Monthly Archives: October 2017

The Devil’s Dictionary: Astrology (n.)

“Astrology, n. The science of making the dupe see stars. Astrology is by some held in high respect as the precursor of astronomy. Similarly, the night howling tomcat has a just claim to reverential consideration as precursor to the hunting bootjack.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. David E. Schultz and S.J. Joshi, eds. The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2000.

Cultural Literacy: Verb

On this rainy Monday morning in New York City, I offer this Cultural Literacy worksheet on verbs.

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: Candide

“It seems to have been written by a creature of nature wholly different from our own, indifferent to our lot, rejoicing in our sufferings, and laughing like a demon or an ape at the misery of the human race with which he has nothing in common.”

Mme de Stael, DeL’Allemagne

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

The Weekly Text, October 27, 2017

[Addendum: If you need or want a more recent and comprehensive version–replete with lesson plan and context clues worksheet on the transitive verb impale, click on this hyperlink.]

Although he has gone by many names, Prince Vlad III of Wallachia and his legend have come down to us in a number of forms, including rural folk tales, he is best known from Irish author Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula. Since Halloween is right around the corner, here is an Intellectual Devotional reading on Vlad the Impaler along with a reading comprehension worksheet to accompany it.

To complement this exercise, finally, you might want to use this short Cultural Literacy exercise on the Grim Reaper.

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.

 

Block (n.) and Bloc (n.)

Here are five homophone worksheets on the nouns block and bloc that you might find useful.

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.

Memorandum to “Tax Reformers”

“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”

John F. Kennedy in His Inaugural Address

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

 

Mercedes Schneider Channels Betsy DeVos’s Deepest Thoughts

(Mercedes Schneider is one of the most perceptive analysts of educational policy out there, and here she really shows off her many talents while showing us what Betsy DeVos–and arguably the entire administration of Donald Trump–really intends for public schooling in the United States–and why.)

Diane Ravitch's blog

This post is a real tour de force. That means that Mercedes Schneider has managed to say something truly original, which I hope you will read in full.

Betsy DeVos is constantly saying how much she wants the best for every child, how urgent it is to let parents have charter schools, voucher schools, for-profit schools, cybercharters, almost anything but public schools. Despite her protestations, she is contemptuous of public schools and has spent many millions through her American Federation for Children to advance privatization.

So zmercedes uses her post to tell you what Betsy would say if she spoke her mind, without covering up any of her thoughts.

She begins like this.

“First of all, I’d like to thank all of you for coming because I appreciate yet another opportunity to campaign in a manner that ultimately promotes my favorite minority, the one to which I belong: America’s elite…

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Neil Postman on “Fake News”

“It is my intention in this book to show that a great…shift has taken place in America, with the result that the content of much of our public discourse has become dangerous nonsense. With this in view, my task in the chapters ahead is straightforward. I must, first, demonstrate how, under the governance of the printing press, discourse in America was different from what it is now—generally coherent, serious, and rational; and then how, under the governance of television, it has become shriveled and absurd. But to avoid the possibility that my analysis will be interpreted as standard-brand academic whimpering, a kind of elitist complaint against “junk” on television, I must first explain that…I appreciate junk as much as the next fellow, and I know full well that the printing press has generated enough of it to fill the Grand Canyon to overflowing. Television is not old enough to match printing’s output of junk.”

Excerpted from: from Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (New York: Penguin, 1986).

Traitor (n.)

Here is a context clues worksheet on the noun traitor that I wrote last week for the sophomore global studies class I’m co-teaching this year.

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.

Why Write?

“If you can’t annoy somebody, there’s little point in writing.”

Kingsley Amis

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