Introduction: We are excited to continue our popular Educator Spotlight series, and also to expand it to feature both classroom and office educators who are the heart of Gibbons. In doing so, we offer readers a glimpse of how Gibbons educators care for and engage with students, forming them as men and women of faith, service, and leadership in church and community. We launched the series this year by spotlighting counselor Susan Ellis. Today, we spotlight Latin educator Whitney Crabbe.
Inside room 213 on a recent Wednesday afternoon, Latin educator Whitney Crabbe is using new technology to teach an old language. The result is that her class is engaging, enlightening, and enjoyable.
"One of the things I love about instructional technology is its power to give instant, personalized feedback to students," notes Whitney Crabbe.
After praying in Latin Crabbe, a Gibbons educator for six years, addresses the class.
"Salvete, discipuli," she says.
"Salve, Magistra," students respond.
What follows is a departure from the strict grammar-translation approach of the past. With their laptops open, students delve into a tech-oriented exercise that tests their knowledge of active verbs. It also alerts Crabbe to trouble spots she will review later with her class.
Meanwhile, Crabbe, whose warm smile is a constant, circulates the room, stopping for one-on-one discussions with students. "I'm a little confused," one student announces. Before he finishes that statement, it seems, Crabbe is at his side.
She also encourages students with comments like "stay focused, and you will get it."
Next, students complete an online verb synopsis. Once done, they put away their laptops.
"One of the things I love about instructional technology is its power to give instant, personalized feedback to students," notes Crabbe.
Crabbe's class also hints at Roman history and literature, with the Trojan War a hot topic this day. Enter Aeneas, a stuffed alligator, named for the mythical hero of Troy who fled the city and after wandering places in the Mediterranean Sea founded what would become Rome.
Aeneas (the toy) travels around the classroom. Initially, Crabbe tosses it to the student she wants to answer her first query. The tag-your-it format continues from student to student until the last question is asked and answered.
In between, students ask, "when will we study the Aeneid?"
“At some point," Crabbe responds. Her answer, loosely translated, means when they are juniors since that is a lesson reserved for third-year Latin students.
Through Latin students not only broaden their imagination; they also gain a greater understanding of English grammar and vocabulary. Again, out come the laptops, which students use to play the live quiz learning game Gimkit, reinforcing the day’s lesson on verbs.
Before you know it, the bell rings, signaling the end of class. In other words, tempus fugit.