Taxonomies

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, several old friends of mine, acting on United States Labor Department job forecasting, went back to school and began work on Masters Degrees in Library Science. It looked as though demographics–like the teachers, librarians were by and large baby boomers, primed to begin retiring in the early 2000s–and the burgeoning Internet (a quick web search for “masters in library science” reveals, for example, that Rutgers now offers a “Masters of Information” degree that “enables graduates to provide professional expertise, leadership, and innovation across diverse information and technological landscapes”) would combine to create increasing demand for professionals holding this credential, known in shorthand as an MLS.

Several of these folks ended up working for Internet companies. Furthermore, another friend, who works at a large, multinational Internet company as a graphic artist, tells me that an Internet company of any size and reach really must keep an MLS on staff. A website of any size and scope really does need, in addition to a graphic artist to make it readable, an expert in the arrangement of information so that the website functions.

Here at Mark’s Text Terminal, there is, alas, no MLS to help me categorize the work I publish. I’ve used the WordPress’s Categories and Tags functions in an attempt to keep all this material in some sort of order. From the beginning, I sought to keep the number of Categories and Tags to a minimum in an attempt to conform to what I understand as one of design’s basic principles: simpler is better. However, when it comes to categorizing a wide and complex array of information, simplicity is not always easy to achieve. My own organizational sense is limited by its idiosyncrasy. In general, I seek to organize the material on Mark’s Text Terminal in a way that is consistent with the way I use it in the classroom; often I’ll use one document for several purposes. Categories, then, are relatively flexible. Whether a given post contains one document or several, they will be categorized by their use in instruction. That means that a given post may be categorized for multiple purposes. Tags, on the other hand, tend to narrow descriptions of documents, and with tags, as I use them, I seek to pinpoint both the type of worksheet  (e.g. context cluesword roothomophone, etc.) or document (readinglearning support, etc).

While I realize that this explanation leaves something to be desired, it is, sans an MLS, the best I can do, I’m afraid. That said, I’ve worked below to elucidate a few of the Categories and Tags that are not clearly self-explanatory, and to therefore help users of this site understand and navigate around the variety of materials I post here. If you find that more of the Categories and Tags on this site require explanation, please advise via comment, and I’ll work up something to satisfy demand.

Finally, on the home page of Mark’s Text Terminal, you need only roll your cursor across the categories hyperlinks, hover for a moment, and a window will open describing the contents of that category and their purposes.

So I hope it helps. As I arrive at the end of this excursus, I wonder if it seeks to explain my organizational scheme as much to myself as to users of this blog. Whichever is the case, I’d like people to be able to find what they need. And certainly, if anyone is willing to come forward and advise me on where these taxonomies fall short, I would be much obliged.

Because in the final analysis, as I mentioned above, categories and tags conform to the manner in which I use the document or material. Despite the obsessively composed taxonomic structure below, all the categories and tags at Mark’s Text Terminal cross paths somewhere on this website.

Categories

English Language Arts

Because I consider myself first and foremost a literacy teacher, just about everything I post on Mark’s Text Terminal could be considered English Language Arts material. Indeed, if English Language Arts classes exist to inculcate strong reading and writing abilities, which I consider my most salient charge in educating the students I serve, then I reiterate that just about everything on Mark’s Text Terminal was designed and composed to meet that responsibility. To put this more simply, you won’t find much on this website that you couldn’t defend as English Language Arts material.

Essays/Readings

The Essays/Readings category describes synthetic review essays that compile and summarize research on teaching and learning. Because longer Quotes and Reference Materials related to teaching and learning may appear with this category, those categories will overlap with it. Posts categorized under this heading are for teachers (as opposed to the readings tag below, which designate documents for students); this category will invariably overlap with the professional development tag for obvious reasons.

Independent Practice Category

Independent Practice at Mark’s Text Terminal and in my classroom is a simple euphemism for “homework.” However, given what the research on homework indicates it probably ought to be a more accurate descriptor of what this practice seeks to accomplish, i.e. focusing students attention on working–briefly–independently on the skill or concept they dealt with in class that day.

Documents categorized as Independent Practice are, generally speaking, one of three things: either a document created specifically to serve as independent practice (I wrote many of them for use in a integrated co-teaching classroom); a section of a scaffolded worksheet that follows closely on the skills practiced in the classroom that day, for that worksheet; or a worksheet or document designed for other purposes, but that can be used for purposes of independent practice.

Lesson Plans

Posts over this category are complete lesson plans as I use them in my classroom–including the lesson plan document itself, short exercises (which, after my first encounter with the New York City Department of Education, I started calling “do-nows” after the Department’s term of art for such work) designed to settle and focus students after a class period change. The Lesson Plans category will intersect with a variety of other categories, particularly English Language Arts, Independent Practice, Social Studies, The Weekly Text, and Worksheets. Commonly, this category will also carry the building conceptual knowledge, building vocabulary, context clues, Cultural Literacy, grammar/style/usage, learning support, short exercises, procedural knowledge, and word root tags.

Quotes

This is a simple category: what this plural noun indicates just what it days, i.e. quotes, either amusing, ironic, and most often related to teaching and learning themselves, or the emotional and affective lives of children. The Quotes category, however, will frequently also fall under the Essays/Readings and Reference Materials categories as well as the glossary and professional development tags. Incidentally, quotes are transcribed verbatim from the sources in which I find them into Mark’s Text Terminal. Therefore, you will occasionally find errors that look like typos. Rest assured that I check and double-check my sources, and I am faithful to them, warts and all.

Reference Materials

The Reference Materials category describes materials that serve as background information and some cases evidence for teachers and learners. This category will rarely if ever fail to intersect with Quotes category. Quotes and documents over the Reference Material category will often coincide with the English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Essay/Readings categories as well as the art, music, procedural knowledge, and professional development tags.

Social Studies

Because I work primarily with struggling learners, and especially learners for whom learning is an effortful activity, I teach social studies as a literacy-building activity. Consequently, many of the worksheets you encounter while browsing this category will be pitched at low-level readers. The preponderance of worksheets in the Social Studies category will ask only basic comprehension questions. All of these documents are in Microsoft Word, so you can manipulate them for the needs of your students.

This adds up to the fact that in many instance, the Social Studies materials on Mark’s Text Terminal will also commonly be categorized as English Language Arts documents. The Social Studies category will also intersect with the Worksheets, Independent Practice, The Weekly Text, and Independent Practice categories, as well as the almanac, Asian Pacific History, Black History, building conceptual knowledge, building vocabulary, Cultural Literacy, differentiated instruction, high interest materials, Hispanic History, learning supportprocedural knowledge, United States History, and women’s history tags.

The Weekly Text

The Weekly Text is the mainstay of Mark’s Text Terminal as I originally conceived it in 2015. It remains so, primarily because it is the feature of this blog that I crosspost on the AFT’s Share My Lesson website. The Weekly Text category will, over time, very likely overlap with every category and tag in the taxonomic structure of Mark’s Text Terminal.

Worksheets

Because I created Mark’s Text Terminal for the selfish purpose of eliciting peer review on the material I design from my fellow teachers, wherever they may be, the bulk of the material I post on this blog will be structured, scaffolded worksheets. This category can and will overlap with every other category save Reblogged Posts, and with the lion’s share of tags, save child study and professional development tags.

Tags

art

In the 16 years I have served in the New York City school system, arts education has taken a beating. Blog posts with the art tag will relate–even if it is at times a stretch–to art and its relevance to the primary academic domains I deal with in my practice. Therefore, the English Language Arts and Social Studies categories frequently accompany this tag, as do the Independent Practice, Quotes, Reference Materials, The Weekly Text and Worksheets categories. This tag will also overlap with the tags for Asian Pacific History, Black History, building conceptual knowledge, building vocabulary, context clues, Cultural Literacyfilm and visual media, glossary, high interest materials, Hispanic History, homophones, short exercises, procedural knowledge, United States History, and women’s history.

Asian Pacific History

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month runs annually through the month of May. Posts over the Asian Pacific History tag will be related to that region of our world and is people, society, and culture. This category will intersect with English Language Arts, Quotes, Reference Materials, Social Studies, The Weekly Text (especially during the month of May), and Worksheets categories. In terms of tags, look for the Asian Pacific History tag to overlap with the building vocabulary, building conceptual knowledge, context clues, Cultural Literacy, grammar/style/usage, short exercises, procedural knowledge, United States History and women’s history tags.

Black History

For a variety of reasons, the concept of “Black History Month” has always left a great deal to be desired–and in saying that I must express my distinct discomfort at second-guessing the ideas and intentions of a scholar of Carter G. Woodson’s stature. Simply put, Black History is United States History, which is why you will always find these two tags in blog posts here. In any case, Black History Month runs through the month of February every year. Materials carrying this tag will also fall under the English Language Arts, Independent Practice, Lesson Plans, Quotes, Reference Materials, Social Studies, The Weekly Text and Worksheets categories. You’ll also find the Black History category associated with the tags for building vocabulary, building conceptual knowledge, Cultural Literacy, differentiated instruction, fiction and literature, film and visual media, grammar/style/usage, high interest materials, Hispanic History (don’t forget that Arturo Schomburg, the namesake of Harlem’s famed Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture was a Puerto Rican national of African descent), short exercises, procedural knowledge, sports, United States History, and women’s history (e.g. Zora Neale Hurston or Alice Walker).

book reviews

While I enjoy writing the occasional book review, and flatter myself with the belief that I have something interesting to say about the books I read (usually 50 to 70 volumes a year), this tag will seldom accompany posts on Mark’s Text Terminal. I prefer to use Goodreads to track my reading and as a forum for discourse on books. Any book reviews I write are found there–with the exception of books with particular timeliness and salience for teachers and learners. The book reviews tag will intersect with the English Language Arts, Essays/Readings, and Social Studies categories in addition to the child study, educational policy and politics, learning and cognition, planning documents, and professional development tags.

building conceptual knowledge

Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any cultures in the world that don’t use language to represent concepts. Therefore, any blog post above the building conceptual knowledge tag will all but certainly also carry the building vocabulary tag. In my teaching practice, these are respectively the theory and practice of helping students use language to understand and discuss concepts across the domains of knowledge in high school. Categories associated with this tag will include English Language Arts, Independent Practice, Quotes, Reference MaterialsSocial Studies, as well as Worksheets and an occasional posting as The Weekly Text. Tags related to building conceptual knowledge are art, context clues, Cultural Literacy, fiction and literature, grammar/style/usage, learning support, math literacy/numeracy, science literacy, short exercises, and procedural knowledge.

building vocabulary

If humans use language to represent and understand abstract concepts, then our first job as teachers is to build vocabularies in our students that will support and sustain deep understanding of those concepts. In my teaching practice, I work daily to teach students a new word every day. Furthermore, I work constantly to revise my lesson plans to align the day’s vocabulary word or words with the concept addressed in the lesson itself. The building vocabulary tag will, as above, in almost every, case keep company with the building conceptual knowledge tag.  Other tags accompanying building vocabulary are art, Asian Pacific History, Black History, context clues, cultural literacy, fiction and literature, film and visual media, glossary, grammar/style/usage, high interest materials, Hispanic History, homophones, math literacy/numeracy, science literacy, short exercises, procedural knowledge, United States History, women’s history and word roots. You’ll also find this tag among the English Language Arts, Independent Practice, Lesson Plans, Quotes, Reference Materials, Social Studies, The Weekly Text, and Worksheets categories.

cognition/learning/understanding

Because everything teachers do is related to learning and cognition, this tag has narrow and specific uses. This tag will subordinate to the Essays/ Readings, Quotes, and Reference Materials categories. Tags that accompany learning and cognition are book reviews, building conceptual knowledge, building vocabulary, and professional development.

context clues

Unless research somehow disproves their effectiveness, context clues worksheets will remain central to my teaching practice. The idea for this worksheet format arrived at Mark’s Text Terminal from Kylene Beers’ excellent book When Kids Can’t Read: What Teachers Can Do. Context clues worksheets with the context clues/focus on one word tag will always intersect with the English Language Arts and Worksheets category, and often with the Social Studies category. This tag will also align with the building vocabulary, building conceptual knowledge, short exercises and procedural knowledge tags, as well as the math literacy/numeracy and science literacy tags. As I begin teaching more advanced English classes, this tag may end up in the company of the fiction and literature, film and visual media, and grammar and style tags.

Cultural Literacy

The cultural literacy tag (in lower case because it is a tag rather than a category, but in just about all other setting in upper case as the proper noun that it is–a book title extract) represents a long series of worksheets I developed based upon E.D. Hirsch’s arguments about literacy and cultural capital. Indeed, this entire series of worksheets is based on the short readings in Professor Hirsch’s book, co-authored with Joseph E. Jett and James Trefil), The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2002). The cultural literacy tag will always intersect with the Worksheets category along with either the English Language Arts or Social Studies categories, depending on its content. Longer Cultural Literacy worksheets will also always post above the short exercises and skills development (i.e. reading comprehension) tags. Depending on the content of the worksheet, the cultural literacy tag can intersect with the art, building vocabulary, building conceptual knowledge, Asian Pacific History, Black History, fiction and literature, film and visual media, grammar/style/usage, Hispanic History, math literacy/numeracy, science literacy, United States History, and Women’s History tags.

fiction and literature

It goes without saying that this tag will always accompany the English Language Arts category. It was almost as often overlap with the Independent Practice, Lesson Plans, and Worksheets categories, and relatively regularly with the Quotes and Reference categories. The fiction and literature tag  will also overlap with the

film/visual media

It probably goes without saying that this tag will invariably accompany the English Language Arts category. It was almost as often overlap with the Independent Practice and Worksheets categories, and relatively regularly with those for Reference Materials and Quotes. The fiction and literature tag will attend this, as well the Asian Pacific History, Black History, book reviews, building vocabulary, context clues, Cultural Literacy, and grammar/style/usage tags. Finally, you’ll find this tag along with those for music, short exercises, procedural knowledge, and sports.

Because I think the students I serve spend a sufficient amount of time with screen technologies, I don’t use film much in the classroom. That said, I do have a couple of units that incorporate films. This tag, therefore, will primarily appear with didactic material about film and visual media, e.g. film criticism, profiles of legendary performers (high interest material), context clues worksheets about film vocabulary words like montage and construction.

grammar/style/usage

If I have a raison d’etre across the subject areas I teach, as well as the range of student ability I see in the classroom, it is helping students develop their writing skills–and to write well. If categories are the controlling taxonomy on this blog, this tag probably would more appropriately stand as a category. In any case, this tag represents materials designed to assist students in writing fluent and cogent expository prose, For that reason, is will always accompany the English Language Arts category and will quite often overlap with the Independent Practice, Lesson Plans, Quotes, Reference Materials, Social Studies, and The Weekly Text categories. Other tags that join this one are Asian Pacific History, Black History, building conceptual knowledge, building vocabulary, context clues, Cultural Literacyfiction and literature, film and visual mediahigh interest material, Hispanic History homophones, learning support, numeracy, music, parsing sentences, short exercises, procedural knowledge, sports, United States History, Women’s History, and word roots tags.

In other words, any material on this website that calls upon students to write, and write extemporaneously in particular, will by definition appear over this tag.

high interest materials

I imagine this tag needs little explanation. At Mark’s Text Terminal the high interest materials tag fronts for reading and other kinds of texts (e.g. lessons based around Lawrence Treat’s Crime And Puzzlement books) of high interest to teenagers. High interest materials on this site are readings and comprehension worksheets on rappers both old and new school, athletes across the history and types of sport, and even materials I’ve prepared for individuals as with a reading comprehension worksheet on the video game “Fortnite.” This tag will generally accompany the English Language Arts, Independent Practice, Social Studies, The Weekly Text, and Worksheets categories. This tag’s mates in blog posts include almanac, art, Asian Pacific History, Black History, building conceptual knowledge, building vocabularyfiction and literature, film and visual media, grammar/style/usage, Hispanic History, numeracy, music, science literacy, procedural knowledge, sports, United States History, and women’s history.

Hispanic History

Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 to October 15 every year. Mark’s Text Terminal observes this commemoration with a variety of materials over the Hispanic History tag. These materials will intersect with the English Language Arts (broadly), Quotes, Reference Materials, Social Studies, The Weekly Text, and Worksheets categories. They will also be marked with the tags for Black History, building conceptual understanding, Cultural Literacy,  fiction and literature, high interest material, music, short exercises, procedural knowledge, and United States History.

homophones

In my practice, it often happens that the students I serve struggle not only because of organic learning challenges, but also because they are not native speakers of English. Like polysemous words, homophones pose substantial challenges for these learners to understanding soundalike words in English . The homophone tag, as you will see if you follow it, describes the short do-now exercises I use to begin class periods immediately after a transition. They are meant to involve students immediately in their own educations and in so doing settle down to work. Over time, I’ve accumulated a large inventory of these, so they’re all over Mark’s Text Terminal. This tag overlaps with the category markers for English Language Arts, Independent Practice, Lesson Plans, Social Studies, The Weekly Text, and Worksheets. You’ll also find this tag accompanying the building conceptual knowledge, building vocabulary, grammar/style/usage, short exercises, and procedural knowledge tags.

learning support

Learning supports are documents I composed and designed to accompany a variety of materials. Blog posts carrying this tag will commonly feature reference sheets, lexicons, glossaries, and the like. I occasionally post learning supports as stand-alones, but you’ll as often as not find this tag along with the Lesson Plans category, as well as the English Language Arts, Independent Practice, Reference (obviously), Social Studies, The Weekly Text, and Worksheets categories. The learning support tag will join the tags for art, Asian Pacific History, Black History, building conceptual knowledge, building vocabulary, differentiated instruction, fiction and literature, film and visual media, grammar/style/usage, high interest materials, Hispanic History, numeracyscience literacy, United States History, and women’s history.

literary oddities

The literary oddities tag attaches primarily to the English Language Arts, Quotes and Reference Materials and, secondarily, to the Essays/Readings  categories. But you’ll also find it, for a variety of reasons, keeping company with the almanac, book reviewsfiction and literature, film and visual media, grammar/style/usage, high interest materials, and professional development tags. I actually contrived this tag to accompany excerpts from Ambrose Bierce‘s great lexicon The Devil’s Dictionary (Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2000). Over time, that book, above this tag, has been joined by selections from Andre Bernard and Bill Henderson’s entertaining little tome Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections (Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998). Otherwise, this tag will identify posts that I judge, as objectively as possible, to be a literary oddity.

music

You will always find this tag in the presence of the high interest materials tag because I have yet, I think, to encounter a student who doesn’t possess a high interest in music. This tag will also be found among materials categorized as English Language Arts, Independent Practice, Lesson Plans, Quotes, Reference Materials, Social Studies, The Weekly Text, and Worksheets. Tags that accompany music are those for fiction and literature, film and visual media, short exercises, and procedural knowledge.

numeracy

Because I was at best a talentless math student (a source for some reason of enduring shame for me), I am not a math teacher. Nonetheless, I do read occasionally in the journals I follow about the structure and epistemology of mathematics education. Because of its clean reliance on prior knowledge to advance, it has, I think, something to say to every teacher about the formal structure of curriculum design, i.e. it reminds us that when we present new material, we must be sure to anchor it to something students already know. This tag identifies material that at least nominally involve mathematical literacy and numeracy; it may also describe materials in the social studies curriculum that would or could benefit from Cliometrics.

This tag will accompany the categories of English Language Arts, Independent Practice, Lesson Plans, Quotes, Reference Materials, Social Studies, The Weekly Text, and Worksheets. The math literacy/numeracy tag joins its companions for building conceptual knowledge, building vocabulary, context clues, Cultural Literacy, learning support, science literacy, short exercises, and procedural knowledge. For materials that actually involve cliometric work, the tags for Asian Pacific History, Black History, Hispanic History, United States History, and women’s history may also apply,

parsing sentences

This is a vanishingly rare tag that stands for a group of parsing sentences do-now worksheets that I wrote for each of the eight parts of speech. I’ve published these in a variety of places on Mark’s Text Terminal, including in groups of four or five in a single blog post. Therefore, there are eight blog posts bearing this tag that will give you a complete set of worksheets for parsing sentences out to find a part of speech in them. A few of these show up in lesson plans as do-now exercises. That’s it. This tag will accompany the English Language Arts, The Weekly Text, and Worksheets categories, as well as the building vocabulary, building conceptual knowledge, grammar/style/usage, and short exercises tags.

procedural knowledge

For the first four years of the life of this blog, I used a tag called “skills development” to describe a wide band of materials designed to help students become more skilled readers and writers. All the while I used the “skills development” tag, I felt a growing unease with it; of course I aim to build literacy skills, but I also want to help students learn to think. Much of my philosophical discomfort with this tag, therefore, arose from the inadequacy of both the term and the pedagogical concept it represented. It simply lacked depth.

I participate on and off in some of the discourse in the comments section of Diane Ravitch’s blog. Some time ago, one of the most astute–particularly where pedagogy is concerned–commentators in that forum, Bob Shepherd, whose Praxis blog is well worth a look, argued that the “procedural knowledge” stands as a much more descriptive term of art than “skills development.”

Bob is right for a number of reasons, but as a classroom teacher, I am most concerned with one: we want kids to know how to proceed from inception to completion when undertaking an academic task. In its use on Mark’s Text Terminal, “procedural knowledge” describes any document that will assist students in developing their own understanding of how to proceed from beginning to end in any task set for them, be it basic reading comprehension to heuristic reading for scholarly research. Because many of the students I have served across my career have struggled with sequencing procedures (for a variety of reasons, not the least of which are executive skills challenges), I have carefully contrived much of the work here to assist students in developing the kinds of procedural knowledge they need to succeed in school.

In its use on Mark’s Text Terminal, “procedural knowledge” means any work that helps students work through an academic procedure. For that it is an important tag here, and will attach to a wide variety of other categories and tags, including English Language Arts, Independent Practice, Lesson Plans, Social Studies, The Weekly Text, and Worksheets accompany this tag. A wide array of tags join this one, including Asian Pacific History, Black History, building conceptual knowledge, building vocabulary, context clues, Cultural Literacyfiction and literature, film and visual media, grammar/style/usage, high interest materials, Hispanic History, homophones, numeracy, music, parsing sentences, science literacy, short exercises, sports, United States History, Women’s History, and word roots.

professional development

Here at Mark’s Text Terminal, I take professional development, or my own, at least, very seriously. Indeed, I like to think this website itself serves as an indicator of my commitment to my own professional development. In some respects, I consider much of the reading and writing I do an exercise in professional development. In any case, this tag will intersect commonly with the Essays/Readings and Reference Materials categories. The professional development tag will most often overlap with the book reviews and cognition/learning/understanding.

readings/research

If you’ve spend any time at all perusing Mark’s Text Terminal, you’ve noticed a basic structure to the blog: I alternate posts with documents and lesson plans with posts of quotes from a variety of reference books. Over time, I have come to think of these interstitial quotes as potential lesson plans, or opportunities for students to conduct basic research. Most if not all of these quotes, particularly if, as most of them are, they are larded with links to external sites.

The readings tag, as opposed to the Essays/Readings category, which flags professional development texts for teachers, identifies documents for students only. This tag might attach to a reading passage as short as the squib on a Cultural Literacy worksheet or a gloss on a word to as long as an article on a social studies topic, a short biography, a poem, lyrics to a song, a short story, or other materials to build literacy in English Language Arts of social studies classes. Therefore, you’ll find this tag beneath the English Language Arts, Independent Practice, Lesson Plans, Social Studies, The Weekly Text, and Worksheets categories. The readings tag joins with many others, including almanac, art, Asian Pacific History, Black History, book reviews, building conceptual knowledge, building vocabulary, Cultural Literacy, fiction and literature, film and visual media, grammar/style/usage, high interest materials, Hispanic History, homophones, learning support, numeracy, science literacy, short exercises, procedural knowledge, sports, United States History, and women’s history.

As I started to annotate with web hyperlinks some of the quotes from reference books which I use in between posts of worksheets and other documents, I found myself using the research tag more and more–especially in combination with the readings tag. Many of the quotes I use are heavily larded with links, and I began to realize that these posts could be used, indeed, as miniature research assignments. I see this as a chance to allow students the latitude to engage in some heuristic, self-motivated and self-directed learning. You’ll find the research tag used most regularly with the Quotes and Reference Materials categories and the Asian Pacific American History, art, Black History, context clues, Cultural Literacy, fiction/literature, Hispanic History, humor, literary oddities, readings, United States history, and women’s history tags.

All this said, it will be rare to see either of these by themselves on any post. I always look for ways to turn the quotes with which I alternate posts into miniature research assignments. The rule of thumb on this for my own purposes, and ergo for yours too, is that if a posted quote contains a link, I’ll mark it with the research tag. If one of these posts doesn’t contain quote, then except for occasional exceptions, it will not be tagged as research work. Whatever the case, if you want to use these posts with students, here is a worksheet template with an extensive list of questions; some of the questions, you will notice, repeat in slightly different ways. Sometimes, just changing a question a little bit can yield an answer–and the thought to drive that answer–where previously students struggled to understand the question.

science literacy

Unlike math, I’m confident that I could actually teach science–particularly if I could bring students into some sort of laboratory and give them direct experience “doing science,” so to speak. However, because I focus on literacy, and just about everything I teach filters through the prism of literacy, the science literacy tag will share the middle of a Venn Diagram with the categories of English Language Arts, Independent Practice, Lesson Plans, Quotes, Reference Materials, The Weekly Text, and Worksheets. This tag commonly rides along with the building conceptual knowledge, building vocabulary, context clues, Cultural Literacy, Everyday Edit, cognition/learning/understanding, learning support, numeracy, short exercises, and procedural knowledge tags.

short exercises

The short exercises tag describes the materials, generally half of an 8.5 X 11 sheet of paper, that I designed to begin class periods after transitions. When I first began teaching in New York City in 2003, the do-now was part of the structure of a broader prescriptive pedagogical strategy called Balanced Literacy. That said, in the years that I worked on an adolescent psychiatric unit in Vermont, the child psychiatrists who directed the program reminded us regularly of the importance, when dealing with young people with attentional challenges, of providing plenty of space and time for transitions between activities and groups. It is this latter prescription that keeps the do-now alive and well in my classroom. For kids who struggle to initiate and sustain focus on tasks, the do-now gives them a few minutes to reorient and sharpen focus as they arrive in class at the beginning of an instructional period. If these exercise are properly designed (and I hope mine are, which is why I am constantly badgering readers of this blog for peer review) and placed in lesson plans, they can hint at the material to come in a period, inculcate important skills, and open up areas of conceptual investigation and understanding.

This tag will accompany the English Language Arts, Independent Practice (if it’s possible to use them as such), Lesson Plans, Social Studies, The Weekly Text, and Worksheets categories. The short exercises tag rides along almost all the other tags in the taxonomy at Mark’s Text Terminal, but especially with those for building conceptual knowledge, building vocabulary, context clues, Cultural Literacy,  fiction and literature, film and visual media, grammar/style/usage, high interest materials, Hispanic History, homophones, music, parsing sentences, procedural knowledge, and word roots.

sports

This tag accompanies a variety of materials. It will join the English Language Arts, Independent Practice, Lesson Plans, Social Studies, The Weekly Text, and Worksheets categories. Fellow tags to sports are Asian Pacific History, Black History, building conceptual knowledge, building vocabulary, context clues, Cultural Literacyfiction and literature, film and visual media, grammar/style/usage, high interest materials (especially), Hispanic History, numeracy, readingsshort exercises, procedural knowledge, United States History, and women’s history.

United States History

The United States History tag will naturally fall under the Social Studies category. But it may also join the categories for Independent Practice, Lesson Plans, Quotes, Reference Materials, The Weekly Text, and Worksheets. This tag accompanies a plethora of other tags including art, Asian Pacific History, Black History, building conceptual knowledge, building vocabulary, Cultural Literacy,  fiction and literature, film and visual mediaHispanic Historyreadings, short exercises, procedural knowledge, sports, and women’s history.

women’s history

Following closely on the heels of Black History Month, Women’s History Month runs through the month of March. For that reason (and as above in the text for the Black History tag) some materials posted over the Black History Month tag (e.g. readings and comprehension worksheets on Toni Morrison or Mae Jemison) will also carry the women’s history tag. Depending on their content, materials over the women’s history tag will fall under either the English Language Arts or Social Studies categories, as well as Independent Practice, Lesson Plans, Quotes, Reference Materials, Social Studies, The Weekly Text (particularly Fridays in March), and Worksheets. Other tags that accompany the women’s history tag are Asian American History, Hispanic History, Cultural Literacy, fiction and literature, film and visual media, high interest materials,  Hispanic History, music, numeracy, science literacy, short exercises, and skills development.

word roots

This narrowly used tag will always accompany the English Language Arts category, and will generally accompany the Independent Practice, Lesson Plans, The Weekly Text, and Worksheets categories. You’ll find this tag joins that almanac, building conceptual knowledge, building vocabulary, context clues/focus on one word, grammar/style/usage, cognition/learning/understanding, short exercises, and procedural knowledge tags.