Category Archives: English Language Arts

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

Everyday Edit: Anne Sullivan

Here, on a Monday morning after a fabulously spring-like weekend, which I passed in the charming Westchester County town of Katonah, New York, is an Everyday Edit worksheet on Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller’s legendary teacher.

Incidentally, if you or your students like using these short exercises in your classroom, the good people at Education World generously distribute, at no cost, a yearlong supply of these Everyday Edit worksheets. At my current posting, I am required to use a scripted curriculum, so I cannot employ these in my classroom. In the past, however, I’ve used them regularly to good effect with struggling learners. In fact, I have placed them in lesson plans where appropriate.

Mary Cassatt

“1844-1929) U.S. painter and printmaker, active in Paris. Born in Allegheny City, Pa., she spend her early years traveling in Europe with her wealthy family. She attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (1860-65) and later studied in Paris, copying old masters. She became a close friend of E. Degas, who influenced her style and encouraged her to exhibit with the Impressionists, of whose work she became a tireless champion. She portrayed scenes of everyday life, particularly images of mothers and children, ans was skilled at drawing and printmaking. Some of her best works were executed in pastel. Through her social contacts with wealthy private collectors, she promoted Impressionism in the U.S. and exerted a lasting influence on U.S. taste.”

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

The Weekly Text, March 15, 2019

Another Friday has rolled around, and on this one, for some reason in my school district, we are not required to report to work.

Continuing with posts in observation of Women’s History Month 2019, here is a reading on soccer legend Mia Hamm with its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. This is high interest material, especially for girls and young women involved in sports, particularly, obviously, soccer.

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.

Rotten Reviews: The Violent Bear It Away

“As a specialist in Southern horror stories, Miss O’Conner’s attitude has been wry, her preferences perverse, her audience special.”

Kirkus Reviews

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

Cultural Literacy: Demeter

Here, on a Thursday morning, is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Demeter.

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.

Beloved

(1987) A novel by Toni Morrison, winner of the Pulitzer Prize. It is the story of a runaway slave whose desperation forces her to slash her infant daughter’s throat with a handsaw rather than see the child in chains. But eighteen years after the child’s death, a young woman appears and the characters believe she is the slain infant returned to earth. Set in the pre- and post-Civil War era outside Cincinnati, Beloved is developed through a series of flashbacks to the Sweet Home Plantation. The main characters are Sethe, the heroine who is literally haunted by the baby daughter she killed; Beloved, the ghost of Sethe’s child; Paul D., a former slave who knew Sethe when they were together at Sweet Home; and Denver, one of Sethe’s other three children.”

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

Betty Boop

For a variety of reasons, I felt trepidation about posting this reading on flapper icon Betty Boop and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

But for a variety of other reasons, in the final analysis, I decided to offer it after all. For starters, even almost 100 years after her appearance in the cultural iconography of the United States, Betty Boop persists. Also, as I began thinking about this reading, as well as watching the initial reactions of students working on it, I saw that the story of Betty Boop offers a way of analyzing a number of critical social and cultural phenomena in the United States, not the least of which is sexism and the objectification of women.

An essential question for this might be something along the lines of “What is sexism?” Which then opens the door to the more particularly critical question, “How does Betty Boop represent social and cultural sexism?” There are lots of other questions this material raises. For example, this reading offers a specific and compelling example of the concept of the risque in culture, which seems to me worth teaching, even in an age where what was once risque is now blase. If you have somewhat more advanced students, I’ll guess they’ll be the ones to ask those kinds of questions–and more, I hope.

And what more could a teacher want, after all?

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.