Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Roman Feast!

Each year I have a Roman feast with my 3rd graders. It is a highlight of the year and provides them with a taste (literally!) of what it might have been like to be a Roman. While the feast is slightly different every year, there are some things that remain the same and provide for a fun and festive event.

The students always recline on triclinia, as was the Roman way! We use mats from the gym and cover them with sheets (or animal print fabric shower curtains as you can see in the picture above) to make them look more Roman. We arrange the mats like this:

We always have rotisserie chicken that we pretend is a Roman delicacy... peacock! Some strategically placed tail feathers help with this illusion, and it would have been historically appropriate for the birds to be "dressed up" before being presented at a Roman feast!

In fact, the food should always be arranged in a visually interesting way, and putting all the foods for a course on a single platter makes sense for the course names of "mensa prima" and "mensa secunda" or "first table" and "second table," because the table "tops" or platters are switched out with each course!

Some years the students wear tunics to the feast. I find that this is a good idea for a few reasons. First, it helps the students put themselves in a Roman frame of mind for the feast. They are no longer 3rd graders, but Roman nobles, and should act differently than they would at their usual lunch period. Second, it protects the students' school uniforms from the food messes that may result from reclining while dining. It's harder than it looks to eat and drink while laying down! Since the students will return to regular classes in the afternoon, it's probably best if their uniforms are not sticky with honey.

Some years I've had entertainment for the students during the feast, as would have been customary for the Romans. Older students have played instruments for the 3rd graders, as their schedules have allowed.

Parent help is ALWAYS necessary. I would not be able to pull off this event every year if not for the parents who help with set up, food preparation, serving, and clean up.

This year I gave students the opportunity to make an authentic Roman recipe for extra credit and it was AMAZING! Quite a few of my students jumped on the opportunity and made recipes, which resulted in a greater variety of Roman dishes than our previous feasts! Because the students made the dishes themselves, they were more excited to try these "strange" dishes and encouraged their friends to do so as well!

Each year I have a few documents that help me stay organized through the process of putting on this feast. You can find these documents here if you're hosting your own feast and think they might help you, too!

Bonam cenam!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Summer Fun... Week Ten!


How was your week off?? While I was on my trip, I found quite a few Latin inscriptions, in countries that were never part of the Roman Empire! It just goes to show how far reaching the influence of the Romans is. I found Latin inscriptions in... Germany, Finland, Estonia, Sweden, and Norway! I also found a Latin inscription on a park bench in New York City.

It says, "alteri vivas oportet si vis tibi vivere" which is translated, "You should live for another if you would live for yourself."


Most of the adjectives we use in elementary Latin are 1st and 2nd declension adjectives. This video explains how 1st and 2nd declension adjectives work.


Write the following bold noun/adjective pairs so that they agree in gender and number. They are all in the nominative case. Use the word banks to determine which noun and adjective forms to use. The answers are in the comments to this post.

bonus, bona, bonum - good
pulcher, pulchra, pulchrum - beautiful
improbus, improba, improbum - naughty
laetus, laeta, laetum - happy
miser, misera, miserum - unhappy
longus, longa, longum - long

mater, matris (f) - mother
puer, pueri (m) - boy
bellum, belli (n) - war
amicus, amici (m) - friend
flumen, fluminis (n) - river
villa, villae (f) - house

1. good friend
2. naughty boy
3. long war
4. beautiful house
5. unhappy mother
6. beautiful river
7. unhappy wars
8. happy friends
9. long rivers
10. beautiful mothers

Not much longer until school starts up again! This will be the last blog post for this summer. We've had 10 weeks of practice, and hopefully you've learned a few new things and enjoyed the lessons! See you in a few weeks!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Summer Fun.... Week Nine

Guess what? I'm on VACATION!! That means you get a week of vacation, too! This week I have a few videos for you to watch, including two that have silly songs to help you remember imperfect endings and the present tense conjugation of amo. You can work on singing these silly songs all week, as they are sure to get stuck in your head! But first, a fable (derived from fabula, meaning story) from Aesop:

Now, for the silliness.... ;) Here is the verb amo in the present tense, conjugated by singing paintings.

That was the present tense, but you remember your imperfect tense endings, right? Just to make sure, let's review....

-bam (I was _________ing)
-bas (you were ________ing)
-bat (he, she, it was _______ing)
-bamus (we were ________ing)
-batis (you all were _______ing)
-bant (they were _________ing)

So.... how would you translate each of these words? (remember, amo means "I love".) Answers are after the video!!


Here's a little video to help you remember the imperfect tense endings! (It is even sillier than the last. **Magistra Wickland shakes her head at all the silliness**)

And now for the answers....

amabat = he, she, it was loving
amabamus = we were loving
amabant = they were loving
amabam = I was loving
amabatis = you all were loving
amabas = you were loving

Did you get all the answers correct?? I hope so! If not, you know what to review this week! Have a great one! (I should be back from vacation next week, but if there's no blog post, I'll be back the week after that!)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Fun... Week Eight!


Last week we learned about the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd declensions. This week we are going to discuss the gender of nouns and the neuter endings for nouns of the 2nd and 3rd declensions. Enjoy the show!!


tempus fugit 

You know from the video above that tempus means 'time' and, as the picture above suggests, fugit means flies, though not in the way you're thinking. Tempus Fugit means time is fleeting, it is passing quickly, it is flying right by us. Time flies when you're having fun.... !


The following nouns are all 2nd declension. Identify whether they are masculine or neuter, based on what you learned from the video above.

bellum, belli
vir, viri
servus, servi
puer, pueri
vallum, valli
hortus, horti
periculum, periculi
verbum, verbi
filius, fili
ager, agri

When you have finished identifying each one as masculine or neuter, you can check your answers below.


The answers are below.

bellum, belli - NEUTER
vir, viri - MASCULINE
servus, servi - MASCULINE
puer, pueri - MASCULINE
vallum, valli - NEUTER
hortus, horti - MASCULINE
periculum, periculi - NEUTER
verbum, verbi - NEUTER
filius, fili - MASCULINE
ager, agri - MASCULINE

Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer Fun... Week Seven!


These videos cover the noun forms for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd declensions. There are several of them, but they are pretty short. Enjoy!


mea culpa

The phrase mea culpa literally means "my fault" and is said as a sort of apology when you have done something wrong. It is the Latin equivalent (and a much classier way) of saying "my bad." Any guesses which declension the noun culpa belongs to? If you guessed the 1st declension, you're right!


Instead of a translation story this week, I have a couple exercises for you to practice what you learned (or reviewed) in the videos above.

Give the declension (1st, 2nd, or 3rd) of each noun by looking at the genitive ending. When you are finished with that, decline the nouns marked with an asterisk (*) using the correct endings. 

princeps, principis ___________

*domina, dominae ____________

*leo, leonis __________________

*servus, servi ________________

puer, pueri _________________

Did you figure them all out? Did you get them all right?


The answers are below: 

princeps, principis - 3rd

domina, dominae - 1st

domina     dominae
dominae   dominarum
dominae   dominis
dominam  dominas
domina     dominis

leo, leonis - 3rd

leo         leones
leonis     leonum
leoni       leonibus
leonem   leones
leone      leonibus

servus, servi - 2nd

servus     servi
servi       servorum
servo      servis
servum    servos
servo      servis

puer, pueri - 2nd*

*This was almost a trick question! The nominative ends in -er, but puer is a 2nd declension noun because its genitive ends in -i. This is part of why it's so important to work carefully in Latin!

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Summer Fun... Week Six!


The first video gives an overview for all of the noun cases in Latin. The students don't learn how to use all 5 cases until 7th grade, but this is a good introduction for students and overview for parents. The second video focuses in on the nominative and accusative cases, which students learn early on, so this is a good review.


You are, no doubt, very familiar with these two quotes, or at least with their abbreviations. We use them regularly, though you perhaps didn't know that the abbreviations stood for Latin. Can you figure out what they mean?

ante meridiem
post meridiem

These two are typically abbreviated am and pm and used with reference to time. Have you figured it out yet? ante meridiem means "before noon" and post meridiem means "after noon." That's why we use am to mean morning and pm to mean afternoon! Look carefully at the ending of meridiem. What case is it?


This week we continue our story of Aeneas and Elissa as he tells about the fall of Troy. As with previous weeks, there are probably words you will encounter in this story which you have not yet learned. I recommend using the following website to look up words you don't know:

Aeneas miseram fortunam Troianorum pulchrae reginae narrabat. 

Aeneas: "Graeci Troiam occupabant. nostros viros feminasque cum amicis ad oppidi portam convocabam. propter periculum sacra deorum ad portam portabamus et Anchisae dabamus. mei servi frumentum et aquam parabant. meis amicis servisque gladios dabam. Anchises deso invocabat: 'amabatis Troiam Troianosque. ubi estis? spectatisne nostra pericula? inter multa pericula laboramus. nonne amant dei nostram patriam?' "

The translation of the story is in the comments. Have a great week!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Fun... Week Five!



Did you know that Latin quotes aren't just for those interested in science and law? Latin quotes can be found all over the place, even in sports! Have you ever heard this phrase before?

anima sana in corpore sano

Perhaps you don't recognize it in this form, but have you ever seen this brand of shoes?

The althetic brand ASICS actually stands for the phrase above. Anima Sana In Corpore Sano. It means "A sound mind in a sound body." So now you know... Latin has infiltrated the sports world, too!


Dido*: "meos tuosque amicos convoco. narra nobis malam fortunam Troiae."

Aeneas: "cum meo parvo filio et femina, Creusa, in oppido meo habitabam. vitam bonam Troianorum laudabamus. nuntii bellum nuntiabant: 'Graeci ad Asiam navigant.' Troiani bellum parabant et Graecos exspectabant. bellum in patriam meam portabant Graeci. Graecorum gladii multos Troianos vulnerabant. Troiani laborabamus: Graeci Troianos superabant. cum Graecis feris pugnabam et multos vulnerabam. O, malam fabulam narro! Graeci meum oppidum altum occupabant. 

*Dido is another name for Elissa, from our previous stories.

This story, again, uses several words introduced in the previous stories, as well as some new ones. Instead of using glossed words to help you, use the following helpful website:

I will post a translation of the story in the comments so you can check your work. Have a great week!!