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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. Instead of being shown two words such as vir, viri, m. – man. The students are shown a Latin word connected to a picture.  In some cases, as the students advance, a sentence is included for context.  This is a fabulous way to instill the true meaning of a word as connected to an image or an idea as opposed to another word. For students who are visual learners this can be a powerful tool.  However, the program does not leave it entirely to the student’s intuitive understanding to connect the word to the right idea.  The NOTES tab will still provide a traditional dictionary entry and other helpful information.  When offered the SENTENCES tab will use the word in a Latin sentence to provide context.

 

Picta Dicta not only builds vocabulary skills by connecting pictures (picta) to written words, but also to words spoken (dicta).  As the images appear on the screen a voice can be heard reading the word or even the sentences.  This is a great tool for the parents who feel anxious about modeling correct Latin pronunciation at home. With this program student and parent can learn together through modeling and repetition.

The more senses students use to learn something, the better they will retain it. Picta Dicta uses visual cues of both written words and pictoral images, the program uses audio cues for them to hear (students would do well to repeat the words they hear form more audio reinforcement), and it uses tactile elements as it requires students to respond to questions they have learned. After learning a specified set of words, the progam will then begin to sollicit responses in a number of ways – clicking on a correct image, fill in the blank (choosing from multiple words), or even typing in a word using the keyboard. A HINT button is always available to give the student a boost. When an error is made the program gently redirects the student to a correct answer and then makes note to quiz that concept again soon.

 

From a teacher perspective this looks like an ingenious idea.  However, I wanted to obtain a student perspective.  There are multiple levels for students in grades K-12. I was able to get a sneak peek at the lower two levels and share them with my own daughter who has just completed the 9th grade. She gave Picta Dicta an enthusiastic two thumbs up.  She looked through a program built around human anatomy.  Some of the words she already knew from her Latin classes, but several words were new to her. She really enjoyed the way the program engaged memory and review by asking questions from several different angles. She found the notes not only helpful, but very interesting as they often give additional insight into eytmology and derivatives. For example the notes tell students that umerus (meaning shoulder or upper arm) is also the funny bone – a “fun” play on the word humorous (humerus).  My daughter happens to be a gifted artist. As such, visual learning suits her very well.  Another feature that she really appreciated as a student is the built in accountability feature. Picta Dicta uses Cerego, a brilliant memory program. Parents can see how Cerego tracks the words that students have successfully learned, those that are weak, and those they labels as “fading” because it has been a while since the student reviewed them. As the program tracks a student’s progress, it will bring up words needed for review. Cerego will also send friendly email reminders to students that it is time to get back in the game in order to continue to build vocabulary skills.

Overall I think this is a truly brilliant program for building Latin vocabulary in a highly engaging and enjoyable manner for students of varying ages and ability levels.  I am often asked for ideas to keep Latin fresh over summer break or for tools to help build vocabulary in general, PICTA DICTA will be my new answer for such questions.

You can sign up for Picta Dicta at www.pictadicta.com.

For another great site for interactive games and visual learning visit the post on Headventureland.

Art-Literature Analysis: Student Assignment

As an end of year project for my AP Latin students, I assign an art analysis paper based upon a scene from either Vergil's Aeneid or Caesar's de Bello Gallico. The students are to choose a masterpiece that accurately depicts one such scene. This assignment is a student favorite as it causes the students to look back and call upon what they have learned of the story and the language from the vantage point of one who has completed a rigorous journey and now stands upon the mountain top, surveying the view of the road from whence they came. The remainder of this post is written by one of my Latin students. This is her piece of art-literature analysis based on a scene from Aeneid VI. Read the rest of this entry »

Planning the Invasion of Gaul

Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres . . . Thus begins the first chapter of Comentarii de Bello Galllico, written by General Julius Caesar c.58-49 B.C. This is a line that most veterans of Latin studies know by heart for it has long been the traditional "first book" for young students graduating from grammatical studies into original readings. The work is chosen for its excellent prose, whose arrangment is fairly easy for novice readers to follow. That is once you become adept at recognizing ablative absolutes and extensive relative clauses and very long stints of indirect discourse. The work certainly cannot be read without great attention to the author, Julius Caesar, his military endeavors and his political ambitions. This work can also be enjoyed as a study in ancient geography as Caesar begins the very first chapter by laying out the geographical composition of Greater Gaul in the manner of a chartographer. Read the rest of this entry »

Ten Basic Rules for Reading Latin

 

 While perusing the LatinTeach website I found this wonderful article with reading tips for students.   I often find students “paralyzed” in trying to read Latin with their English brains.  What I mean by that is that students have trouble leaving behind their English rules for syntax and word order when trying to read Latin.  They often want to read words in the order in which they appear or jump to derivatives for meaning.  Latin has its own syntax, which is really very logical.  Students have to get our of their English brains and learn to read Latin as Latin.  This article by Dexter Hoyos has some wonderful tips for doing just that.  Click on the title below to view the article.  There you will find a pdf with his rules available for easy print out.

Dexter Hoyos – The Ten Basic Rules for Reading Latin

Rather than trying to find the “hidden English” in Latin, these rules will help you read Latin as the original authors intended — in the actual Latin word order.  Professor Hoyos demonstrates that the Romans were entirely logical in how they composed their writing and that it is possible to train yourself to read in Latin word order by understanding how they grouped words.

 

Latin Syllabication and Accent Review

The following post is a synopsis of the rules for syllabication and accent of words in Latin literature.  Students will find this increasingly helpful as they begin to work with oratory and poetry in Latin.  I very much encourage the memorization and recitation of such pieces.  While Latin is predominantly a written language today, it was once crafted to sway minds and move hearts.  We should not deprive students the opportunity to both study and experience the spoken language of masters such as Cicero and Vergil.  This summation is included as an appendix in Latin Alive Book 3 and Book 4.  The rules also appear in books 1 and 2.

Caveat: I am unable to include macra (long marks) on this blog site.  I will make notations of long vowels where important.

Syllabication

The term “syllable” is used to refer to a unit of a word that consists of a single, uninterrupted sound formed by a vowel, diphthong, consonant, or by a consonant-vowel combination. Syllabication is the act of dividing a word in order to reveal its individual syllables. With English this can be tricky because there are often letters that remain silent. However, in Latin there are no completely silent letters, so any given Latin word will have as many syllables as it has vowels or diphthongs. The rules of syllabication indicate that words are to be divided as follows:

1. Between two like consonants:

pu-el-la           ter-ra

2. Between the last of two or more different consonants:

ar-ma      temp-to

3. Between two vowels or a vowel and a diphthong (never divide a diphthong):

Cha-os            proe-li-um

4. Before a single consonant:

me-mo-ri-a     fe-mi-nae

 

Caveat Discipulus: As with most rules, there are sometimes exceptions to the syllabications rules just mentioned. The most common exception occurs with prefixes. A division will always occur between the prefix and the root word. The root word will always divide as if he prefix was never there. Consider the following example:

creo = cre-o                pro-cre-o

Notice how the division in the compound verb occurs between the prefix and the root word. Notice also that the cr is still not divided when the prefix is added.

 

Special Rules:

5. Before a stop + liquid combination, except if it is caused by the addition of the prefix to the word (see above):  pu-blica (but ad-la-tus according to the prefix exception)

stops: b, c, d, g, p, t                liquids: l, r

6. After the letter x.  Though it is technically two consonants, it is indivisible in writing, so we divide after it:

ex-i-ti-um   ex-e-o

7. Before s + stop, if the s is preceded by a consonant:

mon-stro   ad-scrip-tum

 

Each syllable has a characteristic called quantity. The quantity of a syllable is its length—how much time it takes to pronounce or say that syllable. A long syllable has twice the quantity or length of a short syllable. It is easy to tell the quantity of syllables in Latin and it will be important to know how to do so in order to properly accent words. Syllables are long when they have:

1. a long vowel (marked by a macron);

2. a diphthong;

3. a short vowel followed by two consonants or the letters x or z.

The only exception for this two consonant rule is the letter h.  This letter is often reduced to an aspiration, barely audible.

 

Otherwise, syllables are short. The first two rules are said to make a syllable long by nature because the vowel sound is naturally long. The last rule is said to make a syllable long by position, because the length depends on the placement of the vowel within that word. Recognizing the length of a syllable becomes particularly important when reading poetry.

Caveat Discipulus (Let the Student Beware): The quantity of the syllable does not change the length of the vowel. You should still pronounce short vowels according the phonetic rules you have just learned. The quantity of the syllable will affect how you accent the words.

 

Accent

Accent is the vocal emphasis placed on a particular syllable of a word. The accent can only fall on one of the last three syllables of a word. Each one of these syllables has a name. The last syllable is referred to as the ultima, meaning “last” in Latin. The next to last syllable is called the penult (from paene ultima, meaning “almost last”). The syllable third from the end is known as the antepenult (from ante paene ultima, which means “before the almost last”). Which one of these syllables carries the accent depends on the length of the syllables.

 

 

The rules for accent are as follows:

1. In words of two syllables always accent the penult or first syllable: aúc-tor.

2. In words of more than two syllables, accent the penult (next to last syllable) when it is long:

mo-né-mus.

* The e  in monemus is long by nature and should have a macron

3. Otherwise, accent the antepenult (third to last syllable): fé-mi-na.

4. The ultima will never carry the accent unless it is a one-syllable word: nóx.

 

 

 

Latin Alive Reader: Latin Literature from Cicero to Newton!

LA Team: Steven, Chris, Karen, and Gaylan at the book release during the national conference for the Society for Classical Learning in Austin, TX.

We are very excited to announce the publication of the fourth and final installment of the Latin Alive series!  The Latin Reader is the fruition of the dream Gaylan and I shared for the series from its earliest beginning. It was our desire to create a series that would train students to read original Latin literature and then enjoy the fruits of such literature, not just from ancient Rome, but literature that reflects the great breadth and depth of Latin influence through the ages. This unique reader provides excerpts of Latin literature that includes the prose of Cicero, Caesar, and Bacon; the poetry of Vergil, Ovid, Queen Elizabeth and Milton; the theological treatises of Augustine, Luther, and Aquinas; and the scientific musings of Pliny and Newton.  And these are only a few of the authors represented!  So great is the content, that we are delighted to welcome Dr. Steven L. Jones as a third author for this special book.  You can read more about Steven on the “about the authors” page of this blog site.

 

As with previous LA books we include biographies of each Latin author so students can learn about the context of each piece: historical, social, and even political.  Footnotes abound which provide further insight to the language, idioms, and cultural references for each piece.  We have also provided a variety of reading comprehension questions (Latin and English) to allow teachers to explore the readings further with students.  For all intents and purposes, this book serves as the basis for a humanities class in Latin.  For my students, this is their favorite Latin class.

Another distinctive unique to this book is the inclusion of a thorough grammar review in the second section.  Teachers and students may use this to review aspects of Latin grammar that apply to the pieces of literature they are reading.  Numerous appendices with reference charts, pronunciation review, and lessons in both Medieval Latin and poetry make this book on Latin literature complete.  There truly is nothing like this in circulation to date.  We are overjoyed to share this treasury with all of you.

You can read more about the Latin Alive Reader on the CAP website, including sample chapters.  Here is a sneak peek at the wealth of literature contained within its pages.  Among these you will see many of the authors and titles often included among the literature lists of classical schools.  This is very intentional as it is our hope through this book to support and enhance the study of these pieces of literature.

  1. Pro Archaia, Cicero
  2. Cornelia Gracchi, Nepos
  3. De Bello Gallico, Caesar
  4. Tria Poemata, Catullus
  5. Aeneid, Vergil
  6. Quattuor Poemata, Horace
  7. Metamorphoses, Ovid
  8. Fabulae Breves, Phaedrus
  9. de Ira, Seneca
  10. Evangelium secundum Sanctum Lucum, St. Luke
  11. Evangelium sucundum Sanctum Mattheum, St. Matthew
  12. Naturalis Historia, Piny the Elder
  13. Institutio Oratio, Quintilian
  14. Alia Epigrammata, Martial
  15. Perigrinatio Egeriae, Egeria
  16. Confessiones Sancti Augustini, St. Augustine
  17. Confessiones Sancti Patricii, St. Patrick
  18. Institutiones Divinarum et Saecularium Litterarum, Cassiodorus
  19. Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum, Bede
  20. Vita de Caroli Magni, Einhard
  21. Magna Charta, The 25 Barons
  22. Summa Theologica, St. Aquinas
  23. Epistola ad Ciceronem, Petrarch
  24. Epistola Latina Columbi, Columbus
  25. Disputatio pro Declaratione Virtutis Indulgentiarum, Luther
  26. Stultitiae Laus, Erasmus
  27. Adversus Lutheranos, Cajetan
  28. Carmen et Oratio, Queen Elizabeth
  29. Elegia Secunda, Milton
  30. Historia Regni Henrici Septimi Angliae, Bacon
  31. Principa Mathematica, Newton

In addition, we have provided two readings included on the AP Latin syllabus from Caesar and Vergil.

 

“Latin for Teachers” FREE!

Classical Academic Press is offering the Latin For Teacher Training video free online (LFC A sessions only) for about three weeks.  This is part of a 3 day workshop I have given in order to train grammar school Latin teachers.  I use the Latin for Children text for the video, but the strategies and resources I provide here can be used for any grammar school Latin course.  This limited time offer allows FB fans to watch the material taught during the first day online for free.  In order to take advantage of this limited offer please see the link below.  Pass it on!

http://www.facebook.com/classicalacademicpress?sk=app_237202476309340

 

To see sample material and read reviews for this product, please visit the CAP website:

http://classicalacademicpress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=17&products_id=18

 

Latin Brain Teasers

One of the Seven Laws of Teaching* states that a teacher should never attempt to begin a lesson without first having gained the attention of the student.  This can be a challenge, especially when it comes to bubbly (er . . . chatty) middle school students.  A strategy I have employed often and without fail is the Latin warm up.  I have a Latin phrase on the board ready to go before the student come in.  With very little training, students will know that as soon as they enter the classroom they are to get busy.  This eliminates wasted dead time that can creep in as the teacher waits for straggles or is pre-occupied with someone or something lingering from the previous class.  Such a warm up engages the students’ attention immediately and begins preparing their focus for the subject at hand – Latin. There is certainly no lack of pithy Latin phrases, but it is good to keep their attention by throwing in a puzzle or brain teaser amid the expected ancient proverb.  Several of these brain teasers and puzzles have made their way into Latin Alive, Book 3.  In this post we’d like to share some wonderful sources for more such diverting tidbits.

For Latin Puzzles see   http://www.archimedes-lab.org/atelier.html?http://www.archimedes-lab.org/latin.html

For the Latin quote of the week, see http://www.dogtulosba.com/archives/cat_quidquid_latine_dictum_sit_altum_viditur.html

For Latin sayings, see http://www.rktekt.com/ck/LatSayings.html

For handy Latin phrases, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/h2g2/guide/A218882

For palindromes, see http://villemin.gerard.free.fr/Langue/Palindro.htm

 

*The Seven Laws of Teaching is a treatise by John Milton Gregory that outlines the seven natural laws of teaching and how teachers may best work with such laws to maximize effectiveness.  It is an excellent read and highly recommended.

CAP Book Tour, 2012

As the gentle rains bring back beautiful buds we all know what season is knocking upon our door – book fair season!

It is that time of year when many of us begin making plans to attend a conference or two or three.  After a year of hard mental labor these conferences often bring a time of refreshment, encouragement, renewed inspiration, and the opportunity to browse an ocean of books.  CAP seems to be visiting more conferences this season than ever before.  Look below to see if we will be coming to one in your neck of the woods.  I will be at those marked with the asterisks.  I have been asked to present seminars at both the Association for Classical Christian Schools and the Society for  Classical Learning (more on those in later posts).  I hope to see some of you there!

 

Conference Where When
Great Homeschool Convention – South East Greenville, SC March 22
Great Homeschool Convention – Mid South Memphis, TN April 12

 

Great Homeschool Convention – Mid West Cincinnati, OH April 19
CHAP Harrisburg, PA May 11
Homeschool Book Fair Arlington, TX May 11 – 12
Great Homeschool convention – California Long Beach, CA May 24
Florida Parent-Educators Association Convention Orlando, FL May 24
Virginia Homeschool Convention Richmond, VA June 7
Great Homeschool Convention – North East Hartford, CT June 14
Association of Classical Christian Schools* Dallas, TX June 21 – 23
Society for Classical Learning* Charleston, South Carolina June 27 – 29
The Circe Institute Conference Louisville, KY July 18
Texas Homeschool Coalition* The Woodlands, TX August 2 – 4

Latin Alive, Book 3 – a sneak peek!

We are excited to present a sneak peek at the third and final installment to the Latin Alive Series.  We are delighted to say that this text will feature unadapted readings of literature, a step up from the adapted readings provided in LA2.  This is because our goal all along has been to introduce young people to the wonderful world of Latin Literature.  Students will be able to sample from a banquet table that provides a survey of Latin Literature from Ennius and Cato, the first poet and prose author respectively, down to Sir Isaac Newton and his famous laws of motion.  The third unit will provide a poetry study as students round out their grammar lessons.  This unit will feature the poets from the Golden Age of Literature and demonstrate the inspirations which they had on poets such as Shakespeare, Milton, and Tennyson.  The fourth and final unit, aptly titled Latin Literature, will offer students further reading practice with concise grammar reviews.  This final unit is designed for you as the teacher to use as you wish.  You may complete the entire unit or pick and choose according to your preference and your classroom needs.  Once students have finished this text they will have learned all the grammar necessary to read virtually any piece of Latin they should so choose.  Thus they may follow the LA series with any reading program that should interest them.   It is our hope that the wide selections of readings they encounter in LA3 will whet their appetite for the various genres of Latin available.  Please peruse the grammar lessons and reading selections provided below.

 

Latin Alive!  Book 3

Table of Contents

 

Introduction

 

 Unit One: Indicative vs. Subjunctive

Chapter One . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

            noun declension review; irregular noun vis; gerund and gerundive

 

Chapter Two . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

verb review: present system, active and passive; ablative of means and agent; present participle; impersonal verbs

reading: Arbores ad Rogos Faciendos Caeduntur (Ennius)

 

Chapter Three . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

verb review: perfect system, active and passive; perfect passive participle; deponent verb review

reading 1: De Bello Hannibalico, Liber VIII (Ennius)

reading 2: Fabii Cunctatoris Elogium, Liber IX (Ennius)

 

Chapter Four . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

subjunctive mood; present subjunctive; irregular subjunctives; independent subjunctive

reading: De Agri Cultura, Praefatio (Cato)

 

Chapter Five . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

imperfect subjunctive; simple conditions; future less vivid

reading: De Agri Cultura, iii (Cato)

 

Chapter Six . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

            perfect subjunctive; pluperfect subjunctive; sequence of tenses; indirect command

reading 1: De Agricultura, i – xiii (Varro)

reading 2: De Agricultura, i – xiii (Varro)

 

Unit 1 Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

            historical reading: ” Early Latin Literature” by Alden Smith

Latin reading: De Lingua Latina, V. iv (Varro)

 

Unit Two: Subjunctive Clauses

Chapter Seven . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

            purpose review; purpose clause; future imperative

            reading: Epistula Corneliae, Matris Gracchorum (Nepos)

 

Chapter Eight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

            indirect question; indirect statement; exclamatory accusative

            reading: Oratio in Catilinam Prima (Cicero)

 

Chapter Nine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

            irregular verb, fio; ablative case: comparison, degree of difference, respect

reading: De Bello Gallico I:i – ii (Caesar)

 

Chapter Ten . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

            result clause; cum clauses: time, cause, concession

            reading: Ab Urbe Condita, XXX. xxx (Livy)

 

Chapter Eleven . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

            countrary to fact conditionals; doubting clauses

            reading: Hannibal (Nepos)

 

Chapter Twelve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

            fearing clauses; genitive and ablative of quality

            reading: Naturalis Historia, Liber XXXVI. xiv (Pliny the Elder)

 

Unit 2 Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

            historical reading: “Catiline” by Christopher Schlect

            Latin reading:  Bellum Catilinae IX et X (Sallust)

 

Unit Three: Latin Poetry

Chapter Thirteen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

            Latin poetry; meter and scansion; elision; hendecasyllabic and sapphc

            reading:  Catullus I et LI

Chapter Fourteen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  

            relative clause of characteristic; dative of direction; dactylic hexameter

            reading: Aeneid I.i-xxxiii (Vergil)

 

Chapter Fifteen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

            dative with compound verbs; objective genitive; alcaic meter

            reading 1: Ode I.xxxvii (Horace)

             reading 2: Ode III.xxx (Horace)

 

Chapter Sixteen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

            proviso clause; dum clause; poetry review

            reading: Metamorphoses, Liber V (Ovid)

 

Unit 3 Reading. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

            Historical reading: “The Latin of John Milton” by Grant Horner

            Latin Reading: Elegaica Secunda (Milton)

 

Appendix  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

            Pronunciation Guide

            Reference Charts

            Glossary by chapter

            Unit Tests (Teacher’s Edition Only)

 Glossary