Classical to the Core, Intro

Here are the introductory remarks from our presentation “Classical to the Core: Latin as the Linchpin to the Standards” at the 2013 ACTFL annual convention. The full presentation, broken into sections, will be provided in subsequent posts.

Please note that although we point out how various learning activities support specific Common Core Standards, the ideas contained within the body of the presentation can be used in any Latin classroom.

Last year, we tried to demonstrate how you could satisfy the standards of the 5 Cs while actually teaching the Latin language. But already people were talking a lot about another set of C-words, the Common Core. Whereas the 5 Cs are standards for foreign language teaching, the Common Core, at the moment, does not address foreign languages at all. Therein lie the problems. First, the study of languages is at risk of being forgotten or, worse, deemed irrelevant with all the focus on the Common Core. Second is the problem of how we can support standards that do not even acknowledge our field.

On the one hand, we hope to demonstrate how the study of Classics is relevant to all the strands of the Common Core. While connections to the English Language Arts standards naturally come to mind (and were beautifully presented by Anne Mullay yesterday), we’d like to show that Classics can be seen as the linchpin uniting all standards across the board.

On the other hand, we will present ideas for teaching the Latin language and Roman culture through authentic texts and artifacts. Students will learn how we know what we know by using various methods of the discipline such as numismatics, epigraphy, and prosopography. We will look at how individual Romans created a particular public image in life or even in death, how the dead could be used to promote the public image of an individual or a family, and how the Romans collectively saw themselves in relation to others and created a unique legacy unmatched across time and space.

While the topics are thematically related and follow a sort of logical progression, we want to stress that these are ideas, not a fully developed unit or even complete lesson plans. But we do have lots of useable images and texts for you to take away an try in your own classrooms. We think these are things that can be used intermittently with any of the common syllabi.

We’d also like to acknowledge now the other presenters this year whose ideas, we feel, dovetail with what you’re about to hear: Leigh Hansen this morning, the teachers from the Bolles School on Roman values, Jason Reynolds of Greenwich Country Day on Roman history, and Jane Crawford of UVA on themes and essential questions.

Before we get started, since the order of presentation is not chronological, we strongly recommend creating a persistent timeline for the term or year that can be added to whenever new events or people are encountered.

Posted in ACTFL 2013, Blog, Latin