The Weekly Text, January 27, 2017: A Lesson on Numerical Adjectives

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.

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