Readily Adaptable Materials for the P-3 Classroom and the Eternally Young

Kathryn A. Thomas

Creighton University

Martha Habash

Creighton University

Quality materials for teaching Latin at the early childhood and primary levels have become increasingly available in the last decade or two.  However, ready-made materials for Greek are more difficult to find, and additional materials are always welcome in either language.

Criteria for using and recommending pedagogical materials include 1) value for teaching communication and culture; 2) multiplicity of applications, and 3) price. 

One resource is books designed for early-childhood education in English or other modern languages.  For example, an excellent series of educational coloring books was produced in Greece for the Olympics.  The twelve titles in the series include such naturals as I Color the Twelve Gods and I Color Mythological Creatures.  Also included, however, are every-day topics, such as I Color Life at Home (modern Greek: Zwgrafi/zw th Zwh/ sto Spi/ti).  An added advantage of the latter title over similar American books is the nature of the pictures that depict people in classical attire and objects in classical shapes.  The captions for the pictures can easily be translated into the target ancient language.  While it is fun to browse bookstores in Europe, such items are also available over the web. 

Also available from the same kinds of international sources are board games.  A personal favorite of students of Greek is Rally Athina.  While moving game pieces that resemble Athenian owls across the board that contains over sixty separate squares, the students learn to identify and name important landmarks, to call out the numbers on the dice, and to express joy or displeasure, all in the target language.

Available in American bookstores and novelty stores is an excellent series of educational adaptations of the popular game Bingo, namely Jingo.  Particularly recommended are Food Jingo (renamed TROFH in Greek) and Weather Jingo (renamed KALOKAIRH in Greek).  These games work well along with other activities.  For example, students can work in pairs with one student blindfolded.  The student who is not blindfolded hands the other student an artificial piece of food and asks, "Quid est?"  For weather, the teacher might use a simple set of weather symbols for sunny or cloudy or stormy and ask the students to complete the sentence "Hodie est . . . ."

Games still played in America, but with ancient roots (Pick up Sticks, Marbles, and Tiddly Winks) all provide practice with numbers and colors.  Other games require no props.  The popular game I SPY is an example.  Simple conversational patterns (Video quidquid album. /Estne . . . ?) encourage the students not only to learn color words but also to expand their vocabulary as they learn new words for the objects around them.  (Parents appreciate this game because it provides a relatively quiet activity in the SUV and allows them to learn along with their children!)  Simon dicit/o( Pe/trov le/gei) also adapts very well.

The possibilities are endless.  All the materials and methods presented at CAMWS have been tested and have proven to be effective and easy to implement.  Materials will be available for inspection, and a list of resources and sources will be provided.

Topic Codes: PG and PL


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