Tag Archives: high-interest materials

Scarface

Scarface: A gangster film (1932) directed by Howard Hawks, with a screenplay by Ben Hecht and others. The 1983 remake was directed by Brian de Palma and had a screenplay by Oliver Stone. The name of the eponymous anti-hero is Tony Camonte (played by Paul Muni) in the 1932 version; in the 1983 version he is called Tony Montana (played by Al Pacino). The character is based on the real-life gangster Al Capone (1899-1947), who acquired the name Scarface from the scar on his left cheek caused by a razor slash in a Brooklyn gang fight in his younger days.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

Drag Racing

Last but not least today, here is a reading on drag racing and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. I wrote this when I was working with a group of students in a rural high school who were interested in all manner of fast cars. It was high-interest material for those students, which leads me to suspect it will be of high-interest elsewhere as well. If that turns out to be the case in your classroom, could you leave a comment?

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, October 16, 2020: A Lesson Plan on the Crime and Puzzlement Case “Blot It Out”

It’s Friday again. I don’t know about you, but I am experiencing time in some very strange ways during this pandemic. Anyway, Hispanic Heritage Month 2020 has come and gone.

So, this week’s text is a lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “Blot It Out.” I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the phrase Art for Art’s Sake (incidentally, when you watch movies, new or old, produced at the Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) studio, you’ll see the Latin phrase “Ars Gratia Artis” above the roaring lion’s head as the film begins to roll, well, you can now explain that phrase to students and children). You’ll need this scan of the illustration and questions in order to conduct your investigation. Finally, here is the typescript of the answer key so that you can make allegations and bring your suspect to the bar of justice.

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.

Charles Manson

Charles Manson’s death in late 2017 prompted a flurry of questions from the students I was serving at the time. As I do whenever students demonstrate an interest in something, I worked up some new materials, to wit, this reading on Charles Manson and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

And while I’m neither proud of or happy with the fact, these documents quickly became high-interest materials in my classroom. Ergo, they appear here. Did I mention I’m not exactly happy about students’ interest in this monster?

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.

Two Independent Research Projects on the Bloods and the Crips

Some time ago, I put up a series of independent research assignments I’d developed for students whom I sought to reach with differentiated instruction. This work had everything to do with motivating students by supplying them with high interest material.

However, I held back two from that original release of documents, to wit this independent research assignment on the Bloods as well as this one on the Crips. I can’t remember now why I didn’t throw them up with the rest, and that leads me to believe I had some misguided notions of propriety. So, let me say that one of the things that animated the development of these documents was the 2008 Independent Lens documentary Crips and Bloods: Made in America. The film does an excellent job of tracing the history of the Crips and the Bloods, explaining along the way the complex sociological and economic forces that move young men to join gangs.

These assignments are structured to follow closely the Wikipedia articles about the Bloods and about the Crips.

Another thing that moved the creation of these documents was the fact that I was working with some students who were themselves either considering joining either the Crips or the Bloods, were already involved, or had family members involved in either group. In any case, if one lives or works (or both) in a tough neighborhood in one of New York City’s Five Boroughs, there is a good chance one sees members of the Crips or Bloods operating daily in one’s neighborhood.

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, September 11, 2020: The Crime and Puzzlement Case “Piggy Bank”

Because they’ve been a popular item on this site, I’ve engaged in idle speculation about the social and educational characteristics of the users of the many Crime and Puzzlement lessons I’ve posted here. I must assume these are particularly useful for homebound, younger kids and their parents.

In any case, here is another, a lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “Piggy Bank.”

I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the idiom “beyond the pale.” To investigate this case, you’ll need the PDF of the illustration, reading, and questions. To make sure you bring the accused to the bar of justice, here is the typescript of the answer key.

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.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: A notorious horror movie (1974), written by Kim Henkel and Tobe Hooper, in which a family of chainsaw-wielding unemployed slaughterhouse workers terrorize a Texas community, desecrating the local cemetery and decorating their house with human and animal remains. The title proclaimed the film’s horror credentials, although it contains few scenes with much gore. It was loosely based on upon the atrocities committed in real life by deranged Wisconsin farmer Ed Gein, whose bloodthirsty activities also influenced Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

Crime and Puzzlement: Picnic

OK, moving along on a warm afternoon, here is a lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “Picnic.”

I open this lesson, to get kids settled after the class change, with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the proverb “All’s Fair in Love and War.” You’ll need this PDF of the illustration, reading, and questions to conduct your investigation. Finally, to bring your suspect to justice, here is the typescript of the answer key for this case.

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.

Isadora Duncan

For a student with certain interests, broadly, arts and culture, but narrowly, dance, bohemianism, and women’s history, this reading on Isadora Duncan and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet have turned out to be high-interest materials.

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.

Empire State Building

It’s pouring rain and I want to drive over to the other side of this state to visit friends. So, I’ll write one more post before taking my chances with the mountain roads between here and there. So, here, especially for my erstwhile colleagues in New York, is a reading on the Empire State Building and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

One thing to consider when teaching students about this building is that it went up in record time at the very beginning of the Great Depression. I think there is something interesting about that, but translating it into conceptual terms has so far evaded me.

What say you?

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.