Monthly Archives: November 2020

Rotten Reviews: The Man Who Knew Kennedy by Vance Bourjaily

The man who knew Kennedy didn’t know him very well. I’m almost as intimate with Lyndon Johnson. I met him once.”

Webster Schott, New York Times Book Review

Excerpted from: Barnard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.    

Posthumous (adj)

It was the Word of the Day at Merriam-Webster a few days back, and I was surprised to find that I didn’t already possess a context clues worksheet on the adjective posthumous. This word is really a staple word in English, and one our students ought to know before they walk off the state at graduation.

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.

Term of Art: Accent

“accent: A variety of speech differing phonetically from other varieties: thus, as in ordinary usage, ‘a Southern accent.’ ‘Scottish accent,’ ‘Scottish accents.” Normally restricted by linguists to cases where the differences are at most in phonology: further differences, e.g. in syntax, are said to be between dialects.”

Excerpted from: Matthews, P.H., ed. The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Musical Genres

To finish up on this sunny November morning, here is a reading on musical genres along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. Nota bene, please, that this material deals with genres in classical music only; if you’re looking for readings on popular forms of music, use a search term at the home page. Over the years, and in the years to come, I have posted and will post a lot of material on music and musical artists.

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.

Alexander Pope on Education

“Tis education forms the common mind/Just as the twig is bent, the tree’s inclined.”

Alexander Pope, Moral Essays: Epistle to Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington

Excerpted from: Howe, Randy, ed. The Quotable Teacher. Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press, 2003.

Mogul (n)

It’s the Word of the Day at Merriam-Webster, and I was surprised to find I hadn’t already prepared work on it. So here, belatedly, I guess, is a context clues worksheet on the noun mogul. I’ve written the sentences in this document to reflect the meaning of this noun as “a person of rank, power, or influence.”

Don’t forget that this word comes to us from the noun Mughal, which means “an Indian Muslim of or descended from one of several conquering groups of Mongol, Turkish, and Persian origin.” In other words, if you’re teaching globals studies, world history, or whatever your school district names this area of study, this is a word students might need to know.

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.

Vanitas

“Vanitas: A type of Still Life in which the objects depicted are reminders of the transience of temporal life. Developed in the 17th century, vanitas employed motifs such as the hourglass, skull, mirror, scales, dying or decaying plant life, and books.”

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

Word Root Exercise: Clud, Clus

Here is a worksheet on the Latin word roots clud and clus, which mean “to close.” You’ll find these roots at the base of words like include, exclude, and preclude, as well as recluse, among many others. This can be a tough root for students to define, which is why I should probably, eventually, write it into a lesson plan. The definitions of the words on the worksheet, as students find and record them, don’t show a clear pattern that concludes in “to close.” So, some Socratic question is de rigueur to bring this worksheet to conclusion.

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 Devil’s Dictionary: Abridgement

“Abridgement, n. A brief summary of some person’s literary work, in which those parts that tell against the convictions of the abridger are omitted for want of space.” 

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

Cultural Literacy: Hoi Polloi

Monday morning, raining, while Ishmael Reed reads “Judas.”

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the noun hoi polloi, from the ancient Greek meaning “the many.” This noun phrase isn’t much used anymore, perhaps because it has negative or even contemptuous connotations. Still, if we want to produce educated citizens who are capable of sustaining a civil society, this might be a word and concept for them to understand.

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.