Cultural Literacy: Red Scare

Moving right along on a gorgeous August morning in Vermont, here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Red Scare of 1919 and 1920 in the United States.

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.

Daniel Willingham on the Visual System and Reading

[Professor Willingham cited the research of Mark Changizi for this explanation.]

“A reasonable hypothesis is that the visual system has been tuned over time (either evolutionary time, or the lifetime of an individual, or both) to best perceive shapes that appear most frequently in the environment. People who invented alphabets unconsciously capitalized on that property of the visual system. The shapes that people see most easily were judged to make nice letters. It’s a good example of what we mean when we say that the brain is not designed for reading and writing—rather, we co-opt existing mental mechanisms to make literacy work.”

Excerpted from: Willingham, Daniel T. The Reading Mind: A Cognitive Approach to Understanding How the Mind Reads. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2017.

Crime and Puzzlement: Music Hath Charms

The statistics in the back end of this website report that there is interest among the blog’s users in the various Crime and Puzzlement lessons I have published here. My own experience using these has been quite successful, as the students with whom I have used them have actually asked to do more of them. Not to put too fine a point on this, but I don’t in general serve students who make it a habit to ask for additional work.

So, here is a lesson plan on “Music Hath Charms,” yet another Crime and Puzzlement case. I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the American idiom “Life of Riley.” Here’s the evidentiary illustration and text that is the centerpiece of the lesson. Finally, you’ll need this typescript of the answer key and explanations of evidence to assist students in solving the case.

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.

Book of Answers: Selma Lagerlof

Who was the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in literature? Selma Lagerlof of Sweden was awarded the prize in 1909. She is known for such works as Jerusalem (1901-1902), a collection of stories about Swedish peasant life.

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

Plaintive (adj)

It was Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day on Monday, so here is a context clues worksheet on the adjective plaintive. I couldn’t decide whether or not it warranted a worksheet. Fortunately, my good friend Karen pointed out that it’s a word that describes a concept few other words do, so perhaps it is a word students ought to know before they graduate high school.

In any case, there it is.

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.

E.H. Gombrich on the Neanderthals

“The Neanderthals lived in a period that comes before history. That is why we call it ‘prehistory,’ because we only have a rough idea of when it all happened. But we still know something about the people whom we call prehistoric. At the time when real history begins, which we will come to in future readings, people already had all the things we have today: clothes, houses, and tools, plows to plow with, grains to make bread with cows for milking, sheep for shearing, dogs for hunting and for company, bows and arrows for shooting and helmets and shields for protection.”

Excerpted from: Gombrich, E.H. Trans. Caroline Mustill. A Little History of the World. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.

Word Root Exercise: Penta, Pent

Alright, I’m wrapping up on a beautiful summer morning in Western New England. Here is a worksheet on the Greek word roots penta and pent. They mean, of course, five.

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.