When I started working in the classroom (as opposed to a hospital or corrections unit, where I have also worked with adolescents) with struggling learners in 2003, I quickly realized that my best strategy for meeting students where they are–as opposed to where their peers are, or where teachers and administrators believe they ought to be–would be to develop or adapt as many curricular materials as I could. Moreover, I knew that I needed to get my materials into some sort of word processing document–all of the Weekly Texts I post will be in Microsoft Word–so that I could adapt them for a variety of learning styles and abilities.
So, the Weekly Texts at Mark’s Text Terminal are the fruits of my labors. I hope that you may find some or all of them useful in your teaching practice. However, these documents require some explanations for use, and this page will meet that end. There are a few basic things worth mentioning at the outset, particularly about these worksheets in the form that I use them, which may not, indeed probably will not, work for you without modest editing and adaptation.
You will notice right away that many of these worksheets, particularly those do-now exercises that I use to start lessons, use highly New York City-centric context. I try to create context that I am absolutely confident my students will recognize and understand. In fact, in some of the materials you will encounter here, there is some very particular context. I’ve left them in their original form (after considering editing them for more local use), so that users may tailor them to their own needs. I believe the syntactical structures and semantics of most of the sentences I write is strong, so all these really require is that you insert your own locality or local content.
Over time, I’ll post a broad variety of materials here. Nonetheless, I’ll publish some standard materials regularly. Here’s a roster with linked users’ manuals for each type of worksheet that will reappear from time to time:
Do-Now Exercises are short worksheets I’ve developed to begin class periods. You can find a more comprehensive explanation of them above. Over the years I’ve designed a variety of them in response to skills and literacy issues I’ve seen in the population I serve. Many of these shorter worksheets (some, you will see, are half pages) have potential to become full-length lessons, especially if they’re synthesized. As always, I would be grateful to hear how you’ve used these materials in your classroom. Here are the four primary types of Do Now exercises that I’m using at present (i.e., as of April 15, 2016). I have a few other types of these worksheets in the works, and will post them and their explanations when I get them ready.
Word Root Worksheets for vocabulary building are a Friday feature in my English Language Arts classroom. The Word Root Worksheets Users’ Manual Word document rationalizes this work and explains one way of using it.
Do Now Homophone Worksheets assist students in developing their own understanding of the use of common homophones in English. These are modified cloze exercises and simple to use. That said, here’s the Homophone Worksheet Users’s Manual to provide more context for the use of this work. You might also find useful this more thorough explanations of the terms homograph, homonym, and homophone.
Do Now One Word worksheets guide students through vocabulary acquisition with relatable, readable context. These are mostly self-explanatory, but you may nonetheless find the Focus on One Word Worksheets Users’ Manual helpful.
Do Now Parsing Sentences worksheets guide students through the old-fashioned, but nonetheless useful exercise of parsing sentences–i.e. picking sentences apart to identify their parts of speech. I maintain that this is a way to help students to understand how the parts of speech function in syntax, and therefore learn how to compose sentences whose structure supports their semantics. The Parsing Sentences Worksheets Users’ Manual serves to explain and rationalize these short worksheets for opening a class period.
You will discover that many of the Do Now exercises contain asterisks where subject nouns and pronouns should be. I’ve read in a couple of places–notably in Lisa Delpit’s Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom–that when kids read their own names in classroom exercises, they are more likely to remember the skill or concept under discussion. (As soon as I have time, and can figure out the right search term to use in ERIC, I’ll post a review essay that rationalizes this practice.) In any case, when I use these worksheets, I edit in my current students names and matching pronouns. In my experience, kids like seeing their name in print, and if you can say something complimentary, funny, or both, in these exercises, students will very likely respond to them. Do-now exercises are meant to settle the class at the beginning of a period and get it focused for the comprehensive lesson which follows; aligning do-nows with the lessons they accompany is a long-term, ongoing project of mine.
Learning Supports are, I guess, self-explanatory and relatively flexible in their usefulness. Nonetheless, here is Learning Supports Users’ Manual to rationalize these documents’ use in the classroom.
Many of the lesson plans I post on Mark’s Text Terminal are parts of larger units. Because of the manner in which I manage my work flow, I outline the Common Core Standards on the unit plans themselves, and then indicate on individual lesson plans that the reader should refer back to the unit plan if he or he wants to see which of the Common Core Standards the lesson meets. So, you may need to add a list of Common Core Standards to the lesson plans you take away from this site. To make that easier for you, here are typescripts–in Word, like almost everything else here–of the Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards; here too are the Common Core Standards for Grades 9 and 10 English Language Arts as well as the Common Core Standards for Grades 11 and 12 English Language Arts. If you are a social studies or science teacher then you will find useful the Common Core Standards for Grades 9 and 10 History:Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects and the Common Core Standards for Grades 11 and 12 History:Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects. Here also, if you need them, are the ITSE National Educational Standards (NETS*T) and Performance Indicators for Students. Finally, if you use them in your lesson plans (I do, and I think they’re important for guiding instruction, particularly with struggling learners) are a list of habits of mind to be cultivated in students. I include these, as appropriate, on all my unit and lesson plans.
Nota bene, please, that material on Mark’s Text Terminal is copyrighted. Please don’t use it for your personal financial or other gain. Almost everything you will find here is in Microsoft Word format; I write my own curricular materials so that I’ll own them in a manipulable form and can adjust them according to student ability and need. Needless to say, you should feel free to do the same.
Finally, if you find any dead links on Mark’s Text Terminal, please advise me via comment so I can repair them. I will be much obliged.