Monthly Archives: May 2017

Arts Criticism and its Shortcomings

“Criticism is the art wherewith a critic tries to guess himself into a share of the author’s fame.”

George Jean Nathan

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

Justice (n)

If there is a reason that high school students shouldn’t have a clear understanding of the word justice, I can’t think of what it could be. Perhaps this context clues on that noun will aid you in teaching it to your students.

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: A Passage to India

“Spiritually it is lacking in insight.”

Blanche Watson, The World Tomorrow

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

Litigate (vi/vt)

Should you have students looking down the road at law school, it’s probably never too early in high school to use this context clues worksheet on the verb litigate (it’s used both intransitively and transitively) with them.

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, May 26, 2017

For this week’s Text, heading into the Memorial Day weekend I assume most of us so badly need, I offer you this context clues worksheet on the transitive verb equip, and this one on the verb, also transitive, provision. These words mean roughly the same thing, excepting the the second definition of equip, which is transitive and means prepared. The second definition is used more as a participle with a linking verb.

For some reason, this draft blog post has lingered in my folder for a few months, and I cannot imagine why, or what my purpose was in putting it there in the first place. I think I wrote the above two context clues worksheets for a global studies lesson, then just folded them into this post. In using them, I recall I was surprised at how few students knew the verb equip. As a verb, I guess, provision is a little less often used to describe the act or preparation for an event, usually an expedition of some kind. That said, I can hear Shelby Foote, describing a battle in Ken Burns’ Civil War Documentary and using provision as a verb.

Anyway, to complement the worksheets published in the first paragraph, above, I also offer these two worksheets on Greek word roots iatr/o and icon/o. They mean, respectively, healing, medical treatment and image. Unlike other word root worksheets I post, these are short exercises designed to begin a class period by focusing and settling students. As I’ve said before about word roots, a corollary to the vocabulary building benefit of these exercises is passively training students to recognize patterns in language, the kind of deep-structure instruction that scholars in the learning sciences encourage teachers to deliver.

That’s it. I wish you a respectful and appropriately somber Memorial Day.

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.

Nomad (n)

You might find useful this context clues worksheet on the noun nomad if you start your global studies curriculum with hunting-gathering societies.

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: The Recognitions

“The main fault of the novel is a complete lack of discipline… It is a pity that, in his first novel, Gaddis did not have stronger editorial guidance than is apparent in the book, for he can write very well, even though most of the time he just lets his pen run on.”

Kirkus Reviews

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

“Don’t Like Betsy DeVos? Blame the Democrats”

(Here’s something from Diane Ravitch that I think is well worth a few minutes of your time, especially if you’re concerned with the disastrous educational policies coming from the Department of Education under its current, grossly under-qualified secretary, Betsy DeVos.) 

Diane Ravitch's blog

I wrote this article for The New Republic.

https://newrepublic.com/article/142364/dont-like-betsy-devos-blame-democrats

It explains how Democrats set the stage for DeVos’ anything-goes approach to school choice by their advocacy of charter schools. Charters are the gateway to vouchers. We have seen many groups like Democrats for Education Reform try to draw a sharp distinction between charters and vouchers. It doesn’t work. Once you begin defaming public schools and demanding choice, you abandon the central argument for public schools: they belong to the public.

The political side to this issue is that the Democratic Party sold out a significant part of its base–teachers, teachers unions, and minorities–by joining the same side as ALEC, the Walton family, and rightwing conservatives who never approved of public schools.

Their pursuit of Wall Street money in exchange for supporting charters helped to disintegrate their base. To build a viable coalition for the future, the Party must walk away…

View original post 20 more words

Rapport (adj)

Here is a context clues worksheet on the noun rapport which students really ought to know by their high school graduation.

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.

Some Important Words for Our Time

“To refuse to face the task of creating a vision of a future America immeasurably more just and noble and beautiful than the America of today is to evade the most crucial, difficult, and important educational task.”

George S. Counts (1889-1874) As Quoted in The Teacher and the Taught (1963)

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