Thursday, March 09, 2006

National Foreign Language Week 2006

This has been National Foreign Language Week and, in our school, Latin was assigned Thursday as our day to celebrate. I am proud to say that we made quite a splash compared to the other languages!

Our activities included:
  • A Poster Contest among all foreign language students - I gave the opportunity to my students to make a poster (on regulation-size poster board, 22" x 28") promoting Latin or National Foreign Language Week. There were more posters from Latin students than all the other languages combined! We asked for volunteers among the teaching staff to judge these posters and awarded candy bars to the top three winners. The criteria for judging was based on creativity, attractiveness, and how well the poster promoted their language and/or NFLW. Posters from Latin students won 1st and 3rd place!
  • Toga Day - The students could opt to wear a toga or other classical garb. I gave them a "Toga Confirmation Sheet" which each teacher must sign stating that they wore their toga in their classroom on that day and the students must turn them in on the day of their next class for extra credit. Some ground rules for this activity are that students must wear appropriate clothing underneath their toga and they may take off their toga for physical education class and any science laboratory involving fire.
  • An Advertising Campaign in which students displayed on their lockers a poster (made by me) depicting an image of the Capitoline Wolf suckling Romulus and Remus and the Latin phrase Lingua Latina Vivit! Each poster was given a random number and I announced that I would go around school Thursday afternoon and record the numbers I saw for extra credit. This was the first time I have tried such an approach and I must admit it was rather neat to walk through the halls and see these posters spread out on seemingly random lockers announcing proudly that Latin was still alive. But wait, it doesn't stop there... I also made 100 posters on bright yellow paper with a scene from the Roman Forum and asking, "Is Your English in Ruins...? Take Latin!" and "See Your Guidance Counselor Today!" These were posted by student volunteers all around the school for maximum exposure.
  • A Trivia Question - For this morning's announcements I wrote: "This is National Foreign Language Week and today is Latin Day! Bring your answer to the following question to Room 214 by 2:00 TODAY. The first correct answer drawn out of the box will receive a chocolate candy bar. What is the name of the British document called the "Great Paper", first written in 1215 which required that King John operate somewhat under the rule of law and began to set the foundations for guaranteeing rights for the people? It was written in Latin so that all civilized peoples could read and understand it!" I was quite surprised when no fewer than ten students hustled up to my door and placed their answers in the box. Usually we get two or three students who shuffle in and out throughout the day.

Activities such as these generate enthusiasm and pride in the study of Latin and promote the language among the students, teachers, and administration. Fortuitously, this was also the week in which students began signing up for next year's classes, so, perhaps, some shameless promotion will pay off dividends of increased enrollment figures in Latin I.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that you begin by saying, "compared to other languages." Isn't this a time of languages coming together? The good of all foreign languages?