Latin at Lower Lab Update

We’ve recently been playing two new word games in class to deepen our understanding of the Greek and Latin roots of vocabulary.
Try playing them at home. You’ll be impressed at what Lower Lab students can do!
The Chain Game:
— start with a word
— bicycle, for example
— find a word that shares a root with the previous word
— tricycle, for example
— keep going until you run out of words or get stuck
— bicycle ->  tricycle -> trident -> orthodontist -> orthography -> biography -> biology
— don’t repeat a word you’ve already used
Here’s an example from class:
pictures from lower lab.jpg
You’ll see Lower Lab students with very long chains of impressive vocabulary. I believe the current record is a chain 60 words long!
The Neologism Game:
— Similar to the Chain Game
— but with a twist
— the goal is to invent a neologism (a word that’s not in the dictionary)
— For example, start with a word like telescope
— invent a new word using shared roots along with a definition, telephobia = the fear of long distances
— We’ve collectively produced thousands of new words never before recorded. Here are some highlights of Lower Lab creativity:
gastronaut (referring to Jonah’s journey inside the whale)
gastrarchy (when people let their stomachs make their decisions)
zoarchy (a kingdom where animals are in charge and humans are kept on display)
Some students have even illustrated their neologisms:
neologism.jpg
Try playing these at home and let me know how it goes!
Akiva
asaunders@lowerlab.org

December Latin at Lower Lab

December finds the Latin students at Lower Lab fully on-boarded to the vocabulary game which I developed.

All students in all grades now have their own accounts on playwordcraft.com. We are using Latin and Greek roots to learn sophisticated words like democracy and epidemic, kleptocracy and kleptomania. We’re also learning the surprising origins of common words like disaster (“bad star”), pterodactyl (“wing finger”) and helicopter (“spiral wing”).

I encourage all parents to log on at home with their children and play alongside them for a 3-minute round. You’ll be impressed at how quickly they can break down a word into its parts!

Some students have reported trouble logging in and using the program at home. If this is happening, please email me at asaunders@lowerlab.org and I will do my best to fix it.

 

Akiva

 

 

3rd Grade Latin – week of Oct. 30 – Nov. 3

The 3rd graders have made great progress in Latin grammar, mastering nouns in 2 cases and 3 declensions, and verbs in 3 tenses and all 4 conjugations. Pretty impressive! We have begun our exploration of the adjective and can now tackle such impressive challenges as:
BON-US MUS URS-OS MAL-OS PORT-A-BIT!

Our study of English grammar has taught us the following grammatical concepts:
– subject
– object
– noun
– verb
– adjective

Our zoological-terminology curriculum has taken us through the following progression:
– carnivore vs.  herbivore vs. omnivore
– biped vs. quadruped vs. arthropod vs. arthropod vs. gastropod
– vertebrate vs. invertebrate

– monogastric vs. polygastric

 

Soon we will begin playing learning games on computers and iPhones, just like the 4th and 5th graders.

Please contact me if I can be of any help!

Akiva

asaunders@lowerlab.org

 

4th Grade Latin – week of Oct. 30 – Nov 3

The 4th graders have made great progress in Latin grammar, mastering nouns in 2 cases and 3 declensions, and verbs in 3 tenses and all 4 conjugations. Pretty impressive! We have begun our exploration of the adjective and can now tackle such impressive challenges as:
BON-US MUS URS-OS MAL-OS PORT-A-BIT!

Our study of English grammar has taught us the following grammatical concepts:
– subject
– object
– noun
– verb
– adjective

Our zoological-terminology curriculum has taken us through the following progression:
– carnivore vs.  herbivore vs. omnivore
– biped vs. quadruped vs. arthropod vs. arthropod vs. gastropod
– vertebrate vs. invertebrate

– monogastric vs. polygastric

Alongside all that, we have started to learn the roots of English vocabulary using the computer game I created especially for Lower Lab.

WORDCRAFT is a fast-paced vocabulary game supercharged with Latin and Greek roots. We will be learning hundreds of sophisticated words and most importantly, gaining skill and confidence in breaking down any word into its parts.

Wordcraft can be played at home and at school. On laptops, iPhones or iPads. Check out your progress by clicking “my progress on the upper right hand side.”

Usernames and passwords have been passed out in class. If you need help please contact Akiva asaunders@lowerlab.org

5th graders – week of Oct. 31 – Nov 3

5th grade Latin has made great progress on etymology and vocabulary-acquisition. We are in week 4 of our vocabulary game (Wordcraft), exploring the roots of hundreds of sophisticated words and developing the skill and confidence to analyze any word.

Every week we’ve been exploring a root in depth, its mythological origins and its modern manifestations. Recent topics include:

  • Sirens: Why are the noisy things on ambulances are named after the deadly monsters who lived among the rocks ad lured sailors to their death?
  • Abyss: What is the abyss and how did it get its name?
  • Pan: what’s the connection between Pangea, pandemonium, Pandora’s box and what does the mischievous Pan have to do with our word panic?

Welcome To Latin at Lower Lab

It’s time for another year of Latin at Lower Lab!

In case anyone missed my introductory presentation last week here’s a recap:

To introduce myself: For 13 years I’ve been teaching college-level Latin at CUNY’s Latin/Greek Institute, where I am Chair of Latin.

Although I enjoy college Latin, I absolutely LOVE teaching at Lower Lab. Younger minds are complete sponges for information and research has shown that younger brains are wired to learn language faster.

Although “Latin” is a convenient shorthand for what we do at Lower Lab, a better description would be something like “The Classical Foundations of the English Language.”

We use Latin and Greek as a gateway to English, a stepping stone to study the core concepts of language:

— roots

— prefixes and suffixes

— parts of speech (verbs, nouns, conjunctions)

— grammar and syntax (subject, objects, predicates, subordination)

One of our main activities will be using Latin and Greek roots to expand our vocabulary.

Since 75% of the most advanced vocabulary in English comes from Latin and Greek, learning roots in these languages is a powerful way to expand one’s vocabulary exponentially. Here’s an example:

Most people know the meaning of carnivore, herbivore and omnivore. That’s 4 roots (CARN = flesh, HERB = plant, VOR = eat, OMNI = all.

Those 4 roots lead to advanced words like incarnation, herbicide, regicide, omniscient.

Once we see that SCI = know, we have new insight into what a SCIentist does. We also can decipher words like preSCIent.

Prescient leads us to preliminary and once we know that LIMIN = threshold or doorway,  we can decipher a sophisticated word like subliminal, which describes an influence that slips beneath the threshold of our conscious perception.

The process goes on and on, improving not only our vocabulary but also our analytical ability. Meaning we will never be intimidated by a word but always able to break it down into parts and decipher it.

In class we will be using software I created especially for Lower Lab that will help us learn the Latin and Greek roots in a fast-paced game. Soon an iPhone app will be available for play at home.

Looking forward to another great year of learning at LLS! Please be in touch if I can clarify or help.

Akiva

asaunders@lowerlab.org