Message from the Director of the Primary Latin Project
‘Io! Three cheers for this brilliant achievement’ says Lindsey Davis, proud Patron of Minimus, on the 20th anniversary of the publication of Minimus: starting out in Latin. You may have seen this tweet, amongst others, on 24th August 2019. Sales of the first book are now heading towards 175,000 - and interest continues to grow in the UK and in many other parts of the world.
The new website for the Primary Latin Project is now live: www.primarylatinproject.org.
You will find news, details of the Mythology Competition, how to apply for a grant, Daniel Morden and Hugh Lupton’s recordings of the myths, plus other resources. If you have any Classical news, please let me know. You can follow PLP on Twitter (@PrimaryLatin). Please note that the new website does not replace www.minimus.com.
I am delighted to announce that the PLP has four new patrons: Stephen Harrison, Professor of Latin Literature, Corpus Christi College, Oxford; Bettany Hughes, historian, author and broadcaster; Dr Peter Jones, classicist, writer and journalist; Sir Tom Stoppard, playwright.
As always, my thanks to Rachael Jones, PLP’s Administrator, for her calmness and efficiency and to the whole PLP team for their hard work and enthusiasm.
Minimus at Vindolanda, May 25th – 26h, 2019
The Minimus weekend at Vindolanda was a very enjoyable event and provided an opportunity for PLP Committee members and trainers to spread the word about Classics and the importance of Latin as a root language and the pleasure it can give students of all ages – and, of course, the benefit of using the Minimus programme. There were many activities at Vindolanda and the Roman Army Museum; visitors came from all over Britain and beyond. The chance to have a photograph with Minimus proved to be very popular (see the photograph at the end)! Our thanks to the staff at Vindolanda and the Roman Army museum for organising the event and making us feel so welcome.
We held a Minimus Training Day on June 22nd, 2019 in Birmingham University. It was a chance to share resources and best practice – and increase our number of trainers. PLP now has 24 trainers placed around the country. Please tell any teachers, who might be interested in introducing Latin, that training can be provided free of charge thanks to the generosity of Classics for All.
Report from PLP’s Honorary President
Patrons : I am delighted to report that Professor Stephen Harrison, Sir Tom Stoppard, Bettany Hughes and Dr Peter Jones have all agreed to be patrons of Minimus. They join Lindsey Davis, author of the Roman mystery books.
Training : I very much enjoyed training two teachers from the Ide Primary School in Exeter, in my home. I do much less training these days but am willing to train individuals or small groups in and around Bristol or the Midlands.
PGCE : I was pleased to introduce student teachers (MFL, English and History) to Minimus, on a one-day course at Bristol University.
Dublin: It was good to return to Dublin to speak at a curriculum conference at University College. Teachers in Southern Ireland are facing a major curriculum review and were exploring different ways to introduce Classical subjects.
Vindolanda: It was excellent to take part in this special event at Vindolanda, along with several of the PLP committee and my family. My job was to give families a taster lesson in Latin, using the first chapter of Minimus.
Minimus is 20! Minimus has reached a significant birthday – Minimus was published on August 24th, 1999! It has been a real adventure for me and my family; thank-you for your part in it!
Minimus et cetera - a few frequently asked questions:
1. Can I pay for goods with a card? Unfortunately we do not have this facility. Please either send a cheque or preferably by bank transfer.
2. Do you have digital versions of the workbooks & Minibooks? No, all our books are in print form.
3. Do you send your materials abroad? Yes, all over the world.
4. How can I pay if I live abroad? We can send you a PayPal invoice so you can pay in your own currency.
5. What are the essential materials for your programme? There are two main textbooks –
" Minimus -Starting out in Latin " and " Minimus Secundus - Moving on in Latin". Each of these has an accompanying Teachers' Handbook and CD. These are the essential components.
6. What are the extra books you produce? Minimusculus is designed for the very young (approx. 3-6 years old ); 3 sets of Minibooks; 2 pupils' workbooks, one to accompany each of the textbooks.
7. How are the Minibooks used? They are extra readers which can be given to children who have already completed a task; some teachers use them for drama; sometimes they are used as prizes in competitions.
8. What level are the Minibooks? Set 1 should be used with the first Minimus book; set 3 with the second. Set 2 can work with either book. NB they contain no new grammar. The stories in set 1 are short and simple; in sets 2 & 3 they become a little more demanding with more vocabulary.
9. How long will it take to receive an order? Providing Nick is at home, he aims to parcel up and post the books off within 24 hours once we have received the payment. In the UK, Royal Mail should deliver within a few days. If the destination is the United States or elsewhere abroad, delivery is usually between 7 and 14 days, although we are not able to control this time.
For any further queries about Minimus Et Cetera, please contact us by email at email@example.com .
PLP Minimus Mythology Competition 2019
It was another very successful year for the annual mythology competition. We had entries from 21 different schools this year, including one from the USA, one from Australia and one home-schooler from the States. It was good to see more entries at Level 2 and more Drama entries again this year. The judges were delighted at the exceptionally high standard of the entries across the board this year. The creative writing work was especially pleasing and the new animation category proved popular.
General Comments and Feedback from the Judges
Art: Once again I have been amazed by the wide range of styles of entries this year, including 3D models, paintings and simple pencil drawings. The entries have been assessed taking age into account and therefore differing abilities. Many different materials were used and every entry made a good attempt to portray the myths, some even having a go at modernising them! Special mention should go to Heath Mount and Chicago Grammar for a high standard of entries this year.
Creative Writing: All entries this year have been a pleasure to judge. There has been some range in genres with storyboards, diary entries, newspapers, playscripts and lots of poetry! It is always fascinating to see a myth interpreted in different ways and from different points of view. Higher marks have gone to pieces interpreted in an imaginative way (viewpoint, genre, chosen vocabulary) and also showing technical accuracy (sentence structure and punctuation). Every entrant should feel proud of their creativity and the quality of their work. I can only thank them for the pleasure of reading them.
Animation: I am so pleased we decided to include a category for Animations this year as there has been such a good response to the new category. The children have clearly enjoyed the challenge of creating their short videos. As well as show-casing their artwork and modelling skills, many of the pupils used music, sound effects, speech bubbles, and voiceovers or subtitles to add interest and wit to their entries. Well done all of you!
Drama: the quality of the performances was generally high this year and it was good to receive more entries than in recent years. The roles of Midas (and Queen Midas in several cases!) were performed with confidence and enthusiasm, and there were some lively depictions of other characters such as Midas’ daughter, the drunken satyr Silenus, Pan, Apollo and the judge of the singing contest. The story was well-researched and some plays included a number of extra elements such as the music competition and the donkey’s ears. Some pupils had worked hard to memorise their lines, others improvised.
The standard of the Latin in the scripts was mainly very good and the children involved generally pronounced the words accurately and audibly. All the plays were clear about the moral of the story. Using music, costumes, props and sound effects added to the dramatic quality of many entries. There was also some very beautiful singing in two of the plays and a rap (in Level 2) which was great fun. The teamwork involved between the children (and across the age groups in some entries) helps make the collaborations even more enjoyable. Well done and thank you to everyone who entered, wrote and filmed their plays.
It’s always good to hear the reactions from the schools when the prizes arrive.
‘I was so thrilled when my teacher announced that I’d won 3rd prize. I enjoyed writing my retelling of the myth and learning more about King Midas. Thank you for giving me this great opportunity. I am looking forward to entering the competition next year.’
‘Thank you so much for organising the Minimus Latin Mythology Competition! I thoroughly enjoyed participating and being able to retell the story of King Midas in my own way. I also liked the different categories so anyone can enter, no matter their skill sets.’
‘I had great fun in researching the stories of King Midas. King Midas is a tool used to teach us about the dangers of being greedy. Thanks again for this wonderful opportunity for me to explore more in Greek mythology.’
‘The results have arrived! Thank you very much. We will let our children know next week as our Y6s are at camp this week; they'll be chuffed. Thanks for taking the time to write to each child too - that will be special for them.’
Grateful thanks go again to our two main judges and to The Jowett Trust for generously financing the book token prizes again this year.
It has been a joy to have been involved in running the Mythology Competition for the past four years, but it is now time to hand over the task to a new organiser for 2020. My thanks to everyone who has worked with me during this time, and especially to all the children and their teachers whose imaginations and creativity have given us such enjoyment each and every year.
Why not start planning for the 2020 competition as we think ahead to the next academic year? The subjects will be Daedalus and Icarus for Level One and Herakles and the Hydra for Level Two. For further details, keep checking the PLP website.
For a full list of winners and more images please go to :
Since the last Newsletter, I am delighted to report that eight schools have received PLP grants. They are: Church Road Primary, Bolton; St Luke’s C of E Primary, Kingston-upon-Thames; St Pancras Catholic Primary, East Sussex; St Peter’s Primary School, Cambs; Pensans Primary, Cornwall; Haselbury Plucknett Primary, Somerset; Ward Jackson Church of England Primary School, Hartlepool; St Margaret’s CE Primary School, Anfield.
Please note changes to grant applications: applications will be considered by the trustees of PLP three times per year. The next deadline is February 15th, 2020. Grants are awarded to state schools and range from c. £50 - £250.
The new grant form is available on the PLP website. If you have any questions regarding PLP grants, please do not hesitate to contact me.
News Across the Pond
MInimus at the PSMLA Conference in Pennsylvania
The American Classical League (ACL) continues its centennial celebration and joined in congratulating PSMLA and PACIE on their Anniversary Celebrations this year as well. ACL is a Silver Sponsor along with Cambridge University Press (CUP). Together ACL and CUP cosponsored the Wine and Cheese at the anniversary celebration at the PSMLA conference. The conference took place October 24-25, 2019, many of the topics, sessions, and activities shared from Modern Language teachers can be adapted for Classics. There were also sessions with Latin examples on the schedule.
Zee Ann Poerio, one of the USA Representatives for the PLP, presented two sessions in the Technology Garden at the conference and included some examples using video and digital animation. Follow @MagistraZee on Twitter.
The American Classical League Summer Institute will take place at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina from June 24-27, 2020. We hope to see some of our friends from across the pond.
SCRIBO is an international Latin composition contest, designed to spur interest and excitement in using Latin for creative writing! Students may submit their original short stories, poems, or comics on this year's theme: Roman Daily Living.
Please see the Scribo website for contest details, a rubric, and a recommended themed vocabulary list.
Please contact the Scribo Chair if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
For information about the American Classical League Exam opportunities and events, please visit the ACL website:
Do listen to Helen Forte’s Coffee & Circuses podcast with Dr David Walsh all about @minimus_latin and her work for it. Follow this link to listen to it: https://twitter.com/d_j_walsh/status/1159763675315675136
I can recommend the excellent ‘Last Supper in Pompeii’ exhibition at the Ashmolean, Oxford. It runs until 12th January 2020.
I am also looking forward to ‘Troy – Myth and Reality’ at the British Museum, which opens on November 21st, 2019.
Latin is now available on Duolingo: https://www.duolingo.com/
With many thanks for your support,
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