Monthly Archives: January 2017

Indigenous (adj)

Because it is an important word in the global studies classes I teach, I finally wrote a context clues worksheet on the adjective indigenous.

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.

DeVos Pushing More Public School Closings, But Only African American Schools Are Targeted

(If you want to know how public education will fare under billionaire heiress and nominee to lead the United States Department of Education Betsy DeVos, you need not look farther than Michigan. This post from Diane Ravitch’s Blog serves as a troubling summary of her depredations there, her home state.)

 

Diane Ravitch's blog

The following article was sent to me by education researchers Russ Bellant and M. Denise Baldwin. Baldwin is a former teacher in Saginaw. Recently, I was on an NPR program hosted by Warren Olney with three other people, one of whom spoke on behalf of Betsy DeVos’s American Federation for Children. He insisted that not a single public school in Detroit had ever been closed. This article says that the number of public schools closed in Detroit over the past 20 years is nearly 200, with more school closings ahead, all in African American communities. Meanwhile the Detroit Free Press published an article showing that the closure of neighborhood schools–DeVos’s goal–means less choice for black residents, who no longer have a school they can walk to or transportation to schools of “choice.”

DeVos leads push for school closings, only African American schools targeted

By Russ Bellant and M. Denise…

View original post 775 more words

Arnold Toynbee on Current Events

“Today our knowledge of the past is increasing at an unprecedented rate, and this at both ends of its ever- lengthening vista. The archaeologists are making history by exhuming buried and forgotten civilizations as fast as the politicians are making it by taking new action for contemporary historians to study.”

Arnold J. Toynbee (1889-1975) As quoted in The Teacher and the Taught (1963)

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

Nearly 3,000 Calvin College Students and Alumni Oppose DeVos

[In Grand Rapids, Michigan, Calvin College is a highly rated, Protestant denominational college that counts among its alumni Betsy DeVos, the current nominee to the post of Secretary of Education. Her alumni status of that institution makes the fact that almost 3,000 students and alumni of Calvin have signed a letter (twenty-two of the twenty-three pages of the letter are a list of the signatories to it) opposing her appointment particularly remarkable. This callow heiress would be a disaster for public education in the United States.]

Diane Ravitch's blog

Mercedes Schneider reposts a press release announcing that more than 2,750 students and alumni of Calvin College–Betsy DeVos’s alma mater–have signed a letter opposing her nomination as Secretary of Education.

The letter gives the reasons and lists the names.

View original post

Rapt (adj)

Since we hope it is the quality of their attention in our classrooms, here is a-context-clues worksheet on the adjective rapt to remind students, if nothing else, that it is what we hope we can inspire in them in their attention to their studies.

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 Weekly Text, January 27, 2017

We’ve just passed through a week of Regents Tests here in New York, a round of high stakes tests that decide the status of a student’s diploma. I always find this a depressing exercise, because it penalizes perfectly able kids who don’t test well. Perhaps one day we’ll live in a society that educates students as they are (or how they are–poorly written IEPs notwithstanding)–and builds on that–rather than a theoretical “where they should be.”

This week’s Text is a lesson on numerical adjectives. Because this lesson is at about the halfway point in my adjectives unit,  I begin it with this do now-exercise on parsing sentences to find adjectives. If the lesson runs into a second day for all the reasons that some lessons do when presented to struggling learners, then you may also need this Cultural Literacy worksheet on carpe diem. The mainstay of the lesson is a scaffolded worksheet on numerical adjectives that begins with modified cloze exercises and concludes with independent practice using numerical adjectives in grammatically complete declarative sentences. You might also find the teachers’ copy/answer key useful.

Because I teach English Language Arts and social studies to the same group of students, I teach the concept of cardinal numbers (the counting numbers like one, two, three, etc.) and ordinal numbers (those numbers we use to order or rank things, as in first, second, third, etc.) in a lesson about historical dates and understanding how to understand the ordinally numbered centuries. I call on the prior knowledge from that global studies lesson for this one on numerical adjectives; both cardinal and ordinal numbers are used as adjectives. Ten days to two weeks separate the presentation of these two lessons, so the timing allows me a chance to assess students’ memories and capacity for retention.

This is also an important concept in grammar for students to understand. When I took Russian as an older undergraduate, I had to go back and study the difference between these two types of numbers and their use. If your students need help in understanding the meaning of these terms and the concepts they represent, then here’s a context clues worksheet on the term cardinal numbers and another on the adjective ordinal.

That’s it. Next week begins Black History Month, followed in March by Women’s History Month. I’ll post plenty of readings for both.

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.

Clandestine (adj)

I’ve been going through a folder in which I set aside a bunch of context clues worksheets I developed to go with some global studies lessons. So, here’s a context clues worksheet on the adjective clandestine. This is another common word in English that high school students, I submit, ought to know.

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: Moby Dick

(It’s important to remember that at the time of its publication, Moby Dick met mixed critical reception, to say the least; it really didn’t emerge as the classic it is now regarded until around 1921, when critics, beginning with Carl Van Doren, reappraised the novel as a masterpiece.)

“…an ill-compounded mixture of romance and matter of fact…Mr. Melville has to thank himself only if his errors and his heroics are flung aside by the general reader as so much trash belonging to the worst school of Bedlam literature–since he seems not so much unable to learn as disdainful of learning the craft of an artist,”

Athenaeum

Redburn was a stupid failure, Mardi was hopelessly dull, White Jacket was worse than either; and, in fact, was such a very bad book, that, until the appearance of Moby Dick whe had set it down as the very ultimatum of weakness to which the author could attain. It seems, however, that we were mistaken. In bombast, in caricature, in rhetorical artifice–generally as clumsy as it is ineffectual–and in low attempts at humor, each of his volumes has been an advance upon its predecessors.”

Democratic Review

“The captain’s ravings and those of Mr. Melville are such as would justify writ de lunatico against all parties.”

Southern Quarterly Review

“…a huge dose of hyperbolical slang, maudlin sentimentalism, and track-comic bubble and squeak.”

William Harrison Ainsworth, New Monthly Magazine

“This sea novel is a singular medley of naval observation, magazine article writing, satiric reflection upon the conventionalisms of civilized life, and rhapsody run mad….”

The Spectator

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

Saul Bellow on Demagoguery

“The secret of the demagogue is to make himself as stupid as his audience so they believe they are as clever as he.”

Saul Bellow

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

Prude (n)

Recently, I posted a context clues worksheet on the adjective prudent. I put the cart before the horse in writing that, because I really needed an exercise on the noun prude to attend a short English lesson I wrote. If you need a context clues worksheet on this word, just click the hypertext above.

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.