imus)!

It has become an annual tradition at Grace Academy to recreate a piece of ancient architecture in gingerbread and other edible materials. The first rule is everything must be edible (with the sole exception of a plywood foundation). The second rule is that it must represent an architectural feat of the ancient world. Thus far we have created the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Hadrian’s Wall (complete with Roman soldiers and Celtic spies), the Trojan Horse, and a Greek Theater. Now we bring you the Circus Maximus!

 

The stadium and the spina (center wall in the middle of the elliptical track) are made of gingerbread. Inside, the stadium is filled with an audience of gummy bears watching an intense race with peppermint-walnut chariots pulled by gingerbread horses and licorice reins. One of the competitors has met with an unfortunate accident and quite literally lost his head. Oh the perils of working with edible subjects!
This is not an exact representation, but does use some artistic license in order to make the great circus fit on the dimensions for the plywood board. Even so, the students learn a great deal about the Circus Maximus as they consider how best to form their creation. After we enjoy creating this culinary artwork it sets on display at the Georgetown Public Library as a part of their annual Edible Extravaganza. This is a great way to promote the study of classics in our local community.
In fact, the library’s Edible Extravaganza used to be called the Gingerbread House contest until we entered the first Roman Colosseum. In following years other local citizens followed our lead and began to depart from the traditional house format to create structures such as the Alamo or an Elizabethan Tudor Theatre.  Just as in real life, the design of ancient architecture inspired later builders. The result is a wonderful and engaging display each year from the traditional to the classical to the imaginative. All creations tickle your fancy while tantalizing your tastebuds.

For more lessons in gingerbread architecture, please visit the following:

Gingerbread Greek Theater

Gingerbread Pantheon

Wearing Latin Well

One of our favorite school traditions is CRAZY HAT DAY.  On this special day each fall the grammar school students are encouraged to design and create a hat which falls into one of a number of categories, such as historical, musical, colorful, scientific, etc.  Since we are a classical school there must be a Latin hat category too.  This year one young man outdid himself.  He included not only the Latin language, but also history and literature in his Virgil Hat.

 

Mr. Matt and his Virgil hat

The hat features a replica of an actual bust of Virgil, considered the greatest of Rome’s poets.  Our young sculptor created the bust himself.  While I do not know all of his secrets, I can tell you the hair was created with pasta (mixing ancient Italian with modern Italian – nice touch).  Beneath the poet’s name is the title of his great epic poem, The Aeneid.  Romans proudly felt that this epic recalled the glory of all that was Rome.  Around the rim of the hat, not clearly seen in this image, are the famous opening lines of the poem.  “Arma virumque cano, Troiae quis primus ab oris . . . . “

Congratulations, sir.  You win the Teacher’s Choice Award!

Classical Car and Driver?

Typically, I don’t read car articles.  Just not my thang.  This one, however, caught my eye and my admiration.  Who would have thought that a revival of classical literature might be found at Car and Driver?  OK, perhaps ascribing the title of “classical literature” to this article is a stretch, but it is enjoyable and appreciated nonetheless. 

 

Classical Cushions

Do you ever feel challenged looking for the perfect gift for your Latin teacher? Something classical for the classroom maybe? Well here is the perfect item. Read the rest of this entry »

Latin Christmas Carols

As Buddy the Elf once said, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!”  What better way then to spread the joy of the season than by singing Christmas carols in Latin!  Some of your Christmas favorites were originally composed in Latin, many others have been translated into this timeless language.  There are a number of ways to incorporate Latin carols into your lesson plans during the holiday season.  Whatever you choose, I am sure it will become a favorite tradition.  Here are a few I use.

  • Give students a carol to translate in class.  There are a wide variety from simple to complex.  You are sure to find a carol that is just right for students of any level.
  • Pass out the carols and practice singing them in class as a warm up each day.  Sure to get them in the right spirit for their daily lesson!
  • Do you have a class Christmas party?  The last day of classes before Christmas break we will carol up and down the halls of the school singing Latin songs and passing out candy.
  • Caroling Party.  Caroling is an old tradition that is sadly not as popular as it once used to be.  Revive this classic tradition with a classic language.  We have a party in our neighborhood around Christmas for the Latin Club.  I make hot chocolate and wassail.  The students bring cookies.  We will often make Christmas cards in Latin during class the day before.  Then we carol in Latin through the neighborhood (usually one verse in Latin and then one in English). We pass out Christmas cards as we go wishing all a joyful season.  Afterwards, we enjoy our hot holiday beverages and yummy snacks.
  • If the neighbors don’t appreciate your singing, try visiting a local nursing home or children’s hospital.  Bring goodies and sing Latin songs.  There is no shortage of people who need a healthy dose of peace on earth and goodwill toward men.

How do you find these delightful Latin carols?  You can surf the net and find them in several places, but to give you a short cut there is a fantastic site by Laura Gibbs titled,

Gaudium Mundo: Latin Christmas Carols

Laura has compiled here a fantastic collection of carols in Latin.  The blog site features a song of the day.   For those who would like to hear the songs, the site also provides MP3 downloads and links for available Latin Christmas CD’s.

ASICS

It is amazing how Latin phrases can pop up even where you might least expect them.  This week my husband took our eldest son shopping for athletic shoes.  Michael returned home excited over his new shoes and his latest Latin discovery.  He purchased a pair of ASICS runnings shoes.  I had never thought to wonder at what ASICS meant, but the tag on the shoes explained the inspiration behind the brand name.

Animus Sanus In Corpore Sano

A famous Latin quote meaning “a sound mind in a sound body.”

Here is what ASICS.com says about the history behind the name.

In 1949, Mr. Kihachiro Onitsuka began his athletic footwear company (Onitsuka Co., Ltd.) by manufacturing basketball shoes out of his living room in Kobe, Japan. He chose the name ASICS for his company in 1977, based on a famous Latin phrase “Animus Sanus In Corpore Sano”, which when translated expresses the ancient ideal of “A Sound Mind in a Sound Body.” Taking the acronym of this phrase, ASICS was founded on the belief that the best way to create a healthy and happy lifestyle is to promote total health and fitness.

Caveat:  Some ASICS sites and apparel will misquote the phrase as anima sana in corpore sano. Sadly this shows a lack of classical knowledge on the part of the editors.  Anima is a first declension noun meaning “life” or “breath.”  Animus is a second declension noun that means “mind” or “soul.”  It is the latter that is included in the ancient phrase, and would best fit the ASICS motto as they state it in English.

All A Twitter Over Latin

The Twitter Craze has reached the shores of Latium!  Several sources now offer daily twitter message in Latin.  Check out this blog post for some very classic twitter options.

Do you have some other fun Latin twitter sources?  Please leave a comment and share with us!

If you like Twitter Latin you should also check out our post on Facebook in Latin.