Category Archives: English Language Arts

This category contains domain-specific material–reading and writing expository prose, interpreting literature etc.–designed to meet the Common Core standards in English language arts while at the same time being flexible enough to meet the needs of diverse and idiosyncratic learners.

Cultural Literacy: Metaphor

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on metaphor. This is a half-page document with a reading of two sentences–one of them a complicated compound with multiple clauses, a colon, and semicolons (in other words, emergent readers and English language learners may need some support here) and three basic comprehension questions. In other words, an introduction to the concept of metaphor, but little else.

If you are teaching metaphor and seek more materials on this website, simply search “metaphor” from the home page. I just did, and was surprised how much material has stacked up here over the years.

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.

Uto-Azteca Languages

“Uto-Aztecan languages: Family of more than 30 American Indian languages spoken in pre-Columbian times from the Northern Great Basin to Central America. Geographically, Uto-Aztecan can be divided into a northern and a southern branch. The northern branch, spoken from Oregon and Idaho to southern California and Arizona, includes the languages of the Northern and Southern Paiutes, Utes, Northern and Eastern Shoshones, Comanches, and Hopi. The southern branch includes the languages of the O’odham (Pima and Papago) in Arizona, and of a number of Mexican Indian peoples including the Tarahumara of Chihuahua, the Yaqui of New Mexico and Arizona, and the Cora and Huichol of Nayarit and Jalisco; its southernmost extension includes Nahuatl.”

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

Cultural Literacy: Mayas

OK, last but not least for today and for National Native American Heritage Month 2022, here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Mayas. This is a half-page worksheet with a reading of two longish compound sentences and four comprehension questions. Again, just the basics.

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.

Popol Vuh

“Popol Vuh: Mayan document that provides valuable information on ancient Maya mythology and culture. It was written between 1554 and 1558 in the Quiche language using Spanish letters. It tells of the creation of man, the acts of the gods, and origin and history of the Quiche people and also gives a chronology of their kings. The book was discovered early in the 18th century by Francisco Jiminez, a parish priest in the Guatemalan highlands, who copied out the original, now lost, and translated it into Spanish.”

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

Cultural Literacy: Aztecs

Ok, here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Aztecs. This is a half-page worksheet with a reading of two sentences and three comprehension questions. Just the basics.

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.

Xiuhtecuhtli

“Xiuhtecuhtli: Aztec god of fire and creator of all life. With Chantico, his feminine counterpart, he was believed to be a representation of Ometecuhtli. Xiuhtecuhtli’s festivals coincided with the two extremes in the climatological cycle, the heat of August and the cold of January. He was also the center of a ritual transfer of fire from temple to temple that occurred once every 52 years at the end of the Aztec calendar cycle.”

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

The Weekly Text, 25 November 2022, National Native American Heritage Month Week IV: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Pueblo Civilization

For the final Friday of National Native American Heritage Month 2022, your Weekly Text is this reading on Pueblo Civilization with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

I’m actually publishing this on 18 November, as next week is the Thanksgiving holiday, which I intend to pass (it’s a four-day weekend for us) without sitting in front of this computer.

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.

Mesoamerican Religions

“Mesoamerican religions: Religions of the pre-Columbian cultures of Mexico and Central America, notably the Olmec, Maya, Toltec, and Aztec. All religions of Mesoamerica were polytheistic. The gods had to be constantly propitiated with offerings and sacrifices. The religions also shared a belief in a multilevel universe that had gone through five creations and four destructions by the time of the Spanish conquest. Mesoamerican religions heavily emphasized the astral bodies, particularly the sun, the moon, and Venus, and the observations of their movements by astronomer-priests were extraordinarily detailed and accurate. The Aztecs approached the supernatural through a complex calendar of ceremonies that included songs, dances, acts of self-mortification, and human sacrifices performed by a professional priesthood, in the belief that the welfare of the universe depended on offerings of blood and hearts as nourishment for the sun. The Mayan religion likewise called for human sacrifices, though on a smaller scale. Information on the astronomical calculations, divination, and ritual of the Mayan priests has been gathered from the Mayan codices.”

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

Cultural Literacy: Crazy Horse

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Crazy Horse. This is a half-page worksheet with a two-sentence reading and two comprehension questions. In other words, a spare introduction. Stay tuned, as more material is forthcoming on this important Lakota warrior.

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.

Wounded Knee

“Wounded Knee: Hamlet and creek in southwestern South Dakota, the site of two conflicts between the Sioux Indians and the U.S. government. In 1890 the Sioux had been inspired by the Ghost Dance movement to take up arms and reclaim their heritage, but federal military intervention quelled their rebellion. On December 29 a young brave, while surrendering, became involved in a scuffle and a trooper was killed. Soldiers fired at the Indians, killing more than 200 men, women, and children. Thirty soldiers also died. The so-called Battle of Wounded Knee is regarded as the final episode in the conquest of the North American Indian. In 1973 some 200 members of the American Indian Movement took the reservation hamlet by force, declared it an independent nation, and vowed to stay until the government agreed to address Indian grievances; a siege by federal marshals ended when the Indians surrendered in exchange for a promise of negotiations.”

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