After some exhausting research and preparation, I finally managed to put together my updated curricula for English 8 and Latin 7 for the 2010-2011 school-year:
*Greek Gods and Heroes, by Robert Graves
*Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson
(School Year Readings)
*The Essential Odyssey, by Homer; trans. Stanley Lombardo
*The Burial at Thebes (A New Verse Translation of Sophocles’ Antigone), trans. Seamus Heaney
*Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare
*The Nick Adams Stories, by Nick Adams
*Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens [Enrichment Sections Only]
*Night, by Elie Wiesel
*Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
*100 Great Poets of the English Language (ed. Dana Gioia) [Poetry Anthology]
*Oxford Latin Course, Part I, by Maurice Balme and James Morwood
*The Ancient Romans, by Allison Lassieur
The English courses expl0re the nature of narratives from early history throughout modern times; we make comparisons to non-canonical texts often (e.g., we will compare Odysseus to explicitly non-Western heroes like Rama and Mulan). While we’ll scrutinize and act out the texts of Antigone and Romeo and Juliet, we’ll also view and study Kenneth Branagh‘s film version of Much Ado About Nothing. The last (and largest) leg of the course will explore how we communicate themes and truths through fictional and nonfictional narratives (e.g., The Nick Adams Stories, Night, etc.). To complement this comprehensive literary study of the human condition, we will watch and analyze Life is Beautiful and perhaps Hotel Rwanda.
The Latin course will introduce 7th Graders to the Latin language and Roman history and culture in general. The idea with this class is to provide a context for the language, which is vital since the language itself is, of course, “dead” (or at least not spoken commonly). A large portion of the course entails a hands-on simulation in which the students act as the various branches of the Roman senate to solve a variety of problems that I throw at them throughout the year (ranging from food shortages to barbarian invasions). Eventually, the senate simulations give way to governing simulations; this shift will coincide with our study of Rome’s shift from Republic to Empire. With the appropriate context in place, the students will begin reading and writing elementary Latin sentences by the start of the second semester.
Hoc multus labor fuit, et nunc fessus sum! Valete!