Monthly Archives: January 2020

Term of Art: Minutiae

“Minutiae (noun plural): Minor or trivial details. Singular: minutia. ‘But its relentless detail and technical concentration are exhausting for the undisciplined armchair historian who might prefer the flavorful bacon of opinion to the dry minutiae of Rumanian pig exports in discussions of inter-war foreign policy and diplomacy.’ Neal Johnston, The New York Times”

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

A Worksheet on Writing Decimal Numbers as Prose

I’m teaching math, among other things, to middle-schoolers these days. Here is a worksheet on writing out decimals as prose expressions. If you can use it (it relieves my pea brain to have one of these handy when working with this material), here also is the answer key to that document.

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.

5 Colours of Lungta

“Blue for space * White for water * Red for fire * Green for wind * Yellow for earth

These are the colours seen in the wind-whipped Buddhist silk prayer flags that fly in Tibet and the mountain valleys of the Himalayas.”

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.

Word Root Exercise: Cephal/o, Encelphal/o

OK, wrapping up on a Wednesday afternoon, here is a worksheet on the Greek roots cephal/o and encephal/o. They mean, respectively, head and brain. Now you know, instinctively, that encephalitis is a disease of the head or brain.

As I’ve now said ad nauseum, if you have students interested in a career in healthcare, this is a word root that will quickly build their professional lexicon.

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.

Write It Right: Every for Ever

“Every for Ever. ‘Every now and then.’ This is nonsense: there can be no such thing as a now and then, nor, of course, a number of now and thens. Now and then is itself bad enough, reversing as it does the sequence of things, but it is idiomatic and there is no quarreling with it. But ‘every’ is here a corruption of ever, meaning repeatedly, continually.”

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

Cultural Literacy: Tabula Rasa

On a chilly Wednesday morning, here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on tabula rasa, which is an educational and epistemological concept from John Locke.

So I must ask: do students arrive in our classrooms as blank slates, as Locke claimed, or do they have basic cognitive frameworks for understanding the world? I imagine that entire academic careers may still depend on the discourses this question raises.

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.

The Algonquin Wits: Robert Benchley on His Finances

“In 1930, Benchley commented on his reputation as a bad businessman, a weakness he readily admitted: ‘Of course, if I wanted to, I might point out that that out of a possible $5,000 which I have made since I left school I have had $3,000 worth of good food (all of which has gone into making bone and muscle and some nice fat), $1,500 worth of theater tickets, and $500 worth of candy; whereas many of my business friends have simply had $5,000 worth of whatever that stock was which got so yellow along about last November.’”

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

Alexander Hamilton

OK, before I take my much-deserved leave of this institution this afternoon, here is a reading on Alexander Hamilton with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. The musical Hamilton, also produced as a film, might make this high-interest material.

Just sayin’.

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.

Rococo Art

“Rococo Art: European art of the period from ca. 1730 to ca. 1780 characterized by the use of curvilinear ornament (see ROCAILLE). Considered the final phase of baroque art, rococo art is aristocratic, displaying a love of elegance in both style and subject matter. The French artists Watteau, Boucher, and Fragonard exemplify this art in painting, while fine examples in architecture are found in Germany and Austria as well as in other parts of Europe.”

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

Times New Roman or Comic Sans?

If you follow this blog regularly, you are likely aware of my obsession with handwriting. That mania extends to typefaces as well, and I have read, over the years, that the much-hated Comic Sans makes reading easy for students who struggle with the written word. I’ve always meant to test this. This morning, offhandedly, I performed that test with this short questionnaire on font styles.

To my surprise, most of my students told me they prefer Times New Roman. So, in the final analysis, I don’t know what to think.

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.