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.


“Bhartrihari: (7th century AD) Hindu poet. Bartrihari is considered by many to be the greatest writer of Sanskrit lyric poetry. Some of his verses have been widely translated, under the titles Good Conduct, Passion of Love, Renunciation. It is disputed whether or not he is the grammarian of the same name and author of Vakyapadiya (Treatise on Words and Sentences), who probably lived in the 6th century AD.”

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


“Ahmadabad: City (population 2020: 8,253,000) Gujarat state west central India. It is located on the Sabarmati River 260 miles (467 kilometers) north of Bombay, Founded in 1411 by Sultan Ahmad Shah, Ahmadabad reached its height later that century but subsequently declined. It was revived under Mughal emperors in the 17th century and came under British rule in 1818. With the opening of cotton mills in 1859, it became India’s largest inland industrial center. The city is associated with Hindu nationalism; Mahatma Gandhi’s political agitation began there in 1930.”

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


“Buddhism  A major world religion numbering over 300 million followers (exact estimates are impossible since Buddhism does not preclude other religious beliefs). Early Buddhism developed from Hinduism thought the teaching of Siddartha Gautama and his disciples, around 5th century BC in northern India. Under leaders such as the emperor Asoka, who converted to Buddhism and encouraged it spread, the religion provided a stabilizing structure throughout India. Offering a way to salvation that did not depend on caste or the ritualism of the Brahmin priesthood of Hinduism, and strengthened by a large, disciplined monastic order (the sangha), it made a very great impact; but by the end of the 1st millenium AD it had lost ground to a resurgent Hinduism, and the subsequent Muslim invasions virtually extinguished it in India. Meanwhile, however, monks had taken the faith all over Asia, to central and northern areas now in Afghanistan, Mongolia, China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam; and in south and southeast Asia to Sri Lanka, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. The final phase of Buddhist expansion, after the 7th century, saw the emergence of Tantric and Tibetan Buddhism.

Owing to its linguistic diversity and geographical extent, Buddhist teaching, scripture and observance are complex and varied, but certain main doctrines are characteristic. Buddhism asserts that all phenomena are linked together in an endless chain of dependency. Buddhism teaches that the suffering of the world is cause by desire conditioned by ignorance, but that by following the path of the Buddha, release from the cycle of rebirth can be achieved….”

Excerpted from: Wright, Edmund, Ed. The Oxford Desk Encyclopedia of World History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Vinaya–The 227 Rules

Vinaya are the 227 rules by which a Buddhist monk of the Theravada tradition must conduct himself—conspicuous in his orange robes, shaven head, and barefoot—though he is free to disrobe himself of this obedience at any time.

As the Buddha’s preaching and influence spread, it became the habit of his various beggar-followers to gather together during the time of the monsoon, when traveling was impossible. In these informal forest gatherings, his followers would ask for guidance about the various practical problems that had come their way, The Buddha’s responses were not written down during his lifetime but three months after his death it is believed that his chief followers recited what they could remember, dividing this oral spiritual inheritance into either Dharma ‘doctrine’ or Vinaya ‘discipline.’ There were 227 pieces of Vinaya advice for male followers—and 311 for women. An attempt was made to order them into some sort of priority but this was abandoned. By the time of the Third Buddhist Council, assembled at the invitation of the Emperor Ashoka, this heritage had already expanded into eighteen different scholarly traditions.

The Theravada tradition is that followed in modern Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Sri Lanka.”

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.

Tigris River

“Tigris River: Arabic Shatt Dijla: biblical Hiddekel. River, southeast Turkey and Iraq. It is 1,180 miles (1900 kilometers) long. It originates in the Taurus Mountains at Lake Hazar, Kurdistan, and flows southeast through Turkey and past Baghdad to unite with the Euphrates River at Al Qurnah in southeast Iraq; there it forms the Shatt al Arab. With the Euphrates it defined the ancient religion of Mesopotamia. Important for its irrigation capacity, it gave rise to sustained civilization. The ruins of many ancient cities lie on its banks, including those of Nineveh, Calah, Ashur, Ctesiphon, and Seleucia.”

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

Abbas I, known as Abbas the Great

“Abbas I known as Abbas the Great: (1571-1629) Shah of Persia 1587-1629. Succeeding his father, Sultan Muhammad Shah, he strengthened the Savafid dynasty by expelling Ottoman and Uzbek troops and creating a standing army. He made Esfahan Persia’s capital, and under Abbas it became one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Persian artistic achievement reached a high point during his reign, when illuminated manuscripts, ceramics, and painting all flourished, and the Portuguese, Dutch, and English competed for trade relations with Persia. Tolerant in public life (he granted privileges to Christian groups) and concerned for his people’s welfare, his fear of personal security and ruthlessness led him to blind or execute many of his immediate family.”

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

Tibetan Language

“Tibetan language: Sino-Tibetan language spoken by more than 5 million people in Tibet (Xizang), Qinghai, Sichuan, and Gansu provinces in China; Bhutan; northern Nepal; and Jammu and Kashmir Province in India and Pakistan. Since the occupation of Tibet by China in 1959, enclaves of Tibetan-speakers have dispersed to India and other parts of the world. Spoken Tibetan comprises a very diverse range of dialects, conventionally divided into several groups: Western, including Balti and Ladakhi in Jammu and Kashmir; Central, including the speech of Lhasa and most of the Nepalese dialects (including Sherpa); Southern, including the dialects of Sikkim and Bhutan; Khams, or Southeastern, including the dialects of the interior plateau, southern Qinghai, eastern Tibet, and parts of western Sichuan; Amdo or Northeastern, including the dialects of northern Qinghai, southern Gansu, and northern Sichuan. Most Tibetans share a common literary language, written in a distinctive scripts of disputed origin first attested in the 8th century AD.”

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

Takamura Kotaro

“Takamura Kotaro: (1883-1956): Japanese poet and sculptor. Son of the noted traditionalist sculptor Takamura Koun (1852-1934), Takamura was a pioneering modernist in both art and literature, having spent years studying in Europe and the U.S. His sculpture reflected a passion for the work of Rodin, but his is best known as a poet. His 1914 collection Dotei (Journey) ranks as Japan’s first anthology of free verse in the colloquial language, anticipating the work of Hagiwara Sakutaro. Takamura’s most celebrated work is Chieko-sho (1941; tr Chieko’s Sky, 1978), a stunning verse record of the slow descent into madness of his wife, the painter Naganuma Chieko (1886-1838). Takamura’s reputation was tarnished by his unabashedly patriotic wartime poetry.”

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

Term of Art: Study Skills

“study skills: Learning strategies that help and individual organize time, materials, and information. Special educators long ago recognized the importance of teaching study skills to students with learning disabilities; such skills have recently become a part of many school curricula starting in the elementary grades.

While some students seem to succeed in school with only basic study skills, many learning-disabled students benefit greatly from being taught ideas such as how to maintain a notebook and how to organize materials in each class. Time management is another essential study skill needed to complete long and short assignments on time as well as to schedule time for appointments, friends, and work. Note-taking and active reading strategies are also important study skills for all students, including those with learning disabilities.”

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


“Protagonist: (Greek ‘first combatant’) The first actor in a play; thence the principal actor or character. In Greek tragedy the playwright was limited to the protagonist (first actor), deuteragonist (second actor) and tritagonist (third actor). It is probable that in the first place Greek drama consisted of a Chorus and the leader of the Chorus. Thespis (6th century BC) is believed to have added the first actor to give greater variety to the dialogue and action. The second and third were added by Aeschylus and Sophocles respectively. The protagonist has come to be the equivalent of the hero.”

Excerpted from: Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. New York: Penguin, 1992.