Category Archives: The Weekly Text

The Weekly Text is a primary feature at Mark’s Text Terminal. This category will include a variety of classroom materials in English Language Arts and social studies, most often in the form of complete lesson plans (see above) in those domains. The Weekly Text is posted on Fridays.

The Weekly Text, July 23, 2021: A Lesson Plan on the Greek Word Root Neo-

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on the Greek word root neo. As you most likely know, it means, simply, new. It can also mean recent, a slightly different temporal shade of meaning from new. This is a very productive root in English; it can be set as a prefix across a wide variety of nouns and adjectives.

I start this unit, to hint at were it’s going, with this context clues worksheet on the verb innovate (nov is the Latin equivalent of neo). You’ll need this scaffolded worksheet on neo to execute this lesson.

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, July 16, 2021: A Lesson Plan on Nations with the Longest Coastlines

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on nations with the longest coastlines. You’ll need this reading with comprehension questions to teach this lesson. This is material for emerging reader, students with reading-related learning disorders, and English language learners.

This is a short and simple reading comprehension lesson with the usual twist on these lessons adapted from Barbara Ann Kipfer’s superb reference book, The Order of Things: students will deal with both numbers and words (often a challenging endeavor for some readers) in the reading in a relatively low-stakes environment. For more about these lessons, see the “About Posts & Texts” page, linked to below the masthead on this blog’s homepage.

That’s it for this week, Stay cool and stay safe,

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, July 9, 2021: The Panics of 1837 and 1873

This week’s Text is two sets of two documents, the first a reading on the Panic of 1837 and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet; the second, a reading on the Panic of 1873  along with its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. Nota bene, please, that in the context of these materials, the word panic refers to “a sudden widespread fright concerning financial affairs that results in a depression of values caused by extreme measures for protection of property (as securities).” More recently, we American English speakers have replaced panic with crisis, as in the Financial crisis of 2007-2008.

I’ve always been fascinated by the obvious symmetry of these dates. Somewhere along the way in my undergraduate years, I wrote a paper that dealt with the Panic of 1896 in the context of something else–possibly the Spanish-American War. Then again, it might have had something to do with a paper on the Panic of 1893; although that said, I wrote a paper about the Supreme Court Justice Joseph Bradley that may well have included an excursus on the Panic of 1884. Somewhere along the way, I also got onto the Panic of 1857, which was a prelude to but not necessarily a precipitant of the American Civil War. One thing I can say with confidence: I only became familiar with the Panic of 1819 in researching the background of this blog post.

As you can see, the nineteenth century, like the twentieth, was an age of instability in financial markets. Am I imagining things, or is there a unit in all of this on the function and dysfunction of markets? All of these panics were the consequence of volatile commodities prices, especially precious metals, or excessive and overly leveraged speculation. The question is, can we ever learn from this? I’m no economist, but when I look at economic history, I see the same things happening over and over again with no one learning anything from them.

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, July 2, 2021: A Lesson Plan on the Crime and Puzzlement Case “The Cider Booth”

This week’s text is a lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “The Cider Booth.” 

I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on dead languages. Incidentally, the short reading in this half-page document speaks specifically of Latin, ancient Greek, and Sanskrit. As a matter of routine in my classroom, I taught Greek and Latin word roots for vocabulary building. When one thinks about how often classical word roots turn up in English words, the idea under the circumstances that these languages are “dead” can make for interesting classroom discussions. Also, when one considers that Spanish, the first lingua franca of a wide swath of student I served over the years, is in some respect a modern version of Latin, the idea that the tongue of the Roman Empire is dead doesn’t quite make sense.

Anyway, to conduct your investigation into the case of “The Cider Booth,” you will need this PDF of the illustration and questions that both drive the investigation and serve as evidence in it. Finally, to identify a suspect and bring him or her to the bar of justice, here is the typescript of the answer key you will need.

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, June 25, 2021: A Lesson Plan on the Demonstrative Pronoun

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on the demonstrative pronouns. What are the demonstrative pronouns? They are four simple words: this, that, these, and those. 

I open this lesson with this worksheet on the homophones to, too, and two. In the event the lesson continues into a second day (an eventuality for which I always prepare), here is a second do-now, this one a Cultural Literacy worksheet on italics. The principle work for this lesson is this scaffolded worksheet. To make teaching the lesson a bit easier, here is the teachers copy of the same worksheet I prepared for my own use.

This lesson gives students an opportunity to try out their procedural knowledge, which the lessons prior to this one introduced in various ways, of subject-verb agreement in declarative sentences. These four words have simple, but elegant rules: this and that always govern the use of a singular noun and singular verb form; these and those, of course, govern the use of a plural noun and a plural verb form. I worked in college writing centers for several years, and one of the most common writing lapses that moved people to visit was subject-verb agreement in number. So–stress this skill, I would say.

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, June 11, 2021: A Lesson Plan on Geometric Angle by Degrees from The Order of Things

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on the degrees of angles in geometry. Here is the worksheet with a short reading and a series of comprehension questions.

The reading covers the five types of angles in geometry: acute (1-89 degrees); right (90 degrees); obtuse (91-179 degrees); straight (180 degrees); and reflex (180-359 degrees). This is an exercise designed to supply diverse learners with practice manipulating two symbolic systems–i.e. words and numbers–at the same time. It also, I would think (but also qualify this with something that is beyond dispute–I am not a teacher of mathematics), introduces students to the concept of angles in geometry.

For more on the material I developed from Barbara Anne Kipfer’s superb reference book The Order of Things, see the About Posts & Texts page visible on the masthead of the home page of this blog.

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, June 4, 2021: A Lesson Plan on the Crime and Puzzlement Case “The Cheater”

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “The Cheater.” I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Latinism mea culpa, which means, of course, “through my fault.” You see the root of the noun culpability there, I’m confident, which means “responsibility for for wrongdoing or failure” and “the quality or state of being culpable.” Translated into adolescent-speak, it means “my bad.” You and I might say it translates to “my fault.” Enough said.

To conduct your investigation into the case of “The Cheater,” you’ll need this scan of the illustration that presents the evidence in the case, which is attended by short narrative and questions to guide your inquiry. Finally, here is the typescript of the answers to help you conclude your investigation.

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, May 28, 2021, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Week IV: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Chandragupta Maurya

This week’s Text, the final for this year in observance of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2021 is a reading on Chandragupta Maurya and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

Chandragupta Maurya founded the Maurya Empire, which enjoyed a long run–from 322 to 180 BCE. We know about Chandragupta Maurya and his eponymous empire from a variety of sources. India was known to the ancients in the West, including Pliny the Elder and Plutarch (and don’t forget that Alexander the Great fought briefly in northwest India); the Roman historian Justin also left biographical details about Chandragupta. He is also mentioned in the Arthashastra, a Sanskrit book on statecraft. Since the Mauryas oversaw the rise of Buddhism in India under King Ashoka, Chandragupta’s grandson and the third of the Mauryan emperors,. Buddhist texts also supply facts about Chandragupta and the Mauryas. Finally, a wealth of archaeological evidence underwrites both Chandragupta’s reign as well as the broader history of the Maurya Empire.

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, May 21, 2021, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Week III: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Zhang Heng

This week’s Text, in the ongoing observation of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2021, is a reading on Chinese astronomer, poet, and mathematician Zhang Heng and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

This is a one-page reading that in spite of its brevity does a serviceable job of introducing Zhang Heng, a fascinating polymath who worked in the service of Emperor An of the Han Dynasty. Among Zhang Heng’s many accomplishments is his his invention of the world’s first seismoscope. A seismoscope records the motion of the earth’s shaking, but does not retain a time record of those shakings, like a seismometer does. I could go on at some length about Zhang Heng, but would rather, this morning get out for a hike before it gets too warm.

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, May 14, 2021, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Week II: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on the Transcontinental Railroad in the United States

This week’s Text, in this blog’s ongoing observation of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2021, is a reading on the transcontinental railroad in the United States along with its vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

The utility of this reading lies–or would if I were teaching it–in the scant mention it makes of the labor force that built the first transcontinental railroad in this nation; indeed, the one mention of it is in the “Additional Facts” section, which I always include in the activity, but for many students by their own admission is an afterthought. The fact remains that without Chinese laborers, progress on building the first transcontinental railroad, a critical piece of infrastructure in the then rapidly expanding United States, would have proceeded at a much slower pace.

As many as 20,000 Chinese workers helped to build the railroad; hundreds, perhaps even a thousand, died in the effort. For their work, these Chinese railroad workers were rewarded with unfair labor practices, general bigotry, and in 1882 the Chinese Exclusion Act.

So, perhaps it’s time to lift the general erasure of this piece of American history so that students in the United States are exposed to the full spectrum of facts, in context, about the contributions of Americans of Chinese descent to the wealth of this nation.

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.