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for Grades 5-8

Apr 14, 2014
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For Grades 5-8 , week of Nov. 14, 2011

1. High-Tech Help

You may be thinking iPad for Christmas so you can enjoy games, movies, music, books and all kinds of applications. But for disabled people in the state of Oregon, the iPad gave them much more. It provided them with the opportunity to vote more easily in last week's election, according to an Associated Press article. Voters in Oregon can cast their ballots by mail, but some people with disabilities have problems filling in the paper ballots. So, election officials grabbed iPads and portable printers and took them to nursing homes, retirement and community centers, parks and other places where disabled people might be found. With simple taps of the finger, ballots could be pulled up on the screen and votes placed. Election workers even could provide a ballot that could read off the names of candidates for people with visual disabilities. Find a newspaper article about people with disabilities in your community. Or find an article online. As a class, discuss ways technology could make their lives easier.

Core/National Standard: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly

2. Search at School

Newspapers give stories exciting headlines that help readers find stories that interest them. Most headlines feature at least one verb and one noun and many also include prepositions. Divide the class into Noun Hunters, Verb Hunters and Preposition Hunters. Have each group search the headlines in the newspaper for 10 examples of each part of speech. Cut out the examples from the headlines and place them in a pile. Next find an uncut copy of the newspaper. Write three headlines from that newspaper on the board. As a class, decide which words in the headlines are nouns, verbs and prepositions. Then go around the class and have each student replace each noun, verb and preposition with cutout examples from the piles. Try to make your sentences as funny as possible!

Core/National Standard: Identifying multiple language conventions and using them when editing text. Examples include recognition of nouns, verbs and modifiers, capitalization rules, punctuation marks and spelling.

3. Choosing Your Chow

A 20-ounce soft drink may contain 250 calories, 100 milligrams of sodium (salt) and 64 grams of sugar. But drink one of them a day, and you are taking in 1,750 calories in a week. Sugary drinks are one of the leading causes of obesity in youth today, and many states have banned the sale of sodas and sports drinks at schools to prevent kids from becoming overweight from empty calories. But are the bans really working? Yes and no, and according to a recent Reuters article. Students definitely aren't drinking as much soda at school, but they still drink a lot of it at home, researchers found in a recent study. Search the newspaper for articles about healthy eating. With a classmate, write out a plan to make better eating choices for a week.

Core/National Standards: Writing informative texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts and information; comprehending what constitutes good health and nutrition.

4. Your Dream Getaway

Your family has dreamed, planned and saved for your ideal vacation, and the weather ruins it. That is what happened to thousands of tourists who had traveled from all over the world to hike around or climb up the Earth's tallest mountain. More than 2,500 tourists from different countries found themselves spending their vacation not on Mt. Everest in the Asian nation of Nepal, but at a nearby airport where fog left them stranded for six days. Using your newspaper's travel ads and weather page, plan your ideal vacation, including all the expenses for travel, food, lodging and spending money. Figure out your vacation's total cost, and estimate how long you would have to work to earn the money if you made: A. $7 per hour, B. $12 an hour and C. $20 an hour.

Core/National Standards: Computing fluently with multi-digit numbers and finding common factors and multiples.

5. Group Effort

There's an old saying that "Two heads are better than one." That does not mean that you should be a two-headed person, but that it's important to be open to the ideas of others because that may make a project go better. Knowing how to work together as a part of a group is critical for success in life. The most successful people on Earth surround themselves with talented people who can work together to bring ideas to life. Get in groups of four and search the newspaper for a topic to research. Using articles in the newspaper, prepare a multi-media research project to present to your class.

Core/National Standards: Conducting short as well as more sustained research projects to answer questions or solving a problem; integrating and evaluating multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media in order to address a question or solve a problem.