Tag Archives: building vocabulary/conceptual knowledge

Cultural Literacy: Indochina

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Indochina, which is a region rather than a nation. It’s not a word much heard anymore. When I was a child in the 1960s, however, as the Vietnam War escalated and raged, it was a fairly commonly heard locution.

The term was coined by one Conrad Malte-Brun in the early nineteenth century as a way of emphasizing the influence (as you can hear in the word itself) of Chinese and Indian culture in Mainland Southeast Asia. Later, the modifier French was added to give us French Indochina, obviously a reflection of France’s colonial presence in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. In other words, this is a term invented by Europeans to describe several distinct ethnicities and cultures–another Orientalist trope.

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, May 7, 2021, Asian-Pacific Heritage Month Week I: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Mao Zedong

This week’s Text, in observation of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month 2021, is a reading on Mao Zedong along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

His image, when I was in high school, was instantly recognizable–though I must stipulate that I ran with a crowd that tended to have his one of his various complimentary portraits displayed. Back then, and perhaps now, he was a demigod a certain sort of political aficionado–the forgiving sort, to be sure. While Mao is unquestionably a world-historical figure, his balance sheet tips toward liability, especially in the light of the excesses of the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward. If one considers the Chinese Annexation of Tibet and its subsequent corollary, the Sinicization of that nation, Mao emerges, in terms of both domestic policy and statecraft, as an unmitigated disaster.

One could plan on unit on Mao and use it to examine a number of conceptual processes of history, including, war, revolution, peace, types of tyranny, utopias and their drawbacks and downfalls, the individual and the collective, political theory and practice, free and regulated markets, capitalism and communism–well, this list could go on at some length.

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: Brahmins

OK, on a rainy morning, here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Brahmin caste in India.

I don’t know how your school or district handles global studies, or world history, or whatever it calls a social studies survey course on world history, but in New York City we took a thorough, two-year excursion through the seven continents, the four oceans, and the seven seas. One social studies teacher with whom I co-taught did a very nice job of exposing and examining the caste system in India–and by implication, in the United States.

In any case, as the short reading on this half-page worksheets explains, the proper noun Brahmin has entered the English language as a descriptor of a wealthy and/or eminent person. If nothing else, the three questions on this document will lead students toward that understanding, thereby building their vocabularies.

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 Devil’s Dictionary: Teetotaler

“Teetotaler, n. One who abstains from strong drink, sometimes totally, sometimes tolerably totally.”

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

Sober (adj), Sobriety (n)

Here are a pair of context clues worksheets on sober and sobriety, respectively an adjective and a noun.

In writing these, I sought to include both primary meanings of sober, i.e., where alcohol and intoxicants are concerned, “sparing in the use of food or drink,” “not addicted to intoxicating drink,” and “not drunk”; where an approach to life and its vagaries are concerned, “marked by sedate or gravely or earnestly thoughtful character or demeanor,” “marked by temperance, moderation, or seriousness,” and “showing no excessive or extreme qualities of fancy, emotion, or prejudice”

The noun sobriety simply means “the quality or state of being sober.” In the worksheet for this word, then, I also attempted to create prose that students could use to infer the above meanings of sober. As I prepared these for publication, I tried to remember why I wrote them, but couldn’t. So I don’t know if I intended to use them together in one sitting, or to use them discretely over a week’s time, and use sobriety to gauge understanding and retention of the previously used worksheet for sober.

In any case, they’re yours now if you want them, so you can use them as you will.

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.

Influenza Vaccine

Here is a reading on the influenza vaccination along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

Over the years, I have heard various public figures opine on the need for a return to a solid civics curriculum in public schools in the United States. In fact, two United States Senators recently introduced legislation, called the Educating for Democracy Act, that would invest $1 billion the development of civics education in our country. In general and particularly in the light how closely our country has veered toward fascism in the past several years, I must concede the point. Apropo of civics education, I submit that learning about the science of vaccines, and vaccine efficacy, is at the moment an integral element of civics education–not to mention part of a general education.

So here you are. There are other materials on this site about vaccine–just search vaccine or vaccination.

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, April 23, 2021: A Lesson Plan on the Latin Word Root Mill-, Milli-

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on the lesson plan on the Latin word root, which mean, respectively, thousand and thousandth. I open this lesson with this worksheet on the noun century.  Here is the scaffolded worksheet that is the primary work of this lesson.

As you can see, these are very productive roots in English, yielding words like millennium and millipede. As I look at this lesson plan, I see that I intended to write two separate worksheets for these two roots. There are two separate listings for these roots,  but I don’t find, in the dictionary that informs this work, a separate word list for milli. In any case, these documents are, as the bulk of the material posted here, in Microsoft Word. So, it you wanted to add millimeter to the list of words to analyze and define, you can.

In any case, depending on the students you serve, there is plenty of room in this lesson for a freewheeling discussion on mill and milli, whether it is important to know both, and why.

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.

Write It Right: Involve for Entail

“Involve for Entail. ‘Proof of the charges will involve his dismissal.’ Not at all; it will entail it. To involve is, literally, to infold, not to bring about, nor cause to ensue. An unofficial investigation, for example, may involve character and reputation, but the ultimate consequence is entailed. A question, in the parliamentary sense, may involve a principal; its settlement one way or another may entail expense, or injury to interests. An act may involve one’s honor and entail disgrace.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. Write it Right: A Little Blacklist of Literary Faults. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2010.

Common Errors in English Usage: Pheasant (n), Peasant (n)

Here is an English usage worksheet on the nouns pheasant and peasant. I’m not sure if the former word is essential to the high school lexicon, but the latter certainly is. Any study of history will necessitate the use of the word peasant.

But these worksheets–there will eventually be a hundred or more of them on Mark’s Text Terminal–is primarily usage, not vocabulary building, though I think vocabulary building could be a corollary benefit. I wrote these to meet the Common Core standard (L.11-12.1b), to wit, “Resolve issues of complex or contested usage, consulting references, (e.g., Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English UsageGarner’s Modern American Usage) as needed.” I hope they are useful in that way.

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.

A Concluding Assessment Lesson on Adverbs

If you search “lesson plan on adverbs” on this blog, you will find that there are a total of seven lesson plans dealing with this part of speech; here is the concluding assessment for the unit those seven lessons comprise.

I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the proverb “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Because this lesson all but inevitably runs into a second day, here is another Cultural Literacy worksheet, this one on the idiom “six of one, a half dozen of the other.” Finally, here is the structured worksheet, which closely follows the sequence of the aforementioned seven lessons, that is the primary work of this lesson and the concluding assessment of this seven-lesson unit.

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.