Category Archives: English Language Arts

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

Albert Camus on Politics and Greatness of Character

“Politics and the fate of mankind are formed by men without ideals and without greatness. Those who have greatness within them do not go in for politics.”

Albert Camus

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

Emissary (n)

It has been some time since Merriam-Webster has posted of the Word of the Day that I though high school students must know. For example, today’s word is repine, an intransitive verb meaning “to feel or express dejection or discontent.” My guess, unless you plan to have your students reading or writing on Victorian literature, or unless you seek to have them assume literary pretentiousness in common discourse, they won’t need to know this verb.

Yesterday produced, after several dry days, this context clues worksheet on the noun emissary. This is, I think, a word in common enough use that students will need to know it in high school, particularly in social studies courses.

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.

Tense

“Tense: The time of a verb’s action or state of being, such as past, present, or future. Saw, see, will see.”

Excerpted from: Strunk, William Jr., and E.B. White. The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition. New York: Longman, 2000.

The Weekly Text, October 23, 2020: A Lesson Plan on the Latin Word Roots Matr, Matri, and Mater

Last but not least this morning, this week’s Text is a lesson plan on the Latin word roots matr, matri, and mater. They mean, simply, (as you’ve surely inferred) mother. They are very productive in English.

I open this lesson with this context clues worksheet on the adjective matrifocal, which supplies a hint about the meaning of the roots under study; it is also a good sociological, anthropological, and historical term of art for students to know. Finally, here is the word root worksheet on matr, matri, and mater that is the 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.

2 Hands—10 Fingers

“The prime motivation behind the power of 10 is that you can with some authority recite your list of laws, prophets or gods as you tick off each of your ten fingers from a pair of hands, So the decision to decimate a rebel legion, to take tithe of a tenth of the harvest as tax or to rule for a decade seems logical, absolute, and ordained. The decimal system which now rules our numerical world, our wealth, our conception of time and distance derives from dekm—the Indo-Aryan word for ‘two hands,’ the power of ten.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

Sun Spots and Solar Flares

Just now, I was asked in a Zoom meeting job interview if I could teach science. Like everything else I do in the classroom, I would and have used the subject to build literacy in general and literacy in the content area in particular. One example of that, if you can use it, is this reading on sunspots and solar flares and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

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: Balance for Remainder

“Balance for Remainder. ‘The balance of my time is given to recreation.’ In this sense, balance is a commercial word, and relates to accounting.”

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

English Usage: Sarcastic (adj), Ironic (adj)

Moving right along on this sunny, autumnal morning, here is an English usage worksheet on the adjectives sarcastic and ironic and differentiating their use. I hear these words misused frequently; they strike me as a pair of adjectives that represent abstractions (the nouns, and you know, are sarcasm and irony) that students should understand deeply and use correctly.

If nothing else, understanding these two words and concepts might help students produce solid literary exegesis.

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: Boycott

boycott: Refusal by a body of people to have any dealings with a person or persons. The term is derived from Capt. C.C. Boycott (1832-97) who, having incurred hostility for a series of evictions, was made the victim of a conspiracy by the Irish Land League, preventing him from making any purchases or holding any social intercourse in his district.”

Excerpted from: Cook, Chris. Dictionary of Historical Terms. New York: Gramercy, 1998.

Oasis (n)

I wrote this context clues worksheet on the noun oasis to use with global studies lessons on either the Trans-Saharan Gold Trade or the biography of Mansa Musa, the king of Mali who lived between c. 1280 and c. 1337. In any case, this is a word students ought to know in both its denotative and connotative senses.

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.