Thursday, July 05, 2007

Making Connections I

I know that I have posted an image of an umbrella pine tree before... but today I have a reason!

My students and I recently returned from a trip to Italy and Greece and I have a proud-teacher moment I have to share. We had just passed through the Porta Marina and into Pompeii when our local guide herded us into the shade and began his spiel about the city and the eruption of Mount Vesuvius which buried the site in AD 79. The guide went into great detail to describe the eruption and likened the cloud which rose from the mountain to a mushroom or a nuclear blast. One of my students bravely raised her hand and commented, "Pliny the Younger described the cloud as an umbrella pine tree." The guide paused a moment and replied, "Yes! Yes, indeed! You are quite correct!" and, with no umbrella pines in sight, described the tree for the rest of our group. Seemingly impressed that there were students who knew who Pliny the Younger was and had even translated the letter from Latin, he continued to make reference to the letter as our tour continued.

For the rest of the tour that afternoon, I was the one who was beaming with pride that my student had referenced material we had covered in the classroom and used it to make a visit to Pompeii more meaningful.
  • Footnote 1: When you take a group to Pompeii, ask for Eugenio/Eugene or Mimo. Both of these local guides are outstanding and will try to accomodate requests.
  • Footnote 2: If you have extra time in the schedule and the weather is cooperating, ask for more time after the organized tour to allow students to take more pictures or visit sites not normally on the tour, e.g., the amphitheater, gladiators' barracks, palaestra, etc.

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