Monthly Archives: September 2021

Zemi

“Zemi: A divinity worshipped by the Arawaks of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, and Jamaica. Zemis are human or animal in form, and are found on a variety of objects of stone, wood, and shell. Ceremonial centers, ball-courts and caves are associated with the cult, which may have reached the island from Mesoamerica.”

Excerpted from: Bray, Warwick, and David Trump. The Penguin Dictionary of Archaeology. New York: Penguin, 1984.

Cultural Literacy: Mayas

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Mayas. This is a half-page worksheet with two compound sentences and four comprehension questions. Depending on the learners you serve, this document could function as a do-now exercise to begin a class or independent practice to send home.

Or, you can do what you want with it: the worksheet is formatted in Microsoft Word, so it is open source and therefore available (as is just about everything on this blog) to do with as you need or want.

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.

Andes

“Andes: Mountain system, western South America. One of the great natural features of the globe, the Andes extend north-south about 5,500 miles (8,850 kilometers). They run parallel to the Caribbean coast in Venezuela before turning southwest and entering Colombia. There they form three distinct massifs: the Cordilleras Oriental, Central, and Occidental. In Ecuador they form two parallel cordilleras, one facing the Pacific and the other descending toward the Amazon basin. These ranges continue southward into Peru; the highest Peruvian peak is Mt. Huascaran, at 22,205 feet (6,768 meters), in the Cordillera Blanca. In Bolivia, the Andes again form two distinct regions; between them lies the Altiplano. Along the Chile-Argentina border they form a complex chain that includes their highest peak, Mt. Aconcagua. In southern Chile part of the cordillera descends beneath the sea, forming innumerable islands. The Andes are studded with numerous volcanoes that form part of the Ring of Fire. They also are the source of many rivers, including the Orinoco, Amazon, and Pilcomayo.”

Excerpted/Adapted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Cultural Literacy: Incas

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Incas. This is a half-page worksheet with a three-sentence reading and three comprehension questions. Therefore, it is the most basic introduction to a complicated civilization–which I assume most schools at least take a couple days in a world history or global studies class to pore over.

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.

Book of Answers: Baruch Spinoza

“What was Spinoza’s nationality? Philosopher Baruch (or Benedict) Spinoza (1632-1677) was born in Amsterdam of Portuguese Jewish parents.”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

Cultural Literacy: Havana

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Havana. This is a half-page worksheet with a reading of two compound sentences and three comprehension questions. And let me say, I have to hand it to the editors of The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy for packing as much information about the capital of Cuba as they did into the two sentences that drive this document.

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.

Pablo Picasso on Art and Truth

“We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.”

Pablo Picasso, The Arts, May 1923

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

Cultural Literacy: Pancho Villa

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Pancho Villa. This is a full-page worksheet with a four-sentence reading and six comprehension questions. Ergo, this document exceeds the usual uses of most Cultural Literacy materials found on Mark’s Text Terminal: it could work independent practice (i.e. homework) or even a classroom document depending on the learners one is serving.

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.

Juan Jose Arreola

“Juan Jose Arreola: (1918-2001) Mexican short-story writer and dramatist. Arreola had a vivid imagination, a pointed, wildly comic humor, and an extraordinary command of the Spanish language and of short forms of literature. Arreola’s workshops have trained a flock of Mexico’s new writers, and he hosted a popular TV show that analyzed literary subjects. Though he began in theater, his fame rests on his stories, fables, and vignettes which are often only a page long. Confabulario (1952; tr Confabulario and Other Inventions, 1964) is perhaps his most important prose work; it features rueful and hilarious meditations on the battle between the sexes, politics, religious hypocrisy, and the frustrations of daily life. His only novel, La feria (1963; tr The Fair, 1977) depicts, through and impressive array of colloquial nuance, the daily life of a small town as a collective portrait instead of focusing on a few protagonists. Among his other collections of short fictions is Palindroma (1971), which includes a remarkable play, “Tercera llamada,” a meta-theatrical reworking of the Adam and Eve myth that moves between the human and archetypal levels with great skill and humor. Arreola’s influences (Camus, Kafka, Borges) do not diminish his brilliant contribution to the modern Latin American short story, which places him alongside Rulfo, Quiroga, Borges, and Pinera. Arreola won the Juan Rulfo Prize in Literature in 1992.”

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

The Weekly Text, 17 September 2021, Hispanic Heritage Month 2020 Week IV: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on the Gadsden Purchase

For the first Friday of Hispanic Heritage Month 2021, this week’s Text is a reading on the Gadsden Purchase with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. The Gadsden Purchase brought territory in the far southern reaches of the present-day Arizona and New Mexico into the United States, and was concluded in 1854, six years after the Mexican-American War, which was arguably an imperialist move by the United States to seize territory that rightfully belonged to Mexico.

To clear up any confusion (mostly my own, I guess), the Gadsden Purchase was concluded by Ambassador James Gadsden. He is not the namesake of the Gadsden Flag, which has become a symbol of far-right political movements in the United States, including the perpetrators of the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capital. Rather, the Gadsden Flag is named for its designer, Christopher Gadsden, who was, among other things, a delegate to the Continental Congress in colonial North America. Unsurprisingly, though, James Gadsden was the grandson of Christopher Gadsden.

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.