Monthly Archives: September 2020

A Lexicon of Terms Related to Le Corbusier: Brutalism and Beton Brut

“Brutalism: A term coined by the British to characterize the style of Le Corbusier in the early 1950s and others inspired by him. His buildings at Marseilles, France, and Chandigarh, India, make use of Beton Brut. Increasingly occupied with sculptural effects, brutalist architects moved away from the geometric purism of the International Style.”

“Beton Brut: ‘Raw concrete’ is the result of pouring wet cement into a temporary form made of timber or metal. When the cement dries the form’s texture remains imprinted upon the surface. It’s an important element in the work of Le Corbusier.

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

Circadian Rhythms

For just over ten years, I served in a school without windows in any of the classrooms. In fact, that school has been in the news recently for deficiencies in its reopening plan.

Students, as they will (and I thank them for it), often questioned and commented about the building–it really was dismal–and wanted to discuss it at times. I used this reading on circadian rhythms and its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet as a way of capitalizing on students’ desire to know why their school possessed the architectural charm of a maximum security prison.

In any case, the reading doesn’t necessarily answer any questions. It does present opportunities to ask critical questions about allocation of public resources, investment in communities, and whether or not one needs to see daylight to operate on a circadian cycle.

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.

The Algonquin Wits: Robert E. Sherwood on Presidential Elections

“Discussing modern presidential history, Sherwood once stated: ‘All Coolidge had to do in 1924 was to keep his mean trap shut, to be elected. All Harding had to do in 1920 was repeat “avoid foreign entanglements.” All Hoover had to in 1928 was to endorse Coolidge. All Roosevelt had to do in 1932 was to point to Hoover.’”

Robert E. Sherwood

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

Cultural Literacy: Bread and Circuses

After last night, I can’t think of a better time to post this Cultural Literacy the concept of bread and circuses. The term comes from ancient Rome, as I suspect most people know; it was meant, originally, as a plaint against the declining heroism of the Roman people, who were willing to exchange the Roman Republic for the Roman Empire–to forego the work of maintaining a republic for the spectacle, noise, and distraction of the empire’s conquests and programs–free bread among them–designed to control the populace.

In the context of current American politics, I suppose a teacher could contextualize this to describe how Americans were willing to sacrifice intellect and reason for emotion and nonsense.

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.

42—Life, The Universe, and Everything

“In Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the computer Deep Thought takes 7.5 million years to work out the Answer to the Ultimate Questions of Life, the Universe and Everything is ‘42’—even if in the process the question had been forgotten. It is an answer that must disconcert Japanese readers, for 42 in Japan is like 49 in Chinese: when pronounced ‘four’ and ‘two,’ it sounds horribly similar to ‘unto death.’”

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.

The Order of Things: Space Flights

Here’s a lesson on the chronological order of international space flights and the list as reading and comprehension questions that constitute the lesson’s work. This lesson derives, as does every lesson on this blog under the header The Order of Things, from Barbara Ann Kipfer’s book of the same name.

Incidentally, I’ve just finished writing all the lessons and worksheets for the unit they comprise. There are 50 lessons in all, and I’ll soon post supporting documents for the unit, including a user’s manual for the worksheets and the unit plan itself.

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.

Predicate

“Predicate: The verb and its related words in a clause or sentence. The predicate expresses what the subject does, experiences, or is. Birds fly. The partygoers celebrated wildly for a long time.”

Excerpted from: Strunk, William Jr., and E.B. White. The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition. New York: Longman, 2000.

Abstain (vi)

OK, last but not least this morning, here is a context clues worksheet on the verb abstain, which is in fact Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day today. It is only used intransitively, and it is a word students probably ought to know and be able to use.

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.

Henry Adams on Politics

“Politics as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.”

Henry Adams

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

Cultural Literacy: Populism

If there was ever a time where students ought to be receiving rigorous instruction in civic and politics, it’s now. And I don’t mean to say that this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the political philosophy of populism is the solution to that deficit in civics instruction, but it’s a start, especially for struggling learners and emergent readers. If paired with a context clues worksheet on demagoguery, which I’ll write and post tomorrow morning.

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.