One of the salient characteristics of most of the struggling learners I’ve dealt with over the years has been their lack of confidence in dealing with abstract issues in their schools’ curricula. Most of the big concepts, e.g. democracy, virtue, diplomacy, and even thought that we seek to teach are abstractions. In any case, we need students to understand the difference between concrete thinking and abstract thinking for a variety of reasons, just as we need them to understand the difference between concrete and abstract nouns (a full lesson plan on this is forthcoming from Mark’s Text Terminal).
I developed this context clues worksheet on the adjective abstract as an attempt to help students understand the basic concept of abstraction as something that exists in the mind, but not really in concrete reality.
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.