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, 3 February 2023, Black History Month 2023 Week I: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on the Boston Massacre

It’s the first Friday of Black History Month 2023. For this and the following three Fridays, Mark’s Text Terminal will offer (as it does every year), materials for the observance of the month. That said, let me offer my usual disclaimer here: at this blog, and in my own teaching practice, every month is Black History Month. However, I work on this blog to observe this month, first proclaimed by Carter G. Woodson, because I am not in the business of second-guessing a scholar of his stature.

This week’s Text is this reading on the Boston Massacre with its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. Interestingly, this reading fails to mention Crispus Attucks, one of the dead of the Boston Massacre–history records him as the first to die. He was a Black man who was one of the first martyrs to the cause of independence for the 13 colonies that would become the United States. So there are a couple of critical issues here for students to mull: the first is the erasure of Crispus Attucks, whose martyrdom is a salient fact in the history of this event, and therefore to the history of this nation; the second is the bitter irony of a Black man dying for the freedom of a country whose inhabitants, just about anywhere outside Boston, at the time of his death, would have enslaved him.

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.

The Weekly Text, Friday 27 January 2023: History of Hip-Hop Lesson 8, James Brown Brings the Funk

This week’s Text is the eighth lesson plan of the History of Hip-Hop Unit. I’ve begun this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Civil Rights Movement. This is a full-page document with a paragraph-length reading (seven sentences, to be exact) and six comprehension questions, so depending on your idea of a do-now exercise, this one might exceed proper length. Fortunately, like nearly everything else on Mark’s Text Terminal, this document is formatted in Microsoft Word, so you can edit, adapt, and revise freely.

The main part of this lesson is this reading on James Brown and its accompanying worksheet with seven comprehension questions. Finally, here are the the lyrics to “Say It Loud, I”m Black and I’m Proud,” one of the many great songs James Brown recorded. My version of this lesson includes playing the song.

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, Friday 20 January 2023: History of Hip-Hop Lesson 7, Muddy Waters Invents Electricity: The Electric Blues after World War II

Here is the seventh lesson plan of the History of Hip-Hop. I begin this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on de facto segregation.

The mainstay of this lesson is this reading on Muddy Waters and its accompanying comprehension questions worksheet and organizer. As this lesson involves listening to some of Muddy Waters’ music, here is a document with the lyrics for two songs: the first is “I’m a Man,” a blues chestnut and proto-civil rights anthem, which Muddy apparently co-wrote with Elias McDaniel, aka Bo Diddley; the second is “Who Do You Love?”, one of Bo Diddley’s hits and one of the baddest, in my not even remotely humble opinion, rock-and-roll songs ever written or recorded (and it has been covered extensively). Finally, here is a worksheet with analytical questions for these lyrics.

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, Friday 13 January 2023: History of Hip-Hop Lesson 6, Woody Guthrie, American Troubadour

This week’s Text is lesson plan six of the History of Hip-Hop Unit. I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on Marian Anderson.

For the first part of this lesson, you’ll need this reading on Woody Guthrie with its attendant comprehension worksheet. For the second part, you’ll need the lyrics to “Pretty Boy Floyd,” one of Woody’s most famous songs, and this research organizer for short work on Pretty Boy Floyd which students use, along with some basic research on the internet, to understand the song and its origins.

Incidentally, and to my considerable surprise, the students to whom I have delivered this lesson were quite interested in the song, if not Woody Guthrie himself. For that reason, I have designated and so tagged this post as containing high-interest materials.

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, Friday 6 January 2023: History of Hip-Hop Lesson 5, The Emigre Griots: The Birth of the Blues in the Southern United States

Happy New Year!

Let’s move right along to the fifth lesson plan of the History of Hip-Hop unit, this one on the birth of the blues in the southern United States, with a particular emphasis on a huge figure in global culture, the blues artist nonpareil Robert Johnson. I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Deep South. The main work of this lesson is this reading on Robert Johnson along with its accompanying comprehension worksheet. Finally, here are the lyrics to one of his most famous songs, “Sweet Home Chicago,” now a blues standard, which I play for students during the 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, Friday 30 December 2022: History of Hip-Hop Lesson 4, The Griot in African Culture

Moving right along with this big unit on Hip-Hop, here is the fourth lesson plan, on the West African griot tradition (which should not be confused with the Haitian dish of the same name). This is a key lesson in this process. I open this lesson with this context clues worksheet on the noun griot.

Because this lesson includes a viewing of the video for the song, here are lyrics to the Afropop song “Shaking the Tree,” a collaboration between British rock star Peter Gabriel and the Senegalese griot (he descends from a family of griots) Youssou N’Dour. Finally, at the center of this lesson is this reading and comprehension worksheet, which is also meant to spur discussion, on the griot tradition in Africa.

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, Friday 23 December 2022: History of Hip-Hop Lesson 3, The Medieval Troubadour

If there is a lesson that can be omitted from this unit–and I realized this the minute I began its preparation–it is this third lesson, on the Medieval Troubadours. Yes they are part of the global oral tradition, but in a highly peculiar way. For instance, they used the Occitan language, which is now endangered. Their songs were born of the chivalric tradition and celebrate courtly love. This is a long way of saying that this material may not be of surpassing interest to teenagers.

In any event, I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the concept of a capella singing. Here is the reading and questions on the troubadours themselves, which is the principal work of 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, Friday 16 December 2022: History of Hip-Hop Lesson 2, Homer–History’s First Hip-Hop Songwriter

Here is the second lesson plan from the History of Hip-Hop Unit. This lesson posits, proceeding from the previous two, that Home’s Odyssey and Iliad, composed to be read aloud and to glorify Greece, that these ancient epics are two of the world’s first Hip-Hop songs. I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Muses so that students understand the reference in the first stanza of the Iliad. Here is the worksheet with reading and comprehension questions that is the centerpiece of 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, Friday 9 December 2022: History of Hip-Hop Lesson 1, Oral Tradition

OK, here is the first lesson plan proper of the History of Hip-Hop Unit. I begin this lesson with this context clues worksheet on the noun prose. You’ll need this reading and worksheet on the global oral tradition to execute this lesson. I guess that’s enough said here–I think these documents tell their own story.

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, Friday 2 December 2022: History of Hip-Hop Prelude Lesson

During the pandemic lockdown, on 27 August 2020, I posted a trove of documents under the title A Tentative Start to a Unit on the History of Hip-Hop. Basically, it was a longish essay larded with documents with which I’d been struggling for years to synthesize into a real unit. Last year, the impetus and time such an endeavor requires came together; I was able to assemble a seventeen-lesson, reasonably cogent unit out of the materials, augmented with newer material that I published in that original post in the late summer of 2020.

My aim in this unit is to situate Hip-Hop in the broader global oral tradition. I began this unit initially, and begin it now, with these two apercus from Chuck D (Carlton Douglas Ridenhour) from the seminal Hip-Hop group Public Enemy:“We’re almost like headline news…. Rap music is the invisible TV station that Black America never had….”; “Rap is the CNN of young Black people.” So, to start off this unit, here is the prelude lesson to the History of Hip-Hop Unit along with the worksheet for prompting discussion of the statements above from Chuck D.

From the planning materials folder for this unit, here is the unit planthe lesson-plan template, and the worksheet template so that you can add lessons or alter them to fit the needs of your classroom. When I passed this unit by some colleagues, they all asked questions along the lines of “No Bob Dylan?” A fair question, since there is abundant evidence of Dylan’s influence on Hip-Hop. Another possible lesson would call upon students to make the connection between Dub music and Hip-Hop; there is, I think, a reason beyond fashion cool that Jay-Z was seen in a t-shirt bearing the Tuff Gong Recording Studios logo. So, as I assembled the materials for this unit, I did so with the idea that ultimately I might add lessons, or, indeed, break this into two units.

I also cached some Cultural Literacy and context clues worksheets in this unit’s planning materials folder for future use. Here they are if you want them:

Cultural Literacy: active voice; aka; aphorism; blank verse; circumlocution; comedy; complex sentence; complex-compound sentence; compound sentence; conjunctions; contraction; couplet; cultural imperialism; demagogue; denotation; double entendre, and four-letter word.

Context Clues: ad hominem; charisma-charismatic; infer, and oppress.

Finally, as I have mentioned to the point of tedium on this blog, all but one of the documents in this sixteen-lesson unit are formatted in Microsoft Word. That means you can adapt, alter, revise, edit, and generally manipulate them to suit the needs of your classroom.

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.