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, 15 October 2021, Hispanic Heritage Month 2021 Week V: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Cesar Chavez

This week’s Text, for the final Friday of Hispanic Heritage Month 2021, is a reading on Cesar Chavez along with its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. The reading comes from one of the Intellectual Devotional books; there is another reading and comprehension worksheet from one of those volumes. Entries on him appeared in two of them–Biographies and American History–and both are now available on this blog.

In fact, to use the boilerplate for this circumstance on Mark’s Text Terminal, these documents join a growing body of material on Mr. Chavez, one of the heroes of my youth.

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.

Cultural Literacy: Banana Republics

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the term “Banana Republics.” This is a half-page worksheet with two simple sentences and two comprehension questions. The reading note that the “…term banana republic is often used in a disparaging sense” because “it suggests an unstable government.”

I’ve traveled a little bit in South America, and I never heard this term used there. In fact, the American writer O Henry coined the term to characterize the fictional nation of Anchuria, in his short story “The Admiral.” Given the United States government’s tendency to meddle in the affairs of the sovereign nations of Latin America, the epithet “Banana Republics” is a bitter irony indeed. If these nations suffered from unstable governments, in many cases it is the United States–and the United Fruit Company–that has destabilized them.

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, 8 October 2021, Hispanic Heritage Month 2021 Week IV: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Los Angeles

Here on the fourth Friday of Hispanic Heritage Month 2021, is a reading on Los Angeles along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

This second-largest city in the United States, known in the vernacular by its initialism, L.A., was founded as a city in 1781, but claimed as Spanish territory by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542. The city became Mexican territory in 1821 after the Mexican War of Independence. Then, in 1848 (a momentous year in world history, to say the least), after the Mexican-American War, following the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the United States purchased the territory that became the state of California two years later, in 1850.

The city is a rich producer and repository of Chicano culture. This is the municipality, after all, that played a role in giving the world the nonpareil Los Lobos.

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, 1 October 2021, Hispanic Heritage Month 2021 Week III: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Don Quixote

For the third Friday of Hispanic Heritage Month 2021, here is a reading on Don Quixote with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. I don’t know if you’ve read Miguel de Cervantes’ magisterial novel–I finally read it during the pandemic, and now want to read it again–but I must extol the virtues and richness of this landmark of world literature.

Otherwise, I have nothing to say, and I certainly wouldn’t presume to editorialize upon or criticize this novel. If that’s what you seek, I recommend Harold Bloom or someone of his ilk. It goes without saying, I assume, that a lot of ink has been spilled in seeking a deeper understanding of Don Quixote.

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, 24 September 2021, Hispanic Heritage Month 2021 Week II: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Pablo Picasso

On the second Friday of Hispanic History Month 2021, here is a reading on Pablo Picasso with its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. These materials join a growing accumulation of documents on the artist on 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, 17 September 2021, Hispanic Heritage Month 2021 Week IV: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on the Gadsden Purchase

For the first Friday of Hispanic Heritage Month 2021, this week’s Text is a reading on the Gadsden Purchase with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. The Gadsden Purchase brought territory in the far southern reaches of the present-day Arizona and New Mexico into the United States, and was concluded in 1854, six years after the Mexican-American War, which was arguably an imperialist move by the United States to seize territory that rightfully belonged to Mexico.

To clear up any confusion (mostly my own, I guess), the Gadsden Purchase was concluded by Ambassador James Gadsden. He is not the namesake of the Gadsden Flag, which has become a symbol of far-right political movements in the United States, including the perpetrators of the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capital. Rather, the Gadsden Flag is named for its designer, Christopher Gadsden, who was, among other things, a delegate to the Continental Congress in colonial North America. Unsurprisingly, though, James Gadsden was the grandson of Christopher Gadsden.

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 September 2021: A Lesson Plan on Lesson Plan on the Number of Characters Used in Writing Systems from The Order of Things

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on the number of characters used in writing systems. Like all of the lessons and other materials under the heading of The Order of Things, this lesson and its list as reading and comprehension questions are adapted from Barbara Ann Kipfer’s magisterial reference book of the same name.

Nota bene, please, that I adapted these materials to assist students who struggle to work with two symbolic systems–i.e., in this case, numbers and letters–at the same time. Needless to say, these documents can be adapted for your use; they are, like almost everything else here, in Microsoft Word. In other words, they are open source.

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 September 2021: A Lesson Plan on the Crime and Puzzlement Case “Cookie Jar”

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “Cookie Jar.” I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the French noun phrase coup de grace. This is a half-page worksheet with a three-sentence reading and three comprehension questions. Let me caution you that its not the cheeriest of material: remember that the original meaning of coup de grace is “a death blow or death shot administered to end the suffering of one mortally wounded.” If you want a better do-now for this lesson, there are thousands of them on this blog–just go to the word cloud on the home page and click on “context clues” or “cultural literacy.”

To conduct your investigation into the heinous crime committed in this lesson, you’ll need this PDF scan of the illustration and questions that serve, respectively, and the evidence and investigative points for solving the case. Finally, here is the typescript of the answer key to help you bring the offender to justice.

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 August 2021: A Lesson Plan on Using the Reciprocal Pronouns

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on using the reciprocal pronoun. In addition to the broad use of language the lesson aims to help students develop, the narrow objective of this lesson is to help students understand usage, in this case that the two reciprocal pronouns are, each other, which refers to two people, and one another, which refers to more than two people. 

I generally open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Latinism mea culpa (i.e. “my fault” or “I’m to blame,” or, as I’ve heard some students say, “my bad”; you can probably see the root of culpability in this phrase). This is a half-page worksheet with a two-sentence reading and three comprehension questions. If the lesson goes into a second day, or if you simply prefer it, here is a homophones worksheet on you’re and your. This is also a half-page worksheet, with six modified cloze exercises.

This scaffolded worksheet is the principal work of this lesson. It starts with a series of modified cloze exercises, then calls upon students, to practice independently (i.e. homework) by writing sentences demonstrating they can align the proper number of subject with its proper reciprocal pronoun. To make teaching this a little easier, here is the teacher’s copy of the 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, 20 August 2021: A Lesson Plan on Nations with the Shortest Coastlines from The Order of Things

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on nations with the shortest coastlines. Here is the list as reading with comprehension questions. As the title of this post indicates, this is another lesson adapted from Barbara Ann Kipfer’s magisterial (I really want her job) reference book The Order of Things (New York: Random House, 1997).

Nota bene, please, that I wrote these materials (there are quite a few of them on this blog now, with more to come) with the needs of students who struggle with reading in mind, especially when two symbolic systems (letters and numbers) are at work in the same lesson. If you find this lesson useful in your classroom, you might find its companion, a lesson on nations with the longest coastlines, which I published last month, a complement to the documents in this post.

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.