Tag Archives: high-interest materials

Anarchism

Here is a reading on anarchism along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

This is a relatively short reading, but nonetheless a good general introduction to anarchist philosophy. It also effectively introduces some key figures in the history of anarchism, and allows that this was a political movement that often used violence as a means to achieve its ends. Because many of the teenagers I have served over the years have been what I guess I would call “natural anarchists,” certain students in my classes have taken a relatively high interest in 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.

The Weekly Text, 3 September 2021: A Lesson Plan on the Crime and Puzzlement Case “Cookie Jar”

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “Cookie Jar.” I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the French noun phrase coup de grace. This is a half-page worksheet with a three-sentence reading and three comprehension questions. Let me caution you that its not the cheeriest of material: remember that the original meaning of coup de grace is “a death blow or death shot administered to end the suffering of one mortally wounded.” If you want a better do-now for this lesson, there are thousands of them on this blog–just go to the word cloud on the home page and click on “context clues” or “cultural literacy.”

To conduct your investigation into the heinous crime committed in this lesson, you’ll need this PDF scan of the illustration and questions that serve, respectively, and the evidence and investigative points for solving the case. Finally, here is the typescript of the answer key to help you bring the offender to 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.

Elvis Presley

Here is a reading on Elvis Presley along with its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. This has tended to be high-interest material for some students, so I have tagged it as such.

For other students, Elvis may be of no interest whatsoever. I’d just like to mention that he presents an interesting case study on cultural appropriation. Did you know “Hound Dog” (which has been recorded, according to the song’s Wikipedia page, “more than 250 times”) was originally a hit for Big Mama Thornton (which was answered, humorously, by Rufus Thomas in his song “Bear Cat“) and was a number one hit for her on the R&B charts? Of that the first song (and his first hit single) he ever recorded, at Sun Studio’s Memphis Recording Service, was “That’s All Right,” composed by Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup

In other words, this is a good reading to open a discussion about how white artists, especially in the 1950s, helped themselves to the work of black artists and got rich doing it. This is so well documented at this point that if you search “white artists not paying royalties to black artists” you will find a trove of information about this practice. Even gigantic media company BMG admits Black artists were cheated out of fair contracts and royalty payments. I salute Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy for calling for reparations to Black recording artists.

There is a lot to chew on here. The essential question here is something like “What is cultural appropriation and what is outright theft? What is the difference?”

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.

Blackbeard

Here is a reading on Blackbeard (aka Edward Teach) along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

Last weekend, for the first time, I watched Pirates of the Caribbean. So when I was perusing the Intellectual Devotional shelf in the warehouse earlier, this material caught my eye. It looks to me like the producers of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, and the star, Johnny Depp (whose fey performance is both hilarious and oddly touching), were and are well aware of the life and times of Blackbeard (although he apparently appears in the series’ fourth film, played by the great Ian McShane). If you have students who are fans of these films, I would hazard a guess that this will be high-interest material for them.

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.

Sex Change Surgery

Here is a reading on sex change surgery along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. Lest you misunderstand, this is not about the medical science or procedure of gender affirmation surgery.

Rather, it is about the infamous John/Joan case. The reading nicely job summarizes the tragic story of David Reimer, whose parents made the mistake of deferring to the New Zealand psychologist John Money. Money, who apparently coined the terms “gender identity” and “gender role,” appears to me to be at least culpable in, if not the direct cause of, the suicides of David Reimer and his twin brother. I wrote this material (using, once again, a reading from the Intellectual Devotional series) during the pandemic; as of this writing, I have not used this material with students. Nonetheless, I have tagged this post’s documents as high-interest material. Unless I miss my guess, students will indeed find these documents of considerable interest.

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.

Kim Philby

Here is a reading on Kim Philby along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. I have always found Philby a fascinating figure.

But so are the rest of the so-called Cambridge Five. Without them, one wonders, would John LeCarre (real name David Cornwell) have become a novelist? Betrayal of one’s country and fellows was a preoccupation of LeCarre’s. These guys–Philby, Anthony Blunt, Guy Burgess, John Cairncross, and Donald Maclean–most certainly betrayed Great Britain.

This is another reading from the Intellectual Devotional series whose typescripts and ancillary worksheet I developed during the COVID19 pandemic. As of this writing, I haven’t used these documents in the classroom. Nonetheless, I have tagged them as high-interest materials because I am confident that for the right student(s), they will be.

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 Unabomber

Here is a reading on the Unabomber along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

This is one of the better articles from the Intellectual Devotional series. The writer recites the facts of the case while keeping the whodunit angle front and center. I only developed these documents recently, so I’ve never used them in the classroom. Still, having used successfully many articles from these books, I think I can predict that this one will be of high interest to students, so I have tagged it as such.

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.

New York City Subways

Here is a reading on the New York City subways along with its vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

This is a rudimentary history of the system, though it does offer some room for analysis, particularly the paragraph that begins “Since their opening, New York’s subways have functioned as a sort of bellwether for the city’s overall condition.” In any event, if you happen to work as a teacher in New York City, and serve a special needs population, I can just about guarantee you that at some point you will encounter a student, if you haven’t already, whose all-consuming, even obsessive, interest in the subway system will make these documents stand as high-interest material. Ergo, I have tagged them as such.

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, 2 July 2021: A Lesson Plan on the Crime and Puzzlement Case “The Cider Booth”

This week’s text is a lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “The Cider Booth.” 

I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on dead languages. Incidentally, the short reading in this half-page document speaks specifically of Latin, ancient Greek, and Sanskrit. As a matter of routine in my classroom, I taught Greek and Latin word roots for vocabulary building. When one thinks about how often classical word roots turn up in English words, the idea under the circumstances that these languages are “dead” can make for interesting classroom discussions. Also, when one considers that Spanish, the first lingua franca of a wide swath of student I served over the years, is in some respect a modern version of Latin, the idea that the tongue of the Roman Empire is dead doesn’t quite make sense.

Anyway, to conduct your investigation into the case of “The Cider Booth,” you will need this PDF of the illustration and questions that both drive the investigation and serve as evidence in it. Finally, to identify a suspect and bring him or her to the bar of justice, here is the typescript of the answer key you will need.

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: Microchip

Since there is currently a worldwide shortage of them, and this as particularly affected the automobile manufacturing industry, now is a good time to post this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the microchip. It’s a full-page worksheet with five questions; as it is formatted in Microsoft Word, the user is left with a lot of latitude where expanding, contracting, or otherwise adapting this document to suit his or her needs.

So have at it.

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.