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.

Term of Art: Spatial Sequencing

“spatial sequencing: Refers to the ability to recognize and organize objects in a pattern. For example, spatial sequencing is demanded in the copying of block patterns. Later, spatial sequencing is demanded in reading, in recognizing and interpreting the sequence of letters in words and the spaces between words. At this last level, the skill may be considered cognitive.”

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

Manikin

“Manikin: A jointed lay figure, smaller than life-size and generally with fewer articulations than a lay figure.”

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

Voltaire on Stupidity and Etiquette

“To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.”

Voltaire

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

Maquette

“Maquette: A small model for an architectural project. See Bozzetto.”

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

The Doubter’s Companion: Abasement

“Abasement: In a society of courtiers or corporatists, the question is not whether to abase or to be abased, but whether a favorable balance can be struck between the two.

Simple folk may have some difficulty mastering the skills involved, but the sophisticated innately understand how the pleasure of abasing others can be heightened by being abased themselves.

The illusion among the most skilled is that they can achieve ultimate pleasure through a type of ambition or drive, which they call competence. This causes them to rise higher, and so to win ever-greater power. But what is the value of this status in a highly structured society devoid of any particular purpose except the right, for a limited time, to give more orders than are received? Courtiers used to scurry around palace corridors with much the same illusion of importance.

When the time comes to retire from the functions of power, many collapse into a psychic crisis. They feel as if they have been ejected into a void. This is because society has not been rewarding them for their competence or their knowledge, but for their occupation of positions of power. Their very success has required a disembodied abasement of the individual. And when they leave power, the agreeable sense of purpose which it conveyed simply withers away.

Of course, power must be wielded or there is no civilization. But in a society so devoted to power and run by hierarchies of expertise, the elites are unconsciously addicted to an abstract form of sadomasochism. This may explain why success so often translates into triumphalism and constant complaints about the incompetence of others. The underlying assumption of most civilizations, including our own, is the exact opposite. Success is supposed to produce a flowering of modesty and concern for others.”

Excerpted from: Saul, John Ralston. The Doubter’s Companion. New York: The Free Press, 1994.

Write It Right: Decidedly for Very, or Certainly

Decidedly for Very, or Certainly. “It is decidedly cold.”

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

Term of Art: Soft Neurological Signs

“soft neurological signs: Any of a number of minor abnormalities that emerge in childhood and are used as diagnostic indicators of minimal brain damage.

Soft signs are subtle and difficult to detect reliably; they tend to run their developmental course with no clear cause and are not regarded as indicators of any specific neurological disease. The soft in the term comes from the difficulties of interpretation and the uncertain association with structural brain damage.

Certain soft signs, like those related to fine and gross motor sills, may be used to help diagnose learning disabilities. Neuropsychological evaluations and psychological evaluations for learning disabilities typically include soft signs assessments such as the ability to walk a straight line, the ability to tell left from right, and the ability to track objects horizontally and vertically.”

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

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.

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.