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, 24 June 2022: Summer of Soul Lesson 4

Here is the fourth and final lesson plan of the Summer of Soul unit I wrote earlier this year. This lesson opens with this short reading with three comprehension questions on the concept of “a seat at the table,” i.e. joining in decision-making processes, particularly where those decisions concern oneself. The mainstay of this lesson is this reflection and assessment guide for discussion and note-taking at the end of this unit.

Because this is it. You now have access to all four lessons in this unit. If you expand this, or otherwise change it, I would be very interested in hearing what you did. I wrote this unit quickly to capitalize on student interest (Summer of Soul won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the 94th Academy Awards in 2022). Even as I presented the unit, I recognized that there is a lot of room to expand and improve this material.

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, 17 June 2022: Summer of Soul Lesson 3

If you’ve been following along for the past couple of Fridays, then here is the third lesson plan of the Summer of Soul unit I wrote last spring to take advantage of high interest in that superb documentary and the events it records and assesses. To carry out this lesson, the third of four, I begin with this short reading with three comprehension questions on the Baby Boomer generation as a do-now exercise. The primary work of this lesson involves this truncated reading on Woodstock and its accompanying discussion guide and note-taking worksheet.

If you would prefer longer-form materials on Woodstock, you’ll find those here. Otherwise, that’s it for another week.

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, 10 June 2022: Summer of Soul Lesson 2

The second Friday of June 2022 brings from Mark’s Text Terminal the second lesson plan of the Summer of Soul unit I wrote this spring to capitalize on the interest in this superlative documentary–especially when it won a much-deserved Oscar for Best Documentary Feature and accrued similar honors at just about every film festival held in North America in 2021. This lesson accompanies a viewing of the film: I composed these ten questions to guide viewing of the film in order to meet the unit’s learning objectives, which is an investigation into why the 50 hours of footage shot at the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival never took a “seat at the table” when film production budgets were handed out.

That’s it. No do-now; students just jump right in to a viewing of the film. The third lesson will appear next Friday.

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, 3 June 2022: Summer of Soul Lesson 1

During the month of June Mark’s Text Terminal will offer a four-lesson unit on Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s 2021, Oscar-winning documentary, Summer of Soul. As you probably know, this film compellingly documents, using the long-lost footage the late Hal Tulchin shot, of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival held in Mount Morris Park, now known as Marcus Garvey Park.

Without further ado, and in keeping with the general practice at Mark’s Text Terminal of keeping the documents up front (ahead of my bloviation, that is) in posts, here is the first lesson plan of the Summer of Soul unit. I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Black Arts Movement, which I think is particularly salient to both this lesson and this unit. Here is a worksheet to guide research into the principals–spread across 50 years–involved in the production of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival and the long overdue documentary on it, Summer of Soul. Finally, here is the poster or handbill (or both) from the event itself.

Now, if you would like to develop this unit further (there is plenty of room for that, it seems to me, particularly if your students are interested), here is the unit plan. To write additional lessons, should you want it, here is the lesson plan template. If you write further lessons for this unit, and want to create materials using the format in these documents, here is the worksheet template.

Finally, here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the A.M.E. Church (i.e. the African Methodist Episcopal Church) that I stacked in the planning materials folder for future use. One direction this unit might go further with, or serve as a jumping-off point for another unit, say, on the Black Church, using Henry Louis Gates’ recent series on the subject to explore the connection between the Black Church and the Civil Rights Movement. There was a a gospel day at the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival–including, movingly, Mahalia Jackson and Mavis Staples sharing a microphone–and the film performs a badly needed service in making the connection not only between the Black Church and the Civil Rights Movement explicit, but also the connection between the Black Church and soul music. I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I listen to some old O’Jays records, it sounds like the men in the group left their church choir rehearsal and went straight to Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff’s recording studio. “Love Train,” in fact, is arguably a gospel song.

OK: more (perhaps considerably more) said than necessary. If this material interests you, stay tuned for the next three Fridays at Mark’s Text Terminal to collect the next three lessons.

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, 27 May 2022, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Week IV: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Lao Tzu

For the final Friday of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2022 is this reading on Lao Tzu along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

I don’t know about you, but I still reel (in the intransitive sense of “to waver or fall back as from a blow” and “to walk or move unsteadily”) today from the events earlier this week in Uvalde, Texas–not to mention the racist attack in Buffalo, New York. Our union has asked us to wear all black to work today in mourning for the victims. I plan to do so, but I can’t help think that this gesture–sincere though it may be–is a first cousin to the “thoughts and prayers” platitudes federal legislators intone after a mass shooting in this country. Of course many of the officials who mouth this hypocritical crap also accept campaign contributions, then work on behalf of, the National Rifle Association (NRA), the lobbying organization that stands as the chief obstacle to sensible gun reform in the United States.

So I ask you Senators Romney, Burr, Blunt, Tillis, et al, when will you put aside your useless thoughts and prayers and actually do something to prevent military-grade weapons from falling into the hands of angry teenagers? When will you renounce the NRA and repudiate its campaign contributions? How about an unequivocal statement about racist killers and the right-wing media stars who egg them on?

How many more dead children, murdered by gunfire, gentlemen, before you act? How many more dead churchgoers before you turn away the gun industry’s campaign contributions? How long, if nothing else, until you get the hell out of the way so someone else can put an end to this insanity?

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, 20 May 2022, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Week III: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on The Dalai Lama

In its continuing observance of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2022, Mark’s Text Terminal offers this reading on The Dalai Lama with its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

Were you aware that the succession of the Dalai Lama has become primarily a political, rather than spiritual, process? Neither had the Tibetans who await the next reincarnation of the Dalai Lama–Martin Scorsese did a fine job of relating this process in his film Kundun. I’ve followed this story for several years. I don’t know about you, but I watch with interest to see the outcome. That may mean two Dalai Lamas enter the world stage after Tenzin Gyatso, the current (14th) Lama, leaves this world: one a geopolitical figure representing China, the other serving Tibetan Buddhists wherever they may be in their diaspora.

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, 13 May 2022, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Week II: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Shiite and Sunni Muslims

For the second week of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2022, here is a reading on Shiites and Sunnis in Islam with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

If you have followed the United States’ war on Iraq, you have undoubtedly heard of the strained relations, between these two branches of Islam, which have occasionally broken out into violent, internecine conflicts. In just about every respect, the tensions between these two communities of belief are standard religious conflicts; they resemble the European wars of religion that broke out during the Protestant Reformation. You can see elements of the Sunni-Shia schism in the Iran-Saudi Arabia proxy war, which has devastated Yemen.

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, 6 May 2021, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Week I: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Confucianism

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (which I have shortened, for typographical purposes, as above, to Asian Pacific American Heritage Month; I hope I offend no one with this stylistic liberty). As usual Mark’s Text Terminal will observe the month with a series of document posts and quotes relating to the history of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans as well as Asia and the Pacific Islands themselves.

So, let’s kick off the month with this reading on Confucianism along with its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension 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.

The Weekly Text, 29 April 2022: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Sound Waves

This week’s Text is a reading on sound waves along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. Over the years, I’ve crossed paths with several students interested in careers as recording engineers or producers. I know that music is played on instruments that have evolved over centuries by persons with enviable talent; that, however, is the extent of my knowledge of music production. I hoped these documents would help students gain some understanding about the actual physics of sound. These materials have been of sufficiently high interest in my classroom that I have tagged them as such.

So this might be thin gruel where the subject is concerned. As with many of the documents I prepared over the years to engage alienated students, these were prepared in haste. So they are very likely, uh, less than perfect. Fortunately, they are both formatted in Microsoft Word, so exporting them to a word processor of your preference and tailoring them to your students’ needs will be relatively effortless.

May is Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. I’ve already prepared a batch of posts for the month, so if you need material on topics related to American of Asian and Pacific Island descent, or Asia and the Pacific Islands themselves, trundle on by the site.

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, 22 April 2022: A Final Assessment Lesson Plan on Prepositions

This week’s Text is this final lesson plan of the prepositions unit that I have posted piecemeal over the years. That means there is a complete unit of seven lessons on using prepositions in prose on this blog. To find them, search “prepositions lesson plans” in the little box just to your right. Your search should yield all seven lessons.

Anyway, I open this lesson with this Everyday Edit worksheet on the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The work for this lesson will extend into a second day, so here is another Everyday Edit on Sarah Chldress Polk, First Lady. If you and your students find Everyday Edits useful–I’ve had a few students over the years who have found these documents so intellectually satisfying that they asked for more of them–you can click over to Education World, where the proprietors of that site generously supply a yearlong supply of them at no cost.

Finally, here is the worksheet and organizer upon which the work of this lesson, and the entire unit, really, is inscribed.

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.