Wednesday, August 20, 2014

IB Learners in Latin

At the beginning of the school year, I invite our Latin I students to complete a brief profile of themselves for extra credit.  We display their work in the hallway just before back-to-school night so parents can get a sense of what their children will be doing in this class.

The directions are for students to include their name and a recent picture of themselves.  They must complete the Latin sentence Ego sum _____ with the Latin term for one of the IB Learner Profiles.  Even though the words on our resource page are in the plural and a singular is required to complete the sentence, I overlook the necessary grammatical error.  This is, after all, a project within the first few days of school.  They must then include the English translation of the sentence and a brief explanation for why they chose that particular trait as it would apply to them in Latin class.  As always, the results show that our students come to school already prepared for the kind of reflective learning that will lead them to success.

Take Isaac, for example.  He writes that he has "many experiences...which I will be able to draw on to enrich our Latin class experience."  I like that.  As I often tell people, Latin at North Central is a microcosm of a complete liberal arts program, for in it we explore math, art, geography, history, English, and performing arts, all in our study of the ancient Greco-Roman world.  I can't wait to see what Isaac will "bring to the table!"

Then there is Magnolia.  She sees herself as a thinker, one who can use her critical thinking skills to "make reasonable and ethical decisions."  This would be an admirable quality in any adult leader, but it is even more striking when you know that Magnolia is one of our eighth grade students who come to the high school before their middle school starts to take advantage of our world language program.

Zach is open minded, not just in the sense of being willing to explore new ideas, but also by letting "others share their ideas when I am in a group."  Many people talk of being open minded, but it goes to an entirely different level to be willing to sit back and actually listen as others share their ideas.  Once again, this is a striking quality in one of our eighth grade students.

As with being open minded, many people like to say they are risk-takers, but how many actually take that plunge into the deep water?  Carly is doing that not only by taking a new language, but by being willing to risk being wrong with an answer.  I love that!  The first step toward mature learning is not worrying about what people will think if you are wrong.  With an attitude like that, chances are good you will be right more often than you imagined.

While there were many more wonderful profiles, we will conclude with a look at Noah's.  As a thinker he is already expecting to reflect on the topics we discuss.  Any true thinker must engage in reflection, and Noah's awareness of this proves that he is indeed the thinker he thinks himself to be!

With these and all the other wonderful qualities flowing into the mosaic that is Latin at North Central, it is no wonder that our students create the most amazing art with their lives!

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