Tag Archives: cultural literacy

Cultural Literacy: Rasputin

OK, moving right along on this already very warm Friday morning, here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Grigori Rasputin. This is a full-page worksheet with a six-sentence reading and seven comprehension questions. It pretty much covers all the bases for this particular charlatan, even his influence on Russian statecraft. It does not include the grisly details of his murder, which may be apocryphal in any case. They are, however, the kind of thing that interests students–though I caution you that this material is probably best–if only–presented to high school students.

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: Feudalism

On a cool, gray morning in Brooklyn, here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on feudalism. This is a full-page worksheet with a reading of five sentences, four of them longish, but relatively uncomplicated compounds, and six comprehension questions. This is one of the more cogent readings from The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy (Hirsch, E.D., Joseph F. Kett, and James Trefil, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2002), and that’s saying something, because the editors of this book are experts in concision.

It is this sentence, though, that brings home the conceptual bacon (so to speak) on feudalism: “Under feudalism, people were born with a permanent position in society.”

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: Fascism

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on fascism. This is a full-page worksheet with a seven-sentence reading (a couple of which could easily be broken up) and nine comprehension questions.

Fascism, as you may know, is a notoriously slippery concept, but is nonetheless thrown around casually–I myself once (fortunately, before I was of voting age) ludicrously characterized President Jimmy Carter as a fascist. I studied authoritarian political movements as an undergraduate and can report that even experts on fascism–e.g. Walter Laqueur and George Mosse–were careful with the term and were circumspect about using the word casually. Indeed, Professor Mosse in particular, with whose work I am quite familiar, grappled for much of his career with his agnosticism about fascism and fascist movements.

All of this is a long way of saying that while this worksheet is far from perfect, it is a decent general introduction to some of the cultural, economic, and political aspects of fascism. As much as the seven sentences of text in this document expose, they are notable for the questions they leave unanswered and therefore arouse. In fact, this may be a good document for starting students’ questioning of the conceptual elements of fascism (trust me, they are wide-ranging, disparate, and frequently just plain crazy).

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: Fractal

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the fractal as a concept of mathematics, which turns out to be something different than I thought it was. I’d confused the basic concept of fractals with a Mandelbrot set, which is a type of fractal–but not the only one, apparently.

In any case, this is a full-page worksheet with a four-sentence reading and five comprehension questions.

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.

Cross of Gold Speech

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold speech,” delivered to the audience at the 1896 national convention of the Democratic Party. Bryan is often used as a metaphor for the 19th-century American Populist movement–known as the People’s Party–and indeed the party nominated Bryan as its candidate in the 1896 presidential election.

The speech itself is both a representative ideological screed of populism, but also one of the classic pieces of American rhetoric. Bryan was a gasbag, so this speech is a stem-winder. As an illustration of certain tendencies in American political discourse, this speech is nonpareil.

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: Thriller

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the thriller as a literary genre. This is a half-page worksheet with a reading of two sentences and two comprehensions questions. In other words, a basic, but solid, introduction to this literary genre.

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: Synonym, Antonym

Here is another pair of Cultural Literacy worksheets that belong in the same post: the first on synonyms, which is a half page worksheet with a reading of two short sentences and two comprehension questions. The second, on antonyms, also has two short sentences as a reading, and two comprehension questions.

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: Comparative, Superlative

Here’s a pair of Cultural Literacy worksheets that must go out together: the the first on the comparative form of adjectives is a half-pager with a reading of two sentences, the second of them a long compound separated by several semicolons, and three comprehension questions . The second covers the superlative form of adjectives; this is a full-page worksheet with a reading of two sentences, the second a compound, with three comprehension questions and a fourth independent practice exercises

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: Topic Sentence, Paragraph

OK, I continue to break into new material I developed during the pandemic. This pair of Cultural Literacy worksheets really should go out together. The first is a worksheet on the topic sentence of a paragraph. This is a half-page document with a two-sentence reading two comprehension questions.

That document’s obvious complement is this worksheet on the paragraph, as the reading nicely summarizes it, as the “basic unit of prose.” This is also a half-page document, but you’ll find a three-sentence reading with three comprehension questions.

In other words, a good general introduction, in two parts, to the paragraph in form and purpose.

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: Vidkun Quisling

While I very much doubt there will be much demand for it, here nonetheless is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Vidkun Quisling. This is full-page worksheet with a reading of four sentences and five comprehension questions.

Quisling’s surname name became a synonym for traitor and collaborator after his decision, which this document covers, to collaborate with the Nazis during during the German occupation of Norway in World War II. I first encountered this use while reading Christopher Simpson’s excellent book Blowback many years ago; he uses the term, in that study, “quisling governments” to describes the complicity of officials in the Soviet Baltic states and Ukraine in the Holocaust, particularly the events depicted in a film like Defiance–i.e. the role of the Einsatzgruppen in the early days of the the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.

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.