Category Archives: Worksheets

Classroom documents for student use. Most are structured and scaffolded, and most are pitched at a fundamental level in terms of the questions they ask and the work and understandings they require of students.

Cultural Literacy: Straw Man

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the concept of a straw man in argumentation. This is a half-page worksheet with a two-sentence reading (the second of them a long compound) and two comprehension questions. This is a cogent introduction to the topic of the straw man. However, it presupposes an prior understanding of argumentation (and its rules) that some students may not possess. But in our current discursive culture, understanding the straw man, a favorite tool of demagogues, strikes me as vital for the development of critical awareness in students.

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, 21 January 2022: Two Context Clues Worksheets on the Verbs Coerce and Coax

This week’s Text is a pair of context clues worksheets, one on the verb coax and another on the verb coerce. Both of these verbs are used only transitively, so don’t forget your direct object; you must coax or coerce someone or something. These words are near antonyms. However, I wrote them as a pair to help students develop an understanding of the continuum of connotative meanings in English words. A key question for interrogating these two words is quite simple: When does coaxing turn into coercion?

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.

Cultural Literacy: Progressive Education

Should you be using progressive methods in your teaching practice, you might find this Cultural Literacy worksheet on progressive education useful. If nothing else, it will help your students understand the way their class operates.

This is a full-page worksheet with a six-sentence (a full paragraph) reading and six comprehension questions. Once again, the editors of The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy have done an admirable job of summarizing a series of concepts, complicated when taken together, into a short but thoroughly informative reading.

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.

Meticulous (adj)

Because it is a very useful word–indeed, when it’s needed, few others will suffice–here is a context clues worksheet on the adjective meticulous. It means “marked by extreme or excessive care in the consideration or treatment of details.” I submit that this is a word students should know and be able to use before they graduate high school.

But what do you think?

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.

Word Root Exercise: Lex

Here is a worksheet on the Latin word root lex. It means “word,” “law,” and “reading.” This is a very productive root in English–n.b. that it morphs to leg for most legal terms–and yields a number of academic words, many of which you already know, like lexicon, lexical, and, of course, dyslexia. This root, when it morphs, gives us high-frequency words such as legal and illegal.

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.

Spanish Civil War

Here is a reading on the Spanish Civil War along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. While the reading does mention that this conflict became a “cause celebre among communists and left-leaning Western intellectuals,” it does not mention the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, an oversight in my estimation. This lapse, if you too think it one, can be remedied with this material from the Zinn Education Project.

Incidentally, The Brigade’s members were dismissed as “premature antifascists” in their time. In ours, I suppose, they would be ridiculed as the “woke left” by the halfwits on Fox News. They were right then and remain so about the menace of fascism.

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, 14 January 2022: A Lesson Plan on the Compound Preposition

This week’s Text is this lesson plan on using compound prepositions.

I open this lesson with this Everyday Edit worksheet on Eleanor Roosevelt; if this lesson goes into a second day, here is another on time zones. Incidentally, if you and your students find these Everyday Edit worksheet edifying (and therefore rewarding), the good people at Education World generously distribute a yearlong supply of them at no charge.

Here is the scaffolded worksheet that is the principal work of this lesson. And, at last, here is the teacher’s copy of same.

And that is 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, 7 January 2022: A Lesson Plan on the Crime and Puzzlement Case “Trick or Treat”

Happy New Year!

The first Weekly Text of 2022 on Mark’s Text Terminal is this lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “Trick or Treat.” I open this lesson with this half-page (with a two-sentence reading and three comprehension questions) Cultural Literacy worksheet on the concept of a “lunatic fringe” in politics, timely material in 2022 wherever you happen to be in the world, I submit.

To conduct your investigation of the heinous crime committed and documented in the pages of this lesson, you’ll need this PDF of the evidentiary illustration and questions that form the center of this case. Finally, here is the typescript of the answer key that will aid you in making an arrest and closing this case.

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.

Slipshod (adj)

I don’t know how often it is used these days, but if you have an idea that your students should know it and understand how to use it, here is a context clues worksheet on the adjective slipshod. It means, for the purposes of this document, “shabby,” “careless,” and “slovenly.”

Its primary meaning, as it sounds and dating from 1580, is “wearing loose shoes or slippers.” But it also means “down at the heel.” All of this is to say that this was almost certainly a Word of the Day at Merriam Webster at the height of the first pandemic surge in the late winter and early spring of 2020.

Wait: has this really continued for almost two years now?

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.

Cultural Literacy: Tip of the Iceberg

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the idiom “tip of the iceberg.” This metaphor remains in sufficiently common use, I think, that students, especially students for whom English is a second language, might want to learn it at some point. This is a half-page worksheet with a reading of two compound sentences and three comprehension questions. With characteristic brevity, the authors of the passaage (i.e., the authors and editors of the The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy) convey that this idiom indicates “Only a hint or suggestion of a much larger or more complex issue or problem.”

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.