Monthly Archives: March 2019

Ursula Le Guin Prescribes a Lifestyle

“When action grows unprofitable, gather information; when information grows unprofitable, sleep.”

Ursula Le Guin

The Left Hand of Darkness ch. 3 (1969)

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

The Weekly Text, March 29, 2019: Women’s History Month 2019 Week V–A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on J.K. Rowling

Today marks the end, on Mark’s Text Terminal, of Women’s History Month 2019. When I return on Monday, it will be April Fool’s Day. Here is a reading on J.K. Rowling and its attendant vocabulary building and comprehension worksheet.

I would think this is high interest material, as Ms. Rowling and her books remain interesting to kids.

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.

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

“(1927-2013) British novelist and short-story writer. Born in Germany of Polish and German-Jewish parents, Jhabvala lived in England for twelve years before marrying an Indian architect and moving to New Delhi, where she remained until she moved to New York in 1976. Her subject is India, which she views as both an insider and an outsider, and with increasing distress at the poverty and misery surrounding her own comfortable life. She is concerned with social mores and psychological power struggles and psychological power struggles, and employs wit, nuance, and evocative descriptive detail. Her first novels, To Whom She Will (1955; U.S. Amrita, 1956), The Nature of Passion (1956), and Esmond in India (1957), deal with Indian arranged marriages and an East-West alliance. She has written a number of screenplays. Her later novels, such as Heat and Dust (1975), later made into a successful movie, show the influence of cinematic techniques. She has also published several volumes of short stories. In Search of Love and Beauty (1983) is a novel about German emigres in 1930s New York. Poet and Dancer (1993) is a novel.”

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

Everyday Edit: Anne Frank

Here is an Everyday Edit worksheet on Anne Frank. And let me say for the last time this month, to give credit where credit where credit is overwhelmingly due, that if you and your students like working on these short grammar exercises, the good people at Education World generously give away a yearlong supply of them–just click on that long hyperlink

DeVos Wants to Defund Special Olympics, Boost Funding for School Choice

[This is disgraceful. I don’t believe this smug, pampered heiress has a decent bone in her body.]

Diane Ravitch's blog

Betsy DeVos was grilled yesterday in Congressional hearings about her budget proposals. She was repeatedly questioned about her desire to increase charter school funding from $440 million to $500 million a year. The Network for Public Education report on the waste, fraud, and abuse in this program was cited.

While increasing the charter budget, DeVos wants to cut $18 million from the Special Olympics, which benefits 272,000 children with disabilities. 

To put it mildly, her priorities are wacky. She wants to cut the budget of a successful and valuable program while heaping money on charters that are likely to never open or quickly close.

DeVos said the philanthropic community already funds the Special Olympics. The same is true of charters. Billionaires and Wall Street heap hundreds of millions on charters. The Waltons alone have spent more than a billion on charters. Why does the Federal government add hundreds of millions more?

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The Algonquin Wits: Peggy Wood

Peggy Wood, actress and Round Table frequenter, joined the group one day when [Alexander] Woollcott was discussion the feasibility of reviving Macbeth as a Broadway play. Acknowledging the arrival of Miss Wood, Aleck said, ‘We’re discussing the cast. I don’t think you’d make a very good Lady Macbeth, do you Peggy?’

‘No, Aleck,’ she answered. ‘But you would.’”

Excerpted from: Drennan, Robert E., ed. The Algonquin Wits. New York: Kensington, 1985.

Princess Diana

OK, here is a reading on Princess Diana and the vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet that accompanies it. I have been surprised at how many of the girls I teach took an interest in this.

But then, I guess I’ve never understand the appeal or allure of the British royal family. I know it’s harsh, but I have always generally concurred with Elvis Costello’s assessment of the royals, uttered in a 1989 interview with Rolling Stone magazine. When asked about playing at a  Prince’s Trust benefit concert at Buckingham Palace, Costello replied: “No. I wouldn’t do anything with the royal family. They’re scum. Why do we subsidize this family of buffoons? What makes them so damn important? I just don’t understand why we subsidize people who seem to just go on holiday all the time. So now you won’t be seeing Elvis Costello live at Buckingham Palace.”

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.

A Student in Kansas Writes about How Standardized Testing Makes Her Feel

Diane Ravitch's blog

Kevin Bosworth, a teacherat Olathe East High School in Olathe, Kansas, wrote to tell me about a class discussion of grades and tests. A student sharedher poem with the class, and Kevin shared it with me. The reformers and disrupters now say they are intrigued with social and emotional learning. Let them read this and see what they have learned.

Hello my name is worthless

Name number and date

State your class and hour

Let the rubric pick your fate

Your value as a human

Can be measured by percent

All that matters is the value

That the numbers represent

We promise that you matter

You’re more than just a grade

But you better score one hundred

Or else you won’t get paid

They require our attendance

We’re brain dead taking notes

So we can barf back up the knowledge

That they shove down our throats

Each human life is…

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Jessye Norman

“(b. 1945) U.S. soprano. Born in Augusta, Ga., she won the Munich International Music Competition in 1968, and debuted in in Berlin as Elisabeth in Tannhauser (1969), She appeared at La Scala in 1972 and made recital debuts in London and New York the next year. Having garnered extraordinary praise for year, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in Le Troyens in 1983, confirming her reputation as perhaps the greatest soprano of her generation. An imposing stage presence, her operatic and concert repertoire ranges with equal conviction and musicality across an exceptionally wide range.”

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

Public Schools Week Starts Today! Support Our Public Schools!

Diane Ravitch's blog

Public Schools Week is March 25-29.

Download the toolkit of the Network for Public Education and do your part to support public schools! 

The forces of privatization are rising up, making promises and failing to keep any of those promises.

Public schools are the bedrock of democracy, doors open to all. Certified teachers in every classroom. Public schools strive for equality of educational opportunity, not privilege for the few.

Get involved. Do yourpart as a citizen.

Whose schools? Our schools!

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