Category Archives: Reference

These are materials for teachers and parents, and you’ll find, in this category, teachers copies and answer keys for worksheets, quotes related to domain-specific knowledge in English Language Arts and social studies, and quotes on issues of professional concern. See the Taxonomies page for more about this category.

Clive James on Bertolt Brecht

“I have nothing against Brecht in his place, which is East Germany.”

Clive James

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

Term of Art: Teacher-Centered Instruction

“teacher-centered instruction: A pedagogical approach in which the teacher decides what and how to teach. See also teacher-directed classroom. Contrast child-centered education; learner-centered classroom.”

Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.


“Intrados: Inner surface of an arch.”

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

Cultural Literacy: Battle of Hastings

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Battle of Hastings in 1066. This is a half-page worksheet with a three-sentence reading and three comprehension questions. In other words, a concise introduction to what is a seminal event in the history of Western Europe (and the basis for the hilarious 1066 and All That by W.C. Sellar and R.J. Yeatman).

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.

The Algonquin Wits: Dorothy Parker, Famously, on Katherine Hepburn

Mrs. Parker once said of a Katherine Hepburn performance: ‘She ran the gamut of emotions from A to B.’”

Excerpted from: Drennan, Robert E., ed. The Algonquin Wits. New York: Kensington, 1985.

Wade Hampton

[In general, I eschew the inclusion of biographies like the one below for a variety of reasons, but primarily because of Mark’s Text Terminal’s commitment to raising underrepresented and unheard voices–and white supremacists, especially as of this writing, are neither underrepresented or unheard in American society. I post this because I lived for nine years in a coop apartment building in the North Bronx named for Wade Hampton–i.e. the Wade Hampton Apartments. The building went up in 1930, and I think its safe to assume that the choice of place name for this apartment house stemmed from its owners’ desire to signal unequivocally to American citizens of African descent that they were unwelcome there. At the time the building opened for tenancy, the Great Migration from the South (and for more on that, I cannot extol highly enough Isabel Wilkerson’s magisterial history of the period The Warmth of Other Suns) was gathering steam, provoking a housing crisis in the cities, including New York, to which Black people migrated to escape the racist exploitation and brutality of the Jim Crow South–something Wade Hampton himself (and the developers of Wade Hampton apartments, arguably) undeniably worked to perpetuate. My one regret about all of this is that I didn’t insist, while serving on the coop board, that the name of the corporation and the real property it fronted change to something less odious. If anyone from Wade Hampton happens to see this post, consider a change, won’t you please?]

“Wade Hampton: (1818-1902) U.S. military leader. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, he managed his family’s plantations and served in the state legislature (1852-61). In the Civil War he organized and led ‘Hampton’s Legion‘ of South Carolina troops, fighting at Bull Run and Gettysburg and serving as second in command under J.E.B. Stuart. After Stuart died, he was promoted to major general and led the cavalry (1864). After the war he sought reconciliation but opposed the policies of Reconstruction, and as governor of South Carolina (1876-79) he led the fight to restore white supremacy. He served in the U.S. Senate 1879-91.”

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

Paul Fussell on Chess and Social Class

“Chess is seldom found above the upper-middle class; it’s too hard.”

Paul Fussell

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

Term of Art: Spatial Ability

“spatial ability: The ability to imagine objects or symbols in space.”

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


“Intonaco: In fresco, the final coat of plaster on which the painter actually works, while it is still wet.”

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


“Calumny (noun): A deliberate or malicious false statement injurious to another’s reputation; defamatory report or accusation; slander. Adj. calumnious; adv. calumniously; n. calumniator; v. calumniate.”

Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.