Wednesday, October 22, 2014

3 new scrambled paragraphs

Notice:  All of the scrambled paragraphs on this blog are a free, non-commercial resource purely for educational purposes. By using the site you agree not to reproduce this material. 

Answers are below the exercises.


We need marine algae a whole lot more than they need us. 

_____ (Q) Trees and other land plants are very important, no doubt about it. 


_____ (R) Think about it, 70 to 80 percent of all the oxygen we breathe comes from algae! 

_____ (S) Without them we would really be sucking wind, but not for long! 

_____ (T) But for pure survival, we couldn’t make it without algae.

_____ (U) At this point, you may be saying, “Yo! What about the trees and other land plants?” 


http://www.ecology.com/2011/09/12/important-organism/


Tim Beatley has long been a leader in advocating for the "greening" of cities. 

_____ (Q) While these are important aspects of re-imagining urban living, they are not enough, says Beatley.

_____ (R) But too often, he notes, urban greening efforts focus on everything except nature. 


_____ (S) And any vision of a sustainable urban future must place its focus squarely on nature, on the presence, conservation, and celebration of the actual green features and natural life forms.

_____ (T) Instead, elements such as public transit, renewable energy production, and energy efficient building systems are emphasized. 

_____ (U) We must remember that human beings have an innate need to connect with the natural world (the biophilia hypothesis). 

http://islandpress.org/biophilic-cities


In mid-19th century America, most abolitionists were willing to move slowly toward their goal of ending slavery. 

_____ (Q) John Brown saw the cause in a different light.

_____ (R) Brown was unrepentant at trial, stating: "Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I submit; so let it be done."

_____ (S) After U.S. Marines (commanded by Robert E. Lee) stormed the armory, a wounded Brown was captured.

_____ (T) He thought that "slavery, throughout its entire existence in the United States, is none other than the most barbarous, unprovoked and unjustifiable war of one portion of its citizens against another portion," and he was willing to pursue just about any means at his disposal to stop the practice.

_____ (U) On October 16, 1859, Brown, hoping to obtain weapons for a slave uprising, led a raid on the federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia), but Brown and his men were surrounded before they could escape.





The scrambled paragraphs King: Daniel Gauss
Answers:
algae - 4,1,2,5,3 -  Q=4, R=1, S=2, T=5, U=3
bio-friendly cities - 3,1,5,2,4: Q=3, R-1, S=5, T=2, U=4
john brown - 1,5,4,2,3 - Q=1, R=5, S=4, T=2, U=3

Thursday, October 16, 2014

This site was featured in the New York Daily News

The New York Daily News recently ran an article about how difficult the SHSAT is and how an African American alumni group from Stuyvesant is protesting the use of features, on the test, like 'scrambled paragraphs.' They want the test to reflect the 'Common Core' curriculum.

This blog was chosen by the News to illustrate an example of what a scrambled paragraph is.

{{{click on image to enlarge}}}

How do you feel about the current SHSAT?  I actually supported de Blasio as mayor and provided feedback, as a supporter, recommending that the SHSAT be changed so that there could be greater diversity in the specialized schools. One of the reasons I put all these scrambled paragraphs up here for free was to make sure that everyone, regardless of race or social class, would have access to practicing these logic-based questions which are not taught during the regular school day. 

Furthermore, I don't think we'll have educational equality of opportunity until all young people in this city live in safe neighborhoods and in families where the parents can meaningfully work and provide adequately for their children.  I think greater economic equality will mean greater educational equality.

That being said, I take my hat off to the Asian parents I have met and worked with in the past who worked hard and made unbelievable sacrifices to ensure that their children were ready for this test. This is the population that is ignored in SHSAT debates - there are some Chinese immigrant parents who work 12 to 14 hours a day to pay for their children's education and their amazing commitment should be acknowledged and lauded.

Sorry for the editorializing - please enjoy doing the scrambled paragraphs on this blog.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

3 more scrambled paragraphs: Ghazali, Balloon Dog, John Coltrane

Notice:  All of the scrambled paragraphs on this blog are a free, non-commercial resource purely for educational purposes.  They are 100% legal under the Fair Usage Law.  (Basically I took properly cited source material and meaningfully changed it into a unique educational tool.) No commercial entity has the right to remove and display this content. By using this website you tacitly agree to the terms that this material cannot be reproduced for distribution via the internet or other means.


Answers to the exercises are below all the exercises. Good luck!


By the age of 33 Ghazali was appointed a professor in Baghdad, where he became recognized as an authority on canon law. 

_____ (Q) His greatest work of synthesis was in The Revivification of the Religious Sciences, which also argues that only the Sufi emphasis on inner devotion can fulfill the strict demands of the Qur’an. 

_____ (R) In spite of his success, Ghazali entered a period of spiritual crisis. 

_____ (S) Therefore, in 1095 Ghazali became a wandering ascetic, returning to the Sufism of his youth, spending 11 years in meditation and retirement, until a Sultan persuaded him to teach again. 

_____ (T) As he wrote in his autobiography: “I examined my motives in my work of teaching, and realized that it was not a pure desire for the things of God, but that the impulse moving me was the desire for an influential position and public recognition." 

_____ (U) In the public teachings and writings which followed his retirement, Ghazali set forth a synthesis of orthodox theology and mysticism. 





Perhaps Jeff Koons' most famous work of art is his ‘balloon dog,’ a giant polished steel structure which looks like a long inflated balloon twisted and shaped into the image of a dog.

_____ (Q) The Balloon Dog is, in fact, ‘eternally optimistic’ while simultaneously creating a dialogue between its interior and exterior surroundings through its reflective surfaces.

_____ (R) Indeed, he reveals that the design inspiration for his inflatable pieces stems from the human body and how a breath of air can become a symbol of optimism. 

_____ (S) Jeff Koons has, in fact, been into ‘inflatable’ art since the beginning of his career as an artist.

_____ (T) The huge reflective surfaces give the dog a light, airy balloon feel, while, in reality, the sculpture weighs an immense amount.

_____ (U) He often speaks about the concept of inflatable objects and their symbolic meaning for life itself.


http://www.ignant.de/2014/01/06/jeff-koons-balloon-dog/

The Whitney Museum in Manhattan currently has a Jeff Koons show: http://whitney.org/Visit/Hours



While A Love Supreme is a recognized musical masterpiece, it had enormous personal significance for Coltrane.

_____ (Q) In the spring of 1957, his dependence on drugs and alcohol lost him one of the best jobs in jazz.

_____ (R) Alternately catatonic and brilliant, Coltrane's behavior and playing became increasingly erratic and Davis fired him after a live show that April.

_____ (S) Soon after, Coltrane resolved to clean up his act.

_____ (T) He was playing sax and touring with Miles Davis' popular group when he became unreliable and strung out.

_____ (U) He would later write, in the 1964 liner notes to A Love Supreme, "In the year of 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening, which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life."


http://www.npr.org/2000/10/23/148148986/a-love-supreme


Hey man, are you hip to Coltrane?  Whaaaaaa? You ain't hip to Coltrane?  Check him out. Here he is with Miles:


Here he is without Miles doing "Alabama" - which was created after 4 African American children were killed by racists in Alabama in a church fire.







Answers:


Ghazali:   5,1,3,2,4   (Q= 5, R=1, S=3, T=2, U=4) 
Balloon Dog:  4,3,1,5,2     
John Coltrane   1,3,4,2,5  

Please use the practice answer sheethttp://scrambledparas.blogspot.com/2013/12/a-practice-answer-sheet.html

Friday, August 8, 2014

3 new scrambled paragraphs - Fioravanti, High Heels, Cyrus the Great

Notice:  All of the scrambled paragraphs on this blog are a free, non-commercial resource purely for educational purposes.  They are 100% legal under the Fair Usage Law.  (Basically I took properly cited source material and meaningfully changed it into a unique educational tool.) No commercial entity has the right to remove and display this content. By using this website you tacitly agree to the terms that this material cannot be reproduced for distribution via the internet or other means.


Answers are below the exercises. Good luck.


Fioravanti continued his work in Rome and in Bologna, but an event occurred which would change his life forever, derailing his Italian career and playing a part in his eventual decision to relocate to Russia. 

_____ (Q) The shocked Italian was promptly arrested and relieved of all his previous privileges and titles, even though the accusations would eventually prove false. 

_____ (R) Fioravanti’s work in Moscow began with removing the remains of the previous Dormition Cathedral. 

_____ (S) It was at this pivotal moment, however, in 1474 that he met the Russian ambassador Semyon Tolbuzin, who had been sent to Italy to search for architects to work in Moscow.

_____ (T) In June of 1473, Fioravanti was unexpectedly accused of counterfeiting false coins. 

_____ (U) The meeting between Fioravanti and Tolbuzin most likely occurred in Rome, and after signing a contract in 1475, the 60 year old architect left for the Principality of Moscow with his son Andrey and his servant Pietro. 





At the end of the 16th Century, Persia's Shah Abbas had the largest cavalry in the world.

_____ (Q) A wave of interest in all things Persian passed through Western Europe and Persian style shoes were enthusiastically adopted by aristocrats, who sought to give their appearance a virile, masculine edge that, it suddenly seemed, only heeled shoes could supply.


_____ (R) As the wearing of heels filtered into the lower ranks of society, the aristocracy responded by dramatically increasing the height of their shoes - and the high heel was born.
_____ (S) He was keen to forge links with rulers in Western Europe to help him defeat his great enemy, the Ottoman Empire.

_____ (T) In the muddy, rutted streets of 17th Century Europe, these new shoes had no utility value whatsoever - but that was the point: one of the best ways that status can be conveyed is through impracticality.
_____ (U) So in 1599, Abbas sent the first Persian diplomatic mission to Europe - it called on the courts of Russia, Germany and Spain.


So the video above states that high heels might be bad for your feet, yet I found a blog entry that points out that high heels are OK as long as you don't over-wear them and as long as you massage your feet after-wards: http://ohshoedesigns.com/blog/175/



The victory over Babylonia expressed all the facets of the policy of conciliation which Cyrus had followed until then.

_____ (Q) Indeed, Cyrus had no thought of forcing conquered people into a single mold, and had the wisdom to merely remove the often corrupt leadership of a conquered territory, replacing it with his 'tolerant' dictatorship.

_____ (R) He presented himself not as a conqueror, but as a benevolent and forgiving liberator of a foreign people.

_____ (S) This liberating step was in line with his policy to bring peace to mankind through the toleration of numerous national identities within a Persian empire.

_____ (T) He not only removed corrupt leaders and left familiar institutions unchanged, but he also freed peoples conquered by others, as evidenced in 539 BCE, when he allowed more than 40,000 Jews to leave Babylon and return to Palestine.

_____ (U) This step also showed a new wind was blowing from the east, carrying away the cries and humility of defeated and murdered victims, extinguishing the fires of sacked cities, and liberating nations from slavery.








Answers:

Fioravanti - 2,5,3,1,4  Q=2, R=5, S=3, T=1, U=4
High Heels - 3,4,1,5,2  
Cyrus --> 2,1,4,3,5




Please enjoy Mungo Jerry. Wow, this has been a very hot summer, hasn't it?



Monday, July 14, 2014

New scrambled paragraphs: Ash tree, Chess, Edelweiss

Notice:  All of the scrambled paragraphs on this blog are a free, non-commercial resource purely for educational purposes.  They are 100% legal under the Fair Usage Law.  (Basically I took properly cited source material and meaningfully changed it into a unique educational tool.) No commercial entity has the right to remove and display this content. By using this website you tacitly agree to the terms that this material cannot be reproduced for distribution via the internet or other means.


Answers are below the exercises.

Please note: It is important for students to begin getting used to answering these passages using a pencil, scratch paper and an answer sheet.  Here is an answer sheet you can download and print out: http://scrambledparas.blogspot.com/2013/12/a-practice-answer-sheet.html


Not only was its girth tremendous, its height was towering. 

_____ (Q) If we think symbolically, as the ancient Celts were apt to do, we can also liken our own spiritual-growth with that of the ash. 

_____ (R) Some ash trees are known to soar over 200 feet tall and such incredible growth owes credit to a fantastic root system.

_____ (S) For greater (higher) attainment, the more we need to stay grounded (well rooted)

_____ (T) To the Celts he ash spoke to us of growth, expansion, and a higher perspective. 

_____ (U) Indeed, it's mass, height, and deeply embedded roots became metaphorical to the ancient Celts.

http://www.whats-your-sign.com/celtic-meaning-ash-tree.html



By the 1800s, chess was essentially the same game we play today, and it is at this time that the concept of a world chess champion began to enter the consciousness of the chess playing public. 

_____ (Q) In 1843, however, Englishman Howard Staunton – the namesake for the now famous Staunton pieces – played two matches with Pierre Saint-Amant, the leading French player of the time. 

_____ (R) But nobody had made the claim that the match was for the world championship, and as such, it was a shaky title, at best.

_____ (S) Staunton emerged victorious, and some observers began to consider the idea that Staunton might be the best player in the world: a world champion, perhaps.  

_____ (T) This lead, therefore, to London 1851 – the first international chess tournament ever held - which was Staunton’s idea: the event being designed to gather all of the best players in Europe. 

_____ (U) The French dominated chess in the 18th century and into the early 19th, with players like Philidor and La Bourdonnais having virtually no equals up until at least the early 1840s.




The Edelweiss flower has since time immemorial been valued as medicine against the ailments of men and their beasts, as a powerful Talisman to ward off evil and, of course, as the "Ultimate Love Charm" of the mountains.

_____ (Q) The danger-wrought exercise of collecting such a bouquet proved in those days that the suitor was brave, able-bodied and serious in his intentions. 

_____ (R) Love struck young men would try to endear themselves by collecting Edelweiss from those hard to access crags and ledges in the High Alps of Europe.

_____ (S) During these quests many died from falls, or succumbed to exposure, insufficiently prepared for sudden weather changes.

_____ (T) That is one of the reasons why men in some parts of Europe still decorate themselves with this bloom and wear it like a medal of honor. 

_____ (U) This was a mixing of flowers and machismo rarely seen in western culture.





Answers are below:









Answers: 
ash tree - 4,1,5,3,2   Q=4, R=1, S=5, T=3, U=2
chess ----> 2,4,3,5,1
edelweiss ---> 3,1,2,5,4


Cool 1970s rock!  Please enjoy the Edgar Winter Group performing Frankenstein! Yes, Edgar was an 'albino' and he embraced his uniqueness!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Allende, Brando, Mao - 3 more free scrambled paragraphs

Notice:  All of the scrambled paragraphs on this blog are a free, non-commercial resource purely for educational purposes.  They are 100% legal under the Fair Usage Law.  (Basically I took properly cited source material and meaningfully changed it into a unique educational tool.) No commercial entity has the right to remove and display this content. By using this website you tacitly agree to the terms that this material cannot be reproduced for distribution via the internet or other means.


Answers are below the exercises.


Salvador Allende's left-wing politics were informed by the dire poverty experienced by most Chilean citizens that he witnessed as a doctor and as a politician. 

_____ (Q) Examples included social security rights for all workers, land redistribution, rent reductions, improved health care facilities, improved housing and sanitation, free milk for nursing mothers and school children, anti-illiteracy campaigns, the raising of the minimum wage, and the granting of three thousand scholarships for the marginalized Mapuches Indian community. 


_____ (R) Such policies were of deep concern to US corporations such as Kennecott, Anaconda, PepsiCo, and International Telephone and Telegraph and such corporations played a major role in lobbying the US government to implement measures aimed at eliminating the freely elected government of Chile. 


_____ (S) Positive results from such initiatives included an increase in school enrollments and a reduction of nearly 20 per cent in malnutrition rates among the very young. 


_____ (T) Upon securing the Presidency, Allende immediately set out to implement major social reforms. 


_____ (U) In order to finance such programs, Allende embarked on an ambitious program encompassing the accelerated nationalization and expropriation of industries. 

http://www.opendemocracy.net/senan-fox/remembering-salvador-allende

--------------------------------------------
Marlon Brando was one of the greatest movie actors ever.  He is kind of responsible for making the white tee shirt so popular in American culture.  Here is a paragraph from Esquire magazine about how Brando used a white tee shirt and how the tee shirt can still be used in a stylish manner.


Brando had a rare gift in that he could turn even a basic line of dialogue, or the most mundane action, into an unforgettable moment. 

_____ (Q) Start off with something fitted, but not skin tight — you shouldn’t look like you’re wearing a hand-me-down from grade school. 


_____ (R) Next, make sure the sleeves hit mid-bicep, anything longer than that will look sloppy, and anything shorter will make you look like a frat boy desperately trying to show off his guns. 


_____ (S) And here we have Brando working that same magic, not on a script, but on the most fundamental garment of the American style canon: the plain white T-shirt. 


_____ (T) Of course you don’t want to look like a slob, so double check for any stains before tossing it on and, to finish it all off, go ahead and try out your signature stare, although to pull that one off, you might need to share in Brando’s gene pool.


_____ (U) The more that an outfit has going on, the easier it is to get noticed, but to turn an ordinary undershirt into something extraordinary you’ll need to take a few notes from the brooding actor. 

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/mens-fashion/marlon-brando-style-042513




October 1st, 1949 was the first occasion on which Mao waved to thousands in the Square; this was to celebrate the founding of the People's Republic and the final demise of the Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek. 

_____ (Q) Few could understand his accent but they could certainly celebrate what he offered, and what he delivered for the next ten years. 


_____ (R) If numbers increased, the background of the marchers had by now certainly diminished and had become more uniform.


_____ (S) In the late 1960s, millions marched through the Square which, though now enlarged, could not lake the numbers now involved in National Day parades. 


_____ (T) By October 1st, 1959, the thousands had increased to hundreds of thousands and the enthusiasm remained. 


_____ (U) The next few years would be very different as famine struck three years running, as ideological disputes with the Soviet Union led to fighting along the Amur River and as China felt threatened by the war in Vietnam. 



http://www.historytoday.com/neil-taylor/tiananmen-square



Answers are below:







Answers:

allende ------> 2,5,3,1,4   Q = 2, R = 5, S = 3, T = 1, U = 4
brando ------> 3,4,1,5,2
mao ----> 1,5,4,2,3,

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sunfish, Zen, Ceratopsians

Notice:  All of the scrambled paragraphs on this blog are a free, non-commercial resource purely for educational purposes.  They are 100% legal under the Fair Usage Law.  (Basically I took properly cited source material and meaningfully changed it into a unique educational tool.) No commercial entity has the right to remove and display this content. By using this website you tacitly agree to the terms that this material cannot be reproduced for distribution via the internet or other means.


Answers are below the exercises:



The data collected from the tags showed that sunfish spend 50 per cent of their time in the top 10 meters of the ocean. 

_____ (Q) They mostly feed on zooplankton, an extremely diverse group of simple, slow-moving creatures that includes jellyfish and related animals, which stay close to the surface.

_____ (R) This time is probably spent basking, lying on their side and soaking up heat from the sun.
_____ (S) They generally go to depths of 90 to 170 meters, though the deepest observed dive reached 644 meters.
_____ (T) The rest of the time is spent diving, which they do on average 40 times a day – though hardly ever at night. 
_____ (U) This is by no means as deep as other fish go, but then the sunfish don't need to plunge to the abyssal depths. 

The basic premise that the highest truth, or first principle, or Tao, is not expressible in words or conceivable through logical thought, is common to both Taoism and Zen. 

_____ (Q) However, the enlightened Taoist sage is considered to have gained some special knowledge, and thus becomes somehow removed from the world. 

_____ (R) This is obviously not Taoistic quietism (wu-wei) but action where words will not do and the effect is to force the student back into his own mind, rather than to foster a dependence on teachers.

_____ (S) The Zen Master gains nothing other than the realization that there is nothing to gain, and is thus more than ever in the world.

_____ (T) Furthermore, whereas Lao-tzu poetically says "The Tao that can be named is not the real Tao," the Zen Master takes this for granted and if questioned on the subject he might scream "kwatz!" or strike the disciple. 

_____ (U) Both hold, moreover, that an intuitive understanding of the first principle is possible, and this is called enlightenment. 





Ceratopsians were slow-moving plant eaters that probably lived together in large herds--hardly the kind of animals you'd associate with deadly conflict. 

_____ (Q) But upon closer examination, the frills are typically too thin to provide much protection.

_____ (R) The huge bony collars, or frills, around the animals' heads seemed to protect their necks.

_____ (S) For many years, paleontologists thought these animals used their horns and spikes to fight predators like T. rex

_____ (T) In much the same way, the elaborate skulls of the horned dinosaurs may have been for display, not defense.

_____ (U) And among modern animals from beetles to bison, horns are almost always used to attract mates, compete with rivals or allow animals of the same species to recognize each other. 


http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/dinosaurs-ancient-fossils-new-discoveries/display-or-defense/whats-the-point




Answers are below:







Answers:

sun fish ---> 5,1,3,2,4  Q=5, R=1, S=3, T=2, U=4
tao/zen -------> 2,5,3,4,1
dinos ----------> 3,2,1,5,4