The Weekly Text: August 14, 2015

Here, at last, is what I hope I can focus on sufficiently to sustain as the gravamen of Mark’s Text Terminal, The Weekly Text. In each of these weekly installments I’ll post something I’ve developed to assist struggling students in building their literacy skills. I make no promises–the school year can get quite busy–but I will do what I can to publish something new every week.

This inaugural Weekly Text is a vocabulary building worksheet that derives from the Latinate word root bellBell means war and is at the root of several words in English (i.e. bellicose, belligerent, and, as below, antebellum). I imagine most educators would agree that learned people ought to understand and know how to use these words. Unsurprisingly, most of these words have cognates in the Romance languages, as antebellum does. If you’re teaching English language learners, the Latinate word root is a bridge between English and Spanish.

These words are mostly abstract, but carry a hint, as so many Latin nouns themselves do, of the concrete. There is room in the lesson or lessons one might write to attend this worksheet for an exploration of the differences between concrete and abstract nouns. Furthermore, there is room for a discussion on the concepts represented here, and some questions teachers might ask are: What is war? What does war look like? What is the difference between war and peace? What is bellicose speech and behavior? How can a society know, by the bellicose or belligerent behavior of some of its members, that it is at risk of going to war?  Finally, I generally make sure students understand the difference between belligerent as an adjective and a noun, because in the latter case, the word can turn up in a sentence like The Axis and the Allies were the belligerents in World War II. In this sentence, students need to understand that belligerents means combatants.

Finally, here’s the Word Root Worksheets Users’ Manual document for a fuller exegesis of this type of worksheet.

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