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Common Core Standards: ELA - Literacy

Grade 11-12

Reading RH.11-12.4

RH.11-12.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).

Transformers

2morrow, if your teacher wrote out the directions to your assignment in text language you would probably lol, but you would also understand the directions completely. Btw- this would prob not happen. But! It is very true that language is a constantly changing beast. Ten years ago people would think you’re making strange animal noises if you said twitter or moo. As language continues its ongoing metamorphosis, our understanding of it changes too; that’s why using archaic words like tariff and reapportionment feels like using DOS today. However, it is vital to our continued understanding of history and social sciences that we know and properly apply these words to discussions of past events and possible future outcomes. So if you don’t like the “big words” it’s time to suck it up and learn a few (the more you know the better off you’ll be) and before you know it you’ll be a history wordsmith (that means awesome).

Example

Revenge of the Fallen…Words

It is a common practice in history class to study a time period or event, or even a people group, and evaluate it for social, economic, and political traits (sound familiar). When studying history and the social sciences these are the best tools to evaluate a past event, so it’s not going away. Though this seems like one of the more simple standards, things can become very difficult very quickly, especially when reading a historical text with several pedantic words per sentence. Here are a few tips for your students:

  • How many texts did you send while reading this? Well, while you have it out, why don’t you download a dictionary app (usually free). It is always handy to have a dictionary nearby when you’re doing any reading really.
  • I know what you’re thinking; I can’t look up every other word. Hopefully you understand a bit more than that, but if not, try reading through it. First read the paragraph or the lines surrounding the unknown word or phrase, and then go back and determine if the context has given any clues as to its meaning. You may find that the word or phrase in question is often defined within the same line.
  • Keep track of the important words; an author may use a term or phrase in various ways throughout the same text. It is important to understand if this word or phrase goes through any subtle changes throughout the reading. Keeping notes or moving a sticky note along as you read are some good strategies in lengthy readings.

Dark of the Phone

NE way you look at it if you study the txt it will become easier, B4 you know it you might be texting the txt with whacky abbrv and obnoxious smileys. Ex: Emncp Prclmn ==I:)> (That was the Emancipation Proclamation with an Abe Lincoln smiley- txt it to your friends, they’ll think you’re cool… promise.)

Drill

Read the following passage, and transform your knowledge into a bigger, more awesome version of itself (may or may not include spiffy gadgets).

Excerpt

The following excerpt is from the text Malleus Maleficarum11 (not the fairy godmother’s magic words), a text concerning how to identify and exercise deamons and witches, among other things. This was primarily written by Puritan Ministers

“For devils have no power at all save by a certain subtle art. But an art cannot permanently produce a true form. (And a certain author says: Writers on Alchemy know that there is no hope of any real transmutation.) Therefore the devils for their part, making use of the utmost of their craft, cannot bring about any permanent cure - or permanent disease. But if these states exist it is in truth owing to some other cause, which may be unknown, and has nothing to do with the operations of either devils or witches.

But according to the Decretals (33) the contrary is the case. “If by witchcraft or any magic art permitted by the secret but most just will of God, and aided by the power of the devil, etc...” The reference here is to any act of witchcraft which may hinder the end of marriage, and for this impediment to take effect three things can concur, that is to say, witchcraft, the devil, and the permission of God. Moreover, the stronger can influence that which is less strong. But the power of the devil is stronger than any human power (Job xl). There is no power upon earth which can be compared to him, who was created so that he fears none. 

Answer. Here are three heretical errors which must be met, and when they have been disproved the truth will be plain. For certain writers, pretending to base their opinion upon the words of S. Thomas (iv, 24) when he treats of impediments brought about by magic charms, have tried to maintain that there is not such a thing as magic, that it only exists in the imagination of those men who ascribe natural effects, the cause whereof are not known, to witchcraft and spells. There are others who acknowledge indeed that witches exist, but they declare that the influence of magic and the effects of charms are purely imaginary and phantasmical. A third class of writers maintain that the effects said to be wrought by magic spells are altogether illusory and fanciful, although it may be that the devil does really lend his aid to some witch.

The errors held by each one of these persons may thus be set forth and thus confuted. For in the very first place they are shown to be plainly heretical by many orthodox writers, and especially by S. Thomas, who lays down that such an opinion is altogether contrary to the authority of the saints and is founded upon absolute infidelity. Because the authority of the Holy Scriptures says that devils have power over the bodies and over the minds of men, when God allows them to exercise this power, as is plain from very many passages in the Holy Scriptures. Therefore those err who say that there is no such thing as witchcraft, but that it is purely imaginary, even although they do not believe that devils exist except in the imagination of the ignorant and vulgar, and the natural accidents which happen to a man he wrongly attributes to some supposed devil. For the imagination of some men is so vivid that they think they see actual figures and appearances which are but the reflection of their thoughts, and then these are believed to be the apparitions of evil spirits or even the spectres of witches. But this is contrary to the true faith, which teaches us that certain angels fell from heaven and are now devils, and we are bound to acknowledge that by their very nature they can do many wonderful things which we cannot do. And those who try to induce others to perform such evil wonders are called witches. And because infidelity in a person who has been baptized is technically called heresy, therefore such persons are plainly heretics.”

11. Summer, Montague, trans. (1928). Malleus Maleficarum (1486). Retrieved April 13th, 2012, from http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/mm/

3. Small Response: How does the line, “those who try to induce others to perform such evil wonders are called witches,“ further the meaning and possible interpretation of the word witch as it is perceived by the Puritan Authority of the time period? Use support from the text in your answer. [Medium]

4. Medium Response: What bias could be construed from the text in regards to identifying and accusing a person of being a witch or engaging in witchcraft? Use support from the text to support your answer. [Medium]

5. Huge Response: Consider the meaning of the terms “witch,” “witchcraft,” “spells,” and “magic.” How has the perception of these terms transformed from the Puritanical view of the past to modern interpretations? Consider contemporary news, media, and entertainment. This answer constitutes a 3 paragraph minimum. Cite sources where appropriate. [Hard]

Quiz Questions

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

Read the following passage, and transform your knowledge into a bigger, more awesome version of itself (may or may not include spiffy gadgets).

Excerpt

The following excerpt is from the text Malleus Maleficarum11 (not the fairy godmother’s magic words), a text concerning how to identify and exercise deamons and witches, among other things. This was primarily written by Puritan Ministers

“For devils have no power at all save by a certain subtle art. But an art cannot permanently produce a true form. (And a certain author says: Writers on Alchemy know that there is no hope of any real transmutation.) Therefore the devils for their part, making use of the utmost of their craft, cannot bring about any permanent cure - or permanent disease. But if these states exist it is in truth owing to some other cause, which may be unknown, and has nothing to do with the operations of either devils or witches.

But according to the Decretals (33) the contrary is the case. “If by witchcraft or any magic art permitted by the secret but most just will of God, and aided by the power of the devil, etc...” The reference here is to any act of witchcraft which may hinder the end of marriage, and for this impediment to take effect three things can concur, that is to say, witchcraft, the devil, and the permission of God. Moreover, the stronger can influence that which is less strong. But the power of the devil is stronger than any human power (Job xl). There is no power upon earth which can be compared to him, who was created so that he fears none. 

Answer. Here are three heretical errors which must be met, and when they have been disproved the truth will be plain. For certain writers, pretending to base their opinion upon the words of S. Thomas (iv, 24) when he treats of impediments brought about by magic charms, have tried to maintain that there is not such a thing as magic, that it only exists in the imagination of those men who ascribe natural effects, the cause whereof are not known, to witchcraft and spells. There are others who acknowledge indeed that witches exist, but they declare that the influence of magic and the effects of charms are purely imaginary and phantasmical. A third class of writers maintain that the effects said to be wrought by magic spells are altogether illusory and fanciful, although it may be that the devil does really lend his aid to some witch.

The errors held by each one of these persons may thus be set forth and thus confuted. For in the very first place they are shown to be plainly heretical by many orthodox writers, and especially by S. Thomas, who lays down that such an opinion is altogether contrary to the authority of the saints and is founded upon absolute infidelity. Because the authority of the Holy Scriptures says that devils have power over the bodies and over the minds of men, when God allows them to exercise this power, as is plain from very many passages in the Holy Scriptures. Therefore those err who say that there is no such thing as witchcraft, but that it is purely imaginary, even although they do not believe that devils exist except in the imagination of the ignorant and vulgar, and the natural accidents which happen to a man he wrongly attributes to some supposed devil. For the imagination of some men is so vivid that they think they see actual figures and appearances which are but the reflection of their thoughts, and then these are believed to be the apparitions of evil spirits or even the spectres of witches. But this is contrary to the true faith, which teaches us that certain angels fell from heaven and are now devils, and we are bound to acknowledge that by their very nature they can do many wonderful things which we cannot do. And those who try to induce others to perform such evil wonders are called witches. And because infidelity in a person who has been baptized is technically called heresy, therefore such persons are plainly heretics.”

11. Summer, Montague, trans. (1928). Malleus Maleficarum (1486). Retrieved April 13th, 2012, from http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/mm/

  1. According to the line, “But if these states exist it is in truth owing to some other cause, which may be unknown, and has nothing to do with the operations of either devils or witches…” and the rebuttal, “But according to the Decretals (33) the contrary is the case…” the primary function of this document is to:

    Correct Answer:

    Argue the assertion that witches are indeed actual beings, not illusions of the mind, and that they may be identified with a set of prescribed behaviors.

    Answer Explanation:

    The correct answer is (b). Don’t let (a) fool you; the aim of this text is not merely defining a term or behavior, and (b) encompasses parts of (a), so that should satisfy the urge to choose (a). Option (c) is totally opposite of the correct answer; the text is refuting the claim identified, not supporting it. Finally, choosing (d) would just be bananas.


  2. Which quote from the text identifies the meaning, either implied or direct, of the word witch or witchcraft?

    Correct Answer:

    “angels fell from heaven and are now devils, and we are bound to acknowledge that by their very nature they can do many wonderful things which we cannot do. And those who try to induce others to perform such evil wonders are called witches.”

    Answer Explanation:

    The correct answer is (d). This answer offers a final resolution on the matter of what a witch is, and how they may be defined according to the belief system adhered to by the authors of the text. All other options are points that are either affirmed, (a), or refuted, (b) and (c), through the course of the argumentation. If you didn’t get this one, just Wingardium Leviosa your friend’s paper over to you so you can copy it (how long have you been waiting for a Harry Potter joke… seriously). BTW, don’t cheat or you’ll be turned into a ferret.


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