Category Archives: Skills Development

Learning materials to introduce, teach, and reinforce academic skills, particularly writing.

The Weekly Text, April 13, 2018

It’s Friday the thirteenth, and so far nothing bad has happened in my tiny corner of the universe; I hope the same is true for you.

This week’s Text is a complete lesson plan on using adverbs of time. I begin this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on anthropomorphism. However, if the concept of anthropomorphism is too abstract for your students, or if this lesson enters a second day, then here is a homophone worksheet on the nouns profit and prophet that may well be useful to you in other areas of your practice. When teaching this lesson, I also use this learning support which might also be useful elsewhere in your classroom; it’s in Microsoft Word, in any case, so it will be easy to bend to your needs. Here is the structured, scaffolded worksheet that is the mainstay of this lesson. Finally, here is the teacher’s copy of the worksheet to guide you in guiding your students.

And that’s it for another week. I hope spring has sprung where you live. The first azaleas are in bloom in the New York Botanical Garden, which is pleasant indeed.

If you find typos in these documents, 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.

Adage (n.)

OK, we’re back after a much-needed break. Despite thirty-one degree temperatures in Lower Manhattan this morning, it begins to look a lot like spring in New York City. Here is a context clues worksheet on the noun adage to kick off these last two months of the school year.

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.

A Greek Word Root Checklist for Students in the Healthcare Professions

While I work in Lower Manhattan, I live way up in the the North Bronx. So, I have a long commute every day. Whether I take the 2 or the 5 train, I pass by 149th Street and the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. The post office at that intersection has a Ben Shahn Mural in it; across the street is Hostos Community College, named after legendary Puerto Rican educator Eugenia Maria de Hostos and a part of our City’s respected engine of social mobility, The City University of New York, or CUNY.

Often, I will see Hostos students on the train, and I am aware that many of them are nursing students by virtue of the fact that they are wearing scrubs. The other thing that gives them away is their attention to their Greek word root flashcards, or by the fact that pairs of young people are drilling each other on those same Greek word roots. Ever since Hippocrates, and certainly before that, given that ancient Greece is the birthplace of science, philosophy, and the language in which those disciplines are expressed, the language of medicine has been Greek.

So for those of you pursuing careers in health care or the allied professions, here is a list of Greek word roots that form the basis of many words you will use in your professional lives. I hope you find it useful.

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 Weekly Text, November 22, 2017

The minute I viewed, as a middle school student, Alain Resnais’s short but magisterial film on the Holocaust, Night and Fog (there is a lesson plan for this film elsewhere on this blog–a simple search from the home page will take you to it) I became interested, perhaps obsessed, with authoritarian political movements. As an undergraduate, I studied their manifestations in Russia; I ended up writing my honors thesis on the brewing miasma of authoritarian politicians in Russia.

Along the way, I became aware of the difficulty of any one definition of fascism. For my money, the late Professor George Mosse of the University of Wisconsin remains the best expositor and chronicler of fascism, if only because he insisted on talking about this abstract noun in the plural. There isn’t any one fascism, Mosse averred, but several. So I am circumspect about any reading claiming to be the last word on this political movement.

That said, I think this reading on fascism from the Intellectual Devotional’s Modern Culture volume is a perfect introduction to the basic elements of fascism, as well as a nice chronicle of its exponents. Here is a reading comprehension worksheet to accompany it.

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m posting this on the Wednesday before so that I may enjoy four computer-free days over the break.

If you find typos in these documents, 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 Weekly Text, November 17, 2017

This week’s Text continues with the parts of speech, to wit a complete lesson plan introducing students to the use of conjunctions. To begin this lesson, I use this homophone worksheet on the adjective bare, along with bear as both a noun and a verb. The mainstay of this lesson is a scaffolded worksheet on coordinating conjunctions. Your students might benefit from the use of this learning support on the use of conjunctions. Finally, here is the teacher’s copy of the worksheet.

If you find typos in these documents, 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.

Emigrate (vi)

A colleague with whom I team-teach a sophomore global studies asked me to develop a context clues worksheet on the noun emigre. It means, of course, emigrant. So instead I wrote this context clues worksheet on the verb emigrate. It’s used intransitively; I plan to teach it, then point out, by way of a simple question (“What do you suppose we call someone who emigrates?”), to students that someone who emigrates is an emigrant. From there it’s a small step to point out that the French word for emigrant is emigre (it is the past participle of the French verb emigrer–“to emigrate”–if you must know).

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.

Bogus (adj.)

Should fate somehow require you to teach a lesson on Bill & Ted, you’ll probably find this context clues worksheet on the adjective bogus useful.

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.