Tag Archives: social-emotional learning

Cultural Literacy: Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the proverb “every cloud has a silver lining.” This is a half-page worksheet with the barest of reading, one simple sentence, and three questions.

Two of the questions (namely two and three) ask students to apply their understanding of this expression by identifying an instance in their own life in which a cloud had a silver lining–or, as the reading as it, “Every misfortune has its positive aspect.” Then students are asked to compose a simple declarative sentence that includes this proverb.

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: Ego

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the concept of ego. This is a half-page worksheet; the reading is three sentences, though two of them are longish compounds, and there are three comprehension questions.

This is a concept students should understand. The virtue of the reading in this document is that it situates the ego in Freud’s structural theory of mind, (without, interestingly, ever mentioning Sigmund Freud himself) so students will also learn about the id and the superego. This is a good general introduction to this subject. That said, there is clearly room to expand this document (easy for you to accomplish, since like everything on Mark’s Text Terminal, this is a Microsoft Word document) for further exploration or exposition of psychoanalytic theory. If I were to expand this in any way, I would make sure students walked away with a basic understanding of Freud’s biography and his ideas about the psyche.

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.

Common Errors in English Usage: Envious and Jealous

Here is a worksheet on distinguishing the adjectives envious and jealous. The distinction is thin, but as usual, Paul Brians does a nice job in making the distinction clear: you are envious of what others have, but you become jealous when you are trying to hold on to what you have.

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.

Term of Art: Self-Concept

“self-concept: The way a person sees himself or herself including all the beliefs, feelings, and attitudes. Self-concept can also. affect how one feels about others.

Self-concept is a subject  that has fascinated philosophers from earliest times. In the field of psychology, self-concept has always been an important and sometimes controversial subject. William James and Mary Calkins used methods of introspection to study the self, while Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Alfred Adler all discussed the development of the self in their writing.

During the the 1950s and 1960s, the ‘self concept’ was a central idea in the work of both Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. Maslow believed that building self-esteem, an individual’s evaluation of self-worth, was a key step in the self-actualization process. Rogers believed that if one had a positive view of the self, then one would view the world in a positive way. If the self-view were negative, one would fall short of the goals related to the ideal self. As a part of this perspective, Donald Super developed a related theory of vocational choice. He believed that career satisfaction was related to the degree to which someone could implement his self-concept in the workplace.

Social psychologists argue that an individual’s self-concept develops through association with others. Cognitive psychologists study how people think about themselves and how they think about their own thinking. Although many criticize the term and its usefulness because it is difficult to quantify or measure consistently, it remains an important concept among educators and developmental psychologists. Both groups are concerned with the effects of the educational setting, peers, and family on child’s developing self-concept.

Individuals with learning disability, not surprisingly, often rate themselves lower than typically achieving students on cognitive ability. Because academic performance is a culturally valued domain, it makes sense that individuals with learning disabilities would also place importance on academic performance.

Some research suggests that for colleges students with learning disabilities, the availability of a social support network, including clubs, disability services, and interactions with professors, is a correlate of self-esteem. Other research of successful adults with learning disabilities gives insight into how to nurture emotional health while managing the challenge that a disability entails. Researchers studied moderately successful and highly successful adults with learning disabilities to identify factors related to their success. Success was defined as high ratings in the following categories: income level, job classification, education level, career prominence and job satisfaction.

Other research focuses on resilience–the healthy adaptation in the context of severe stress. Despite the challenges and hardships that can accompany having a learning disability, some individual maintain a positive outlook, achieve success, and avoid emotional problems. Important characteristics of resilient individuals include accuracy of self-appraisal, self-determination, and help from a significant important person.”

Excerpted from: Turkington, Carol, and Joseph R. Harris, PhD. The Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities. New York: Facts on File, 2006.

18 Common Misunderstandings of Dyslexia

“1. Students benefit from waiting until after second grade to provide reading intervention (False). Early screening and intervention provide opportunities for targeting reading needs and reducing the the likelihood of long-term reading difficulties.

2. Dyslexia requires specific and unique screening and identification approaches (False) Psychometrically sound approaches currently used to screen and identify students with reading problems are useful for screening and identifying students with dyslexia. Layering additional screening measures onto already psychometrically sound screening approaches is an unnecessary burden.

3. Providing more opportunities to read books will resolve their reading problem (False). All students benefit from increased opportunities to read a variety of text levels and types. However, additional reading practice for students with dyslexia is an inadequate approach to improving their reading outcomes. These students also require comprehensive approaches to reading instruction that include decoding, opportunities to practice for fluency, and comprehension instruction.

4. Colored lenses or overlays help improve reading for students with dyslexia (False). Though the issue of colored lenses and overlays continues to appear in a range of professional guides, there is no evidence to support their effectiveness. Similarly, multisensory instruction is not necessary for students with dyslexia. However, there are many systematic approaches for improving reading outcomes for students with dyslexia.

5. Students with dyslexia primarily have reading comprehension problems (False) Students with dyslexia have word-level difficulties that are manifested in difficulty reading text accurately and proficiently. These word-level difficulties result in reading comprehension problems, but teaching reading comprehension strategies alone will not resolve the reading problems of individuals with dyslexia.

6. Many educators have not had opportunities to develop the knowledge necessary to provide evidence-based screening, assessment, and interventions for students with dyslexia (True). There is considerable research documenting the need for educators to have improved knowledge and skills for better identifying and teaching students with dyslexia and other reading problems. Many reading teachers perceived that they lack the confidence to teach students who are identified as dyslexic.

7. Dyslexia is rare, and most individuals grow out of it (False). Dyslexia is a universal condition that occurs across writing systems, not just the alphabetic system, with prevalence rates of approximately 5-15 percent depending on the threshold for poor reading. While the manifestations of dyslexia can dissipate because of effective instruction, most individuals with dyslexia who show intractability to effective instruction have slow and labored reading throughout their lives.

8. Dyslexia operates on a continuum in which the severity can be represented as mild to severe (True). Dyslexia does not look precisely the same for all learners, and the range of reading difficulties because of dyslexia also vary, but reading is normally distributed in the population (i.e. a small percentage of people are excellent readers, most are average or close to it, and a small percentage are very weak readers), and dyslexia is at the lower end of this distribution.

9. Many students with dyslexia display difficulties with spelling and handwriting (True). Students with dyslexia often have difficulties not only with reading words but also with spelling and writing words. Effective instructional approaches target word reading, spelling, and writing.

10. Dyslexia has a familial and genetic association (True). There is a much higher rate of dyslexia in families with a familial history of dyslexia–as high as 45 percent in most studies.

11. Improving home literacy will resolve dyslexia (False). It is not useful to consider the home environment as the causal factor for dyslexia. While opportunities to read are beneficial to all learners, improving home literacy will not resolve reading challenges for individuals with dyslexia.

12. Brain training can improve reading outcomes for students with dyslexia (False). Many approaches to improving dyslexia falsely claim that they can ‘train’ the brains of individuals with dyslexia resulting in improved reading outcomes. Cognitive training in isolation of a reading program does not generalize to improve academic outcomes.

13. Only certified language therapists are capable of providing effective reading interventions for students with dyslexia (False). Educators with extensive knowledge of the science and practice of reading instruction who are using evidence-based practices are prepared to meet the needs of students with dyslexia.

14. Students with dyslexia see letters and words backwards (False). Perhaps one of the oldest and most persistent myths regarding individuals with dyslexia is that they see and write letters and words backwards or upside down. Many young children reverse letters when beginning reading and writing; with instructional practice and feedback, this issue is remedied.

15. Vision therapy is an effective approach for students with dyslexia (False). The faulty idea that dyslexia is a result of a vision disorder of some type has been very slow to go away. Many vision training approaches exist and have not been associated with any improvements in reading for individuals with dyslexia, including a recent randomized trial that showed no effect of optometric exercises on reading skills.

16. Dyslexia can be addressed with medications (False). There is no medication that will remedy word reading difficulties. While many students with dyslexia also demonstrate difficulties with attention and may be diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, medications appropriate for these students are aimed at their attention problems, not their reading difficulties per se, and the medications do not lead to improved decoding.

17. Students with dyslexia are more creative, gifted, and talented than other students (False). There are many highly skilled and capable individuals with dyslexia who have gifts and talents. Just like in the population as a whole, not all individuals with dyslexia would be identified with extraordinary gifts or talents.

18. Classroom teachers can be a valuable asset to remedying difficulties for students with dyslexia (True). Classroom teachers may be the most important and valuable resource for students with dyslexia. Classroom teachers are their primary reading teachers as well as the educators who have the most influence on their self-worth. Classroom teachers can be a tremendous source of social-emotional and educational support for students with dyslexia. Armed with the knowledge and skills, classroom teachers can alter the learning and life trajectories of students with dyslexia.”

Excerpted from: Vaughn, Sharon, and Jack M. Fletcher. “Identifying Students with Significant Reading Problems.” American Educator 44:4 (Winter 2020-2021): 4-8. Print.

4 Degrees of Attachment

“Secure * Anxious and Preoccupied * Avoidant and Dismissive * Disorganized

These human characteristics, which can already be assessed by the time a child is 18 months old, are based around four major observational themes: Proximity, Maintenance, Safe Haven, Secure Base, and Separation Distress. At their root they are but measures of the successful exchange of comfort, warmth, and pleasure between an infant and its parents that was first conceived by Sigmund Freud and greatly extended by the work of John Bowlby.”

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.

Common Errors in 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 worksheet’s 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.

The 4 Cardinal Virtues

“Wisdom * Bravery * Temperance * Justice

Plato considered that the ideal state should be governed by ‘the wise, brave, temperate, and just.’ These virtues—often listed as Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance, and Justice—were popularized by Christian apologists and combined with the three theological virtues (Faith, Hope, and Charity) to create a group of virtues to stand in opposition to the Seven Deadly Sins. Wisdom (or its feminine archetype, Prudence) is often depicted with a book, mirror, snake, and compass. Bravery (fortitude) may be found standing next to a Greek helmet, a spear, shield, Samson’s pillars or a Herculean club and Nemean lion skin. Temperance may be spotted holding a sheathed sword, a torch, a clock, or mixing water into wine. Justice remains a familiar modern figure with her blindfold, an upheld sword in one hand and a pair of scales in the other.”

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.


Perseverate (vi)

OK, this context clues worksheet on the verb perseverate, exists because the word popped up on Merriam-Webster’s Twitter feed and I perseverated about it until I sat down to write this document. In the sentences on this worksheet, the context clues are written to help students arrive a this definition: “to exhibit perseveration : to show especially by speech or some other form of overt behavior the continual involuntary repetition of a mental act.”

It’s the “continual involuntary repetition of a mental act” that I wanted to expose for students. I don’t know if you’ve worked with troubled or traumatized kids, but if you have or do presently, you know that anxiety is a challenge for these kids. Perseveration comes with the territory when you are an anxious person. I know this is a big word, but I have found in every case that when kids learn words to explain their feelings and thoughts to themselves, they profit both emotionally and intellectually. Moreover, they are then have the tools (words) to describe the thoughts and feelings they experience. This can supply a variety of clinical benefits to other people working with the same kids–and again, to the kids themselves.

If you have kids who perseverate, and you teach them this word, don’t be surprised if they ask you something like “You mean there is a word to describe this feeling?” They may want to learn others.

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.

Albert Camus on Politics and Greatness of Character

“Politics and the fate of mankind are formed by men without ideals and without greatness. Those who have greatness within them do not go in for politics.”

Albert Camus

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.