Tag Archives: learning and cognition

Term of Art: Pacing Chart

“pacing chart: A graphic representation of time on task that describes what students and teachers will be doing during a course of study. The pacing chart is a customized guide that some teachers use to plan instruction in each subject and to ensure that they teach the essential skills and knowledge of each topic within a specified period of time while meeting the requirements of state standards.”

Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.

Pestalozzi’s Advice to Teachers

“Endeavor, first, to broaden your children’s sympathies and, by satisfying their daily needs, to bring love and kindness into such unceasing contact with their impressions and their activity, that these sentiments may be engrafted in their hearts.”

Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827) as Quoted in The Teacher and the Taught (1963)

Excerpted from: Howe, Randy, ed. The Quotable Teacher. Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press, 2003.

Review Essay: A Lesson Plan on Ghoti and Its Others

The amount of research on reading is voluminous. Even after reading what I consider and exhaustive (and occasionally exhausting) amount of this material across a period of 15 years, I still barely scratched the surface of this body of literature. At the classroom level, however, teaching practice demands keen attention to two things: decoding–i.e. recognizing the correspondence between letters and their sounds, known as phonemic awareness, and comprehension–i.e. understanding the meanings of words and applying that understanding, in synthesis, to the entire body of a text to understand it.

English is a tough language to decode. One person who recognized this and wanted to do something about it was the Irish playwright and Nobel Laureate George Bernard Shaw. Shaw was sufficiently concerned about the odd vagaries of English spelling that he actually bequeathed money in his estate for spelling reform. Indeed, there is a form of orthography known as the Shavian Alphabet (Aside: Shavian is both an adjective and a noun meaning, basically, related to George Bernard Shaw and his writings.)

In any case, one of the well-known representations of the challenges of English phonics, often erroneously (it first appeared, apparently, in a letter from Charles Ollier to Leigh Hunt) attributed to Shaw, is the word ghoti. It is possible, using English phonics, to pronounce this word as fish: take the gh from tough (i.e. f), the o from the plural women (i.e. short i), and the ti from action (i.e. sh).

Over the years, when I had a few minutes left in a class period, generally at the beginning of the school year, I would trot this out for the struggling readers and English language learners I served. After explaining–in summary of course–much of the foregoing in this essay, I would point out to students that if they struggled with English phonics and their representation in orthography, they were in very good company: George Bernard Shaw, Nobel prizewinning author whose plays are still routinely performed today.

This year, I finally wrote out this lesson plan on ghoti for use in a full class period. Here is the accompanying worksheet and the teacher’s copy of same. I added a few words, which I grabbed somewhere along the line. Now it’s yours if you can use it.

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.

Term of Art: Word Salad

“Word Salad: One of the most common symptoms of schizophrenia is a disturbance in the use of language. Rather than select words which make communication possible, schizophrenics may combine words in idiosyncratic ways, or use associations that are out of context. This tendency may generate a minor language disturbance; or, in extreme cases, a word salad in which the combination of words is unintelligible to the listener and so makes communication impossible.”

Excerpted from: Marshall, Gordon, ed. Oxford Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

The Order of Things: Admission of States to the Union

OK, before I return to a really trashy thriller I have the bad judgement to read, here is a lesson plan on the admission on the admission–or readmission after the Civil War–of states to the United States. Here also is the worksheet at the center of this lesson.

The material I have adapted from Barbara Ann Kipfer’s The World of Order and Organization; How Things Are Arranged into Hierarchies, Structures, and Pecking Orders (New York: Random House, 1997)–the original copy I possessed of the book not long after it was published was called simply The Order of Things, hence the title of the unit–and written into lessons and worksheets is something brand new at Mark’s Text Terminal. I used only a few of them in the classroom. Since it is unlikely that I will teach at the secondary level in public schools again, these are untested. I’ll post them anyway; a rationale, and my thinking toward that rationale, for their use can be found on the “About Posts & Texts” page, linked to just above the banner photograph but below the banner itself.

Please allow me to dilate on the statement below: like just about everything on Mark’s Text Terminal, these are Microsoft Word documents. That means you can alter and adapt them to your needs. If you use these materials and find them effective, I would be much obliged for your comments. And please keep in mind that if these are useful educational instruments, I will be much more likely to produce more of them–and post them here.

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.

Term of Art: Atypical Learner

“atypical learner: A general term for a child who is different from the typical student in physical, intellectual, social, or emotional development, and who differs in mental characteristics, sensory abilities, communication abilities, or social behavior to the extent that special education services are required for that child to develop.”

Excerpted from: Turkington, Carol, and Joseph R. Harris, PhD. The Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities. New York: Facts on File, 2006.

Cultural Literacy: Dyslexia

OK, rain is moving across Vermont, so I want to get out while the sun is still shining this morning. Before I go (and I’ll be back in a couple of hours to post a complete lesson plan on using the predicate adjective), here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on dyslexia.

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.