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April 6, 2008

Eighth Grade Vocabulary List: 1978

Well worth reading [1.2MB PDF]:

rivulet: A small stream or brook. The ancient rivulet was conducted according to customs that were centuries old. The children enjoyed wading in the rivulet. The manuscript needed only minor rivulets before publication. A pleasant rivulet trickled through the fields.

firth: A narrow inlet or arm of the sea. (A firth may refer to any narrow arm of the sea or more particular to the opening of a river into the sea. Because the coast of Scotland is dotted with so many firths, the word has come to be associated with that country.) The soldier explored the firths that cut into the coastline. The young child was severely reprimanded for having committed the firth. After swimming across the firth, he was completely exhausted. The coast was cut with many narrow firths, which were ideal hideouts for smugglers.

Related: Dick Askey: Content Knowledge Examinations for Teachers Past and Present and NAEP writing scores - 2007 along with an article by Alan Borsuk. A Touch of Greatness:
You won’t find ten-year old children reciting Shakespeare soliloquies, acting out the Cuban Missile Crisis or performing Sophocles plays in most American classrooms today. But Albert Cullum’s elementary school students did all this and more. Combining interviews with Cullum and his former students with stunning archival footage filmed by director Robert Downey, Sr., A TOUCH OF GREATNESS documents the extraordinary work of this maverick public school teacher who embraced creativity, motivation and self-esteem in the classroom through the use of poetry, drama and imaginative play.

Regarded by academics as one of the most influential educators of the 1960s and ‘70s, Cullum championed what is, by today's standards, an unorthodox educational philosophy: the belief that the only way teachers can be successful with children is to speak directly to their hearts and to their instinctive and largely ignored capacity to quickly understand and identify with the great personalities, ideas and emotions found in classical literature. To that end, Cullum regularly taught his elementary school children literary masterpieces, exposed them to great works of art and engaged them in the events of world history. Without leaving the classroom, his students visited King Tut's tomb, attended joint sessions of the U.S. Congress, operated on “bleeding” nouns in his "grammar hospital," and clamored to play the timeless roles of Julius Caesar, Lady Macbeth and Hamlet.

When Cullum was an elementary school teacher in the New York City suburbs during the 1960s, his friend Robert Downey helped film several student plays and classroom events. In A TOUCH OF GREATNESS, these lush black and white films, with original music created by Tom O'Horgan, capture the work of this radical teacher and his students’ love of learning.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at April 6, 2008 7:33 AM
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