Tag Archives: grammar/style/usage

Syntax

“Syntax: The order or arrangement of words in a sentence. Syntax may exhibit parallelism (I came, I saw, I conquered), inversion (Whose woods these are I think I know), or other formal characteristics.”

Excerpted from: Strunk, William Jr., and E.B. White. The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition. New York: Longman, 2000.

Salman Rushdie

In memory of Samuel Paty, and in honor of teachers everywhere struggling to promote and conduct free and open inquiry, and as a cautionary tale about religious orthodoxy and extremism across the globe, I offer without further comment this reading on Salman Rushdie and its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

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: Passive Resistance

This Cultural Literacy worksheet on passive resistance as a means of protest ought to have great currency at the moment, especially when elected officials imply they will not participate in a peaceful transfer of governmental authority. The reading in this short exercise mentions Gandhi, but I don’t think teachers should let the opportunity pass to invoke the name of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., another practitioner of passive resistance who acknowledged his debt to Gandhi.

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.

Term of Art: Indirect Speech

indirect speech: The reporting of something said, thought, etc. with deictic and other units adapted to the viewpoint of the reporter. E.g. He said he would bring them might report a promise, originally expressed by the utterance ‘I will bring them in.’ But the person who made the promise is someone other than the reporter; hence, in the reporting, original I is changed to he. Also the promise was earlier than the report; hence, in addition, will is changed to would. With these adaptations, he would bring them is an example of, and is said to be ‘in,’ indirect speech.”

Excerpted from: Matthews, P.H., ed. The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

The Order of Things: Decibel Scale

This lesson plan on the decibel scale and its accompanying reading and comprehension worksheet are another of the 50 lessons I have prepared using text from Barbara Ann Kipfer’s The Order of Things. If you have students interested in audio engineering or music production, this is something for them.

Otherwise, this is a simple literacy lesson that calls upon students to work with numbers and words in one document. I’ve been working on both the unit plan for these lessons and a user’s manual for their documents. I struggle to articulate why I developed these lessons and how I would use them. For now, think of the documents above as a rehearsal for word problems in math–one of the things that so often bedevil emergent and struggling readers.

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.

Nuance (n)

If you listen to the general day-to-day discourse in our society, particularly political discourse, you have probably noticed that while it is often forthrightly counterfactual and mendacious, it is also coarse and myopic. For that reason, I offer this context clues worksheet on the noun nuance. Everybody should know this abstract noun and the concept it represents–you know, subtlety, shades of meaning, thoughtfulness, and the gradations of the analysis that follow these approaches to understanding something deeply.

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.

Write It Right: Back of for Behind, At the Back of

“Back of for Behind, At the Back of. ‘Back of law is force.’”

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

Cultural Literacy: Nihilism

If you can use it (I didn’t fully understand the concept until I was well into my undergraduate education), here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on nihilism as a concept in philosophy, which is this word’s function at bottom–to dress up an abstract concept like a belief in nothing. You might want to help your students make the connection with the Latin word root nihil, which means, simply, nothing.

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.

Subordinate Clause

“Subordinate Clause: A clause dependent on the main clause in a sentence. After we finish our work, we will go out to dinner.”

Excerpted from: Strunk, William Jr., and E.B. White. The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition. New York: Longman, 2000.

Word Root Exercise: Cede, Ceed, Cess

Here is a worksheet on the Latin word roots cede, ceed, and cess. They mean to go and to yield. However, the words that stem from these roots, which are extremely productive in English, like proceed, precede, and succeed point up the necessity of an adverbial question, e.g. to go when and where? To yield when and where? 

Those kinds of questions will help students arrive on their own at the fundamental meaning of these roots.

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.