Monthly Archives: December 2018

Rotten Rejections: The Image and the Law

“If the object of poetry is obscurity, Howard Nemerov is a great poet… I am, perhaps, a confirmed reactionary in poetry, preferring ‘I stood upon a little hill’ and…’Pepsicola hits the spot for just a nickel you get a lot’… Nuts, I say.”

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

Sitting Bull

For the penultimate blog post of 2018, here is a reading on Sioux warrior and chieftain Sitting Bull along with the comprehension worksheet that accompanies it.

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.

Write it Right: Ovation

Ovation. In ancient Rome an ovation was an inferior triumph accorded to victors in minor wars or unimportant battle. Its character and limitations, like those of the triumph, were strictly defined by law and custom. An enthusiastic demonstration in honor of an American civilian is nothing like that, and should not be called by its name.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. Write it Right: A Little Blacklist of Literary Faults. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2010.

Haggard (adj)

I don’t know if it’s a word high school students need to know, but if you think it is, here is a context clues worksheet on the adjective haggard.

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.

John Ciardi on Adolescence

“You don’t have to suffer to be a poet; adolescence is enough suffering for everyone.”

John Ciardi

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.

Cultural Literacy: Have an Ax to Grind

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the idiom “Have an ax to grind.” This seems like a term that users of social media ought to have at their disposal.

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.

War and Peace

“An epic novel (published serially, 1864-9) by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910). He originally planned to call it 1825, then, as he realized the core of his story lay during the Napoleonic Wars, he called it 1805, and this was the title used in the initial published episodes. At one point he re-titled it All’s Well That Ends Well, conceiving at that point that it would end happily. But as Tolstoy became more and more immersed in developing his philosophy of history, and his theories on the nature of war, he settled on the final sweeping title.

There have been two film versions. The first (1956) is a Hollywood production, directed by King Vidor, and lasts nearly three and a half hours. The second (1967) is a much-admired Soviet production directed by Sergei Bondarchuk; it was originally in four parts, totalling nearly nine hours, and was shown in the UK in two parts totalling over seven hours, reduced to something over six hours for the USA. The BBC TV serial of the novel, adapted by Jack Pulman and with Anthony Hopkins as Pierre, was broadcast in 1972-3. Tolstoy’s novel also formed the basis of the opera, opus 91 (1941-53), by Prokofiev (1891-1953) to a libretto by the composer and Mira Mendelson.”

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

Independent Practice: The Battle of Tours-Poitiers

You know, despite the fact that it is a turning point in global history, I can’t even remember why I wrote this independent practice worksheet on the Battle of Tours-Poitiers. In the freshman global studies classes I co-taught in New York, I don’t recall ever–aside from a cursory mention of Charles Martel somewhere in the mix–covering this explicitly.

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.

Term of Art: Learning

“Process of acquiring modifications in existing knowledge, habits, or tendencies through experience, practice, or exercise. Learning includes associative processes, discrimination of sense-data, psychomotor and perceptual learning, imitation, concept formation, problem solving, and insight learning. Animal learning has been studied by ethologists and comparative psychologists, the latter often drawing explicit parallels to human learning. The first experiments concerning associative learning were conducted by Ivan Pavlov in Russia and Edward Thorndike in the U.S. Critics of the early stimulus-response (S-R) theories, such as Edward C. Tolman claimed they were overly reductive and ignored a subject’s inner activities. Gestalt-psychology researchers drew attention to the importance of pattern and form in perception and learning, while structural linguists argued that language learning was grounded in genetically inherited ‘grammar.’ Developmental psychologists, such as Jean Piaget, highlighted stages of growth in learning. More recently, cognitive psychologists have explored learning as a form of information processing, while some brain researchers, such as Gerald Edelman, have proposed that thinking and learning involve an ongoing process of cerebral pathway building. Related topics of research include attention, comprehension, motivation, and transfer of training.”

 Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Prohibition

Lately, I’ve worked to create a broad spectrum literacy course that will appeal to or reach as many students as possible. This reading on Prohibition and the comprehension worksheet are part of this endeavor.

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.