Legerdemain (n)

Because it was recently Merriam-Webster’s word of the day, in the interests of my own ongoing cognitive agility (like everyone else, I am not getting any younger), I wrote this context clues worksheet on the noun legerdemain. It means both “sleight of hand” and “a display of skill or adroitness.” It’s probably not anyone’s idea of a word kids really must know by their high school graduation.

So I almost skipped developing this worksheet. Yet, it nagged at me. At this point, I have spent my career as a teacher in the service of struggling students. One of the things I noticed my charges struggled with, year in and year our, was abstractions and concepts. Since most kids know what magic and card tricks are, I saw an opportunity to show them both the abstract and the concrete using this word. Parenthetically, I think one of the reasons so many struggling learners tend to tussle with abstractions is that they have been taught not to trust their perceptions. Here, I submit, is a word that can help them learn to know and trust the accuracy of their perceptions because they possess the relatively simple prior knowledge to understand it.

Or maybe not. In any case, I’m just sayin’.

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.

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