Tag Archives: readings

The Weekly Text, November 22, 2017

The minute I viewed, as a middle school student, Alain Resnais’s short but magisterial film on the Holocaust, Night and Fog (there is a lesson plan for this film elsewhere on this blog–a simple search from the home page will take you to it) I became interested, perhaps obsessed, with authoritarian political movements. As an undergraduate, I studied their manifestations in Russia; I ended up writing my honors thesis on the brewing miasma of authoritarian politicians in Russia.

Along the way, I became aware of the difficulty of any one definition of fascism. For my money, the late Professor George Mosse of the University of Wisconsin remains the best expositor and chronicler of fascism, if only because he insisted on talking about this abstract noun in the plural. There isn’t any one fascism, Mosse averred, but several. So I am circumspect about any reading claiming to be the last word on this political movement.

That said, I think this reading on fascism from the Intellectual Devotional’s Modern Culture volume is a perfect introduction to the basic elements of fascism, as well as a nice chronicle of its exponents. Here is a reading comprehension worksheet to accompany it.

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m posting this on the Wednesday before so that I may enjoy four computer-free days over the break.

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.

Wikipedia and Media Literacy

(As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog, I have long considered the American Federation of Teachers quarterly magazine, American Educator to be a credible and edifying periodical that includes useful research for teachers. Recently, it ran this excellent article on the problem of fake news in the United States. My school’s mindless ban on Wikipedia, I think, represents little more than an unwillingness to recognize the opportunities Wikipedia offers for students to learn how to evaluate evidence judiciously. In this short quote, the authors of the aforementioned article make the case for using Wikipedia for just that purpose.)

“You heard right: Wikipedia. Fact checkers’ first stop was often a site many educators tell students to avoid. What we should be doing instead is teaching students what fact checkers know about Wikipedia and helping them take advantage of the resources of the fifth-most trafficked site on the web.

Students should learn about Wikipedia’s standards of verifiability and how to harvest entries for links to reliable sources. They should investigate Wikipedia’s ‘Talk’ pages (the tab hiding in plain sight next to the ‘Article’ tab), which, on contentious issues like gun control, the status of Kashmir, waterboarding, or climate change are gold mines where students can see knowledge-making in action. And they should practice using Wikipedia as a resource for lateral reading. Fact checkers, short on time, often skipped the main article and headed straight to the references, clicking on a link to a more established venue. Why spend 15 minutes having students, armed with a checklist, evaluate a website on a tree octopus (www.zapatopi.net/treeoctopus) when a few seconds on Wikipedia shows it to be ‘an internet hoax created in 1998.’”

McGrew, Sarah, et al. “The Challenge That’s Bigger Than Fake News: Civic Reasoning in a Social Media Environment.” American Educator Fall 2017 (4-10). Print.

 

The Weekly Text, October 27, 2017

Although he has gone by many names, Prince Vlad III of Wallachia and his legend have come down to us in a number of forms, including rural folk tales, he is best known from Irish author Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula. Since Halloween is right around the corner, here is an Intellectual Devotional reading on Vlad the Impaler along with a reading comprehension worksheet to accompany it.

To complement this exercise, finally, you might want to use this short Cultural Literacy exercise on the Grim Reaper.

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, October 20, 2017

For this week’s Text, Mark’s Text Terminal engages in a rare act of promotion, namely, exposing readers of this blog to the beautiful “My Dream for Animals” website. A colleague of mine in this school is involved in this. The photos are gorgeous, and the avowed mission of the site noble.

To accompany the site, here is a reading on Swedish botanist and taxonomist Carl Linnaeus together with this reading comprehension worksheet to complement 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.

The Weekly Text, October 13, 2017

Today is the final Friday of National Hispanic Heritage Month. This week, Mark’s Text Terminal offers a reading on the Panama Canal together with this comprehension worksheet to accompany it.

I debated myself at some length about whether or not these materials properly fit with the idea of National Hispanic Heritage month. In the final analysis, I think this short article does a nice job of exposing the kind of imperial meddling Latin Americans have dealt with for centuries.

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 Redux, Intellectual Devotional: Michelangelo

A reader wrote in this morning asking if I could post this Intellectual Devotional reading on Michelangelo. I typed this into a Word document so that I could edit and differentiate it for a variety of readers; the document’s header reflects the course in which I primarily use it. Since it is a Word document, you may edit it for your purposes as well. Finally, here again is the reading comprehension worksheet to accompany the reading.

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, October 6, 2017

For this, the fourth week of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Mark’s Text Terminal offers this Intellectual Devotional reading on Diego Velazquez. Here is a reading comprehension worksheet to accompany 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.