Tag Archives: readings/research

Salman Rushdie

In memory of Samuel Paty, and in honor of teachers everywhere struggling to promote and conduct free and open inquiry, and as a cautionary tale about religious orthodoxy and extremism across the globe, I offer without further comment this reading on Salman Rushdie and its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension 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.

Synthetism

“Synthetism: A Post-Impressionist direction associated with Paul Gauguin, Emile Bernard, and Maurice Denis, which reduced forms to essentials and applied colors as flat, nonshaded fields bounded by strong contour lines.”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

Book of Answers: The First Book Printed in English

“What was the first book printed in English? The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye, a prose romance by Raoul Lefevre, printed by William Caxton in 1474 in Bruges, Belgium. Caxton himself translated it from the French. Caxton also printed the first dated book printed in English, Dictes and Sayenges of the Phylosophers, published on November 18, 1477.”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

Expressionism

Readers and users of this blog are already aware that I have published here a great deal of reference material related to the visual and plastic arts. I’m well aware that I’m not the only person to decry the decline of arts education in our public schools. I’m not an artist myself–I cannot draw a straight line without the aid of solid straight edge to guide my writing instrument–but I love art and believe kids should learn about it–if not learn to create art themselves.

In that spirit, here is a reading on expressionism and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension 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.

5 Components of the Soul in Ancient Egypt

“Ren * Ka * Ib * Ba * Sheut

The simplest concept is Ren, which is literally your name: it lives for as long as you are remembered, or can be read about on inscriptions, or included in prayers for the ancestors and their achievements. Ka is also easy enough to translate into modern idiom, for it is that vital essence that makes the difference between the living and the dead, between life and dead meat, between a warm body and cold clay.

Ib is literally the heart, formed from a single drop of clotted blood extracted from your mother’s heart at the hour of your conception or birth. By heart, the Egyptians meant not just the organ for pumping blood around your body, but the seat of your soul, the good directing force in your life, searching after truth, peace, and harmony.

Ba is that which makes each of us unique and different, that which makes us strive and achieve, the motivator but also the hungry elemental force that needs food and sex. In some form, your ba is destined to survive after death, often depicted or imagined as a human-headed bird, which with good fortune will go forth by day to enjoy the light, but might also end up existing only in the dark, like the bat or the ruin-haunting owl. Sheut is your shadow, and by extension the other you, as well as being used to describe a statue, a model, or a painting of a human.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

Term of Art: Atmosphere

“Atmosphere: The mood and feeling, the intangible quality which appeals to extra-sensory as well as sensory perception, evoked by a work of art. For instance, the opening scene in Hamlet where the watch is tense and apprehensive, even “jumpy.” By contrast, the beginning of Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist indicates clearly that the play is going to be comic to the point of knockabout. An excellent example in the novel is Hardy’s depiction of Egdon Heath in The Return of the Native.”

Excerpted from: Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. New York: Penguin, 1992.

Synthetic Cubism

“Synthetic Cubism: Often referred to as the “second phase of cubism,” it lasted from 1912 to 1914. In contrast to Analytic Cubism, Synthetic Cubism allowed for a reemergence of tactile qualities and decorative elements. Color and handling became important once again, as did the inclusion of stenciled lettering and collage elements.”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

Scarface

Scarface: A gangster film (1932) directed by Howard Hawks, with a screenplay by Ben Hecht and others. The 1983 remake was directed by Brian de Palma and had a screenplay by Oliver Stone. The name of the eponymous anti-hero is Tony Camonte (played by Paul Muni) in the 1932 version; in the 1983 version he is called Tony Montana (played by Al Pacino). The character is based on the real-life gangster Al Capone (1899-1947), who acquired the name Scarface from the scar on his left cheek caused by a razor slash in a Brooklyn gang fight in his younger days.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

Drag Racing

Last but not least today, here is a reading on drag racing and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. I wrote this when I was working with a group of students in a rural high school who were interested in all manner of fast cars. It was high-interest material for those students, which leads me to suspect it will be of high-interest elsewhere as well. If that turns out to be the case in your classroom, could you leave a comment?

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.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

By posting this reading on Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet that it is appropriate for high-schoolers (it might be, for the right ones), or of particularly high interest (again, it might be, for the right one) or demand. I actually wrote this for one student who was very interested in philosophy, but not otherwise interested in school.

Anyway, any reading on Liebniz can complement a calculus class, particularly if you want students to know something about the history of the field. More broadly, if you are conducting inquiry into the Enlightenment, or teaching Voltaire’s Candide, this material will provide some context for that novella.

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.