Tag Archives: building vocabulary/conceptual knowledge

The Weekly Text, July 30, 2021: A Lesson Plan on the Reflexive and Intensive Pronoun

This week’s text is a lesson plan on the reflexive and intensive pronouns–i.e. myself, yourself, herself, himself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves–and their use in declarative sentences and expository prose.

I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the bibliography and its function in scholarly writing. In the event the lesson goes into a second day due to whatever classroom exigencies you encounter, you might want to use this Everyday Edit worksheet on Miranda rights (“You have the right to remain silent…” etc.) that the United States Constitution guarantees people when they are arrested. (Incidentally if you like Everyday Edit worksheets, don’t forget that the good people at Education World offer a year’s supply of them at no charge.)

Here is a learning support on reflexive and intensive pronouns that I distribute with this scaffolded worksheet that is the primary work of this lesson. Finally, here is the teacher’s copy of the worksheet that eases delivery of this material.

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.

Fiction

“Fiction: A vague and general term for an imaginative work, usually in prose. At any rate, it does not normally cover poetry and dram though both are a form of fiction in that they are molded and contrived—or feigned. Fiction is now used in general of the novel, the short story, the novella (qq.v) and related genres.”

Excerpted from: Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. New York: Penguin, 1992.

Plausible (adj)

Here is a context clues worksheet on the adjective plausible. It means, variously, “superficially fair, reasonable, or valuable but often specious (a plausible pretext)”; “superficially pleasing or persuasive, (a swindler…  then a quack, then a smooth, plausible gentleman —R. W. Emerson),” and “appearing worthy of belief (the argument was both powerful and plausible).”

For this worksheet, the first and last definitions are the one the context tries to elicit from students. Incidentally (and editorially as well, for which I ask forgiveness), I’ve long believed, and believe now more than ever, given the outhouse of misinformation that social media has become, that we should use at least some of our schools’ time teaching students about media literacy. If I designed a unit to address this perceived need, I would conduct a lesson on plausibility very early on in the cycle.

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: Bi, Bin

Here is a worksheet on the Latin word roots bi and bin. They mean two and twice. But you already know that, and your students probably will before long as they work their way through this material.

Of course these are extremely productive roots in English, and this worksheet includes many of the most frequently used words containing bi or bin, to wit: biannual, bicameral (a useful social studies word), bilingual, bicycle, and bifocal.

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.

Ad Infinitum

“Ad Infinitum To infinity: without limit, endlessly or ceaselessly; forever.

‘Administrators expedited, finalized, implemented, processed ad infinitum, while social workers, already famed for euphemism, called their investigators case workers….’ Mary Dohan, Our Own Words.”

Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.

Palaver (n)

It’s Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day today, so here is a context clues worksheet on the noun palaver. It means, variously, “a long parley usually between persons of different cultures or levels of sophistication,”  “idle talk,” and  “misleading or beguiling speech.” The context in this worksheet calls for the latter two meanings.

I know this isn’t the most commonly used word in the English language, but I think it might make a reasonable surrogate for a commonly used epithet among many of the students I have served, to wit, bulls**t (please forgive me that vulgarism, even in its elided form, on this G-rated blog).

Incidentally, this word can also be used as a verb to mean, intransitively, “to talk profusely or idly,” “parley,” and transitively to mean “to use palaver to cajole.” The word has an interesting pedigree: it arrives in English from the Latin parabola (“parable,” “speech”) via the Portuguese palavra (“word,” “speech”).

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: Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the proverb “every cloud has a silver lining.” This is a half-page worksheet with the barest of reading, one simple sentence, and three questions.

Two of the questions (namely two and three) ask students to apply their understanding of this expression by identifying an instance in their own life in which a cloud had a silver lining–or, as the reading as it, “Every misfortune has its positive aspect.” Then students are asked to compose a simple declarative sentence that includes this proverb.

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.

J. Edgar Hoover

Here is a reading on J. Edgar Hoover along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. From the Intellectual Devotional series, this is a good general introduction to Hoover’s biography.

Any “good” biography of J. Edgar Hoover must by definition include his subversion of democracy, via COINTELPRO, during his reign as FBI Director. Hoover was a nasty piece of work, and he’s just the kind of villain that students find fascinating; he’s also a good figure with which to begin a critical examination of United States history in the twentieth century, including the Civil Rights Movement and the anti-Vietnam War upheavals. It’s an established fact that COINTELPRO monitored Malcolm X closely; his daughters, earlier this year, released a letter from the late New York City Police officer Raymond Wood in which Detective Wood confessed to participating with the FBI in the conspiracy to murder Malcolm. Netflix has done an admirable job of exposing this with the excellent documentary series Who Killed Malcolm X? I found it riveting.

In other words, these two documents are a gateway to some juicy, engaging stuff. I can already think of two students of mine who would have engaged deeply in a unit around these circumstances and events.

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 Learning Support on Writing the Compound Sentence with a Semicolon and No Conjunction

Here is a learning support on writing the compound sentence with a semicolon and no conjunction. This is a full page of text, but like everything else here, you can do with it as you wish: it is formatted in Microsoft Word.

I have a lesson plan in the works on this piece of procedural knowledge, so check back if this is something you want your students to be able to do.

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.

Bivouac (vi/vt)

It’s Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day today, so here is a context clues worksheet on bivouac as a verb. It’s used intransitively to mean “to make a bivouac, camp” and “to take shelter often temporarily”; transitively it means “to provide temporary quarters for (they were bivouacked in the gym during the storm).”

The word is also used as a noun to mean “a usually temporary encampment under little or no shelter,” “encampment usually for a night,” and “a temporary or casual shelter or lodging.”

Why use bivouac as a verb (or a noun for that matter?) rather than the simpler, arguably stouter camp? I don’t know that I would, but it is a matter of diction and style. Bivouac as either a verb or a noun is not a high-frequency word in English. This worksheet, perhaps, could be used as an assessment to test students’ ability to engage in the high-powered comprehension strategy of inferring meaning from context. If you use a lot of context clues-related material in your classroom, throwing in a word like bivouac from time to time does strike me as a quick means of assessment. 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.