Tag Archives: learning support

The Weekly Text, June 5, 2020

OK, things at Mark’s Text Terminal are returning to something resembling normalcy, which means I’ll return to the Weekly Text format for the big post of the week.

So, this week’s Text is a lesson plan on the verb to be used in the present progressive tense. I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the idiom Bone to Pick, as in “I’ve got a bone to pick with you.” In the event the lesson spills over into a second day, here is a worksheet on the homophones prophet and profit.

You’ll need the worksheet at the center the lesson to do the work; you’ll probably also want (but you don’t necessarily need) this word bank as a learning support. Finally, here is the teacher’s copy of the worksheet.

That’s it: stay safe, be well, stand up for what’s right.

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.

A Learning Support on Note Cards for Research and a Structured Note-Card Blank

Over the years I’ve been assigned to “co-teach” many classes; in New York City, I was a regular fixture in social studies classrooms in which I was charged with supporting struggling learners. In the last school I worked in in the Five Boroughs, I worked with three different teachers with three different approaches to the curriculum. Because the assistant principal in charge of the humanities regularly changed the form and content of the curriculum, my duties required me, as a colleague once put it so cogently, to constantly “reinvent the wheel.”

One of the most contentious, and therefore most subject to change, was the synthetic research paper. One of the teachers I worked with assigned students the task of writing, and turning in for assessment, a set of 3 x 5 cards with sources and notes that would eventually end up in students’ papers. For that reason, I contrived this learning support with examples of note cards for research along with this structured note-card blank to aid struggling learners with this task.

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.

A Lesson Plan on the Simple Present Tense of Verbs

OK, I think this lesson plan on using the simple present tense of verbs speaks for itself and therefore doesn’t require much comment.

I open this lesson with this worksheet on the homophones who’s and whose. These two words (well, a contraction and a word) are quite easily confused, so the explanation for their use is extensive. Students will walk away, after completing this, with a page from a grammar and usage manual. In the event the lesson goes into a second day, here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the term and concept expletive.

This scaffolded worksheet is the centerpiece of this unit for students. You might need this word bank to support completion of the worksheet. Finally, here is the teachers’ copy of the worksheet to make getting through the lesson a little easier for 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.

A Sample Outline and Structured Outlining Blanks

For ten years, I worked in a school in Lower Manhattan that assigned synthetic research papers to students who lacked basic writing skills. And that issue was one of many at that school where writing assignments were concerned. Over the years, I fabricated a lot of learning supports on the fly, including this sample outline and these structured outlining blanks.

At one point, in the social studies classes I co-taught, students were required to submit outlines in the run-up to writing their actual paper. I suspect I prepared the documents in this post to support students in drafting their outlines. At least that’s what these supports look like to me. Of course, you can use them however you see fit. As always, these documents are in Microsoft Word, so they can be manipulated for your students and circumstances.

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.

Research Topics Explained: A Learning Support

Here is a learning support on topics for research that I wrote to support students in a college writing course I co-taught several years ago. I’m all but certain I’ve posted this elsewhere, probably in combination with some other materials on synthetic research papers. Here it is as a stand-alone post.

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.

Elementary Principles of Composition: Choose a Suitable Design and Hold to It.

[If you would like this passage as a learning support in Microsoft Word, it’s under that hyperlink.]

“12. Choose a suitable design and hold to it.

 A basic structural design underlies every kind of writing. Writers will in part follow this design, in part deviate from it, according to their skills, their needs, and the unexpected events that accompany the act of composition. Writing, to be effective, must follow closely the thoughts of the writer, but not necessarily in the order in which those thoughts occur. This calls for a scheme of procedure. In some cases, the best design is no design, as with a love letter, which is simply an outpouring, or with a casual essay, which is a ramble. But in most cases, planning must be a deliberate prelude to writing. The first principle of composition, therefore, is to foresee or determine the shape of what is to come and pursue that shape.

A sonnet is built on a fourteen-line frame, each line containing five feet. Hence, sonneteers know exactly where they are headed, although they may not know how to get there. Most forms of composition are less clearly defined, more flexible, but all have skeletons to which the writer will bring the flesh and blood. The more clearly the writer perceives the shape, the better are the chances of success.”

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

A Complete Lesson Plan on the Compound Noun

Alright, moving right along, here is a lesson plan on the compound noun and its use in declarative sentences. I open this lesson with the Everyday Edit worksheet on National Public Radio (and as I will never stop saying every time I post an Everyday Edit worksheet, the generous proprietors of Education World will let you walk away from their site with a yearlong supply of these worksheets free of charge). This scaffolded worksheet at the center of the lesson will take most of your time in helping students master this point of grammar and usage. I made this teacher’s copy of the worksheet to make sure I taught the material consistently. Finally, here is the learning support, a word bank, to help move the work along.

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.

A Participial Phrase at the Beginning of a Sentence Must Refer to the Grammatical Subject.

[If you want this as a learning support in Microsoft Word, it’s under that hyperlink.]

“11. A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject.

Walking slowly down the road, he saw a woman accompanied by two children.

The word walking refers to the subject of the sentence, not to the woman. To make it refer to the woman, the writer must recast the sentence.

He saw a woman, accompanied by two children, walking slowly down the road.

Participial phrases preceded by a conjunction or by a preposition, nouns in apposition, adjectives, and adjective phrases come under the same rule if they begin the sentence.

On arriving in Chicago, his friends met him at the station.

On arriving in Chicago, he was met at the station by his friends.

A soldier of proved valor, they entrusted him with the defense of the city.

A soldier of proved valor, he was entrusted with the defense of the city.

Young and inexperienced, the task seemed easy to me.

Young and inexperienced, I thought the task was easy.

Without a friend to counsel him, the temptation proved irresistible.

Without a friend to counsel him, he found the temptation irresistible.

Sentences violating Rule 11 are often ludicrous:

Being in a dilapidated condition, I was able to buy the house very cheap.

Wondering irresolutely what to do next, the clock struck twelve.”

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

A Complete Lesson Plan on Using the Predicate Pronoun

Here is a lesson plan on using the predicate pronoun. I open this lesson with this Everyday Edit worksheet on Anne Frank (and you can help yourself to a yearlong supply of these worksheets courtesy of the good people at Education World). Here is a learning support on pronouns to assist students in developing their own understanding of these words and their use in declarative sentences. This scaffolded worksheet is the center of this lesson; here is the teacher’s copy of the 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.

Use the Proper Case of Pronoun.

[If you need this as a learning support in Microsoft Word it’s under that hyperlink.]

“10. Use the proper case of pronoun.

 The personal pronouns, as well as the pronoun who, change form as they function as subject or object.

Will Jane or he be hired, do you think?

 The culprit, it turned out, was he.

 We heavy eaters would rather walk than ride.

 Who knocks?

 Give this work to whoever looks idle.

In the last example, whoever is the subject of looks idle; the object of the preposition to is the entire clause whoever looks idle. When who introduces a subordinate clause, its case depends on its subject in that clause. (N.B. The first two sentences are incorrect, the second two are correct.)

Virgil Soames is the candidate whom we think will win.

Virgil Soames is the candidate who we hope to elect.

Virgil Soames is the candidate who we think will win [We think he will win.]

Virgil Soames is the candidate whom we hope to elect. [We hope to elect him.]

A pronoun in a comparison is nominative if it is the subject of a stated or understood verb.

Sandy writes better than I. (Than I write.)

In general avoid “understood” verbs by supplying them.

I think Horace admires Jessica more than I.

I think Horace admires Jessica more than I do.

Polly loves cake more than me.

Polly loves cake more than she loves me.

The objective case is correct in the following examples.

The ranger offered Shirley and him some advice on campsites.

They came to meet the Baldwins and us.

Let’s talk it over between us, then, you and me.

Whom should I ask?

A group of us taxpayers protested.

Us in the last example is in apposition to taxpayers, the object of the preposition of. The wording, although grammatically defensible, is rarely apt. “A group of us protested as taxpayers” is better, if not exactly equivalent.

Use the simple personal pronoun as subject. (N.B. The first sentence is incorrect, the second sentence is correct.)

Blake and myself stayed home.

Blake and I stayed home.

Howard and yourself brought the lunch, I thought.

Howard and you brought the lunch, I thought..

The possessive case of pronouns is used to show ownership. It has two forms: the adjectival modifier, your hat, and the noun form, a hat of yours.

The dog has buried one of your gloves and one of mine in the flower bed.

Gerunds usually require the possessive case.

Mother objected to our driving on the icy roads.

A present participle as a verbal, on the other hand, takes the objective case.

They heard him singing in the shower.

The difference between a verbal participle and a gerund is not always obvious, but note what is really said in each of the following.

Do you mind me asking a question?

Do you mind my asking a question?

In the first sentence, the queried objection is to me. As opposed to other members of the group, asking a question. In the second example, the issue is whether a question may asked at all.”

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