2018 Precollegiate Teaching Award Winners

The Society is delighted to announce this year's winners of the awards for Excellence in the Teaching of Classics at the Precollegiate Level.  We congratulate Susan Meyer and Thomas J. (TJ) Howell, who will both receive their awards at the Plenary Session in San Diego. You can read their citations below:

Thomas J. Howell Citation

Thomas J. Howell likes to describe his vision of teaching as “one that marries innovative language pedagogy to deep exploration of topics in an environment where language and humanistic study is welcomed and supported.” Currently at Northampton High School, Massachusetts, Thomas or “TJ”, as his students know him, has taught Latin at the secondary level since 2000. He has developed a highly creative approach to Latin instruction within a four-skills framework. His students are drawn in through “compelling, high-quality, culturally relevant comprehensible input texts”, from Harrius Potter and the incomparable Commentarii de inepto puero (anglice: Diary of a Wimpy Kid) to the Bayeux Tapestry and Catullus. As he likes to tell them, “Latin isn’t a puzzle to be decoded – it’s a language that can be read and understood without translation just like any other.” One of his novel approaches is to adopt hand signs from an instructional system designed to create new speakers for languages on the brink of extinction called “Where are your Keys” (WAYK). These allow students to express stress levels and comprehension, and thus help TJ “address their immediate emotional or intellectual needs without stopping class or drawing undue attention to themselves”. One of his favorite techniques is “Full Check,” where students can communicate to their readiness to acquire language. TJ explains, “If everyone is ‘full’ - perhaps they’re tired, or they’ve had a bad day, or they’re hungry - I’ll change my focus to review already familiar material or tell a myth or a fable”.

WAYK is an oral method and TJ takes presentational speaking, in the new Classical Language Learning Standards, very seriously. Beyond his own classroom, he has taught at the SALVI Rusticatio and Conventiculum Bostoniense for the last several summers, and recently started with the Biduum Minnesotanum. He is an inspiring example to his students. As one of his writers described it, “His command of the Latin language is impeccable and the breadth of his familiarity with Latin texts is simply stunning.” His students respond with enthusiasm. Another writer notes: “The walls of his classroom are decorated with narratives, paintings, projects, and other evidence of student enthusiasm for the subject and competence in the language, and I have seen students participate in a range of activities that indicate the considerable depth and breadth of TJ’s commitment to effective pedagogy”. TJ works hard to foster a sense of belonging. He throws all-student  banquets  to  celebrate  National  Latin  Exam  winners and creates projects that bring students together across levels, as when his Latin 2 class did a unit on oracles and the future tense and his level 5s wrote ambiguous answers to their questions. It is no surprise that students want to continue their Latin with TJ. As the teacher of middle school that feeds Northampton High writes, “since he began teaching in Northampton this fall, every parent and student who visits me has told me the same thing: they are loving Latin. They seem to be too busy getting caught up in real communication in the classroom to notice how hard they’re working and how much they’re improving”.

TJ has worked tirelessly to promote the Classics. In partnership with UMass-Boston, he has developed a dual enrollment program for Northampton and contributed significantly to the UMass teacher training program, mentoring no less than fourteen student teachers in their practicums while offering regular SLA workshops to their incoming students. He has contributed professional service all levels, serving as President of the Classical Association of Massachusetts, as CANE blog editor and board member, and as a member of the recent ACTFL committee to reconsider the new Standards for Classical Language Learning. Memorably described as “a master  teacher  and  a  consummate  professional”, TJ richly deserves a 2018 SCS Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Precollegiate Level.

Susan Meyer Citation

Susan “Magistra” Meyer has taught in Culbreth Middle School, Chapel Hill, since 2010. Her nominator’s words testify vividly to her talents: “Susan is a genius at what she does. If there were a MacArthur Award that accommodated Middle School teachers, I would nominate her for that.” As a more modest prize, the SCS is delighted to recognize Susan with an Excellence in Precollegiate Teaching Award.

The first of the many innovations Susan’s students and colleagues praise is a system she designed to encourage learning for its own sake and foster an inclusive, collaborative community. Fans of Harry Potter will recall the “House System” at Hogwarts. Magistra Susan took the concept of a ‘Latin family’ and created a ‘gens system’ that would randomly sort students into one of four Roman families (Claudians, Julians, Flavians, and Cornelians). Students earn famae or reputation points for their gens for positivity, personal growth, and the pursuit of academic opportunities. They might play Susan’s course on Memrise, a digital vocabulary game, on their bus ride home or make military standards, cartoons, stories, or charters for their gentes in Latin, or even come in early to tutor younger gens members. And yes, famae can be taken away for bad deeds, but on the other hand they are awarded generously when students continue to take Latin after middle school. Lavish famae are given to the gens of an alum who takes AP Latin. One million are awarded, if they become a Latin teacher.

Susan is taking retention to a new level. As she explains, her alumni “are active fixtures” in her classroom. As long as a student is the district, they can stay in the digital classroom until 12th grade. Alumni make posts encouraging their younger gens members to turn in missing work or to dress up for the biannual spirit day competition. They submit T-shirt designs with slogans like “The diem ain’t gonna carpe itself”. As a parent notes, “When you enter Ms. Meyer’s class in middle school, you are never her student for just a semester. You are her student for life. You become part of an intergenerational community of students, parents and teachers inspired by Ms. Meyer to love and enjoy learning together”. Susan’s outreach activities foster positive attitudes to Roman culture. Students and alumni flock to her annual study abroad trips. They also take part in community events. As one proud parent notes, “Magistra has recruited an army of nerds who put on togas and march each year in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Holiday Parade and turn the high school theater into the Underworld on Halloween”. Students submit modern Latin-related items for the classroom “ROMA VIVIT” board or take on the “Passive Voice Challenge,” attempting to use nothing but the passive for an entire school day. They create “Wonderful Verba” etymology videos (for those who miss middle school humor, the video on “incendiarism” is must see) or they read articles on her Classical Tumblr page, amoRoma. A parent explains that “Magistra is completely fluent in the language, social media, and pop culture of her students”, and a ninth grade alumna may best encapsulate the experience of Susan’s classes: “I loved how she taught in such detail that after her class even after I left the school I still think on a regular bases about word origin and how language works. Magistra's class was not only a Latin class but a life class.”

This hasn’t come easy. Susan inherited a weak program, which she has grown from a couple of classes of two and nine students respectively to five full classes at an average of twenty to twenty-five students. Her program flourishes with a diverse population. As a former teacher writes, “Ms. Meyer’s students reflect the diversity of North Carolina public schools. Her students are black, brown and white and from a wide range of economic strata. Her classroom is a haven where they learn and thrive with students across grades, schools and various other social divides. Susan has long sought to “be the teacher that I needed when I was a kid” and has succeeded brilliantly. In the words of a parent, “Magistra Meyer was born to teach middle school Latin.”

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150th Logo

As part of the organization's Sesquicentennial celebrations, SCS has developed a short history of its book publications. You can read that history here and download a full list of books published by SCS, formerly the American Philological Association.

View full article. | Posted in Websites and Resources on Mon, 12/10/2018 - 11:35am by Helen Cullyer.

TEACHING ROME AT HOME

May 2-4, 2019, College Park, Maryland

The Department of Classics at the University of Maryland, College Park, invites proposals from university and K-12 teachers and graduate students for papers and workshops on the ways in which Latin and ancient Roman civilization are now being taught to and connected with a contemporary American audience, with special emphasis on issues of contemporary urgency such as the legacies of gender and social inequality and of slavery. 

The "Classics" were etymologically and institutionally synonymous with attending "class" in the United States from the colonial period up until the end of the nineteenth century.  Americans studied Roman history and literature in school and thus Rome seemed already to be their “home,” especially since the Romans deposed kings who once ruled them just as revolutionary Americans set out to do with the British King. Over its second century, however, America gradually confronted its idealization of a Roman past and began to explore, in discussions of women's rights, of sexual identity, of multiculturalism, and of the fall of Rome, the ways in which the realities of antiquity might speak to us.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 12/10/2018 - 9:47am by Erik Shell.










Prof. Laura Gawlinski takes a look at the newly renovated Epigraphic Museum in Athens and notes the ways in which museums are working to make their holdings more accessible for students, teachers, and the public. 


Renovated Room 11. Molly Richardson (ASCSA/ SEG) introduces the EM to members of the Regular Program of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. 

Many readers of the SCS blog have had the pleasure of carrying out research at the Epigraphic Museum in Athens. If you haven’t visited in a while, it is well worth stopping by to see the results of the recent renovations of its two main exhibition rooms, celebrated in a grand opening ceremony on May 25, 2017. 

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 12/10/2018 - 7:27am by Laura Gawlinski.

Classical reception comes in many forms—including beer. Just ask Colin MacCormack, a Classics graduate student at the University of Texas-Austin. For the past few years, he has been brewing his own beer with classically inspired names and labels that he makes himself. He often serves these brews at annual lectures or at department functions.

I can attest firsthand to the fact that MacCormack’s beer is delicious, but what stuck with me longer than either his hoppy Rye Pale Ale or his Ale Caesar! Honey-Sage IPA was the time he put into his beer labels. It got me thinking not only about the way that the ancient world is reshaped in popular culture, but what role Classicists can and should have in shaping that reformulation.


Figure 1: At the Classics Department at UT-Austin's annual William J. Battle Lecture, graduate student Colin MacCormack brews and labels beer for the annual lecturer. In 2017, there was a rye pale ale and a Belgian style quadrupel (Image taken by Sarah E. Bond right before she drank both of these beers).

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 12/07/2018 - 7:01am by Sarah Bond.

Philip Levine

September 8, 1922 - November 25, 2018

Dr. Philip Levine died at age 96 on Sunday, November 25, 2018. Born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, he moved to Beverly Hills in 1961 where he resided for the rest of his life. He leaves behind two sons, Jared and Dr. Harlan, who were his biggest source of pride, and four grandchildren, Zoe, Zachary, Hannah and Zane, who were a source of joy later in life.

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Tue, 12/04/2018 - 9:29am by Erik Shell.

(Written by Ralph Rosen and Joe Farrell, with assistance from Karen Faulkner and James O’Donnell)

Wesley D. Smith, Professor Emeritus of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, died at his home in Philadelphia on June 23, 2018. He was 88 years old.

Wesley was born in the copper-mining town of Ely, Nevada on March 26, 1930. His family moved to Seattle, where he attended public schools and the University of Washington, where he earned a BA in Classics in 1951. He went on to graduate work at Harvard University, earning his MA in 1953 and his PhD in 1955. That same year, he began teaching in the Classics Department at Princeton University, but was immediately drafted into the U.S. Navy upon the expiration of his student visa. Between 1956  and 1958, his duties included organizing and running high school classes for naval recruits in Virginia. In later life, Wesley liked to say that he ran the first racially integrated school in that state. He returned to Princeton in 1957, and then in 1961 moved to Penn, where he remained, rising through the cursus honorum from assistant professor to associate professor to professor, until his retirement in 1996. 

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Tue, 12/04/2018 - 9:15am by Erik Shell.
This year, thirteen intrepid classicists ventured into uncharted territory: they wrote business cases for the "Becoming a Leader" series of Ancient Leadership case studies for the online SAGE Business Cases (SBC). Following on their successful experiment, I would like to invite you to submit case proposals for "Emotional Intelligence and Leadership", the next series of Ancient Leadership cases for SBC.
 
View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 12/04/2018 - 8:42am by Erik Shell.

Introduction

This year the SCS Is proud to announce two winners of our annual Outreach Prize.

Please join us in congratulating the University of Cincinnati and Dr. Sarah Bond for their unparalleled efforts.

Winners

The Classics Outreach Program of the University of Cincinnati

The Outreach Prize Committee is very happy to award the 2018 SCS Outreach Prize to the University of Cincinnati’s Classics Outreach Program.

For a decade now, the Classics Outreach Program has been taking the “Classics for All” mission to heart. In close consultation with faculty members who serve as mentors, Cincinnati Classics graduate students have been meeting with a wide variety of local audiences and sharing with them the wonders of ancient Greece, Rome, and the Ancient Mediterranean more broadly.

Driven by their love of teaching and passion for the material, the members of the Outreach Program have devoted their time and energy to bringing the classical world in all its complexity to many who would not otherwise have such a chance to explore them: students in elementary, middle, and high schools (private and public; suburban and inner-city); community and youth centers; and the elderly in retirement communities and nursing homes. UC’s Outreach Program has thus helped cultivate interest in classical culture amongst a broad range of constituents.

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Mon, 12/03/2018 - 2:49pm by Erik Shell.

Call for Papers: Symposium Campanum 2019

Reading the City: Inscriptions of the Bay of Naples

October 23-27, 2019

Directors: Jacqueline DiBiasie-Sammons (University of Mississippi) and Holly M. Sypniewski (Millsaps College)

The Vergilian Society invites proposals for papers for the 2019 Symposium Campanum at the Villa Vergiliana in Cuma, Italy.

This symposium investigates the role of inscribed materials in the cities, towns, and villas of Campania. Unlike the nearly bare walls of today’s ruins, the written word had a vibrant presence in antiquity. From the large, stone inscriptions on buildings and monuments, to the small, nearly invisible graffiti in private homes, writing was ubiquitous. The goal of the symposium is to investigate the role of inscriptions in the Bay of Naples. How did everyday people interact with the writing on their walls, tombs, statues, and buildings? Does the presence and quantity of writing inform our understanding of ancient literacy? What is the potential and limitations of inscriptions to illuminate aspects of Roman society, or their limitations?

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 12/03/2018 - 11:56am by Erik Shell.

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to draw your attention to the following announcement from the Association of Ancient Historians (AAH):

The deadline for the receipt of paper proposals for the AAH Annual Meeting in April 2019 at Emory University in suburban Atlanta, Georgia, has been extended until Wednesday, December 5th, 2018 at 11:59 p.m.

The theme this year is “Connections and Receptions in the Ancient Mediterranean World.” Please submit a 300-word abstract and short bibliography of 3-5 sources reflecting the state of the question (bibliography not required for Presidential panel) to ancientmed@emory.edu.

All of our sessions will be held in the new Rita Anne Rollins building in the Candler School of Theology on the Emory campus. The meeting room includes smart technology for presentations. Hotel accommodation can be reserved at the Emory Conference Center Hotel (https://www.emoryconferencecenter.com/) on the edge of campus.

Papers are welcome on the following topics:

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 12/03/2018 - 10:55am by Erik Shell.

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As part of the organization's Sesquicentennial celebrations, SCS has develope
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TEACHING ROME AT HOME May 2-4, 2019, College Park, Maryland
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(Written by Ralph Rosen and Joe Farrell, with assistance from Karen Faulk
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