Category Archives: Social Studies

Lesson plans that use the high school social studies curriculum to build literacy and learning skills.

Cultural Literacy: Rubicon

The expression “crossing the Rubicon” is a commonplace in educated discourse, in the sense that one has arrived at a point of no return. This is of course its figurative meaning, and here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Rubicon River that will help your students understand the literal meaning of this expression.

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.

Revolve (v)

If memory serves, I wrote this context clues worksheet on the verb revolve last fall to attend a lesson on the French Revolution, so that students could understand what happens to governments and societies in revolutionary situations. Of course, there are any number of uses for this document.

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.

Cultural Literacy: Sweatshop

Today is June 18, 2018. On this date in 1812, the United States declared war on Great Britain, thus initiating the War of 1812. Three years later, the British Generals Wellington and Blucher decisively defeated French forces under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo on this day, which was a Sunday. Finally, it’s the the birthday of Paul McCartney.

Here, appropriately, is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Napoleon Bonaparte.

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.

Cultural Literacy: War Crimes

It seems to me that if you’re teaching any sort of global studies or world history course that includes the twentieth century in its chronology, this Cultural Literacy worksheet on war crimes will be of some use to you.

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.

Chivalry

“The system of customs and conventions connected with knighthood in the Middle Ages. Derived from the French word chevalier, meaning “horseman” or “knight,” chivalry was originally associated with the business of recruiting knights for the purposes of making war. It came to include the curriculum of training the young knight to fight, to hunt, to serve his lord, to govern his own vassals, and ultimately it evolved into that courtly ideal in which the true knight was not only courageous and skillful in war but also generous, pious, and courteous. When the championing of the weak began to be emphasized as part of the ideal, chivalry became as important in peace as in war, and among other things, the tournament flourished. Another component of the chivalric code was courtly love, an element that further refined the knight by requiring that he be a poet and a musician and that he be dedicated to some lady of his choice.”

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

Aristarchus

(Aristarchus of Samothrace, flourished 156 BC) The greatest critic of antiquity and head of the Alexandrian library. Aristarchus’ labors were chiefly directed to the Iliad and Odyssey of Homer. He divided them up into twenty-four books each, marking every doubtful line with an obelus and every one he considered especially beautiful with an asterisk. He succeeded his teacher, Aristophanes of Byzantium, at the library in Alexandria.”

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

Satrap (n)

Satrap is not exactly a word that turns up very often in the English language. Still, a couple of years ago when I was regularly teaching freshman global studies classes here in New York City, it appeared in various primary documents, and even in textbooks.

So, I developed this context clues worksheet on the noun satrap. The hyperlink above takes you to the Wikipedia page for the word; for the sake of brevity, here is the definition of the noun from Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition:

1 : the governor of a province in ancient Persia   2 a : RULER b : a subordinate official : HENCHMAN (Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition (Kindle Locations 314939-314941). Merriam-Webster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.)

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.