A couple of months ago I posted a short piece on the the Intellectual Devotional series of books. I believe these books have great potential for use in middle and high school classrooms; I’ve used them repeatedly and successfully with struggling readers and learners in my own high school classroom, as well as handing them out for independent makeup to students who have fallen behind.
During the 2016-2017 school year I plan as part of my personal professional development to take a longer and more analytical look at these documents with an eye toward either incorporating some of them into existing unit plans, or developing new lessons or units around them. In the process of this endeavor, which to a limited extent is already underway, I’ll convert these readings from PDFs (I scanned them directly from the pages of the books) to Word documents. Once they are in a manipulable form I can edit and adjust them for students’ reading levels. It’s worth mentioning that the authors of these books, Noah Oppenheim and David S. Kidder, are excellent compilers and editors. If you find yourself editing their writing for your students, I strongly recommend conforming to their original outline in your edits. These are some of the most well-outlined readings I’ve ever seen.
When I posted my original exposition of the five Intellectual Devotional volumes, I wrote the authors in search of their permission to post an occasional article from their books. I never heard back. I’m going to stick my neck out, and for this week’s text here is an Intellectual Devotional reading on the Black Death in Word format, so you can edit it, change the typeface, or whatever else best suits the students you serve. In addition, here is a reading comprehension worksheet to accompany the Black Death reading above. Eventually, I’ll incorporate these two documents into a lesson on writing essays for high-stakes exams. I’ll very likely end up posting that here as well.
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.