Tag Archives: learning support

Daniel Willingham’s First Demonstration of Memory as a Professional Development Exercise

Elsewhere on this blog, I published Professor Daniel Willingham’s First Demonstration of Memory as a lesson for classroom use with students (in fact, if you click on that second hyperlink, it will transfer you directly to that post). I originally wrote that lesson because it has important implications for classroom practice, and I wanted to discuss those implications with students at the beginning of the school year. In fact, I give the lesson on the first day of school, before talking about classroom conduct, as a way of establishing priorities–learning–and classroom methodology–i.e. students directly involved in the pedagogy in which they will engage through the school year.

Along the way, in order to satisfy my professional development requirements, I also developed this lesson, which in some respects is a cognitive science parlor trick, for use as a professional development exercise for teachers.

To present this lesson, you will need this PDF of the article that engendered it; you might also consider reproducing the article to hand out after you conclude the lesson. Here is the lesson plan that outlines and rationalizes it use. I use this learning support with both versions of this lesson. Finally, here is the context clues worksheet on the adjective condign that concludes the exercise.

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.

An Attempt at a Differentiated Thematic Essay Assessment

The principle reason I started Mark’s Text Terminal in 2015, in its second iteration, was to open a conversation with other educators on how best to serve the struggling learners in our schools. By that time, I’d developed enough material for these kids (and some of it for one or two kids) that I wanted to offer it as an example of how I approached the needs of the kids I served. That remains the mission of this blog.

Now, as I start to dig deeper into some folders I haven’t opened in several years, I find some interesting stuff. Several years ago, I started looking at the various standardized, high-stakes tests New York State required the students I served to take. One commonplace in these tests was the thematic essay. Indeed, local tests, written by teachers in schools, often deployed this method of assessment as well.

Because the New York State Global Studies Regents Examinations are reputedly difficult, I decided to work up this structured thematic essay learning support. As I recall, I used it as an instrument for direct instruction, asking students a variety of questions secondary to those on the worksheet itself. Judging from the document, I aimed to get kids thinking and talking about the themes in the worksheet themselves, but also to think more broadly about the idea of a theme and a thematic essay.

Then I put the document away and neither thought about nor used it again. So I would be particularly interested in your comments on this as a way of helping students understand the compositional requirements of a thematic essay as well as the underlying concepts of “theme” and “thematic.”

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.

A Learning Support on Poetry Terms

This short learning support on poetry terms is the last of the English Language Arts learning supports I have to publish for the time being. I expect, as I continue to teach, I’ll develop more of them. Maybe you can use this cogent explanation of basic terms of art in poetry.

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.

A Learning Support on Transition Words

In the last year, I published a thousand blog posts; that’s as many as I published in the preceding three years. As a result, I have basically emptied my English Language Arts Learning Supports folder, which comes as a bit of a surprise to me. I don’t for a minute doubt that I will continue to create new supports, but for now, besides this learning support on transition words, I only have one more to post–a glossary of poetic terms that really is a differently designed version of something I already posted here.

I’m currently between stations, so to speak, in my career; when I start my new job, with its new students and new needs, I will begin to write some new learning supports for the English language arts domain. So, if you follow this blog, I will definitely keep you posted.

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.

The Weekly Text, July 5, 2019

This week’s Text is a pair of learning supports on using conjunctions.

Now it’s time to go swimming in the Connecticut River, in Putney, Vermont, with friends. I hope you’re enjoying your summer.

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.

Antecedent

“1. The words in a text, usually a noun phrase, to which a pronoun or other grammatical unit refers back. Cook is the antecedent of him in: ‘In 1772. Cook began his second voyage, which took him further south than he had ever been.’ Similarly, his second voyage is the antecedent of which. With impersonal itthisthatwhich, the antecedent may be a whole clause or paragraph, as in: ‘Might not the coast of New South Wales provide and armed haven? To some people this looked good on paper, but there is no hard evidence that it did so to William Pitt or his ministers.’ Despite the implications of the name, an antecedent can follow rather than precede: ‘For his first Pacific voyage, Cook had no chronometer.’ 2. In logic, the conditional element in a proposition. In If they did that, they deserve our respect, the antecedent is they did that.”

Excerpted from: McArthur, Tom. The Oxford Concise Companion to the English Language. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

A Learning Support on the Helping Verbs

These two learning supports on helping verbs have been a staple for for struggling readers and writers in my classroom. They’ll probably turn up again on Mark’s Text Terminal when I post lessons on this area of English usage.

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.