Category Archives: English Language Arts

Worksheets, short exercises, learning supports, readings and other materials related to the English Language Arts curriculum.

Cannonball Adderley

Cannonball Adderley: (orig. Julian Edwin) (1928-1975) U.S. saxophonist, one of the most popular jazz musicians of the 1950s and ‘60s. Adderley was born in Tampa, Florida, and worked as a music teacher before moving to New York in 1955. Arriving shortly after the death of Charlie Parker, he was hailed as Parker’s stylistic successor. He performed with Miles Davis from 1957 to 1959, then led an ensemble with his brother, cornetist Nat Adderley (1931-2000). Also influenced by Benny Carter, Adderley’s playing showed a strong blues inspiration, and his music in the 1960s reflected the introduction of gospel-music harmonies. He died following a stroke at age 46.

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

Cultural Literacy: Duke Ellington

Here, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2021, is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Duke Ellington

Today is a day of service; don’t forget to go out and do something to make the world a better, more just, peaceful, and dignified 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.

Term of Art: Cognitive Style

“cognitive style: The preferred way an individual processed information, usually described as a personality dimension that influences attitudes, values, and social interaction. Unlike individual differences in abilities that describe peak performance, styles describe a person’s typical mode of thinking, remembering, or problem solving. Having more of an ability is usually considered beneficial, while having a particular cognitive style simply denotes a tendency to behave in a certain manner.

Field Independence/Dependence A number of cognitive styles have been identified and studies over the years; field independence/field dependence is probably the most well known. Individuals view the world in different ways. Those who are called “field-dependent” perceive the world in terms of larger patterns and relationships, whereas those who are “field-independent” perceive the world in terms of discrete elements–they look at the pieces that make up the whole.

Most schools in Western culture favor a field-independent approach, rewarding students who tend to work and organize information on their own. These learneer are objective in that they make what is being studies into an object to be analyzed and understood.

Studies have identified a number of connections between this cognitive style and learning. For example, field-independent individuals are likely to learn more effectively by studying by themselves, and are influenced less by social reinforcement.”

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

The Weekly Text, January 15, 2021: A Lesson Plan on the Latin Word Root Medi-

The Weekly Text from Mark’s Text Terminal for Friday, January 15, 2021, is a lesson plan on the Latin word root medi. It means middle; unless I miss my guess, you already recognize this as an extremely productive root in English, as well as across the Romance Languages.

I open this lesson with this context worksheet on the noun intermediary. This is a commonly used word in English. Its adjectival form, intermediate, shows up on this scaffolded worksheet on this word root that is the principal work of this lesson.

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.

Write It Right: Both Alike

“Both alike. ‘They are both alike.’ Say, they are alike. One of them could not be alike.”

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

Achieve (vi/vt)

Here is a context clues worksheet on the verb achieve, which is used both intransitively and transitively.

More importantly, perhaps, it is very commonly used among educators and with our students;  we use it, albeit in adjectival form, in terms of art like “achievement gap.” If we’re going to use this word, which can be in some cases a value judgement, then we owe it to our kids to help them understand it in both its denotative and connotative senses. Moreover, I would argue, we need to help students understand that achieve and achievement are words that can be and often are used in highly subjective–and again, judgemental–ways.

So we might want to ask critical questions, and by extension help students gain an understanding of asking such questions, like: “What is achievement?” “Who defines achievement?” “How do people know when they achieve something?” “Why is achieving things important?” “According to whom?” “How does one know when one has achieved something?” You get the picture.

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.

Fin de Siecle

“Fin de Siecle: (Fr., end of century) Art of the end of the nineteenth century, also known as decadent art, which was created under the influence of the Aesthetic Movement in the style of Art Nouveau. Particularly associated with the highly stylized, black-and-white illustrations of Aubrey Beardsley.”

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

Cultural Literacy: Lenin

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on V.I. Lenin

Did you know that his real name was Vladimir Illyich Ulyanov? You can see from his patronymic that his father was named Ilya Ulyanov. Interestingly, given Lenin’s later revolutionary activity against the Russian state and its underlying structure of rank and status, Ilya Ulyanov was elevated by dint of education and talent to the position of Active State Councillor, which endowed him with the status of hereditary nobility

Lenin’s older brother, Alexander Ulyanov, on the other hand, fell in with the Narodnaya Volya, which attempted on March 1 1887 (six years to the day after the assassination of Emperor Alexander II) to assassinate Emperor Alexander III. Alexander Ulyanov was arrested, tried, and hanged along with his four co-conspirators for this failed plot.

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: Adjective

“adjective: Defined traditionally as a word added to a noun, which characteristically denotes a property of whoever or whatever is referred to. One function therefore is as a modifier: e.g. tall in tall men is an adjective modifying men. Another is in predicative position: e.g. that of tall in These men are tall.

Adjectives were included in antiquity in the same part of speech as nouns. Distinguished in the later Middle Ages, as ‘nouns adjective’ in contrast to ‘nouns substantive’; and so called, still, in the early decades of the 20th century.

An adjectival element is on either forming or having the role of adjectives: e.g. -less in clueless is an adjectival affix; English participial adjectives in -ed, such as interested in very interested, have been called ‘adjectival passives.”

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

Common Errors in English Usage: Presently (adv), Currently (adv)

Here is a worksheet on differentiating the use of the adverbs presently and currently. Like many of the worksheets in this series, this one addresses what some people might find nitpicky and unimportant. That may well be true of this pair of adverbs, but the point of this exercise is to induce students to think about how to use language precisely and meaningfully.

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.