Tag Archives: short exercises

Cultural Literacy: Hoi Polloi

Monday morning, raining, while Ishmael Reed reads “Judas.”

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the noun hoi polloi, from the ancient Greek meaning “the many.” This noun phrase isn’t much used anymore, perhaps because it has negative or even contemptuous connotations. Still, if we want to produce educated citizens who are capable of sustaining a civil society, this might be a word and concept for them to understand.

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.

English Usage: Shrunk (pp), Shrank (vi/vt)

If you’re a stickler for usage, or want to give your students a chance to become sticklers in their own right, then this English usage worksheet on the past participle shrunk and the simple past tense verb shrank might be one avenue to bring that endeavor to fruition. For the record, shrunk is the past participle, so it must be used with the helping verbs had and have. Shrank, on the other hand, is the simple past tense of the verb shrink.

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: Hobbits

If you seek to interest students in J.R.R. Tolkien’s work, this Cultural Literacy worksheet on Hobbits might be a good place to start. It’s a short exercise–a half-page–with only three questions. I’ve used this to good effect with alienated students who I know had an interest in mythology, and fantasy literature.

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.

Interpret (vi/vt), Interpretation (n)

Here is a context clues worksheet on the verb interpret and another on the noun interpretation. The verb is used both intransitively and transitively; it’s worth mentioning that used intransitively, its meaning is limited “to act as an interpreter between speakers of different languages.”

The reasons for teaching these words should be obvious, so I won’t wheedle, nag, badger, pontificate or lecture on 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, November 13, 2020: A Lesson Plan on the Crime and Puzzlement Case “Seeing Double”

It’s Friday the 13th–in 2020. Cuidado, my friends.

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “Seeing Double.” Judging from my download statistics, these are always a crowd pleaser.

I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the idiom “Have. an ax to grind,” (which might also be usefully employed when introducing students to the methods of writing a research paper–especially scholarly disinterest). This PDF of the illustration and questions is the evidence you’ll need to conduct this investigation. Finally, here is the typescript of the answer key so that you may bring the culprit to the bar of justice.

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.

Obelisk (n)

It’s not a word in particularly common use in English even if one of our most recognizable pieces of public art and architecture–the Washington Monument–is indeed such a monument. In any case, here is a context clues worksheet on the noun obelisk. If you’re teaching about ancient Egypt (where it came up when I taught global studies, which is, I assume, why I wrote this in the first place), this might be a useful document.

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 Short Exercise on the Greek Word Root Icon/o

Last but not least on a rainy Thursday afternoon, here is a short worksheet on the Greek word root icon/o–it means image. But you already knew that because of the word icon itself is so commonly used in the English language.

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.

English Usage: Sensual (adj), Sensuous (adj)

The minute I started writing this English usage worksheet on the adjectives sensual and sensuous worksheet I worried that I had waded into dangerous waters–and I expect I don’t need to explain why. In any case, these are a couple of frequently used words in English, do it’s up to us to find, uh, a suitable way to present them. As you will see, sensual, which as the reading tells students, …”often has a slightly racy or even judgmental tone lacking in ‘sensuous,’” caused me some problems when writing cloze exercises for it.

As with just about everything else at Mark’s Text Terminal, this is a Microsoft Word document, so you can alter it to suit your circumstances and needs.

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.

Bailiwick (n)

Because it’s Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day today, and because it is used in educated discourse with sufficient frequency, here is a context clues worksheet on the noun bailiwick. The context clues on this document are a bit dense; it’s hard to avoid that when dealing with abstract nouns like this one, which means “the sphere in which has one superior knowledge or authority: a special domain.” This is exactly the kind of word that challenges certain struggling learners, so beware of that. 

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: Czar

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the term czar. This noun, of course, describes the absolute rulers of Russia (and, incidentally, like the German Kaiser, originates in ancient Rome with the Latin Caesar). But it also has been used, as the reading on this document explains, to describe public officials with wide-ranging powers. For example, the conservative writer and political activist William Bennett served as the director of the Office of National National Drug Policy under President George H.W. Bush, in which capacity he was known as the “Drug Czar.”

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.