Monday, September 28, 2015

Introducing the Newly Redesigned Roman Calendar

The 2015–2016 Roman Calendar has arrived! In the newly redesigned calendar, you will find full-color images featuring the Olympian gods alongside the ever-popular sententiae. The calendar also contains information about our latest books, longtime favorites, apps, and more. Check the inside back cover for a reproducible worksheet that asks students to engage with the artwork included in the calendar.

For those completing the worksheet, here is September's image, question, and answer.
Francesco Solimena's Venus
at the Forge of Vulcan

In this scene, Vulcan presents arms to Venus. For whom are they intended? In what literary work is this story told? How many weapons and types of armor can you identify?

Francesco Solimena’s Venus at the Forge of Vulcan is based on a scene from the Aeneid (8.370–449, 608–25) in which Venus asks Vulcan to make new weapons for Aeneas. Solimena’s painting depicts a helmet, a sword, a shield (described at length in Aeneid 8.626–731), a breastplate, and an axe.

Think you know the answer to the remaining questions on the worksheet? Starting in October, tweet @BCPublishers your answer to that month’s question by the 25th for a chance to win five of our new buttons. We’ll announce our answers, as well as the winner, at the beginning of the following month. Submit an answer for your class, or encourage students to participate individually.

To add your name to our mailing list for the Roman Calendar, email with the subject line “Roman Calendar”; be sure to include your name and mailing address in the body of the email. Also, let us know by email if you have not received your calendar yet!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Bringing Apps into the Classroom

When teaching language, no problem, arguably, causes more student angst than vocabulary acquisition. If you find that students are struggling to keep up with the amount of vocabulary that textbooks hand your students*, then tell them Bolchazy-Carducci has a solution: flashcard vocabulary apps for their smart phones! Products of gWhiz LLC, they act as companions to Latin for the New Millennium, Level 1 and Level 2Caesar: Selections from his Commentarii De Bello Gallico, and Vergil’s AENEID: Selected Readings from Books 1, 2, 4, and 6, and at $9.99 they are no more expensive than a comparable app. Additionally, while the LNM apps are designed for use with their respective, they could be helpful to any introductory Latin course.

Students choose from four different
modes: Adaptive, Self-Test/Quiz,
Flashcard Boxes, and Matching Game.
The flashcard vocabulary apps work just like a traditional set of flash cards, only now students don't have to worry about lugging around stacks of paper to and from class, misplacing some words (thus failing to master them!), or, sadly, remembering to look at them. Students will have the app right on their phone (and will never leave home without their phone), allowing students to keep all their cards in their pockets and on their persons at all times. The apps provide nearly 500 words for each of the LNM sets and an average of 200 flashcards for both the Caesar and the Vergil sets. Each flash card contains the Latin word, including principal parts for verbs and gender for nouns on the front, and the English definition and part of speech on the back. Additionally, each app provides four different study modes: Adaptive, Self-Test/Quiz, Flashcard Boxes, and Matching Game.

The Adaptive study mode passes through each card, keeping track of the known and the unknown, or the learned and the unlearned, words. Students determine themselves whether they know the word or not. Furthermore, the Adaptive study mode allows students to study the vocabulary chapter by chapter or in the entirety of the set, while also allowing students to revisit the words. Lastly, this mode allows students to switch between studying Latin to English and English to Latin.

Students can choose between a
multiple choice option or just
a single - the correct - option.
The Quiz mode is a lot like the Adaptive mode in presentation. It allows students to quickly evaluate their knowledge of the material while providing the student with a "Study Score," or a percentage of how many words the student knows. However, unlike the Adaptive mode, students can only test their knowledge on each flashcard once without starting over. In this way, Quiz mode accurately determines how much and what words the students need to study. The students also have the option of quizzing themselves in multiple choice form or without any options to choose from. 

The Flashcard Boxes mode uses boxes to sort the students's knowledge of the material. The cards can be filed into either the "Known," the "Unknown," or the "Mastered" box for future review. All the cards start in the "Unknown" box and as students cycle through the sets, they place the cards in the appropriate boxes based on their comfort with each. Afterward, students can choose which vocabulary box to study from to freshen up on the mastered cards and drill in the unknown ones - a great way for students to review many weeks' worth of materials for a midterm!

The Matching Game is an alternative to the standard style of flashcard drilling. The cards are set in a grid size of the students's choice, either 6, 9, 16, or 24 pairs. Then they simply hit the back of a card and try to remember its location while they hunt for its match. As the student slowly picks off each pair, they simultaneously unveil the image in the background. Match each pair to reveal the full image! There are a lot of pictures so the the students will have to solve each puzzle to reveal them all.

In addition to the activities, the app allows students to customize the appearance to suit their needs. They can adjust the font style as well as the size. So don't wait! Let students review and master the literary-rich vocabulary from multiple Bolchazy-Carducci titles and Latin authors using traditional flashcard quizzing from Latin to English or English to Latin, or explore other functions of the app. Vocabulary study has never been so easy or so convenient! And if you and your students like the gWhiz apps, stay tuned for a future blog post where I cover the multimodal vocabulary program, eyeVocab.

Do you have experience with gWhiz vocabulary apps that you would like to share? Are there unanswered questions remaining about how to use the apps? Have you experimented with other means of vocabulary acquisition? Do your students have opinions on the apps you would like to share? Leave a question or comment below! I would love to hear from you.

-Connor Hart

*Note that for this reason, LNM includes both a Reading Vocabulary list and a list of Vocabulary to Know.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Teacher Tips for the Start of the Semester

For some, this past week marked the start of a new school year. For others, it stood as a reminder that the next school year is just around the corner. Regardless of whether your next semester has started or not, you will always find that you can never be too prepared for the school year. In this post, I will explore the ways you can get your classics classes off on the right foot. Using lessons in Latin phrases, maps, and deities and mythology, teachers can put students on the right track from the start and give them an early chance to get a good handle on their Greek or Latin.

One fun way to start the semester, particularly a Latin one, is to show your class how frequently people use the language today. State mottoes, court houses, even many clocks contain remnants of Latin, and this may be something your students don't know. The beginning of the semester is a great time to expose students to Latin's prevalence, in case they have any doubts of how alive it really is. Slide shows of images containing these common phrases will help students see this. If students enjoy this, have them work from Latin Everywhere, Everyday: A Latin Phrase Workbook to learn more Latin phrases still used today!

Maps often prove effective in the classroom, regardless of the subject. Using maps with geography familiar to your language students, such as the Mediterranean, allows for students to gain a grasp of some simple vocabulary. Questions and demonstrative pronouns, simply from the context of the map activity, slowly become familiar. For example, by pointing to Italy and announcing to the class, "Haec est Italia," students can, without any background in Latin, understand "This is Italy," or something close to it. With appropriate hand gestures and a quizzical countenance, the teacher can then ask, "Ubi est Italia?" By repeating this process throughout the Mediterranean, students have the potential to learn the words for island, Rome, Italy, Greece, and interrogative words, as well as demonstrative pronouns, and even begin to learn the verb "to be," without receiving their first formal lesson! If this lesson goes well, try incorporating A Roman Map Workbook into some lessons later on down the line. For those using Latin for the New Millennium, every review unit features Latin phrases, mottoes, and terms still in use today.

Understandably, not every student loves maps as much as I do, but who doesn't love a good myth about Zeus's exploits or the hunts of Artemis? Using simple sentences to reconstruct a myth and supplying the appropriate images to accompany it will both command the students's attention and keep them engaged. As with the maps, teachers can help students get an understanding of the story with the appropriate context and with hand gestures and facial movements. In this way, students can acquire the Latin or Greek for words such as god or goddess, father and mother, son and daughter. This lesson also provides an opportunity for students to learn the words for certain objects related to deities, such as lightning bolt, owl, stag, or epithets such as far-shooter or grey-eyed.

Do you have other means of starting the semester? Have you tried things that have worked wonderfully or failed miserably? Leave a question or comment below! I would love to hear from you.

-Connor Hart