The Pandemic Winds Down

Tuesday June 15, 2021

Tonight at midnight Vermont exits its COVID19-induced, fifteen-month-long state of emergency. 80 percent of this state’s residents have received a vaccination. Things are looking up, and let’s hope they continue to do so. This has been a long, strange trip, to quote the Grateful Dead.

Mark’s Text Terminal has undergone a number of changes during the  pandemic. The blog is more searchable while at the same time fewer, and more descriptive (I hope) categories and compound tags serve to guide you toward what you seek. If you’re looking for the COVID 19 at Mark’s Text Terminal post that was previously pinned here, you’ll find it here. If you have any questions about the material you find here, leave a comment with contact information (all comments on the blog require my approval, so you won’t be exposing your email address to the open Internet; I’ll delete your comment after I take your contact information from it) and I’ll get back to you.

Stay safe, be well, and let’s all get back to educating kids.

Literary Art

“Literary Art: Art with its subject matter drawn from a text; illustration. Literary art is generally thought to be aesthetically superior to narrative art. Many romantic painters, e.g., Eugene Delacroix and William Blake, worked in the literary tradition”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

A Learning Support on Writing the Compound Sentence with a Semicolon and No Conjunction

Here is a learning support on writing the compound sentence with a semicolon and no conjunction. This is a full page of text, but like everything else here, you can do with it as you wish: it is formatted in Microsoft Word.

I have a lesson plan in the works on this piece of procedural knowledge, so check back if this is something you want your students to be able to do.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Rotten Reviews: Three by Robert Coover

The Origin of the Brunists

‘…an explosion in a cesspool.’

Bruno McAndrew, Best Sellers

The Public Burning

‘…an overwritten bore…a protracted sneer.’

Paul Gray, Time

Gerald’s Party

‘The novel should develop a reader’s sensitivities, not deaden them with risible comic strip.’

New Statesman”

Excerpted from: Barnard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.    

Bivouac (vi/vt)

It’s Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day today, so here is a context clues worksheet on bivouac as a verb. It’s used intransitively to mean “to make a bivouac, camp” and “to take shelter often temporarily”; transitively it means “to provide temporary quarters for (they were bivouacked in the gym during the storm).”

The word is also used as a noun to mean “a usually temporary encampment under little or no shelter,” “encampment usually for a night,” and “a temporary or casual shelter or lodging.”

Why use bivouac as a verb (or a noun for that matter?) rather than the simpler, arguably stouter camp? I don’t know that I would, but it is a matter of diction and style. Bivouac as either a verb or a noun is not a high-frequency word in English. This worksheet, perhaps, could be used as an assessment to test students’ ability to engage in the high-powered comprehension strategy of inferring meaning from context. If you use a lot of context clues-related material in your classroom, throwing in a word like bivouac from time to time does strike me as a quick means of assessment. What do you think?

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Algonquin Wits: Robert Benchley

“On mirrors: ‘Things are depressing enough as they are, without my going out of my way to make myself miserable.’”

Robert Benchley

Excerpted from: Drennan, Robert E., ed. The Algonquin Wits. New York: Kensington, 1985.

Cultural Literacy: Ego

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the concept of ego. This is a half-page worksheet; the reading is three sentences, though two of them are longish compounds, and there are three comprehension questions.

This is a concept students should understand. The virtue of the reading in this document is that it situates the ego in Freud’s structural theory of mind, (without, interestingly, ever mentioning Sigmund Freud himself) so students will also learn about the id and the superego. This is a good general introduction to this subject. That said, there is clearly room to expand this document (easy for you to accomplish, since like everything on Mark’s Text Terminal, this is a Microsoft Word document) for further exploration or exposition of psychoanalytic theory. If I were to expand this in any way, I would make sure students walked away with a basic understanding of Freud’s biography and his ideas about the psyche.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Cuckold

“Cuckold: The husband of an adulterous wife. The name derives from cuckoo, the chief characteristic of this bird being to deposit its eggs in other birds’ nests. Dr. Johnson explained that ‘it was usual to alarm a husband at the approach of an adulterer by calling Cuckoo, which by mistake was applied in time to the person warned.’ The cuckold was traditionally supposed to wear horns as the attribute of his condition. The usage is ancient; the Romans used to call an adulterer a cuckoo.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Word Root Exercise: Apo-

OK, last but not least on this summer afternoon, here is a worksheet on the Greek word root apo. It means away, from, off, and separate.

I don’t know if I’ve ever used this document in the classroom, which isn’t surprising, since I have hundreds of these worksheets. I tend to use the most productive roots, with words that students must use to navigate the secondary common branch curricula, in my weekly instructional period dedicated to word roots and vocabulary. Still, you’ll find this root at the basis of apogee, apology, apostle, and apostrophe among other relatively high frequency words in English, so it might be worth asking students to take a look at it. I think I would be inclined to modify it into a shorter, simpler pattern recognition exercise. Because this is a Microsoft Word document, you too can manipulate it to your purposes.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Jane Addams on Democracy

“The cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy.”

Jane Addams

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Containment

Here is a reading on the United States’ policy of containment along with its accompanying vocabulary-buidling and comprehension worksheet.

This is a good general introduction to this piece of United States foreign policy toward the Soviet Union after World War II. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is the best short introduction to the topic I’ve seen, presenting the biographies and motivations of the key players, to wit, George F. Kennan and President Harry Truman, as well as a quick analysis of the policy itself.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.