Tag Archives: context clues/focus on one word

The Weekly Text, August 16, 2019

Over the years, I have become more an more concerned with the trouble polysemous words have caused the students under my instruction. English is such a wild mutt of a language that it’s not difficult in the least to see why it causes its learners such problems. In some cases, one needs the skills of a linguist to decode dense strands of polysemy.

While not one of the most difficult words in English, success does morph its definition as it morphs into different parts of speech. Students I have served in the past generally have trouble with sequencing and chronologies, so the idea of succession does not come easily to them. This makes understanding of the chronology, structure, and sequence of say, a royal dynasty, difficult to convey in social studies classes.

I wrote this suite of five context clues worksheets on succeed (verb), success (noun), succession (noun), successive (adjective), and successor (noun) in an attempt to help students get a grasp of this family of words. These worksheets might be best presented in one lesson–I don’t know. I’ve tended to place them with units where the words are used, but I am not at all confident that students made the associations between them necessary to understand them.

So I would be particularly interested in hearing how you used them, if you did.

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.

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.

Faze (vt)

Hot off the press (it was Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day one day last week) is this context clues worksheet on the verb faze. It is apparently only used transitively.

As I wrote this document while drinking my coffee this morning, it occurred to me that this verb might be better presented as a homophone worksheet with the noun phase. Because this idea will very likely cycle in my hamster wheel of a mind until I do something about it, it will almost certainly show up here at some point in the future.

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’s First Demonstration of Memory as a Professional Development Exercise

Elsewhere on this blog, I published Professor Daniel Willingham’s First Demonstration of Memory as a lesson for classroom use with students (in fact, if you click on that second hyperlink, it will transfer you directly to that post). I originally wrote that lesson because it has important implications for classroom practice, and I wanted to discuss those implications with students at the beginning of the school year. In fact, I give the lesson on the first day of school, before talking about classroom conduct, as a way of establishing priorities–learning–and classroom methodology–i.e. students directly involved in the pedagogy in which they will engage through the school year.

Along the way, in order to satisfy my professional development requirements, I also developed this lesson, which in some respects is a cognitive science parlor trick, for use as a professional development exercise for teachers.

To present this lesson, you will need this PDF of the article that engendered it; you might also consider reproducing the article to hand out after you conclude the lesson. Here is the lesson plan that outlines and rationalizes it use. I use this learning support with both versions of this lesson. Finally, here is the context clues worksheet on the adjective condign that concludes the exercise.

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.

Tactic (n)

OK, here is a context clues worksheet on the noun tactic it it’s a word you need students to understand.

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.

Surrogate (n)

For the first time in about a week, I needn’t drive anywhere today. That’s a relief.

Here, if you can use it, is a context clues worksheet on surrogate in its use as a noun. I imagine this document could be easily converted to show this word’s use as an adjective as well.

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: Tax Deduction

Here’s a Cultural Literacy worksheet on tax deductions. This is a concept graduating seniors probably ought to understand as they begin their adult lives.

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.