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.

Funk Art

“Funk Art: A term coined in the 1960s to describe a class of art that emerged in the San Francisco Bay area. It was often witty, sometimes deliberately distasteful, with a diversity of styles ranging from comic-strip derivations to William Wiley’s use of found objects. Funk artists looked to popular culture rather than traditional canons of fine art.”

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

Term of Art: Word Recognition

“word recognition: An ability to apply any number of strategies to recognize and understand a word. Word recognition strategies include:

  • configuration—using visual cues such as the shape and size of the word
  • context analysis—using surrounding information (including pictures) to predict a word
  • sight words—instant recognition of a word without further analysis
  • phonemic analysis—‘sounding out’ a word
  • syllabication—dividing a word into syllables
  • structural analysis—using morphological information such as prefixes, suffixes, and roots”

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


“Libertins: A sect of French freethinkers and skeptics of the 17th and 18th centuries, precursors of Voltaire and the encyclopedists. Advocates of total freedom of thought and conscience, the Libertins questioned the doctrines and morality of all received religion and were continually accused of atheism and immorality. The greatest religious thinkers of the day, including Bossuet and Pascal, denounced their views, and ultimately the Libertins’ own poor conduct discredited their name.”

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


“Boilerplate (noun): Standard, stereotypical news stories, features, etc., syndicated to newspapers; ready-to-print copy; pedestrian or hackneyed writing (from the printer’s matrix or plate form). Adj. boilerplate

‘In newspaper jargon, you might call all this the boiler plate of the novel—durable informative matter set up in stereotype and sold to country newspapers as filler to eke out a scarcity of local news, i.e of ‘plot.’ And the novel, like a newspaper boiler plate, contains not only a miscellany of odd facts but household hints and how-to-do-it instructions (you can learn how to make strawberry jam from Anna Karenina and how to reap a field and hunt ducks).’ Mary McCarthy, On the Contrary”

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

Aristotle on Educators

“Those who educate children are more to be honored than those who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.”

Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)

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


“Palindrome: 1. A word, phrase, or longer expression that reads the same backward as it does forwards: for example, the words level and noon, and the phrases, and the phrases Madam, I’m Adam, and Able was I ere I saw Elba. 2. Also reversal, semordnilap (a reversal backward palindrome). A word that spells another word when reversed: for example, doom, evil, warts, and the trade names Serutan, Trebor.”

Excerpted from: McArthur, Tom. The Oxford Concise Companion to the English Language. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Term of Art: Learning Style

“learning style: An individual’s behavior, temperament, and attitude in a learning situation. Some of the best-known learning styles are visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. Some experts argue that it is important to match an individual’s learning style with the style of instruction to make learning easier. For example, an individual with a strong visual learning style should be taught to read with an emphasis on the shapes of words.

There are many different learning styles, but none are either ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ Although a student may prefer one style over another, preferences develop like muscles: the more they are used, the stronger they become. Successful students have flexible and integrated learning styles. No one use one of the styles exclusively, and there is usually significant overlap in learning styles.

Visual learners relate most effectively to written information, notes, diagrams, and pictures. Typically they will be unhappy with a presentation where they cannot take detailed notes. To a degree, information does not exist for a visual learner unless it has been written down. This is why some visual learners take notes even when they have printed notes in front of them. Visual learners will tend to be most effective in written communication. They make up about 65 percent of the population.

Auditory learners related most effectively to the spoken word. They tend to listen to a lecture and then take notes afterward, or rely on printed notes. Because written information will often have little meaning until it is heard, it may help auditory learners to read written information out loud. Auditory learners may be sophisticated speakers, and may specialize in subjects like law or politics. Auditory learners make about 30 percent of the population.

Kinesthetic learners learn best through touch, movement, and space, and learn skills by imitation and practice. Kinesthetic learners can appear slow, because information is usually not presented in a style that suits their learning methods. Kinesthetic learners make around 5 percent of the population.”

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

Greek Revival

“Greek Revival: A form of neoclassicism especially identified with American architecture of about 1820-1860 for which the Greek temple was the primary design source.”

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

Dioxins (and Learning Disabilities)

“dioxins: A group of some of the most toxic carcinogenic human-made chemicals in the world, which have been linked to developmental and learning disabilities. Exposure in childhood can cause lower IQ, result in withdrawn and depressed behavior, and increase hyperactivity and attention problems. Unborn children are even more acutely affected by exposure to dioxins because of the critical development that occurs during pregnancy, especially between the second and eighth week after conception.

Dioxin is the most harmful of all the chemicals in the dioxin group, and is produced by burning plastics containing chlorine, incinerating household waste, and bleaching chlorine paper. It was first used as the toxic chemical in the weapon Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Although some dioxins are produced naturally as a result of forest fires, most appear in the environment as an industrial by-product.

Dioxins are found everywhere in the environment, introduced into the air from incinerators and smokestacks, where they eventually settle on the ground, in the water, and on the food that livestock eat. Because dioxins do not decompose readily, they are stored in livestock fatty tissue. About 95 percent of human dioxin exposure occurs by eating traces in in meat, dairy products, and fish.

Children are at higher risk for both ingesting dioxins and being harmed because their diets usually have a higher concentration of animal fat in the form of dairy products.”

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

The Devil’s Dictionary: Ink

“Ink, n. A villainous compound of tannogallate of iron, gum-arabic, and water, chiefly used to facilitate the infection of idiocy and promote intellectual crime. The properties of ink are peculiar and contradictory: it may be used to make reputations and unmake them; to blacken them and to make them white; but it is most generally and acceptably employed as a mortar to bind together the stones in an edifice of fame, and as a whitewash to conceal afterward the rascal quality of the material. There are men called journalists who have established ink baths which some persons pay money to get into, others to get out of. Not infrequently it occurs that a person who has paid to get in pays twice as much to get out.”

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