2011 ACL Wrapup

The 2011 American Classical League conference at The University of Minnesota was a spectacular event!  The conference itself was only three days long, but I left with ideas, projects, and information that will take several weeks, if not months, to process.

Zee Poerio has put together a slideshow of some of the events.  You can see it here.

My presentation on Latin in the Homeschooling Community was well received.  The survey results were the subject of much inquiry from teachers and publishers alike.  If nothing else, it confirmed my intuition that people are very interested in seeing how homeschoolers teach Latin.  I need to hurry up, analyze, and publish the results!

One of my favorite parts of the conference is the announcement of the winners of the National Latin Exam Scholarships. The suspense and excitement in the room is amazing.  It is always uplifting to hear the cheers of excitement from teachers whose students have won.  Teachers of students who did not win the scholarships are often understandably disappointed.  To observe teachers express joy or sadness for their students – students who are miles away on the other side of the country – is to see how much they truly care for their students, and how much energy and passion they pour into their work.

Here are a few highlights from the conference, not in any particular order.  All of these items, as well as many others, will be individually discussed in greater detail in future posts:

  • Barbara Hill, from The University of Colorado at Boulder, discussed the evidence that proves that the study of Latin – as opposed to modern languages – improves reading comprehension skills in students.
  • Brian Bloomfield, from Nova Classical Academy in Maryland, has started a Classical Education Certification program for his school.  I found it interesting that teachers and organizations that provide classical education do not often seem to agree on what exactly defines a classical education.
  • The Classics Club, which is part of the Excellence Through Classics committee of the American Classical League, is embarking on an exciting new enterprise.  Classics Club is introducing a challenge program that will enable students to earn rewards by demonstrating proficiency in various competition categories.  Classics Club is eager to embrace both the traditional and homeschooled communities in its outreach efforts.
  • Lee Butterman, the genius behind nodictionaries.com, informed me that this amazing resource is now ipad compatible.  Yay!  Now it is truly possible to be a Latin teacher without dusty old books.
  • As usual, there were several sessions dedicated to the use of technology in the Latin classroom.  I know that people somehow learned Latin before the Earth’s crust hardened without the cool tech toys, but I’m sure they didn’t have as much fun as we do now.
  • The National Latin Exam Committee gave a historical overview of the exam and the work of its matron, Jane Hall.  It was very interesting to see how the exam has grown from 7,000 participants in 1978 to over 150,000 in recent years.

I did manage to sneak out for a little bit of fun, a road trip to the Mall of America.  Apparently, even the Mall cannot escape the influence of classics.  These pictures are in the Lego Store display.  Can you recognize which mythological hero is depicted here?