Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Who's Your Juno?

Our Latin I (Latin 1/2) class has started an IB-MYP unit that is exploring the legend of Aeneas.  This foundational story for Roman history comes back to us in AP Latin when we read Vergil's Aeneid, and the version in our Latin I textbook is our introduction to it.

Today we read that the hero of the story, Aeneas, had fled from Troy with a small band of refugees.  The Greeks were winning the Trojan War, and Venus had told her son, Aeneas, to take a small band and flee.  Their mission was to find a new homeland, but Juno, the queen of the gods, held a grudge against the Trojans and brought them endless trouble as they sailed the Mediterranean.

After we had translated our story from the Latin and had drawn maps to detail where Aeneas traveled in the Mediterranean, we paused for something different.  A key component of the IB-MYP is reflection, and our guiding question for this unit is, "How do I handle unexpected obstacles to reaching my goals?"  I asked the students to spend a few minutes jotting down who was their Juno.  I suggested that their Juno might be a particular person, a group of people, or even someone from the past, someone who had made a hurtful comment that has lingered in the mind.  I also asked them to write how they had dealt with this Juno.  I pointed out that not everyone has a Juno, and this was fine, too.  I also stated that no one would need to share anything he or she did not want to.

After they had taken a few minutes to reflect, a few students in each of our Latin I classes did choose to share.  For one person, her Juno was people she had thought were her friends, but really were not.  She chose to dissociate herself from those people.  Another student said she herself could be her own Juno by doubting her abilities.  She dealt with that by thinking of the bigger picture.  Other students took a different approach.  One said that his Juno was personal laziness.  One said her Juno was the challenging schedule of athletics.

As is always the case, two things came of this.  Students thought in broader ways than I could have imagined, and Classical literature provided the raw material for important understandings of life.

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