Monthly Archives: April 2018

The Essence of Science

“That is the essence of science: ask an impertinent question, and you are on the way to a pertinent answer.”

Jacob Bronowski The Ascent of Man (1973)

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

Astute (adj)

It’s Monday, April 30. Today, in 1939, Franklin Delano Roosevelt became the first President of the United States to appear on television, albeit to a very small audience (200 sets in a 40-mile radius. On this day in 1812, Louisiana was admitted to the union as the 18th state. Today is the birthday of Hall of Fame basketball player Isiah Thomas, who was born on this day in 1961.

Here is a context clues worksheet on the adjective astute.

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 Alexandrian Library

The most famous library of antiquity. Located in Alexandria, it was the principal center of Hellenistic culture under the Ptolemies, and contained hundreds of thousands of rolls. Among its earliest librarians were Callimachus and Apollonius of Rhodes. G[eorge] B[ernard] Shaw treats humorously the burning of the library by Julius Caesar. It was burned and partly consumed in 391; in 642, according to a dubious legend, the caliph Omar seized the city and used the library’s books ‘to heat the baths of the city for six months.’ It is said that it contained 700,000 volumes, and the reason given by the Muslim destroyer for the destruction of the library was that the books were unnecessary in any case for all the knowledge that was necessary to man was contained in the Koran and that knowledge that was contained in the library that was not contained in the Koran must be pernicious. Most modern experts, however, agree that the story of the library’s destruction by Omar is probably apocryphal.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

The Weekly Text, April 27, 2018

It’s Friday again, so it’s time for another Weekly Text.  This week I offer a complete lesson plan on using the personal pronoun in the possessive case. I begin this lesson with this short exercise on the homophones to, too, and two; in the event the lesson runs into a second day, I keep this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the rhetorical question in reserve. The mainstay of this lesson is this structured, scaffolded worksheet on using the personal pronoun in the possessive case. Here, also, is the teacher’s copy of the worksheet to help you get through the lesson. Finally, here is a learning support on pronouns and case that both your and your students might find useful for this lesson–and elsewhere.

That’s it. It finally feels like spring here, so it’s one of the best times of year her in the Big Apple. On second thought, though, aren’t all the seasons marvelous here?

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.

Morpheme (n)

Any of the smallest units of meaning or form within a language, or a verbal element that cannot be further reduced and still retain meaning, e.g. the word ‘woman,’ the prefix ‘un-,’ and the inflection ‘-ize.’ Adjective: morphemic; adverb: morphemically.”

Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.

Parsing Sentences Worksheet: Verbs

Today is April 26, 2018. In 1986 on this day, an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Pripyat, Ukraine. It’s the birthday of John James Audubon; interestingly, he is buried in Trinity Cemetery on 155th Street in Harlem. Today is also the birthday of the man who is arguably the major figure in landscape architecture in the United States, Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed, here in New York City, both Central Park and Prospect Park.

Here is a parsing sentences worksheet for verbs. I understand this is an old-fashioned kind of activity, but that doesn’t render it obsolete. In fact, I maintain that these shore exercises are an effective way to help students understand both English usage and syntax in sentences.

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 Rejections: Valley of the Dolls

“She is painfully dull, inept, clumsy, undisciplined, rambling and thoroughly amateurish writer whose every sentence, paragraph and scene calls for the hand of a pro. She wastes endless pages on utter trivia, writes wide-eyed romantic scenes that would not make the back pages of True Confessions, hauls out every terrible show biz cliché in all the books, lets every good scene fall apart in endless talk and allows her book to ramble aimlessly…most of the first 200 pages are virtually worthless and dreadfully dull and practically every scene is dragged out and stomped on by her endless talk….”

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