Welcome to Latin with Magistra Hall!

Latin is not dead… it is immortal.

-G.K. Chesterton

Salvete! Magistra Laura Hall here. I am excited to teach Latin to the 3rd through 5th grade students of Archway Lincoln this year. I am looking forward to an excellent year full of discovery about the wonderful Latin language, as well as the culture and history of Ancient Rome. We will learn Latin (and English!) grammar, converse in Latin, and read stories of the rise and fall of the ‘eternal city’. It is going to be a wonderful year!

As the first day of school draws near, I look forward to getting to know each student, and parents as well. For now, please allow me to introduce myself.

I studied Latin throughout high school, and loved the orderliness and significance of the language. It was in choir class that I really fell in love with the language, however, singing requiems, masses, and modern pieces written in Latin. The reverence, power, timelessness, and resonant beauty of the language captivated me!

I studied family sciences (BS) and Family Therapy (MS) at Brigham Young University while participating in the Great Books-inspired University Honors program, and enjoyed teaching throughout my time there. After college, I began classically homeschooling my own children, now ages 12, 10, 8, and 5. What a wonderful adventure that was. I also founded and directed a classical, Christian homeschool tutorial, and loved building that community around classical education. Over the past decade I have studied Latin anew alongside my own children and students, and now look forward to teaching this beautiful and timeless language to even more students at Archway Lincoln.

Studying Latin offers so many benefits to the young mind: an understanding of word roots, exposure to the history of the great Roman civilization, and a deeper comprehension of grammar (the rules that govern a language) that spills over into English and any languages your student may subsequently study. The greatest benefit, however, is the way that Latin, as a regular and highly inflected language, orders the mind. The study of Latin requires diligence, precision, and a focus on mastery that parallels the study of arithmetic. Latin does for the “language” side of the brain what math does for the “numbers” side of the brain.

It really is that impactful! I look forward to beginning the journey with your student.

Magistra Hall

Quarter One, Weeks Four through Six (Conjugating and Declining)

Latin is a language of stems and endings.

For the past three weeks, we have been working on two vital skills in Latin class: conjugating and declining. Conjugating means writing out a verb with all of its endings. Declining means writing out a noun with all of its endings. The two processes are very similar, because both verbs and nouns in Latin are made up of stems and endings. To conjugate, we find take a verb, find the verb stem, and add the appropriate verb endings. To decline, we find take a noun, find the noun stem, and add the appropriate noun endings. Both processes are very regular and logical, but like every new skill, it feels awkward at first! Rest assured that over time, your student will become proficient and comfortable with this skill.

We work on these skills extensively in class, and have been reviewing both conjugating and declining repeatedly in class. The students are developing familiarity with the skill, but will likely still need support with their homework. All of the information they need is contained in the Latin Primer, but it may be helpful to see pictures of the process in action.

Here is a step-by-step tutorial for both processes, to help you guide your student.

–>For homework this week third graders were asked to decline two feminine nouns, and conjugate two verbs. Fourth graders were asked to decline three feminine nouns, and three masculine nouns. <–

I. Declining: Using a feminine (first declension) noun.

Nouns in the first declension have feminine endings. The dictionary entry (vocabulary list) for these words lists two forms, the nominative form and the genitive form, which end in -a and -ae respectively. We will use the word femina, faminae (“woman”) for our example.

First, we will chose a word. All of the nouns on the vocabulary lists through chapter 4 are feminine in gender.

I will use “feminina, feminae”, which means “woman”. The listing for any Latin noun, in a dictionary or a vocabulary list, contains two forms: the nominative form and the genitive form. I write both forms on the top line of my declining sheet. I also write an “f” in the parentheses for “feminine”, the noun’s gender.

To find a noun stem, we need to chop the genitive ending off of the genitive form. The genitive ending for feminine, first declension nouns is “ae”.

So we chop the “ae” off of the second (genitive) form. We are left with the verb stem, which is “femin” for our example here.

We said that Latin is a language of stems and endings. So we write our stem ten times, to fill our declining frame.

Then we add our endings, because as we say in our grammar recitation every day in class, “to decline a noun is to list a noun with all its endings.

So now we have a fully declined feminine Latin noun.

II. Declining: Using a masculine (second declension) noun.

The process for declining a masculine noun is identical, except that we add our second declension masculine endings.
First I choose my noun: I will use “filius, filii” which means “son”.

So I write out the nominative and genitive forms at the top of the declining frame, followed by an “m” in parentheses for masculine, the noun’s gender.

Next, I need to find my noun stem by chopping the genitive ending off of the genitive form. The genitive ending for second declension masculine words is “i”.

So I chop the “i” off of the genitive form and I am left with “fili”.

I write that ten times to fill my declining frame.

Latin is a language of stems and endings. I have my stem, I need my endings. This is a masculine, second declension noun, so I use my masculine, second declension endings.

I add those endings onto my stem.

And now I have a fully declined Latin masculine noun.

III. Conjugating: Using a first conjugation verb in the present tense.

In our recitation, we say “To conjugate a verb is to list a verb with all its endings.” We will find our verb stem and add our verb endings.

We begin conjugating by choosing a verb to conjugate. I will use “erro, errare”. Verbs are listed with four Latin forms, but we only focus on the first two Latin forms, and their meanings in English.

I write the first two Latin verb forms, and the first two English verb forms on the lines at the top of the Latin and English conjugation frames. The first form is the first person, singular (the “I” form, so the meaning is “I _____”), and the infinitive (which means “to _____”). So “erro, errare” means “I wander, to wander”.

“Latin is a language of stems and endings.”
So I need to find my verb stem, and add my present tense verb endings.
To find my verb stem I take the infinitive ending (“re”) off of the infinitive form, the second form listed. So I chop off the “re” and I am left with “erra” in my example verb.
I write that six times to fill in my conjugating frame.

Latin is a language of stems and endings. I have my verb stem, and now I need my verb endings. We memorize all of our verb and noun endings through a daily grammar recitation. The are also listed in our Latin Primer.

So now I add my verb endings. The only funny catch here is that the first person singular form is irregular: the “o” takes the place of the stem vowel (“a” here).
In class we say, “the ‘o’ eats the ‘a’ alive.”
The other endings get added on like normal.

We now have a fully conjugated Latin verb.
But on this drill sheet, I ask students to also conjugate the verb in English. To do this, we list our English pronouns (which we also recite daily in our grammar recitation). We use “h/s/i” as the abbreviation for our third person singular pronouns, “he/she/it”. We also use “y’all” for “you all”.

Next we add the English present tense form of the verb. Here, it is “wander”. Be sure to add an “s” for the third person singular, because English is odd like that.

Now we have a fully conjugated verb in Latin and English in the present tense!

The more the students work through these skills, the more proficient and confident they will become. I am here to support them in this, and I am grateful for your support of their Latin education too.

Thank you!

Quarter Two, Week Three (Conjugating!)

Little by little, one travels far.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Our little steps are beginning to add up in Latin! We are making strides in our vocabulary study, our grammar, and our Latin songs.

We have mastered our first Latin song (“Somnium Fallit”/“The Cat and the Fiddle”) and are ready to move onto our second song. We only spend a minute or two on our songs each class period, but it is amazing what these students can accomplish through repetition! I love knowing that the language patterns in these songs are being fused into their minds. 

Students are all becoming very proficient in making flashcards now, which means they are able to make their cards more or less independently. Thank you for overseeing the students as they make and practice these flashcards, though, to insure that they are really internalizing the meanings and derivatives. Bonus: you get to learn Latin alongside your student!

By learning most of the vocabulary at home, we reserve class time to the development of higher-level skill development, like conjugating and declining, and helpful discussions about grammar. 

Speaking of conjugating, we began conjugation work in earnest this week, and the students are making strides! They have been conjugating verbs in Latin and English, laying a solid foundation for all future Latin study—or study in any language for that matter! As a reminder, conjugating is an essential skill that student cannot over practice. Expect much of the homework to involve conjugating in weeks to come. 

I hope you enjoy a restful and healthy weekend, and I look forward to continuing to work with your students in the weeks to come!

Magistra Hall

Quarter One, Week Two (Flashcards!)

Students in all grade levels received a Flashcard Log and began making flashcards this week, which means we are starting to learn vocabulary in earnest! Why are flashcards important? Glad you asked.

Latin is a language of stems and endings. 

It is a highly inflected language, meaning we conjugate verbs and decline nouns to change the words’ grammatical function. (By comparison, English is a mildly inflected language, meaning we add a few endings to a few words: think <‘s>, <ed>, <s>. Spanish is a moderately inflected language because verbs are conjugated but nouns aren’t declined.)

This can make Latin feel like putting together and taking apart puzzles, which makes learning grammar in Latin super FUN!!!

Stems and Endings

In order to make a noun or verb in Latin, we need to have both pieces of the puzzle: the stem and the ending. We learn our endings through memory work (primarily through class recitation at the, beginning of every single class period), and our stems through vocabulary memorization. The best way to memorize vocabulary is to see and say it repeatedly. Enter flashcards!

Sample Flashcards

Third grade has learned 5 verbs and 5 nouns. They need to make flashcards for those words. Here is a sample of a verb card for a third grader. They only need to memorize the first two principle parts: the 1st person singular form and the infinitive. (The infinitive is used to find the stem for our conjugation work.) So on the front they should have the two forms of the Latin verb, and on the reverse they should have the meaning of those forms, a derivative in parentheses, and a “V” in the top left corner to indicate the part of speech.

Front of 3rd grade verb card

Back of 3rd grade verb card

Here is an example of a noun flashcard. Nouns are always listed with two forms: the nominative singular and the genitive singular. On the reverse, the student should have the meaning, a derivative, and an “N” for noun.

Front of noun card

Back of noun card

Fourth grade has learned 5 verbs and 15 nouns, and need to make cards for all of them. For the verb flashcard, they should follow the instructions from above, except that they should list all four principle parts on the front (but only the meaning of the first two principle parts on the back). Here is an example.

Front of 4th grade verb card

Back of 4th grade verb card

Noun cards are made the same as the third graders’ cards.

Fifth grade has learned 7 nouns, 7 prepositional phrases, and 7 verbs. They need to make flashcards using the vocabulary list I sent home from stage 1 of the book. Here is an example of one of each of these cards:

Front of 5th grade noun card

Back of 5th grade noun card

Front of 5th grade prepositional phrase card

Back of 5th grade prepositional phrase card

Front of 5th grade verb card

Back of 5th grade verb card

Flashcard Log

Beginning this week, students will begin reviewing their flashcards a minimum of three times per week, for at least 10 minutes per session. Students should review the cards English to Latin and Latin to English. They can work alone or with a parent. On days that the do this for at least 10 minutes, they record a”” on the corresponding day on their Flashcard Log, which they have glued to the inside the cover of their Latin composition book. At the end of the week, please add up the number of checkmarks, and write that number in the righthand column for the week. I will check this on the first day of class the following week.


Keep the flashcards in the car for handy captive-audience review time! Score!

Quarter One, Week One

We have had an excellent first full week of Latin this week! We dove into material headfirst, learning many things.

All Grades

We learned our first Latin song (“Somnium Fallit”, which is the Latin version of “The Cat and the Fiddle” that we studied last week). Feel free to ask your student to sing it for you! They will likely still need the lyrics, but we are working toward mastery. Memorizing poetry in any language is one of the best ways to develop familiarity with grammatically correct, sophisticated, and beautiful language patterns. Students will have the lyrics to the songs that we learn in their minds to draw upon as they continue their study of Latin over the years. And maybe, just maybe, some of these scholars will share the songs with their own children some day. Songs have a way of deeply imprinting on our minds!

Also, we have begun reading a narrative history of Rome from the book “Famous Men of Rome”. We started, of course, with Romulus and Remus. The students were captivated. Since we cannot get in a time machine and travel to Ancient Rome, developing a familiar with the history and culture of the civilization through stories and other sources will help bring Rome to life.

Additionally, we have covered the following material in class according to grade level:

Third and Fourth Grade

We have spent the bulk of our time learning Latin vocabulary words and grammatical endings, and beginning our discussion of the attributes of a verb, and the process of conjugating (writing out all of the forms of a verb in a given tense). This is an essential skill that student cannot over-practiced. Expect much of the homework to involve conjugating in weeks to come. 

Fifth Grade

We have spent the bulk of our time beginning our study of the Cambridge Latin I course, by meeting Caecillius and his family. We read about the members of the household, the rooms in their house, and what went on in those rooms. We spent our time reading a story about the family dog, Cerberus, and his adventure in the kitchen with a cook who fell asleep on the job. In the weeks to come, we will be distilling vocabulary and grammatical information from the text, working on verb conjugations, and learning lots of grammar and endings. Homework will begin in earnest this coming week, as we begin to use flashcards and practice conjugating. 

I hope you enjoy a restful weekend, and I look forward to continued learning next week!


Magistra Hall

Notes from Magistra: Welcome to Latin class!

Helpful Outline of Post:

I. Who is Magistra Hall?
II. Why Latin?
III. Homework
IV. Materials needed for class

Dear third through fifth grade parent,

I. If we have not had the chance to meet at a back to school event, please allow me to say hello and introduce myself. I am the new 3-5 Latin teacher at Archway Lincoln, and I could not be more excited to teach this beautiful and significant language to your student! I studied Latin throughout high school and while home educating my own children for eight years and founding/directing a classical education homeschool tutorial. My children now attend Archway Lincoln (K, 3, 5) and Lincoln Prep (7), and we feel right at home among families striving for a excellent classical education focused on the development of the intellect and the heart. I live in north Mesa, and I enjoy staying active, reading, setting and achieving goals, and spending time with my family. I am looking forward to getting to know you and your students this year!

II. In our Latin class, we will focus on primarily on Latin grammar and vocabulary, with a secondary emphasis on Roman history and culture. A sustained and diligent study of the grammar of a highly inflected language such as Latin affects the developing mind in a profound way. By learning to conjugate verbs and decline nouns, students develop an deep understanding of how the language works. This learning spills over into English and any other languages the student may someday study. To quote Cheryl Lowe (classical educator and founder of a curriculum company), “Latin provides the missing component in modern education, the systematic language training comparable to and balancing the mathematics side of the curriculum. (https://www.memoriapress.com/articles/latin-develops-mind/) It really is that impactful!

III. I had the pleasure of having your son or daughter in Latin class today. We enjoyed starting off an excellent year of Latin learning by greeting one another in Latin, discussing classroom procedures, and reading a Latin version of a familiar nursery rhyme. For homework over the weekend (as I will next teach this class on Monday), I asked each student to glue the copy of the nursery rhyme that we studied into the first page of the Latin composition book, and circle the Latin words for which they could think of English derivatives. We completed this activity in class, but not all students had their composition books with them. If they did not, gluing the nursery rhyme in is their only homework. (Please print off attached document if your student misplaced their copy of the nursery rhyme.)

IV. Every day your student will need to bring the following items to class:
1. Latin for Children Primer A (revised edition) for 3rd-4th grade ONLY. 5th grade students will learn from the Cambridge Latin I book in class only.
2. Letter size clear plastic velcro-closure envelope
3. Black wide-ruled composition notebook
4. Agenda
Your student’s teacher will facilitate the habit of bringing these items to class, but please make sure your student has them at school

Thank you very much the support you provide your children in the pursuit of the beautiful education Archway Lincoln offers; I look forward to developing a partnership with you in this endeavor.

Magistra Hall