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Latin Club

Gingerbread Pantheon

Augustus was said to have found Rome a city of brick and left it a city of marble. Our Classics Club at Grace Academy is rebuilding Rome as a city of gingerbread! Each year our students take on the task of rebuilding a significant piece of ancient architecture from gingerbread and other edible materials. This year our group took on the Roman Pantheon. We entered the finished piece in the Georgetown Library's annual Edible Extravaganza contest where it won first place in its division. This post shares some of the secrets behind the triumph. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s All Greek or Latin to Me!

Each year the Grace Academy Classics Club designs a club t-shirt sporting a witty phrase that shows off the joy of the classics. This year we could not choose just one!  Instead all students contributed their favorite Greek or Latin sayings to a classical word cloud in green.  Each saying gives a nod to something special: literature, logic, theatre, theology, and some are just plain ol’ fun.  At the center of them all is our school motto, “Soli Deo Gloria” [Glory to God Alone].  On the reverse the astute will find our clever theme for the year, “It’s all either Greek or Latin to me” written in alternating Greek and Latin script (see caption for picture below).

We wear these shirts on school spirit days, to our club events, Junior Classical League competitions, and just whenever the mood for a cool witty shirt strikes our fashion fancy.  The 2016 shirt has quickly become a favorite.  The shirt design won first place in the club t-shirt competition at the Texas State Junior Classical League with the judges commenting “I want one!”  See below for a list of the featured quotes.

 

It is all either Greek or Latin to me!

Μοι omne η Ηελλην aut Latinum εστιν!

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Latin Conventions!

This weekend, Feb. 25 – 26, Grace Academy will host the annual Area F Latin Convention at Pflugerville H.S. The convention will include more than 550 Latin students from all over the Greater Austin Area. The students assemble each year at this convention to share their enjoyment in the study of Classics. What I love most about these conventions is that they present an opportunity for every student to find something they enjoy and can excel in. Academic contests include tests in categories related to the language, history, and civilization of the Greco-Roman world. Classical Civilization contests include art, vocals, drama, and costume. My favorite category is the creative art competitions, which include dramatic interpretation and Latin oratory. And of course, we cannot forget the Olympika events. As Grace Academy hosts this year’s convention we are pleased to announce the arrival of Legion VIII Augusta. This troupe of Roman reenactors will set up camp on the practice field. In addition to giving two presentations on the Roman army, the soldiers welcome all peaceful civilians to inspect their camp and ask questions. Visitors can try on pieces of armor and try their hand at writing notes on the cerae (or wax tablets). Yes, Latin will certainly be alive and kickin’ this weekend in Austin.

For more information about the Junior Classical League and Latin conventions in your area visit
www.njcl.org
or Texas residents may visit
www.tsjcl.org

For more information about the Latin program at Grace Academy visit
www.graceacademy-gt.org and look under “academics”

Congratulations to Heritage School!

Heritage School is celebrating BIG this week!  Their Latin Club attended the Area B Latin Convention in San Antonio, TX last weekend, and brought home the third place trophy!  An excellent showing for their very first Latin Convention!  Below is the article on their recent performance from The Herald, a local paper.

Early Saturday morning, February 5th,  a team of Heritage School Latin Club students trekked off to San Antonio to compete in a Junior Classical League Contest for Area B that was held at Alamo Heights High School. Over 1,000 Latin students from San Antonio and surrounding areas participated in this event.  The National Junior Classical League is an organization of middle school and high school students sponsored by the American Classical League. It is composed of local and state chapters and is the largest Classical organization in the world today. Its purpose is to encourage an interest in and an appreciation of the language, literature, and culture of ancient Greece and Rome and to impart an understanding of the debt of our own culture to that of Classical antiquity.

Heritage School provides a distinctive classical Christ-centered education that prepares students for servant leadership and lives that glorify God. The graduates of Heritage School strive to exemplify Christ, think critically, speak articulately, write effectively, pursue learning and persevere.  All of these critical attributes come into play for the serious Latin student.  Thirty nine students from sixth, seventh, eighth, and eleventh grades prepared for this regional event in Latin oratory, dramatic interpretation, grammar, reading comprehension, advanced prose, art, mythology, and a broad-based classical exam called Pentathlon.  Latin teachers, Sharon Beall and Suzanne McComack were pleased with the dedicated enthusiasm of their students who studied diligently this year to hone their Latin skills.

Competing against much larger schools from San Antonio, including prestigious prep schools such as Texas Military Institute, St. Mary’s Hall, St. Luke’s Episcopal, and Alamo Heights Junior School, the small team of young scholars accomplished the feat of an overall score that won Third Place, Silver Sweepstakes for Area B.  “We brought the smallest group as well as the youngest students to the event and they astounded us with their individual scores;  not bad for their first foray into JCL,” stated Suzanne McComack, Latin teacher for seventh and eighth grades.

When the scores were reported, Karen Moore, author of the Latin Alive text series used by Heritage school replied, “I think this accomplishment shows the success of a classical education.  Our kids tend to dominate oratory and dramatic interpretation, too.  I really do credit classical ed for that.  They learn early on how to memorize, speak well, and present themselves well.”

Even though the Latin educators were delighted with the results of their students’ hard work, they were even more moved by the banner that the students created of their own volition to present to the 1,000 Latin Club students at the spirit rally which opened the contest in the Alamo Heights Auditorium.  The banner read: “Date gloriam Deo!” which translated means: “Give the glory to God!”  Shining trophies and satin ribbons are pleasant to win, but testimony and praise to God will last forever!

Learn more about the Heritage School on their website: http://www.heritage-school.net/

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.

Dominus Anulorum (The Lord of the Rings)

Yes! The Lord of the Rings, now in Latin! Pull up a comfy chair, get the popcorn ready and enjoy this new rendition of Tolkein's classic thanks to the Read the rest of this entry »

Cowboy Latin!

What better way can we celebrate Latin in Texas than with some Latin Cowboy songs?! Here is my students' rendition of Home on the Range. The pronunciation is neither classical nor ecclesiastical . . . it's Texan! Read the rest of this entry »

Epula Romana

Governor Rick Perry has declared the week of April 19 – 23 as “Texas Classics Week.”  So how will Texans celebrate the classics?  At Grace Academy our upper school will hold an Epula Romana [Roman Banquet].  Students will turn the assembly room into a Roman triclinium, make authentic Roman dishes, and dress in the traditional Roman garb of the toga or stola.  They will also perform songs, read poems, and entertain with scenes from the ancient texts they have read in their humanities class.  Literature such as Aesop’s Fables, the Iliad, the Metamorphoses, and the poems of Vergil.  To make the day extra special we have invited the third grade class, who is also studying ancient Greece and Rome this year, to attend the banquet.  It promises to be a celebration as big and as grand as the great state of Texas!

our Roman chefs along with their culinary creations

our Roman chefs along with their culinary creations

A Roman banquet can be easy to throw together.  All you need is the right food, the right clothes, and a festive atmosphere.  Here are some links to information that can help you:

Food: Traditional Roman Recipes

Clothing: Toga and Stola

Furniture and Decor: The Triclinium

 

Visit the blog post Texas Classics Week from 2009 to see Governor Perry’s official proclamation for this special week last year.

How to make a Peplos, Chiton, or Stola

In an earlier post I shared instructions on how to make a Roman Toga, the garment of Roman men. What about the women? Roman women wore a garment called the stola. Greek women wore a peplos or chiton. This post will give instructions for making all three without sewing a stitch. Read the rest of this entry »