The Devil’s Dictionary: Incorporation

“Incorporation, n. The act of uniting several persons into one fiction called a corporation, in order that they may be no longer responsible for their actions. A, B and C are a corporation. A robs, B steals, and C (it is necessary that there be one gentleman in the concern) cheats. It is a plundering, thieving, swindling corporation. But A, B and C, who have jointly determined and severally executed every crime of the corporation, are blameless, It is wrong to mention them by name when censuring their acts as a corporation, but right when praising. Incorporation is somewhat like the ring of Gyges: it bestows the blessing of invisibility—comfortable to knaves. The scoundrel who invented incorporation is dead—he has disincorporated.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. David E. Schultz and S.J. Joshi, eds. The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2000. 

Negligent (adj)

Alright, as the coronavirus continues to blaze a second trail across the United Stages, now seems like a perfect time to publish this context clues worksheet on the adjective negligent. However, I wonder if in teaching the concept of negligence, it might be better to start with the verb, neglect. The framework of this document should, I think, make it easy to produce your own context clues worksheets on those words.

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.

Term of Art: Baronage

“Baronage (deriv. OFr. barnage, Lat. baronagium). In medieval England, the earls, tenants of feudal baronies, and other important feudal tenants in chief; all the titled and landed nobility collectively, not merely those entitled baron.”

Excerpted from: Cook, Chris. Dictionary of Historical Terms. New York: Gramercy, 1998.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

By posting this reading on Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet that it is appropriate for high-schoolers (it might be, for the right ones), or of particularly high interest (again, it might be, for the right one) or demand. I actually wrote this for one student who was very interested in philosophy, but not otherwise interested in school.

Anyway, any reading on Liebniz can complement a calculus class, particularly if you want students to know something about the history of the field. More broadly, if you are conducting inquiry into the Enlightenment, or teaching Voltaire’s Candide, this material will provide some context for that novella.

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 Algonquin Wits: George S. Kaufman

“As a young theater critic and aspiring playwright, Kaufman was assigned to cover a new Broadway comedy. In his review he wrote: ‘There was laughter in the back of the theater, leading to the belief that somebody was telling jokes back there.’”

Excerpted from: Drennan, Robert E., ed. The Algonquin Wits. New York: Kensington, 1985.

The Weekly Text, October 16, 2020: A Lesson Plan on the Crime and Puzzlement Case “Blot It Out”

It’s Friday again. I don’t know about you, but I am experiencing time in some very strange ways during this pandemic. Anyway, Hispanic Heritage Month 2020 has come and gone.

So, this week’s text is a lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “Blot It Out.” I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the phrase Art for Art’s Sake (incidentally, when you watch movies, new or old, produced at the Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) studio, you’ll see the Latin phrase “Ars Gratia Artis” above the roaring lion’s head as the film begins to roll, well, you can now explain that phrase to students and children). You’ll need this scan of the illustration and questions in order to conduct your investigation. Finally, here is the typescript of the answer key so that you can make allegations and bring your suspect to the bar of 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.

Restrictive Term, Element, Clause

“Restrictive Term, Element, Clause: A phrase or clause that limits the essential meaning of the sentence element it modifies or identifies. Professional athletes who perform exceptionally should earn stratospheric salaries. Since there are no commas before and after the italicized clause, the italicized clause is restrictive and suggests that only those athletes that perform exceptionally are entitled to such salaries. If commas were added before who and after exceptionally, the clause would be nonrestrictive and would suggest that all professional athletes should receive stratospheric salaries.”

Excerpted from: Strunk, William Jr., and E.B. White. The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition. New York: Longman, 2000.

Futile (adj)

It’s a great word for students to know in this day and age, so I hasten to publish this context clues worksheet on the adjective futile. It’s Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day today; it’s also a word in very common use in the English language, so students really ought to know it by the time they move the tassel on their mortarboards.

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.

Federal Style

“Federal Style: An American architectural style of about 1780 to 1820 which reflected English Georgian models, especially the influence of Robert Adam. Symmetrically designed facades, smooth surfaces, and restrained classical ornament typify buildings in that style.”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

Cultural Literacy: The Federalist Papers

Last but not least today, here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on The Federalist Papers. This is only the merest introduction to these foundational documents to our republic, but sometimes that’s what a teacher needs. If so, help yourself.

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.