Harvey Bell designed the first yellow smiley face in 1963, when an insurance company hired him to create a face to raise employee morale. He was paid only $45 for his design. The smiley face grew in popularity, and now we see variations of it everywhere.
Faces created with punctuation marks are called emoticons. :) Which emoticons do you know, and when do you use them?
Read the first stanza of "The Star Spangled Banner":
O! say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
Name the part of speech and provide a definition for the bold words in the lyrics for "The Star Spangled Banner." Use each word in a sentence of your own.
perilous _____ (part of speech)
Perilous means _________________________________________________
gallantly _____ (part of speech)
Gallantly means ________________________________________________
Perilous is an adjective meaning full of danger, dangerous.
Gallantly is an adverb meaning bravely, heroically.
In the 1800s, John Chapman, an American pioneer nurseryman, planted apple trees throughout the Midwest. Starting in Pennsylvania, he traveled an estimated 100,000 square miles planting orchards and individual apple trees. His story and his trees became so renowned, a tall tale emerged. Chapman became known as Johnny Appleseed. American folklore describes him as walking barefoot, wearing a cooking pot on his head.
Write a note to Johnny Appleseed. You might tell him what you like about apples, thank him for planting trees, or ask him questions.
In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. stood before 250,000 people in Washington D.C. and delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. King remains known today as one of America’s greatest civil rights leaders. His many admirers continue to praise his fortitude and resilience. These traits allowed him to pursue justice while practicing nonviolence.
• courage in pain or adversity
• the ability of an object or a substance to spring back into shape; elasticity
• the capacity to quickly recover from difficulties, toughness
Which definition of resilience is used in the passage above? Write your own sentences using fortitude and either definition of resilience.
The game of jacks was played in the ancient world more than 2,000 years ago using small animal bones or pebbles. Now the jacks are made of metal, but their shape still slightly resembles animal bones.
Have you ever played jacks? What other games do you enjoy?
Lewis Carroll, author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, coined the term “portmanteau” to describe a word that is made from two other words. Portmanteau [port-mahn-toh] is a French word for a type of suitcase. Carroll said portmanteau words had “two meanings packed up into one word.” He used many portmanteau words in his poem “Jabberwocky.”
The words brunch, smog, and emoticon are portmanteau words.
What words form brunch, smog, and emoticon?
When and where do you use emoticons? When would you not use emoticons?
breakfast + lunch = brunch; smoke + fog = smog; emotion + icon = emoticon
You might use emoticons for casual communication in text messages, emails, and informal letters. You should not use emoticons in formal writing like business letters, reports, schoolwork, and applications.
If you attended school in the early 1800s, you probably would not have had a summer vacation. Urban children studied all year long, while children in the country took time off during the spring and fall to work on farms. They studied throughout the summer and winter. In the 1840s, Horace Mann, an American education reformer, decided that all students should adhere to the same school year calendar, and the summer vacation was born!
How do you usually spend your summer vacation? Describe your favorite activities and experiences.
The delegates of the Constitutional Convention signed the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787. To become the law of the land, the Constitution then had to be ratified by five of the nine states that existed at the time.
• formally confirm or approve
Write a sentence using the present tense of the verb.
For thousands of years, humans have been playing games that involve kicking a ball. Such games existed during the Ts'in Dynasty in China (225 BC) and the Greek and Roman empires. The modern game of soccer began in England in 1863. It wasn't until the Summer Olympics in London in 1908 that soccer became an Olympic event and an international sporting competition.
What do you think about soccer? Do you play or have friends who play? Do you enjoy playing or watching the game? Explain.
In September 1893, the Duryea brothers of Springfield, Mass., test-drove the first gas-engine-powered American automobile. They used a 4-horsepower, single-cylinder, gasoline engine with friction transmission, spray carburetor, and low-tension ignition.
The words in italics are specific to automobiles. They are examples of jargon [jahr-guhn].
- words or expressions used by a particular profession or group that may be hard for outsiders to understand
What jargon do you know? It could be specific to an art form, a sport, a hobby, or another topic about which you are knowledgeable. List five examples of jargon and define each one.
Many U.S. presidents have owned pet cats and dogs while living in the White House, but some laid claim to more unusual animals. As a gift, Calvin Coolidge received a pygmy hippo, which he called Billy, and Theodore Roosevelt had a black bear cub named Jonathan. John Quincy Adams kept his pet alligator in a White House bathroom!
If you were president, what kind of pet would you like to have at the White House? It can be a common pet, such as a dog, or something outrageous, such as a whale. Explain your choice.
Sandra Day O'Connor was the first female Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. After being nominated to the court by President Ronald Reagan, she received unanimous Senate approval.
• agreed on by everyone
What does unanimous mean in the sentence above? What word in the sentence does unanimous describe?
Use unanimous or unanimously in a sentence of your own.
Every senator voted for her appointment; describes approval.
Basketball was invented by James Naismith, who taught physical education at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachussetts. During the cold winter of 1891, Naismith needed an exercise his students could perform indoors because it was too cold to go outside. So he created the game of basketball.
Try inventing your own sport. Describe how the game would be played and what equipment would be needed.
Do you think the lowly comma is irrelevant? Think again. A comma can save a life! For example, read the two sentences below. How does the meaning change in each? Why did it change?
1. Let's eat Grandma!
2. Let's eat, Grandma!
• not relevant; not related to the matter at hand
Synonyms: unimportant, beside the point, trivial
Write a sentence using irrelevant. Be sure to punctuate it correctly.
In the first sentence, the speaker is suggesting Grandma be eaten. In the second sentence, the speaker is telling Grandma it’s time to eat.
Little League Baseball started in Williamsport, Pennsylvania in 1939. The league began with only 45 boys playing on three teams. Today, more than 2.6 million boys and girls play on more than 176,000 Little League baseball and softball teams in more than 75 countries around the world.
Why do you think Little League became so popular over the years? Imagine you are a coach. How would you encourage kids to join?
The first newspaper in America was printed in Boston in 1690. It was called Publick Occurrences, Both Forreign and Domestick.
• an event, incidence, happening
Describe a local occurrence that you consider newsworthy.
In 1954, English scuba diver Alan Blake invented the game of underwater hockey, also known as "octopush." It's played at the bottom of a swimming pool by two teams of six players, each wearing a mask, fins, and a snorkel. The game was originally played with eight players on each team; that's why they called it "octopush."
Would you enjoy playing octopush? What do you think it would be like to play another sport underwater?
Jonathan Chapman, a.k.a. Johnny Appleseed, introduced apple trees to many midwestern and mid-Atlantic states.
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain, wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, among other works.
a.k.a. stands for also known as. It is used to introduce pseudonyms, aliases, nicknames, working names, legalized names, and pen names.
Think of two other people or fictional characters who have a pseudonym, alias, or nickname. Write a sentence about each of your people using a.k.a.
In 2007, Martin Strel, a professional marathon swimmer, set the world record for the longest swim. He swam 3,272 miles in 66 days along the Amazon river, one of the most dangerous rivers in the world. While he swam, Strel's boat crew followed close behind. He needed his crew to distract piranhas, crocodiles, and the other wildlife of the Amazon.
Before Strel began his journey down the Amazon, he said he knew he had a "50/50 chance of coming back alive." If you were to set off on a similarly dangerous adventure, how would you prepare physically and mentally?
"Don't Be Evil" is the informal corporate motto of Google.
• a short sentence or phrase that summarizes the beliefs or ideals guiding an individual, family, or institution
What is your school motto? What would be a good motto for your family, class, or group of friends? Explain why you chose the motto. Use the word motto in your answer.
Teddy bears got their name from President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt. While attending a bear hunt in Mississippi, Roosevelt came upon a young, wounded bear; he ordered the bear killed so that it would not feel any more pain. When a newspaper published a cartoon of the president with a cuddly bear by his side, the story became famous. Shops began to call their toy bears "Teddy's bears." Now everyone calls them teddy bears!
Have you ever had a teddy bear? Write a few sentences about why you think most children like teddy bears and other stuffed animals. Do you like them? Why or why not?
Confucianism is the philosophical system founded on the teaching of the Chinese sage Confucius (551-479 B.C.).
• an herb with grayish-green leaves used in cooking
• a very wise person
• having or showing good judgment
Select one of these quotes from Confucius. Explain its meaning.
“I hear, I know. I see, I remember. I do, I understand.”
“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it."