Tag Archives: questioning/inquiry

Cultural Literacy: Straw Man

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the concept of a straw man in argumentation. This is a half-page worksheet with a two-sentence reading (the second of them a long compound) and two comprehension questions. This is a cogent introduction to the topic of the straw man. However, it presupposes an prior understanding of argumentation (and its rules) that some students may not possess. But in our current discursive culture, understanding the straw man, a favorite tool of demagogues, strikes me as vital for the development of critical awareness in students.

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.

Cultural Literacy: Progressive Education

Should you be using progressive methods in your teaching practice, you might find this Cultural Literacy worksheet on progressive education useful. If nothing else, it will help your students understand the way their class operates.

This is a full-page worksheet with a six-sentence (a full paragraph) reading and six comprehension questions. Once again, the editors of The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy have done an admirable job of summarizing a series of concepts, complicated when taken together, into a short but thoroughly informative reading.

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.

Spanish Civil War

Here is a reading on the Spanish Civil War along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. While the reading does mention that this conflict became a “cause celebre among communists and left-leaning Western intellectuals,” it does not mention the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, an oversight in my estimation. This lapse, if you too think it one, can be remedied with this material from the Zinn Education Project.

Incidentally, The Brigade’s members were dismissed as “premature antifascists” in their time. In ours, I suppose, they would be ridiculed as the “woke left” by the halfwits on Fox News. They were right then and remain so about the menace of fascism.

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, 7 January 2022: A Lesson Plan on the Crime and Puzzlement Case “Trick or Treat”

Happy New Year!

The first Weekly Text of 2022 on Mark’s Text Terminal is this lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “Trick or Treat.” I open this lesson with this half-page (with a two-sentence reading and three comprehension questions) Cultural Literacy worksheet on the concept of a “lunatic fringe” in politics, timely material in 2022 wherever you happen to be in the world, I submit.

To conduct your investigation of the heinous crime committed and documented in the pages of this lesson, you’ll need this PDF of the evidentiary illustration and questions that form the center of this case. Finally, here is the typescript of the answer key that will aid you in making an arrest and closing this case.

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.

Cultural Literacy: Tip of the Iceberg

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the idiom “tip of the iceberg.” This metaphor remains in sufficiently common use, I think, that students, especially students for whom English is a second language, might want to learn it at some point. This is a half-page worksheet with a reading of two compound sentences and three comprehension questions. With characteristic brevity, the authors of the passaage (i.e., the authors and editors of the The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy) convey that this idiom indicates “Only a hint or suggestion of a much larger or more complex issue or problem.”

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.

Skepticism

Here is a reading on skepticism along with its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. This reading’s brevity should not distract from the fact (ironic, I know, to use that noun in a post containing a reading about skepticism) that it is a good general introduction to the topic of skepticism and its intellectual and philosophical principles.

And editorially, if I may? I cannot imagine a better time to teach this important mode of thought and analysis to students. In an age where social media has made it possible to spread mendacity and utter nonsense around the world with the stroke of a key, we owe it to students, and to civil society, to put this concept and its tools in the public square.

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: Socioeconomic Status

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on socioeconomic status. This is a half-page worksheet with a three-sentence reading and three comprehension questions. For a document this concise, this is a thorough introduction to the topic. A good start on a complex, entrenched, sociological phenomenon.

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.

Real Numbers

Here is a reading on real numbers along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. I want to state unequivocally that not only am I not a math teacher, I was a terrible math student. I consider my lack of understanding of the fundamentals of mathematics–by which I mean, I suppose, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry–something a personal failing. And while I have always found Fran Leibowitz’s indictment of algebra (“In real life, I assure you, there is no such thing as algebra”) humorous, it is pretty thin gruel when I attempt to take some comfort in my own ignorance of the subject.

At a couple of points in my otherwise comfortably math-free teaching career, I have been called upon to teach math (which for me means arithmetic, or even basic numeracy) to small classes of special needs students. Hence the origins of these documents.

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.

Cultural Literacy: Steve Jobs

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Steve Jobs. This is a half-page worksheet with a two-sentence reading and three comprehension questions. It is the barest of introductions to the late tech entrepreneur. In fact, I would hazard a guess that students already know more about Mr. Jobs than this worksheet reports.

Nonetheless, I have tagged this document as high interest material? Why? Well, with two feature films about him, the first in 2013, and the second in 2015, written by the estimable Aaron Sorkin and based on the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, it is clear that in addition to his skills as a tech entrepreneur, Mr. Jobs has become a pop culture icon. I expect he will continue to be of interest for years to come.

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.

Cultural Literacy: Revolutionary War

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the American Revolutionary War. This is a one-worksheet with a six-sentence reading and seven comprehension questions. It is an adequate general introduction to the topic. In the United States, this period of our history is taught thoroughly, so I doubt this document would be of much use beyond, perhaps, an independent practice (i.e. homework) assignment to start a much broader unit on the American Revolution.

However, if you’re one of the growing number of international users of this blog, this document might have greater utility. This material isn’t part, frankly, of your mythology. All you need are the basic facts, which this short reading supplies.

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.