Monthly Archives: August 2018

Monty Python on the Roman Empire

“[Reg, played by John Cleese, speaking:] All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”

Life of Brian (motion picture) (1979)

Excerpted from: Shapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Master List of Latin Cognates

Over the years, I’ve worked steadily at engineering a vocabulary building curriculum that uses Greek and Latin word roots to help students develop the active academic lexicons they need to succeed in school. Early on, because I work with so many Spanish-speaking students, I started to work up cognate lists of words that were similar or even identical across the Romance Languages.

One of the results of that effort is this master list of Romance Language cognates. Over the summer I copied and pasted all these lists into the word root worksheets that proceed from a given root.

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.

Book of Answers: Robinson Crusoe

Was there a real Robinson Crusoe? Daniel Defoe based The Life and Strange Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1719-20) on the real-life story of Alexander Selkirk (1676-1721), a Scottish sailor who survived for more than four years on the desert island of Juan Fernandez off the Chilean coast. He became a celebrity after his rescue and homecoming in 1709.”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

The Weekly Text, August 31, 2018

Sigh. Today is August 31st, and the summer is effectively over for this teacher. For the first time since I started working at my current posting in Lower Manhattan, I am dreading returning to work.

This week’s Text is five worksheets on the homophones plain and plane, both nouns.

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.

Word Root Exercise: Derma, Derm, and Dermat/o

It probably won’t take your students long, using this worksheet on the Greek word roots derma, derm, and dermat/o, to figure out that those roots mean skin. That’s why the doctor who deals with the organ of skin is called a dermatologist.

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.

Scaffolding (n)

“Coaching or modeling provided by a teacher to increase students’ likelihood of success as they develop new skills or learn new concepts. Scaffolding in education is analogous to scaffolding in construction: just as a building’s scaffolding is a temporary framework that is withdrawn when the structure is is strong enough to stand on its own, so too is scaffolding on the classroom removed when students achieve competence in the targeted area. In any classroom, the teacher’s goal is to enable students to perform tasks on their own, with a minimum of adult aid. Effective scaffolding occurs when the teacher explains an assignment, brings the task to an appropriate level of difficulty, breaks the task into a doable sequence of operations, provides feedback, and helps students gain mastery of new knowledge. Good teachers have always employed scaffolding, even if they never heard of the term.”

Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.

Independent Practice: The Crusades

Here is a independent practice worksheet on the Crusades, which is probably useful for social studies teachers/

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.

Christina’s World

“One of the best known and most popular works of the US artist Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009). Painted in 1948, it depicts an eerily lit, sharply delineated but featureless farm landscape, with two farm buildings on the high horizon, while in the foreground is the mysterious figure of Christina, a thin-limbed girl propping herself up on the grass. Christina, whose view of the landscape we share, was a crippled neighbor of Wyeth’s in the Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

Hagia Sophia

Wow. it’s August 31st. Where did the summer go? It’s Independence Day in Kyrgyzstan, another Central Asian nation that emerged from the wreckage of the Soviet Union in 1991. Today is Hari Merdeka in Malaysia, a celebration of that nation’s independence from Britain in 1957.

Here is a reading on the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, and the comprehension worksheet that accompanies it.

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: Buddenbrooks

[It’s worth mentioning here, I think, that Thomas Mann was the Nobel Laureate in Literature for 1929. These Rotten refer, as above, to Buddenbrooks, published in 1901]

“Very few Americans will take the trouble to read this book ot the end. It contains no climaxes, no vivid surprise…. Interesting as the story may be it is too loosely constructed, and for many readers that will prove a barrier.”

Boston Evening Transcript, 1921

“Nothing but two thick tomes in which the author describes the worthless story of worthless people in worthless chatter.”

Edward Engel, in The Art of Folly 1961

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