Monthly Archives: October 2021

Rotten Reviews: Invisible Man

Rotten Reviews: Invisible Man

“It has its faults which cannot simply be shrugged off—occasional overwriting, stretches of fuzzy thinking, and a tendency to waver, confusingly, between realism and surrealism.”

Atlantic Monthly

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

The Sopranos

OK, continuing with items from the I-don’t-know-why-or-when-I wrote-this shelf in the warehouse at Mark’s Text Terminal, here is a reading on The Sopranos (which I loved, so that may figure into this) along with its vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. I expect that this will have, more than 14 years after the final episode of the show aired, very little relevance to students–if ever it did. I must have put this together for a student who asked for it, but I cannot for the life of me remember who that would have been.

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.

Term of Art: Construction of Meaning

“construction of meaning: The act of thinking about ideas, events, and texts and ascribing significance to them. Those who use this phrase typically assert that texts are cultural products that do not have a meaning in and of themselves; rather, the reader constructs their meaning, depending on his or her prior experience and knowledge, his or her emotional state at the time of the reading, and the political and social climate in which he or she lives. Or, put another way, the text has no necessary relationship to what its author intended. This popular literary theory encourages readers to avoid seeking the author’s purpose, since the author’s purpose is allegedly irrelevant; it also encourages readers to believe that a text says whatever a reader thinks it does, which is a highly narcissistic, solipsistic notion. Teachers who act on this belief encourage students to believe that what they feel about a text is more important than the text itself.”

Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.

Cultural Literacy: Conscientious Objector

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the concept of a conscientious objector to war. This is a half-page worksheet with a reading of three compound sentences and three comprehension questions. The first question is in three parts, and it may be necessary to break it up for emergent or struggling readers. Once again, this is  Microsoft Word document, so you are free to do with it what you want or need.

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.

Nicholas Tomalin on Achieving Success in Journalism

“The only qualities for real success in journalism are ratlike cunning, a plausible manner and a little literary ability. The capacity to steal other people’s words and phrases…is also invaluable.”

Nicholas Tomalin

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.

Common Errors in English Usage: Graffiti (n)

From Paul Brians’ book Common Errors in English Usage (to which he allows no-cost access on the Washington State University website), here is an English usage worksheet on the noun graffiti. The mild irony here, of course, is that graffiti is an Italian noun, and a plural at that; the singular is graffito. In any case, the worksheet consists of a relatively short (four sentences) reading passage with ten modified cloze exercises.

This is not a vital area of usage, but the worksheet does supply students with an opportunity to do usage analysis, which is more or less the point of these worksheets–and the meet the standard (see “English Usage” in the About Posts & Texts page on this blog, which you can reach by clicking on that title on the masthead of the site) that animated them in the first place.

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.

Biedermeier

“Biedermeier: The German and Austrian form of Empire Style, ca. 1815-1848, especially in furniture and articles of interior decoration. Extended to those paintings of the Romantic period that depict subjects favored by the middle class. The term is not applicable to architecture or sculpture.”

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

Word Root Exercise: Flori

Here is a worksheet on the Latin root flori. As you probably know, because you have probably visited a florist at least once in your life, this productive root in English (it gives us, in addition to florist, flora, efflorescence and its verb effloresce, as well as the relatively commonly used adjective florid) means flower.

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: Strategy Instruction

“strategy instruction: An important educational approach to working with students with a learning disability. It is based on an assumption that individuals with learning disabilities have significant deficits in the area of strategy development. These deficits may be the result of underlying language disabilities and skills deficits, or of problems in acquiring executive procedures and learning strategies.

In any case, a strategy instruction approach assumes that explicit instruction in learning strategies and executive procedures is a fundamental approach to helping students with learning disabilities achieve their potential.

Strategy instruction typically involves teaching procedures like SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review). Students learn to perform a sequence of specific activities geared toward a specific task and outcome, practice those procedures in a variety of contexts, and apply them independently.

Strategy instruction has proven effective, particularly in college situations where it allows students to meet course requirements independently.”

Excerpted from: Turkington, Carol, and Joseph R. Harris, PhD. The Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities. New York: Facts on File, 2006.

Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts

While I concede that this reading on Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts and its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet may not have compelling utility in our mostly arts-free schools, here they are nonetheless.

I’m old enough to remember the broadcasts of Maestro Bernstein–who was an eminent figure in the American Culture of my youth–and his Young People’s Concerts. The New York Philharmonic, then as now, stood as one of the world’s great orchestras. I can’t say these television shows inculcated a lifelong love of classical music in me, but they did introduce me to it and help me understand it. Fortunately, Wynton Marsalis, a figure as vital to American culture as Leonard Bernstein, continues the tradition of introducing young people to a genuinely American art form with his “Jazz for Young People” concerts. Mr. Marsalis leads the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, perhaps the greatest large ensemble playing jazz these days.

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.