Monthly Archives: September 2020

Modernismo

“Modernismo: A literary movement that arose in Spanish America in the late 19th century and was subsequently transmitted to Spain, In their quest for pure poetry, the modernists displayed a dazzling technical virtuosity and technical perfection that revolutionized Spanish literature.

According to some critics, the publication of Jose Marti’s Ismaelillo (1882) marks the beginning of the movement. Others assert that, while Marti exerted enormous influence on Spanish-American writing and thought, his poetry is so individual that he cannot be considered even a precursor of modernism. There is no disagreement, however, as to the dominant role of Ruben Dario, whose work defined and stimulated modernism in America and in Spain. The publication of his Azul (1888) is sometimes said to signify the birth of modernism, and Prosas profanas (1896) is held to show modernism at its zenith. Other early modernist poets (often considered precursors of this movement) were Manuel Gutierrez Najera, Jose Ascuncion Silva, and Julian del Casal, the Cuban. Modernists of the later, post-1896 phase include Leopoldo Lugones, Jose Enrique Rodo, Julio Herrera y Reissig, Jose Santo Chocano, Amado Nervo, and Rufino Blanco Fombona.

In rebellion against romanticism, from which, however, they were not always able to free themselves, the modernists drew their initial inspiration and technique from European, particularly French, sources. From French Parnassians and symbolists, such as Gautier, Coppee, and Verlaine, came their pessimism and melancholy, their belief in art for art’s sake, their zeal for technical excellence and musicality, their love of exotic imagery and a vocabulary in which swans (one of Dario’s favorite symbols), peacocks, gems, and palaces abound. Another distinctive characteristic of the modernists was their unceasing experimentation with old and new verse forms, In their desire to escape from the sordidness of reality, the early modernists usually shunned political and native themes. Their successors, however, inspired no doubt by impassioned verses that Dario hurled at Theodore Roosevelt in his ode to Argentina, turned increasingly to American subjects, as exemplified by Chocano’s Alma America (1906). In prose writing, particularly the essay, modernismo fostered a new simplicity and elegance, the finest examples of which are to be found in the works of Rodo.”

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

The Weekly Text, September 18 2020: Hispanic Heritage Month Week I–A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Diego Rivera

If you’ve never seen the paintings of Diego Rivera, you’re in for a treat. In observance of the first week of Hispanic Heritage Month 2020 (it runs between September 15 and October 15), on Mark’s Text Terminal, the Weekly Text is a reading on Diego Rivera along with its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet

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

As for for As to

“As for for As to. ‘As for me, I am well.’ Say as to me.”

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

Delve (vi)

It’s Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day today. It is also a very strong verb from Middle English, and a word that ought to be used in our schools more often. Hence this context clues worksheet on the verb delve. In the years I’ve been a teacher, students haven’t much delved into the world of ideas as skimmed its surface in preparation for high-stakes standardized tests. Maybe it’s time, especially in the second two years of high school, to ask students to delve into something.

In any case, this verb has a transitive use, excavate (i.e., dig) that Merriam-Webster now designates as archaic. However, intransitively, delve means, for our purposes, “to make a careful or detailed search for information” and  “to examine a subject in detail.” If you know delve and use it, I wonder if you find the verb rarely appears without the preposition into, which then has an object following it? He delved into the essays of James Baldwin.

(OK, delve, intransitively, also means “to dig or labor with or as if with a spade.” I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anyone say they were off to delve out the hog pen, so I left it alone.)

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.

Mozarabe Style

“Mozarabe Style: Describes a tradition of art developed by the Christians (mozarabes) who lived in those parts of Spain under Muslim rule from the 8th to the 15th centuries. The Mozarabe style was primarily associated with church architecture and was often characterized by the horseshoe arch, a holdover from Visigothic times.”

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

Cultural Literacy: Allies

Given the rise of tyranny around the world, and given the dismal state of United States’ foreign policy, I think now is the time to post this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Allies in both World War I (opposed, in that conflict, to the Central Powers that arose in turn out of the Triple Alliance in Europe) and World War II (opposed, in that global war, to the Axis powers).

This might make a handy learning support for students with less than adequate funds of memory. Questions about the members of alliances are the kinds things that pop up on standardized tests.

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.

Periodic Sentence

“Periodic Sentence: A sentence that expresses the main idea at the end. With or without their parents’ consent, and whether or not they receive the assignment relocation they requested, they are determined to get married.”

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

Limpid (adj)

It’s the Word of the Day at Merriam-Webster’s, so here is a context clues worksheet on the adjective limpid. It means “marked by transparency,” “clear and simple in style,” and “absolutely serene and untroubled.” I’ve used it in the first two senses, but not in the third, in this worksheet.

I understand that this is a words students can probably live without. But what would it look like if we asked them to live with it? This is a word commonly used in poetry. If you read any amount of fiction, or even the blurbs on novels, you’ve almost certainly encountered the locution “limpid prose,” as in “In limpid [and feel free to add ‘crystalline’ here] prose. Hiram Famauthor tells the story of Stanley, who overcomes adversity to triumph in life.” So, if you have advanced English language arts students, or kids struggling with literacy, there are at least of couple of reasons to teach them this word.

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.

Term of Art: Aristocracy of Labor

“Aristocracy of Labor The skilled section of the 19th– and early 20th-century British working class in the staple industries, economically and consciously culturally distinct from the mass of workers, which provided the core and leadership of the trade union movement. A Marxist view that its influence held the Labor movement back from revolutionary politics is widely disputed.”

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

Two Independent Research Projects on the Bloods and the Crips

Some time ago, I put up a series of independent research assignments I’d developed for students whom I sought to reach with differentiated instruction. This work had everything to do with motivating students by supplying them with high interest material.

However, I held back two from that original release of documents, to wit this independent research assignment on the Bloods as well as this one on the Crips. I can’t remember now why I didn’t throw them up with the rest, and that leads me to believe I had some misguided notions of propriety. So, let me say that one of the things that animated the development of these documents was the 2008 Independent Lens documentary Crips and Bloods: Made in America. The film does an excellent job of tracing the history of the Crips and the Bloods, explaining along the way the complex sociological and economic forces that move young men to join gangs.

These assignments are structured to follow closely the Wikipedia articles about the Bloods and about the Crips.

Another thing that moved the creation of these documents was the fact that I was working with some students who were themselves either considering joining either the Crips or the Bloods, were already involved, or had family members involved in either group. In any case, if one lives or works (or both) in a tough neighborhood in one of New York City’s Five Boroughs, there is a good chance one sees members of the Crips or Bloods operating daily in one’s neighborhood.

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.