Monthly Archives: August 2016

Some Confucian Wisdom for the Beginning of the School Year

“Learning without thought is time lost.”

Confucius

Excerpted from: Howe, Randy, ed. The Quotable Teacher. Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press, 2003.

Finance (n/vt)

Here, to make some effort toward rounding out my assortment of context clues worksheets on terms from economics and finance, are two context clues worksheets on finance as a noun and a verb. As a verb, it is only used transitively, so don’t forget your direct object.

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.

A Midweek, Late August Text: A Glossary of Key Vocabulary for English Language Arts

It’s another cool, beautiful morning here in my borough; the morning light appears autumnal. Here is a glossary of key vocabulary for English Language Arts. I hope it is useful to your practice.

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.

Command (adj/n/v)

It’s a cool and pleasant Tuesday morning in New York City, a nice break from the brutal heat and humidity of the past week. Here, if you have any use for them, are three context clues worksheets on command as an adjective, a noun, and a verb.

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.

Why We Read

“Employ your time by improving yourself by other men’s writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored so hard for.”

Socrates (469-399 B.C.)

Excerpted from: Howe, Randy, ed. The Quotable Teacher. Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press, 2003.

The Weekly Text, August 19, 2016: An Introductory Lesson on Nouns

Over the years, I have become convinced of the utility of teaching the parts of speech in order to build literacy in general, and in particular to assist students in developing their own understanding of how to write grammatically complete, syntactically meaningful, and stylish sentences. To that end, I have developed units for each of the parts of speech, and these constitute an almost-year-long cycle of English Language Arts instruction.

So, this weeks text is the first lesson of the first unit of this cycle, on nouns. This lesson calls upon students to use this teacher-authored reading passage to identify all the nouns in it; as you will see, this is a three-part scaffold that asks students to read, then apply their understanding of nouns, first in modified cloze exercises, then in writing sentences from subject to period. The lesson opens with this Cultural Literacy do-now exercise on syntax. You might also find useful this singular and plural nouns formation review

You’ll notice that the plan for this lesson doesn’t list the standards met. Because of the way I manage my work flow, I list all the standards on the overarching unit plan. (That way if I must print a lesson plan to appease a bureaucrat, I don’t burn too much ink.) For that reason, I have posted typescript copies of the Common Core Standards I use in my practice  in the About Weekly Texts page that is above the banner photo on the home page for this site. They are in the penultimate paragraph there.

September 22, 2016, Post Scriptum: I have just updated the singular and plural nouns formation review worksheet linked to above.

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.

Demand (n) and Demand (vt)

As with supply, it has taken me an inexplicably long time (given my current posting at the High School of Economics & Finance in Lower Manhattan) to create context clues for demand. So, here is a context clues worksheet on demand as a noun and another for demand as a verb to accompany the context clues worksheets below on supply as a noun and a verb.

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.

Supply (n) and Supply (vt)

As I work mostly at outdoor pubs and cafes through the summer, I write longhand in a Moleskine notebook. I’ve ended up writing a lot of new context clues worksheets, mostly because they’re easy and quick to contrive. Considering that I work in an economics-and-finance-themed public high school, I don’t know why it has taken me so long to write a context clues worksheet for supply as a noun or another for supply used as a verb. But here they are now, for your use if you need them.

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.

Lord Russell on Education

“Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education.”

Bertrand Russell

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Portable Curmudgeon. New York: Plume, 1992.

Pattern Recognition and Learning: Two Worksheets on the Word Roots Ornith/o and Aqua

Recently, while perusing an old Moleskine notebook, I came upon a note instructing me to “see Pattern Learning article from Facebook for possible blog entry–see article in email.” Given my often less-than-stellar organizing skills, I wasn’t surprised to find no such email about this in any of my folders that have to do with professional development or this blog.

Any teacher who has taken the time to think about it–which means most teachers, I guess (and hope)–understand that in the hierarchy of an educator’s responsibilities, assisting students in developing their capacity for pattern recognition ought to be near the top. Indeed, all the domains in which elementary and secondary teachers operate offer them openings to train students in they vital cognitive skill. For math and language teachers, this may well be item one on their agendas.

In any case, I went looking on Facebook for this article on pattern learning and language acquisition. I also found, for you math teachers out there, this nice little squib, replete with rudimentary lesson plans on understanding patterns as the foundation of early math skills. To take this one step further, possibly to the precipice of irrelevance, there is also this very timely article from The New York Times on “learning to see data”. (However, should the arts and crafts of crocheting, knitting and weaving interest you, you’ll find a plethora of articles on them under a “pattern recognition” search on Facebook.)

Simply put, learning to recognize patterns is the first step to language acquisition and early math skills. If students are to succeed at the secondary level of schooling, then at the elementary level they must acquire the cognitive instinct of pattern recognition. For those of us working at any level with early catastrophe kids, this means that from the first day we stand in front of our charges, we must begin the process of teaching pattern recognition. Indeed, at the secondary level, we haven’t a moment to lose in inculcating pattern recognition; the sooner we begin this process, the better for our students.

Over the years I have worked to develop materials that foster and reinforce pattern recognition. One instrument I use for this, which I am now relatively confident is an effective way to foster and reinforce pattern recognition–and build vocabulary at the same time–is the word root worksheet. To persist with this just a couple of steps further, here are a word root do-now exercise for ornith/o and a full word root worksheet for the Latin root aqua.

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.