Monthly Archives: October 2019

Devil’s Dictionary: Hell

“Hell, n. The residence of the late Noah Webster, dictionary-maker.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. David E. Schultz and S.J. Joshi, eds. The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2000. 

A Complete Halloween Lesson Plan on Vlad the Impaler

While I have posted these materials elsewhere on Mark’s Text Terminal, I have not included (because I just wrote it yesterday) this lesson plan on Vlad the Impaler. He is the model for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. He also offers a glimpse into the mentality of some of those European knights who went on Crusade in the Holy Land. His biography also offers some insight into the privileges and prerogatives of European nobility in the fifteenth century. And of course, there are his horrifying crimes against humanity, though they would not have been called that at the time (see “privileges and prerogatives of European nobility”).

Anyway, here is a context clues worksheet on the verb impale (it’s only used transitively). This short reading on Vlad is the center of the lesson. Finally, here is the vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet that accompanies the reading.

And with that: Happy Halloween! Go easy on the candy, eh?

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.

Guys and Dolls

“A collection of stories (1931) by the US writer Damon Runyon (1884-1946), comprising amusing tales of gangster life, told in Runyon’s colorful version of New York underworld patois. The first collection was followed by several others, and the stories feature characters such as Joe the Joker, Nicely-Nicely, Apple Annie, and Regret the Horseplayer. The musical comedy entitled Guys and Dolls (1950), based on Runyon’s stories and with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser (1910-69) and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, focuses on the romance that develops between a Salvation Army worker (representing the ‘dolls’) and gambler Sky Masterson (representing the ‘guys’). It was filmed in 1955 starring Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, and Jean Simmons.”

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

Perspicacious (adj)

It’s a word that I didn’t learn until a professor of mine at Hampshire College wrote it in an evaluation of my Division II work (which was very gratifying), so maybe high schoolers need not learn it. If you think they should, though, then here is a context clues worksheet on the adjective perspicacious. It means “of acute mental vision or discernment.”

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.

Helen Prejean on the Death Penalty

“[On her opposition to the death penalty:] People are more than the worst thing they have ever done in their lives.”

Sister Helen Prejean

Quote in N.Y. Times Magazine, 9 May 1993

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

A Complete Lesson Plan on Culture and Religion as Causes of History

Last but not least this morning is this lesson plan on culture and religion as causes of history. I start this lesson with this context clues worksheet on the noun epidemic. This lesson is a brainstorming and note-taking activity, so, accordingly, you’ll want this (or some iteration of it you make) this brainstorming and note-taking worksheet for students to use.

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.

Historical Terms: Caesarism

Caesarism: Governmental system similar to that established by Julius Caesar (101-44 BC) in ancient Rome, that is, a semi-popular system of dictatorship, the dictator being enabled to seize power by the support of the army, a party or section of the people. Once in power, the dictator preserves the outward democratic forms with impotent parliaments, rigged elections and manipulations of the plebiscite. The property-owning class has its privileges and power curtailed, but is still protected from the poor. Egalitarian sentiments are expressed and the dictator claims to derive power from the people. Bonapartism is a variant of the model. Oswald Spengler (1880-1936), the German political philosopher, held that Caesarism would replace democracy in the 20th century since it was a trend to emerge in all civilizations at a certain point in their development.”

Excerpted from: Cook, Chris. Dictionary of Historical Terms. New York: Gramercy, 1998.