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, April 16, 2021: A Lesson Plan on the Largest Seas from The Order of Things

Here is a lesson plan on the largest seas along with its accompanying combined reading and comprehension worksheet.

Like the other lessons under the rubric of The Order of Things by Barbara Ann Kipfer, this is a short lesson with plenty of room (and formatted in Microsoft Word for just that purpose) for expansion and adaptation. There’s an excursus on this material, arranged as a unit of 50 lessons (for now–it will inevitably expand when at last I return to classroom teaching) on the “About Posts & Texts” page on this site. I conceived and engineered these materials to use with students with relatively low levels of literacy and/or numeracy; it gives such students some structured materials to practice operating with two symbolic systems at the same time, namely words and numbers.

Anyway, over time, I’d like to continue building this unit, and then develop from it scaffolded, topic-specific subunits that respond to student interest, work to build literacy and numeracy, and help students feel confident in their ability to deal with what might once have seemed like insurmountably complicated material to them. What do you think?

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, April 9, 2021: A Lesson Plan on Using the Indefinite Pronoun

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on using the indefinite pronouns.

I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the proverb “any port in a storm.” In the event the lesson continues into a second day, I keep this Everyday Edit (and if you like these, the good people at Education World give away a year’s worth of them) worksheet on Duke Ellington handy. This scaffolded worksheet on using the indefinite pronouns is the mainstay of the lessons. Here is a learning support on subject-verb agreement when working with the indefinite pronouns that students can both use with the work of this lesson and carry away for future reference. And, finally, here is the teacher’s copy of the worksheet to make delivering this lesson a little bit easier.

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, April 2, 2021: A Lesson Plan on the Crime and Puzzlement Case “Picture Gallery”

Since they continue as some of the most downloaded items on Mark’s Text Terminal, here is another case from the pages of the Crime and Puzzlement books, this one a lesson plan on the “Picture Gallery” whodunit.

I start this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on Dylan Thomas’s immortal lines, some of the best-known in the history of poetry, “Do not go gentle into that good night…Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” I don’t teach younger children, but I’ll hazard a guess that this do-now exercise may well be inappropriate for them. Needless to say, your call. To conduct your investigation into the larceny at the picture gallery, you’ll need this PDF of the illustrations and questions that constitute the forensic material in this crime. Finally, to determine whether your detectives used evidence judiciously to allege a crime and arrest a suspect, here is the typescript of the answer key.

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, March 26, 2021, Women’s History Month 2021 Week IV: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Second-Feminism

This week’s Text, for the final Friday of Women’s History Month 2021, is a reading on second-wave feminism along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

While I understood the historical divide between feminisms, my understanding was mostly intuitive and instinctive. This short reading explains well the difference between first-wave feminism, to wit the Women’s Suffrage movement which culminated in the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and the second wave, which began in the 1960s. The second wave, incidentally, apparently continues to today, as reversals, or the threat of reversals, of the gains made necessitate the ongoing function of a feminist movement.

In any event, this reading summarizes this history concisely, as well as supplying students with a quick way to gain this vital piece of prior knowledge about United States 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.

The Weekly Text, March 19, 2021, Women’s History Month 2021 Week III: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Marie Curie and Radium

This week’s Text, in observance of Women’s History Month 2021, is a reading on Marie Curie and radium with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. Over time, there will be a variety of Marie Curie-related material on this blog: I have several things in a Women’s History Month folder, and there is already a brief biography of her posted on Mark’s Text Terminal.

This reading concerns Madame Curie’s work with radium, and the extent to which her discoveries about the element drove innovations in medical care, particularly the x-ray and radiotherapy for cancer treatment, as well as radium’s utility as a way to understand the structure of the atom. The reading also contains a brief biography of Madame Curie and her husband. I hadn’t realized that Marie Curie coined the term “radioactive.”

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, March 12, 2021, Women’s History Month 2021 Week II: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Margaret Fuller

This week’s Text, in this blog’s ongoing observation of Women’s History Month 2021, is this reading on Margaret Fuller and it’s attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

Who is Margaret Fuller? I am embarrassed to say that I had never heard of her before I read the Intellectual Devotional article linked to above. She is, if nothing else, a crystal clear example of why themed history months are valuable in lifting the erasure from historical figures who are not, frankly, white males. In her short life–she died at age 40 in a shipwreck off the coast of Long Island–she accomplished enough as a writer and public figure to earn a key position in the history of American letters. To wit, she joined the Transcendental Club in Boston, where she became friends with Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson solicited contributions from her for the influential American literary journal The Dial, to whose editorship she ascended in late 1839.

Ms. Fuller’s work at The Dial, as well as her proto-feminist book Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1844), brought her to the attention of Horace Greeley, the storied publisher of The New York Tribune. Recognizing her talent, Greeley hired at first to write book reviews, making her the first full-time book reviewer. In 1846, the Tribune deployed her to Europe, where she became the paper’s first female foreign correspondent.

All in all, Margaret Fuller’s is an extraordinary life, and one worthy of both casual and scholarly attention. I hope this small contribution from Mark’s Text Terminal brings her to the attention of high school students.

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, March 5, 2021, Women’s History Month 2021 Week I: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Kate “Ma” Barker

In observance of Women’s History Month 2021, here is a reading on Ma Barker along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

While I understand she is not exactly a feminist icon, this has tended to be relatively high-interest material among the students I’ve served over the years. I expect a phrase from the opening sentence, to wit, that Kate “Ma” Barker was the “…matriarch of a notorious family of midwestern bank robbers” contributes to student interest in this short text. But it might also be that fact that she was “proclaimed a public enemy” and that she and her gang was “the target of a nationwide hunt until the gang was cornered in Florida and gunned down by the FBI.” I know that some kids found fascinating the criminal culture of the Barker family–all four of Mrs. Barker’s apparently half-witted sons, Herman, Lloyd, Arthur, and Fred, were “in and out of jail for bank robbery, car theft, and other crimes.” Finally, many students who have used these documents, especially young men, found fascinating the life and criminal career (which apparently included, while Karpis resided at Alcatraz Penitentiary, giving guitar lessons to Charles Manson) of Alvin “Creepy” Karpis, a member of the Barker-Karpis Gang, as it became known after Karpis joined forces with the Barkers.

If nothing else, I guess, there is a lot of solid vocabulary in this reading: matriarch, notorious, and proclaim among others. As far as Women’s History is concerned, well, Ma Barker was a woman, and she is unquestionably part of 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.

The Weekly Text, February 19, 2020, Black History Month 2021 Week IV: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on George Washington Carver

This week’s Text, in this blog’s ongoing observance of Black History Month 2021, is this reading on George Washington Carver along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. Today is the final Friday of Black History Month for this year; on Monday, March 1, this blog turns the corner to Women’s History Month.

Professor Carver is a staple of Black History, and usually observations of him tend to emphasize his interest in the peanut and its infinite varieties. While I don’t want to minimize those accomplishments–I for one would be very interested in knowing what Professor Carver’s recipes have added to the gross domestic product of the United States since their inception–I think it’s important to remember that George Washington Carver was a sophisticated agronomist who understood the need to rotate crops in southern fields so that cotton wouldn’t exhaust the topsoil. Alone, this area of his scholarly career makes Professor Carver an early environmentalist.

And all of this he accomplished while on the faculty of Tuskegee University in Alabama, in the heart of the Jim Crow South. If we White Americans are going to he honest with ourselves, we must stipulate that being a smart Black man in Alabama in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries could be dangerous indeed. For Americans of African descent, subservience and deference were the orders of the day in the Jim Crow South. His commitment to educating poor farmers also would have put him in the crosshairs of, say, the Ku Klux Klan.

So let’s all tip our hats to this great man.

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, February 19, 2020, Black History Month 2021 Week III: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Robert Johnson

This week’s Text, in this blog’s ongoing observation of Black History Month 2021, is this reading on Robert Johnson with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

If your students know anything about Robert Johnson, it is probably the legend that surrounds his acquisition of his breathtaking facility in playing the guitar: to wit, that he made a deal with the devil himself. In exchange for endowing Robert Johnson with preternatural ability in playing the guitar, the devil took ownership of Robert Johnson’s soul. This has been the stuff of popular culture for a long time, and I’ll cite Walter Hill’s 1986 film Crossroads–a title derived from one of Mr. Johnson’s best-known songs, made a rock-and-roll standard by the British trio Cream–as a conspicuous example. The number of guitarists Robert Johnson inspired is as impossible to overstate as the influence of his songs in American popular music over the years.

Put another way, this is probably very high-interest material for some students. If you want to consider the role of Papa Legba in Robert Johnson’s crossroads story, you and your student very likely have the makings of a synthetic research paper. There are, in the final analysis, West African cultural touchstones behind the story of Robert Johnson’s encounter with the devil at the crossroads.

Incidentally, the great music writer Robert Palmer, in his book Deep Blues, reported that Robert Johnson was given an “ice course.” i.e. a glass of poisoned whiskey, by a jealous husband in a rural juke joint. You probably won’t be surprised that there is a lot of speculation on this floating around on the Internet. As the headline to one of these articles rightly puts it, “The only solid fact about Robert Johnson is his music….” Which, in fact, is a pretty good place to start in writing about this towering figure in American culture.

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, February 12, 2020, Black History Month 2021 Week II: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Hank Aaron

This week’s Text, in this blog’s ongoing observation of Black History Month 2021,  is a reading on Hank Aaron and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

This is one of the very first of these document sets I prepared, and it includes a short numeracy exercise on Mr. Aaron’s statistics. As you surely know, we lost Mr. Aaron on January 22 of this year, just a couple of weeks shy of his eighty-seventy birthday. I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember a time in my life when Hank Aaron wasn’t someone I thought about on a regular basis.

If you or your students are interested in Mr. Aaron, stay tuned; I plan to exhaust my storehouse of material on him before Black History Month 2021 is over.

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.