Category Archives: Social Sciences

You’ll find domain-specific material designed to meet Common Core Standards in social studies, along with adapted and differentiated materials that deal with a broad array of conceptual knowledge in the social sciences. See the Taxonomies page for more about this category.

American Language

“American Language: A term that presents American English as a national language, sometimes as an aggressive declaration of independence from the standard language of England: ‘This occasional tolerance for things American was never extended to the American language’ (H.L. Mencken, The American Language, 4th edition, 1936); ‘George Bush is hardly known for his rhetorical gifts. But his speech at last summer’s Republican Convention has already left its mark on the American language’ (Laurence Zuckerman, ‘Read My Cliché,’ Time, 16 Jan. 1989).”

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

A Glossary of Competitive Debate Terms

OK, lastly on this relatively cool morning in Brooklyn, here is a glossary of competitive debate terms that might come in handy if you’re involved in such things.

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.

Term of Art: Spatial-Material Organizational Disorder

“spatial-material organizational disorder: A problem with organizing materials so that the child constantly struggles for survival within an ordered environment.

A child with this problem has a hard time organizing information on pater. Margins are missing, spacing between words and letters is incorrect, centering is difficult, and the overall appearance of the work is messy. Teachers often have trouble reading the child’s work. Often, a child with this problem forgets assignments or books needed to complete assignments. Assignments themselves may be incomplete, or the child cannot find completed assignments.

In addition, a child with this problem is often disorganized and has problems following routines or completing tasks. Desk and home environment are usually messy and disorganized, although the child may appear to have his own system of organization in his own space.”

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

Otis Elevator

Here is a reading on the Otis Elevator company with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. As usual, David S. Kidder and Noah Oppenheim, the editors of the Intellectual Devotional series, ably synthesized Elisha Otis’s biography (he was, to my surprise, a farm boy from Halifax, Vermont) with the changes his invention wrought in American life–and in a one-page reading (!).

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, 2 December 2021: A Lesson Plan on the Crime and Puzzlement Case “Westward Ho-Hum!”

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on the the Crime and Puzzlement case “Westward Ho-Hum!” I open this lesson with this half-page Cultural Literacy worksheet (with a two-sentence reading and three comprehension questions) on the Gallicism esprit de corps. To fortify this document with a bit of context, Merriam-Webster defines this noun as denoting “the common spirit existing in the members of a group and inspiring enthusiasm, devotion, and strong regard for the honor of the group.”

To investigate this case, your students will need this PDF of the illustration and questions that serve as both evidence and procedure of inquiry into this heinous crime. Finally, to solve your case and apprehend a suspect, here is the typescript of the answer key.

And that’s it for this week. I hope you and yours enjoyed a relaxed and (if this is your bent), suitably gluttonous Thanksgiving.

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.

Write It Right: Collateral Descendant

“Collateral Descendant. There can be none: a ‘collateral descendant‘ is not a descendant.

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

Classicism

“Classicism (noun): A classical Greek or Roman word or idiom in English, or a term or coinage based on or similar to one from one of the classical languages; classical scholarship, mode or aesthetic ideology based on or allegedly derived from a “classic” epoch. Adjective: classical, classicistic; Noun: classicist; Verb: classicize

‘The artificial facility found vent in his renderings of the Rubaiyat. “Saprous bones,” “somatick atoms,” and aimaterose heart” seem legitimate classicisms; but “methystine lake” requires some explanation as a term for drunkenness.’ Shane Leslie, Introduction to Hadrian the Seventh”

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

Dr. Gholdy Muhammad on Education and Social Conditioning

“As we consider classrooms today, educators must be aware that previous social conditioning isn’t just a thing of the past but still manifests today. If a society tells children they aren’t good enough through television, songs, cartoons, or other forms of media, they may still think they aren’t capable of the intellectualism I am describing in the book. Additionally, this is exacerbated when teacher education programs and K-12 classrooms do not explicitly teach Black and Brown excellence. And I’m not just talking about teaching this history during one month of the school year–this excellence needs to be embedded in the culture and fabric of the school. Culture, race, and cultural responsiveness cannot be packaged in a program or restricted time frame….”

Excerpted from: Muhammad, Dr. Gholdy. Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy. New York: Scholastic, 2020.

Minimum Wage

Here is a reading on the minimum wage and its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. In three paragraphs, this reading does an admirable job (the guys who wrote and edited the Intellectual Devotional series are clearly masters of the art) of exposing the history of the minimum wage in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s broad array of New Deal legislation, the rationale for the law, and its practical effects on American social and economic history.

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.

Term of Art: Theme School

“theme schools: Schools that emphasize a particular set of activities or ideas that they think will appeal to students. For example, some schools are dedicated to technology, whereas others focus on the performing arts or on specific vocations. As the movement for small schools accelerated in the 1990s and the early 21sst century, there was a large increase in the number of theme high schools, some with esoteric or highly specialized themes (e.g., the sports professions or world architecture).”

Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.