Monthly Archives: December 2021

Earth Art

“Earth Art: An umbrella term for related movements originating in the mid-1960s in which substances like dirt, rocks, snow, and grass are embraced as the artist’s media. Works range in size from gallery pieces to large tracts of land, such as Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970), which jutted 1,500 feet into the Great Salt Lake. As with many site-specific works, these may be known to the public primarily through photographic documentation. Amalgams from the 1980s have resulted in new trends termed eco-feminism, eco-Dada, and environmental protest art. Compare Environment Art.”

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

Word Root Exercise: Heli/o

Here is a worksheet on the Greek word root heli/o. It means, simply, sun. Like many Greek roots, this one forms the basis of a number of scientific words like heliograph, heliotrope, and helium. I understand these are not exactly high-frequency words in English, but these words, if the book that animated this series of worksheets is accurate, will show up on the SAT and other gatekeeping instruments for post-secondary institutions and graduate programs.

In any case, it’s hard to imagine a global studies or world history course (or whatever your school district calls it) that wouldn’t mention heliocentrism.

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.

James A. Michener on Dark Ages

“An age is called Dark not because light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it.”

James A. Michener (1907-1997)

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

Common Errors in English Usage: Historic (adj), Historical (adj)

From Paul Brians’ book Common Errors in English Usage (to which he generously allows full access at no charge at the Washington State University website), here is an English usage worksheet on differentiating the adjectives historic and historical. This is a full-page worksheet with Professor Brians’ four-sentence reading augmented with some definitional text I worked up to complement it. There are ten modified cloze exercises for students to complete.

However, this worksheet, like most others on Mark’s Text Terminal, is formatted in Microsoft Word. So you may do as you wish with 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.

Casuistry

“Casuistry (noun): The determining of right and wrong in matters of conduct or conscience, or the applying of principles of ethics, particularly in instances that are complex or ambiguous; false, deceptive reasoning about law or morals; sophisticated persuasion. Adjective: casuistic, casuistical; adverb: casuistically.

‘After you strip this prose of its casuistic caveats, distinctions and reservations, there still remains the “needs to be taken seriously as studiously”; there remains the “structural” identity that, at least for this high culture illiterate, means flagrant gilding by association.’ John Simon, Reverse Angle”

Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.

Cultural Literacy: Mercantilism

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on mercantilism. This is a full-page worksheet with a four-sentence reading and five comprehension questions. In general, upon review, this worksheet’s reading wants a bit for an explanation and analysis of the trade strategies mercantilist states use to keep their treasuries full. If you want to take your students on a deeper dive into this essential topic in the social studies (yeesh to that term incidentally) curriculum, this lesson plan on mercantilism might be more useful.

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.

Write It Right: Colonel, Judge, Governor, etc., for Mister

“Colonel, Judge, Governor, etc., for Mister. Give a man a title only if it belongs to him and only while it belongs to him.”

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

Fanciful (adj)

Here is a context clues worksheet on the adjective fanciful. The context in these sentences seeks to elicit the definition “marked by fancy or unrestrained imagination rather than by reason and experience.” This is not, I stipulate, a high-frequency word in English. At the same time, when you’re reaching for its definition when writing prose, few other words will do.

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 Algonquin Wits: Harold Ross

“On hearing that Time editor Henry Luce objected to a profile of himself published in The New Yorker—on the grounds that not one nice thing was said about him in the whole piece—Ross told him, ‘That’s what you get for trying to be a baby tycoon.’”

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

Saturday Night Live

If you or your students can use them, here is a reading on Saturday Night Live along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. The show is soon to arrive, amazingly, at its fiftieth anniversary. As a friend of mine once put it, it gave us a reason to stay home on Saturday nights when we were young–which was probably a good thing in terms of our financial and physical (and perhaps moral) health. The reading, for all that, is relatively short.

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.