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.


“Ellipsis: A figure of speech in which a word or number of words, which have little to the logical construction of the sentence, are left out and supplied by the reader.”

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

Term of Art: Memory

“memory: A general term that covers a wide range of cognitive functions related to taking in, processing, storing, and retrieving information. Memory is closely tied to attention, and may also be profoundly influenced by linguistic auditory, or visual spatial processing abilities.

In general, two types of memory can be categorized in two fashions: first, the stage in the sequence of processes involved in taking in, storing, and recalling information; and second, by the sensory modality involved in the initial stage of memory input (such as auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and so on).

In terms of stages or types of the cognitive processes involved in memory, present theory identifies three major types of memory: short-term memory, active working memory, and long-term memory. Short-term memory involves immediate storage and processing of information, as a prelude to direct response or manipulating the information in some fashion, or to moving the information into long-term memory, or to shifting information and forgetting the information. Short-term memory may be auditory or visual in form depending on the nature of the input, or may involve other perceptual systems as well. The capacity of short-term memory is very limited, and the duration in which information is held is brief and measured in seconds.

Active working memory refers to the capacity to hold information in mind, either temporarily storing it while referring to more immediate tasks or information, or focusing on it in reflection, consideration, or some other form of mental manipulation. Active working memory has to do with concentration or focus, and is closely linked to attention. Information sustained and processed in working memory may be verbal or nonverbal in nature. The role of active working memory in a broad range or academic, social, and personal domains is extremely important. It is a fundamental component in the process of writing or reading, for example, and it is active working memory that enables reflection on past behavior or helps us note the passing of time. Current theories regarding attention disorders see the impact that deficits in impulse control have on working memory as a core in the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Long-term memory refers to storage of information in memory on a relatively permanent basis, operating over an extended period of time. In academic settings, success in many areas depends on the ability to recognize and remember salient information, and to transfer this information into long-term memory in a fashion that will enable effective recall on demand, as in a testing situation. In general, long-term memory is not affected directly by learning disabilities or attention disorders. However, the dual ability to move information from short-term memory into long-term memory–and to retrieve information stored in long-term memory–may be significantly affected by a wide range of learning disorders.”

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

Book of Answers: Ernest Hemingway

“In what Hemingway short story does Nick Adams first appear? Hemingway’s alter ego, the central figure of In Our Time (1924), makes his first appearance in ‘Indian Camp.’”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

A Learning Support on the Stylistic and Typographical Conventions for Using Numbers in Prose

Here is a learning support on the conventions for writing numbers in prose. This document has a big open field, and is in Microsoft Word, so it is at your–and more importantly, your students’–disposal; you can modify or adapt it to your needs.

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: Heywood Broun

“On his first meeting with Ruth Hale, whom he later married, Broun took the young lady for a stroll in Central Park, where she became intrigued with a squirrel which had come begging for food. After listening to Miss Hale’s repeated regrets that she had no peanuts to give the squirrel, Broun remarked, ‘I can’t help you except to give him a nickel so he can go and buy his own.’”

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

Guaranteed Death—Avoid 14

Fourteen is a number to avoid in any context in China and most of the Far East, for its tones sound like ‘guaranteed death.’ Do do not bother looking for a 14th floor in an apartment block, number 14 in a row of houses, or the use or ‘14’ in a number plate or telephone number. Other Chinese numbers to avoid, to a lesser extent, include 4 (which sounds like ‘death’), 5 (which sounds like ‘not’), and 6 (which sounds like ‘decline’). And, as if to bear this out, in our world lives and teaches the fourteenth Dalai Lama, a spiritual hero fated to witness the slow death of his Tibetan homeland.”

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.

Epictetus on Education

“Only the educated are free.”

Epictetus, Discourses (101 A.D.)

Excerpted from: Howe, Randy, ed. The Quotable Teacher. Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press, 2003.

Glasgow School

“Glasgow School: A group of painters who gathered in Glasgow, ca 1850-1918, who rejected academic conventionality and painted in a spirited style of naturalism. The best known of them include David Young Cameron and E.A. Walton.”

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

Term of Art: Diacritic, Diacritical Mark

“Diacritic, Diacritical Mark (noun): A distinguishing mark given to a character or letter to indicated stress or pronunciation, such as a superscribed accent; phonetic sign. Adjective: diacritic, diacritical.

‘The ‘etymons,’ as he called them were the root terms for Pass and Fail, but inflected with prefixes, infixes, suffixes, and diacritical marks to such an extent, and so variously from fragment to fragment, that conflicting interpretations, in his opinion, could be said to figure the intellectual biography of studentdom, as has been amply demonstrated in a wealth of what he called Geistesgeschichten…. John Barth, Giles Goat-Boy.'”

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

The Devil’s Dictionary: Rational

“Rational, adj. Devoid of all delusions save those of observation, experience and reflection.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. David E. Schultz and S.J. Joshi, eds. The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2000.