Monthly Archives: August 2019

Rotten Reviews: Lie Down in Darkness by William Styron

“What is evident in this first novel is an eagerness and a sincerity which ought to have been served by an able and understanding editor. Mr. Styron however had no Maxwell Perkins to guide him, with the result that he has written here a serious work of fiction which should not have exceeded 300 pages in length, and which need not have been done in so turgid and often confused a manner…Mr. Styron leaves his readers curiously unsympathetic.”

August Derleth, Chicago Tribune

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

A Lesson Plan on the Crime and Puzzlement Case “Back to the Classroom”

Ok, to finish up this Sunday morning, here is a lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “Back to the Classroom.”

I begin this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the idiom “If the Shoe Fits, Wear It.” To proceed in solving this case, you and your students will need the illustration and questions that drive the lesson. Finally, here is the answer key that interprets the evidence in the illustration for students and teachers.

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.

Dante’s 11

Dante was a keen follower of Pythagoras, the sixth-century BC Greek philosopher and mathematician who sought to explain the world, both spiritual and material, by numbers. Pythagoras believed that the mathematical principles that underlay the universe, gave it harmony, literally a music of the spheres. Dante, in his great work, Divine Comedy, sought to create the divine song.

The key number for Dante was 11—the union of 5 and 5—and its multiples. The Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, have thirty-three cantos each, and the poem is written in hendecasyllabic rhyme (eleven syllables long). Dante twice provides dimensions of Hell, stating that that circumference of the ninth bolgia (ditch) in the Eighth Circle is 22 miles (miglia ventidue), and the tenth bolgia is 11 miles. There is nothing accidental about this mention of 11 and its multiple 22; twenty-two forms part of the well-known fraction 22/7 which expresses the Pythagorean value of pi.

Three and nine also figure prominently in Dante’s numerology. The three books of the Divine Comedy delineate the nine circles of Hell, the nine rings of Mount Purgatory and the nine celestial bodies of Paradise.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

Superman

Here is a high-interest reading on comics superhero Superman and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet if you need them.

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.

Acumen (n)

Moving right along on this chilly morning, here is a context clues worksheet on the noun acumen. This is a word I like kids to know and be able to use it in the classroom.

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: Haptic Sense

“haptic sense: A person’s sense of touch. Haptic recognition tests involve blindfolded subjects feeling geometric shapes, then choosing the picture corresponding to the shape from a limited set. Many people with language-based disabilities have a difficult time with these tasks.”

Excerpted from: Turkington, Carol, and Joseph R. Harris, PhD. The Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities. New York: Facts on File, 2006.

Word Root Exercise: Meter, Metr, and Metry

Here is a vocabulary-building worksheet on the Greek roots meter,metr, and -metry.  They mean measure, to measure, and science of measuring. This root gives rise to words in all domains of the the common branch curriculum, as well as of numerous academic terms of art like psychometric and econometric.

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.

Ziggurat

“Ziggurat: (Akkadian, ziqqurratu = mountaintop or height) A temple built in the form of a rectangle-based pyramid and made of mud brick tapering in stages toward the top. The ziggurat originated with the Sumerians; the Assyrians and Babylonians later followed their example. Well-known ziggurats include those of Ur and Babylon, located in what is now southern Iraq.”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

Cultural Literacy: Divine Right of Kings

If you can use it, here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the divine right of kings. In this period of United States history, I guess, this is frighteningly relevant material.

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: Nomenclature

“Nomenclature (noun): A system of names for designating the things or member elements of a particular science, field, or discipline; categorical labeling; terminology; list or set of names. Adjective: nomenclative, nomenclatorial, nomenclatural; adverb: nomenclatorially, nomenclaturally.

‘Nailles claimed not to be a superstitious man but he did believe in the mysterious power of nomenclature. He believed, for example, that people named John and Mary never divorced.’ John Cheever, Bullet Park

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