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Veni Emmanuel

Veni Emmanuel, the debut music CD from Classical Academic Press, is a collection of hauntingly beautiful carols, written centuries ago by great scholars, musicians and poets for the celebration of Christmas. Some tunes will be familiar, and some new to our 21st century ears. All in Latin, laced with theology and beautiful poetry, rediscover the rich heritage of sacred Christmas music through the ages. The collection includes carols with lyrics or music from the fifth century through 1900. Recorded with harp, piano, recorder, violin and voice.

You can listen to the title song by clicking on the link for Veni Emmanuel on the right side of the screen.

Now on sale for a limited time!  Visit Classical Academic Press for more information by clicking on the image below.

Veni Emmanuel CD - click here for more information

Latin Alive and the National Latin Exam

It is that time of year when teachers will begin receiving advertisements and registration forms for the National Latin Exam (NLE). I am frequently asked advice regarding what level students using Latin Alive or Latin for Children should sign up for. My suggestions are provided in this post. Read the rest of this entry »

Preparing for the National Latin Exam

Registration for the 2011 National Latin Exam is out!  The NLE is a fun contest for Latin students that tests a student’s knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, classical history and civilization.  Each year thousands of Latin students from all over the world participate.  Students can win medals or certificates of merit based on their performance.  My students really enjoy this event.  While we do not use it as a measurement tool to evaluate our program, it provides a fun incentive for hard-working students.  So, how do I help my students prepare?

  1. Teacher Preparation.  Visit the official NLE site to download course syllabi.  The NLE is divided up into 7 tests, based on the level of Latin studied.  Each test has its own course syllabus that outlines what types of grammar questions can be expected.  It will also list the categories from which questions on history or civilization may be drawn.  This lets your students know what to study.
  2. Student Practice.  Print out the old NLE tests, also available on the official website.  Every now and then I give my students an old NLE test “just for fun.”  These are never for a grade, but I encourage them to do their best.  This helps them become comfortable with the style and format of the questions.  It will also help you evaluate which level you need to sign them up for.  I usually give the students 30 minutes to take the test (the real exam is about an hour) and then we spend 15 minutes reviewing the answers together. (HINT:  I always keep these on file as an emergency substitute lesson plan.)
  3. Reading Comprehension Practice!  The reading comp. portion of the exam can often prove the most challenging for students.  To prepare for this you should really consider working reading comp practice into your regular routine.  (Besides it is the best way – and a fun way – to learn to read Latin)  The LA series provides reading comprehension questions for each chapter reading.  In addition, the unit reviews are formatted in a manner very similar to the reading comp. passages on the NLE.  These provide great practice!
  4. History and Civilization.  I encourage students to check out resources in their library to help themselves prepare for these segments. The Latin Alive series provides a wealth of readings on history and culture that are very helpful, but no Latin text will cover everything.  My primary job as a Latin teacher is to teach the Latin language.  I do not have time to cover all the history and culture in my lesson plans too.  The great thing about the NLE is that it inspires my competitive students to take their learning outside of class and discover some of the material themselves.

The last and most important thing is to remember that THIS IS FUN! The NLE is meant to be a fun means to encourage Latin students in their studies.  So don’t stress.   The exam is really not a great standardized measuring tool for a Latin program as the score can sometimes be skewed by the sections on history, culture, or mythology that may or may not be in your curriculum.  The best goal for students is the challenge to beat themselves each time, to continually increase their score by A) studying diligently in class and B) pursuing more knowledge on their own outside of class.  It is a great tool to encourage a love for learning the classics!

What is the National Latin Exam?

In 2010 more than 150,000 students applied to take the thirty-third National Latin Exam. Participation in the Exam has increased each year since its inception in 1977, when approximately 6,000 students enrolled. Students from all fifty states participated this year, as did students from 13 foreign countries, including Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, United Kingdom and Zimbabwe. This year for the first time, students from Singapore also took the NLE. In addition, students in one U.S. territory, the U.S. Virgin Islands, participated this year.
During the second week in March, over 138,000 students in 2,743 schools took the National Latin Exam in their own schools, and the exam was administered in 21 colleges and 11 elementary schools. Also participating were 1,694 students from 335 home schools.

The above quote was taken from the 2010 NLE Report.  Sound impressive?  Some of you not familiar with this contest may be wondering. . .

“So what exactly is this National Latin Exam?”

The NLE in short is a 40 question multiple choice exam that tests a student’s knowledge in Latin vocabulary and grammar, reading comprehension, Roman history and civilization.  The contest is divided up into 7 tests based on the level of study.  Students in their first year of middle/high school study would take level 1, second year would take level 2, et cetera. (Levels 3 – 6 have been subdivided.  You can read how and why on the NLE website provided)  You can learn more about the exam and view old exams at the official website:

“Does this apply to my student(s) and my program?”

The NLE can be used by virtually any Latin student in any Latin program.  Provisions are made for home school models as well.  Most students need to be in at least 6th grade to have the kind of program that will adequately prepare them for this contest.  Younger students might be interested in the Exploratory Latin Exam, provided by Excellence Through Classics.

“How does this benefit my student(s) and my program?”

It is a fun and engaging way to encourage students in their Latin studies.  I have personally seen this motivate several of my own students to not only work more diligently in class, but also pursue additional study outside of class by reading books about the Romans.  The NLE also shows them that there are thousands of students around the world who study the classics as they do.  Those who score in the top percentiles will be recognized with medals or certificates of merit.

“Is it easy to sign up?  Are resources available?”

Yes and Yes!  Please visit the official NLE website for details on registration, test format, and old tests (free download).

“How do I prepare?”

I have provided suggestions on how best to prepare for the exam in another post titled, Preparing for the National Latin Exam.

These are the questions I am most frequently asked.  Do you have others?  Please post them here!

Promote Latin!

Want some good ammo for promoting Latin? may have just the tool you are looking for. There are so many great benefits to Latin study, but the one that most often catches the attention of parents and collegiate-minded young scholars is the help it lends Read the rest of this entry »

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.

The Latin Letter of Columbus

Latin isn’t only the language of ancient civilizations, important Latin literature exists in the modern era too.  Take for example the Latin letter of Columbus.  This document, written in 1493, announced Columbus’ great discovery to the world.  Columbus initially wrote the letter announcing his discovery in Spanish, but the letter was soon translated into the lingua franca of the day, Latin.  Thus all of western Europe could read of his remarkable discover.

Now you also can read this 1493 Latin text.  Google Books is a fantastic online resource that offers scanned copies of old and rare books.  At the link provided below you can see an 1893 reprint of the Latin Letter of Columbus.

Happy Columbus Day, Everyone!

The Latin Letter of Columbus

Explore Ancient Civilizations Online with Odyssey Site

While preparing lessons for my ancient humanities class I stumbled upon a wonderful treasure in cybperspace: Odyssey Online.  This Odyssey isn’t just for Greeks.  Here you will find a fantabulous interactive website that explores ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Africa, and even the ancient Americas.  Students of all ages are sure to find a wealth of interesting info here (and so will their teachers).

Check it out here:


LA1 Unit Tests and Study Guides

Most Latin quizzes tend to check for basic memorization. While such weekly assessments are beneficial, the unit tests in Latin Alive are designed for a different purpose. These are not meant to assess whether a student has learned the tools of Latin, but if they know how to put those tools to use. Read more about the LA unit tests and how to gain access to some great study guides for them. Read the rest of this entry »

Farrago Latina

A valuable tool for the Latin classroom, Farrago Latina is a collection of resources, activities and reproducible worksheets culled from the vast experience and amply stocked files of Gaylan Dubose (co-author of the Latin Alive series). Mr. DuBose provides both new and veteran teachers with a variety of opportunities to make instruction and practice in Latin lively and memorable.  This resourceful book includes tips on etymology, themes and figures of speech in the Aeneid, commonly confused words, and a list of resources by Judith Sebesta.

Right now Farrago Latina is the “Deal of the Month” on the Bolchazy-Carducci website.  You can obtain this gem for only $3.75!  But you must hurry – offer ends August 16!

Click here for a direct link to this special offer.