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Common Core Standards: ELA

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language

Language CCRA.L.6

6. Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.

The final anchor standard for language has mastered the art of multi-tasking by doing three things at once: offering two different (though related) standards, and summarizing the other five standards in the list. Multi-tasking Standard Six expects students to be prepared for college or a career by being able to do the following:

1. Have a vocabulary large enough for them to understand most conversations that will take place in college or the workplace; and

2. When an unknown word does pop up, be able to find out what it means, especially if the lecture, reading, instructions, etc. make no sense without knowing what it means.

Students (and some teachers) might recall Beverly Cleary’s classic children’s book Ramona the Brave, in which Ramona, age six, reads the newspaper by making a “zzz” sound in her head to represent all the words she doesn’t know. Thus she learns that the Zzzzs are playing zzzzball at zzzz. A six-year-old might get through the newspaper this way, but it’s of little use to college students or employees, both of whom need to know or to be able to find out what the “zzz”s all mean if they are to succeed.

Example 1

Sample Activities for Use in Class

1. Give each student or group of students a copy of the following passage, or one chosen for this assignment:

Except in cases affecting the personal status of the plaintiff, and in those wherein that mode of service may be considered to have been assented to in advance, the substituted service of process by publication allowed by the law of Oregon and by similar laws in other States where actions are brought against nonresidents is effectual only where, in connection with process against the person for commencing the action, property in the State is brought under the control of the court and subjected to its disposition by process adapted to that purpose, or where the judgment is sought as a means of reaching such property or affecting some interest therein; in other words, where the action is in the nature of a proceeding in rem.

(Pennoyer v. Neff , 95 US 714 (1878) - one of the most notoriously difficult cases to read.)

Have students read the passage through. When they come across a word they don’t know or don’t understand in context, have students draw a line through the word and make a separate list of these words.

Then, choose two or three students to read the passage aloud, replacing each crossed-out word with “zzzz.” When they’re finished, ask each student to explain, in his or her own words, what the paragraph was about. (Hint: “If you can’t serve lawsuit papers on someone because they’re not in the state, you can serve them by publishing a notice of the lawsuit in a newspaper, but only if the person owns real estate in the state.”)

Next, have students look up the crossed-out words in a regular dictionary, a legal dictionary, and/or the Internet, and write in what the words mean. When they’re done, have students read through the passage again and attempt to explain what it means. The second attempt should go much more smoothly.

Example 2

2. Build a deck of flash cards that contain words from certain college or career specialties: medicine, law, science, philosophy, etc. Using specialized dictionaries in print or online may help. Pass the deck around the room and have students choose three to five flashcards. Have students study their words, then write down two to three places they might go if they don’t know the word but need to understand it. Resources might include a specialized dictionary, the Internet, or the person’s professor or boss. Have students share their words and their suggested sources, then critique one another’s choice of sources by explaining why one source is a particularly good or bad choice or by suggesting additional sources.

Quiz 1 Questions

Here's an example of a quiz that could be used to test this standard.

Questions 1-10 are based on the following passage from Pierson v. Post, an 1805 court case from New York. (You may want to have students note that using an ‘s” instead of a ‘z” (such as “recognised” instead of “recognized”) was fairly common in the time period.)

This cause comes before us on a return to a certiorari directed to one of the justices of Queens county.

The question submitted by the counsel in this cause for our determination is, whether Lodowick Post, by the pursuit with his hounds in the manner alleged in his declaration, acquired such a right to, or property in, the fox, as will sustain an action against Pierson for killing and taking him away?

The cause was argued with much ability by the counsel on both sides, and presents for our decision a novel and nice question. It is admitted that a fox is an animal feræ naturæ, and that property in such animals is acquired by occupancy only. These admissions narrow the discussion to the simple question of what acts amount to occupancy, applied to acquiring right to wild animals?

If we have recourse to the ancient writers upon general principles of law, the judgment below is obviously erroneous. Justinian's Institutes, and Fleta, adopt the principle, that pursuit alone vests no property or right in the huntsman; and that even pursuit, accompanied with wounding, is equally ineffectual for that purpose, unless the animal be actually taken. The same principle is recognised by Bracton.

Puffendorf defines occupancy of beasts feræ naturæ, to be the actual corporal possession of them, and Bynkershoek is cited as coinciding in this definition. It is indeed with hesitation that Puffendorf affirms that a wild beast mortally wounded, or greatly maimed, cannot be fairly intercepted by another, whilst the pursuit of the person inflicting the wound continues. The foregoing authorities are decisive to show that mere pursuit gave Post no legal right to the fox, but that he became the property of Pierson, who intercepted and killed him.

  1. In the second sentence, suppose that you have looked up the italicized words in a legal dictionary, but you could not find them. Which of the following is the MOST likely reason these words aren’t in your legal dictionary?

    Correct Answer:

    These words are the names of the people involved in the case.

    Answer Explanation:

    The question submitted by the counsel in this cause for our determination is, whether Lodowick Post, by the pursuit with his hounds in the manner alleged in his declaration, acquired such a right to, or property in, the fox, as will sustain an action against Pierson for killing and taking him away?


  2. In the sentence “It is admitted that a fox is an animal feræ naturæ, and that property in such animals is acquired by occupancy only,” the phrase in italics can most likely be looked up in:

    Correct Answer:

    An unabridged Latin dictionary.

    Answer Explanation:

    (b) - It may or may not be there, but since it’s a Latin phrase, it will almost certainly appear in an unabridged Latin dictionary, making (d) the better answer.


  3. In the sentence in Question 2, suppose you look up the word “occupancy” only to find that it has five different definitions. Which of the following is most likely the definition that’s intended in this sentence?

    Correct Answer:

    becoming the owner of something that doesn’t have an owner by acting like you own it

    Answer Explanation:

    Foxes are wild animals; no one owns them in the wild, but you can catch a fox, raise it as a pet, and people will treat it as “your” fox because you feed it and keep it in a pen like you would any other animal you own.


  4. Which of the following is NOT most likely one of the references the court used when researching this case?

    Correct Answer:

    Certiorari

    Answer Explanation:

    “Certiorari” is a type of petition asking a higher court to hear a case.


  5. If you weren’t sure of the answer to Question 4, which of the following references would be LEAST likely to help you find the answer?

    Correct Answer:

    A student dictionary

    Answer Explanation:

    It may contain the word “certiorari”, or it may not, while all the other references will not only be familiar with the word but also be able to identify the references.


  6. The third paragraph begins with the sentence “If we have recourse to the ancient writers upon general principles of law, the judgment below is obviously erroneous.” The word “erroneous” here most likely means:

    Correct Answer:

    Wrong

    Answer Explanation:

    Good! Even if you are not sure what “erroneous” means, this option is the most logical choice in the context of this sentence.


  7. Suppose that you are asked to rewrite the first half of the sentence in Question 7 (the part before the comma) in today’s ordinary language. Which of the following are you MOST likely to choose?

    Correct Answer:

    “If we rely on what the ancient writers say about the law”

    Answer Explanation:

    • (b) - “Look up” does not invoke the same sense of reliance inherent in the word “recourse” that “rely on” does, making (c) the better answer.
    • (c) - “Recourse” suggests to “rely on,” and the entire sentence put together would mean “if we rely on the ancient writers upon general principles of law, the judgment below is obviously erroneous,” which is identical to the meaning of the original sentence.

  8. In the first sentence of the final paragraph, which of the following words is LEAST likely to appear in a legal dictionary?

    Correct Answer:

    beasts

    Answer Explanation:

    But it will appear in most standard dictionaries.


  9. In the first sentence of the final paragraph, which of the following best defines the phrase “the actual corporal possession of them”?

    Correct Answer:

    You have to physically possess the fox to own it.

    Answer Explanation:

    Right! It’s easy to make sense of this in context, and it really helps if you have some idea of what the words mean. If you know that “corporal” means “of the body”, then you can easily make the connection between “corporal possession” and “physically possess.”


  10. The fact that Bynkershoek is “cited as coinciding in this definition” most likely means what?

    Correct Answer:

    Bynkershoek’s conclusion is the same as Puffendorf’s.

    Answer Explanation:

    (c) - Perhaps true, but “coinciding” here means “agreeing with,” making (e) the better answer.


Quiz 2 Questions

Here's an example of a quiz that could be used to test this standard.

  1. In the following sentence, the word “atoll” is MOST likely to appear in which of the following reference books? “As the ragged plank to which he clung washed up against the atoll, Sid knew he could not stay; there was barely room for two scraggly palm trees and no fresh water in sight.”

    Correct Answer:

    An encyclopedia of oceanography

    Answer Explanation:

    An “atoll” is a tiny island, which this book would likely define and explain.


  2. In the following sentence, the underlined word is a synonym for which word or phrase? “Sid lay on the beach, the detritus from his wrecked yacht washing up around him with each wave.”

    Correct Answer:

    flotsam

    Answer Explanation:

    Both describe floating pieces of trash, wood, and other objects that the ocean washes up onto beaches.


  3. In the following sentences, which word or phrase is NOT a synonym for the underlined word? “Sid assumed that most people in his situation would have the good sense to die, but giving up was anathema to him.”

    Correct Answer:

    inconsiderate

    Answer Explanation:

    “Inconsiderate” means “without consideration for others,” not “unable to consider a certain thing.” This is the only answer that's not synonymous with the other four choices or with the word “anathema.”


  4. Assuming that Sid interprets the underlined word in the following sentence correctly, what does he most likely think he's going to receive? “Sid lay on his back in the sunshine, letting the tropical sun dry his clothing and imagining himself receiving the emoluments he was promised when he returned to Cambridge.”

    Correct Answer:

    compensation

    Answer Explanation:

    “Emolument” is a synonym for “compensation” or “payment.”


  5. In the following sentence, the underlined word is synonymous with what word or phrase? “The thought of accepting his emoluments made Sid wax lachrymose, thinking of his beloved yacht, now in ruins, and the little house in Cambridge he would never see again.”

    Correct Answer:

    cry

    Answer Explanation:

    “Lachrymose” specifically refers to tears or crying, making (c) the best answer.


  6. Which of the following references is LEAST likely to be able to explain what “lachrymose” means?

    Correct Answer:

    a book of quotations

    Answer Explanation:

    It may be used in the book, but dictionaries of quotations rarely if ever define the words used in the quotations, making (e) the best answer.


  7. In the following sentence, the underlined word is a synonym for which of the words and phrases below? “At least the ocean air was salubrious, Sid thought; already he had more vitality than when he had left home that morning.”

    Correct Answer:

    healthful

    Answer Explanation:

    “Salubrious” means “healthful” or “promoting health.


  8. If you wanted to replace “salubrious” in the sentence above with a word that means something similar, which of the following references would most likely provide the greatest number of words for you to choose from?

    Correct Answer:

    A thesaurus

    Answer Explanation:

    • (b) - Thesauruses are the source for synonyms.
    • (c) - Dictionaries offer some synonyms, but they aren't dedicated to collecting all possible related synonyms in one place, making (b) the better answer.

  9. In the following sentences, the underlined word most likely means what? “Sid began spinning the tale of his adventure in his mind, imagining the look of shock on his friends' faces when he revealed his daring feats. Of course, the yacht wreck itself wouldn't have happened if Sid had been more careful, but he decided to elide that part.”

    Correct Answer:

    leave out

    Answer Explanation:

    To “elide” is to leave out or skip over.


  10. Suppose that Sid's adventure is based on a true story. Which reference listed below would MOST likely explain what had happened to Sid entirely in Sid's own words?

    Correct Answer:

    Sid's autobiography or memoir

    Answer Explanation:

    (a) - This would probably quote Sid, but it would also include the reporter's words, making (d) the better answer.


Aligned Resources

More standards from College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language - Language