PHILADELPHIA – JUNE 2006-10-25
I am fortunate in being able to travel and meet pupils and teachers from all over the world who are enjoying Minimus. This summer, Nick and I attended the American Classical League Conference in Philadelphia. This is the most important conference for school teachers of Classics in the States and is regularly attended by over 400 teachers.
Minimus was high profile at this summer’s conference and I enjoyed doing a joint presentation with Zee Ann Poerio on how we promote Latin in different ways in both Britain and in the States. Zee Ann did not study Latin herself at school but has become increasingly interested in it through Minimus and has done a phenomenal job in promoting Minimus and in enthusing her pupils.
On the second day I had been invited to teach a demonstration Minimus lesson with pupils of Gloria Endres from Dunbar School in Philadelphia. The pupils were bright, receptive and enthusiastic. To break the ice we had a meal at McDonalds first and their parents and class teachers joined us and I then taught a 90 minute lesson with just a short break in between. It took some courage to be taught by a stranger, in a room full of strangers, at a prestigious conference for 90 minutes in front of their parents and class teachers! We played ‘Simon Says’ in Latin and the winner, Derrick, then became the Centurion and barked out orders to his peers. In the second part of the lesson we studied the importance of the baths in the life of the Romans and the pupils enjoyed having their skin sprayed with olive oil and scraped off with a strigil (ruler).
Finally, on the last day, Chris Ann Matteo gave a model talk in only 22 minutes on how to set up a Minimus Club. Chris Ann is a University Don and has a 7 year old daughter who asked if she would teach a Minimus Club at her school; Chris Ann has never looked back!
As always perhaps the most important benefit from a conference like this is the contacts one makes and the friendships which have developed over the years. Both Zee Ann and Ruth Ann Besse, who edits the American version of the Minimus Newsletter, will be joining the PLP committee in 2007. This is a significant move and I am looking forward to even greater co-operation between Minimus teachers on both sides of the pond.
Photos from top: Derrick the Centurion; Barbara with pupils from Dunbar School; Chris Ann Matteo, Barbara Bell, Ruth Ann Besse, ZeeAnn Poerio; with pupils, parents, classroom teacher Catherine Memmolo and Minimus teacher Gloria Endres