Monthly Archives: September 2019

Bob Shepherd: The Decline of Education Publishing

[Here is something important from Bob Shepherd, via Diane Ravitch’s blog, that I think is fundamental reading for educators.]

Diane Ravitch's blog

Bob Shepherd, polymath, wrote this:

When I started to work in educational publishing, many years ago, there were some two hundred or so companies dividing up the textbook market in the United States and about twenty with significant market share. Now there are four.

Four.

Over the decades, there has been considerable consolidation of the industry. There were many, many mergers and acquisitions. And while this was happening, something else, more insidious, was occurring.

Most of those small publishing companies had been run by people who had started out in education, had entered educational publishing, and had risen through the ranks as editors. Some were started by editors or teachers turned entrepreneurs. But as the companies grew, often via acquisition by outside entities with no background or expertise in education, the old editorial managers were replaced by financial types.

Let me give you an example. Years ago, two publishing guys…

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Write it Right: Badly for Bad

“Badly for Bad. ‘I feel badly.’ ‘He looks badly.’ The former sentence implies defective nerves of sensation, the latter, defective nerves of sensation. Use the adjective.”

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

Titanic

This reading on the Titanic and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet have tended to be relatively high interest material in my classrooms over the years.

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.

Term of Art: Code Switching

“code switching: Switching in speech between different languages, dialects, etc. E.g. two business associates meet and chat in one language; the meeting becomes formal and they switch to another. Often analyzed into subtypes, e.g. as occurring within sentences or at sentence boundaries. Sometimes distinguished from code mixing, or from borrowing; sometimes not.

The term ‘code’ is loosely used of any language or distinct variety of a language, whether or not it is actually thought of as a code (like the Morse code or a legal code) in any illuminating sense.”

Excerpted from: Marshall, P.H., ed. The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Cultural Literacy; Cryptography

OK, moving right along on this chilly Monday morning, here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on cryptography. This has turned out, at times, to be of very high interest to students I’ve taught over the years.

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 Dewey on Interest, Motivation, and Engagement

“Much assistance in the selection of appropriate material may be derived by considering the eagerness and closeness of observation that attend the following of a story or drama. Alertness of observation is at its height whenever there is plot interest. Why? The balanced combination of the old and the new, of the familiar and the unexpected…alternatives are suggested, but are left ambiguous, so that our whole being questions: What happened next? Which way did things turn out? When an individual is engaged in doing or making something, there is an analogous situation. Something is going to come of what is present, but just what is doubtful. The plot is unfolding toward success or failure, but just when or how is uncertain. Hence the keen and tense observation that attends construction. [Even] when the subject matter is of a more impersonal sort, the same principle of movement toward a denouement may apply. Mere change [in the experiences and situations] is not enough. The changes must (like the incidents of a well-arranged story or plot) take place in a certain cumulative order.”

John Dewey

How We Think: A Restatement of the Relation of Reflective Thinking to the Educative Process

Excerpted from: Wiggins, Grant, and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 1998.

Arduous (adj)

Here is a context clues worksheet on the adjective arduous if you need 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.

Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin

[Bakthin was all the rage, and his work justly influential, when I was an undergraduate in the early 1990s. When I was in the used book business, his books were scarce and therefore easily saleable. I include him here because I myself found Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics a fascinating book, but also because Bakthin was part of a circle of intellectuals in the Soviet Union that included the educational theorist Lev Vygotsky.]

Bakhtin, Mikhail Mikhailovich: (1895-1975) Russian philosopher and literary critic. In 1929, Bakhtin was sentenced to six years’ exile in Kazakhstan and subsequently sought obscurity to hide from Stalin’s purges. Bakhtin introduced the notion of novelistic discourse as distinct from poetry; he characterized it as inherently ‘dialogical’ and open-ended, with potentially parodic and surprising features. His work began to be will-received in the 1950s, and he published Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics (1929; 2nd ed 1963; tr 1984) and Rabelais and His World (1965; tr 1968). Bakhtin might have also been the author of the more ostensibly Marxist works of Voloshinov (Marxism and the Philosophy of Language, 1929; tr 1973) and Medvedev (The Formal Method in Literary Scholarship, 1928; tr 1978). Bakhtin’s ideas about dialogue were also developed in ethical discussions of aesthetics in Art and Answerability (tr 1990). His concept of the “carnivalesque,” a disruptive and parodic genre of social behavior, is notorious.”

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

Crime and Puzzlement: Bankward Ho!

Since these continue to be a very popular item on Mark’s Text Terminal, here is a complete lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “Bankward Ho!” I start this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the idiom “You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks.” To conduct this lesson, of course, you will need this PDF of the illustration and questions that are the center of the “case.” Finally, here is the typescript of the answer key.

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.

Book of Answers: One Hundred Years of Solitude

“What family’s and what village’s history are recounted in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude? The novel tells the story of seven generations of the Buendia family in the village of Macondo.”

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