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for Grades 5-8

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For Grades 5-8 , week of Jan. 09, 2012

1. A Look Back

Two years ago, on January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the Caribbean island nation of Haiti. It was the strongest quake in more than 200 years in the tiny nation, and it left more than 200,000 people dead and more than 895,000 homeless. The country’s capital city, Port-au-Prince, is Haiti’s most heavily populated area and was just 15 miles from the epicenter of the quake. Homes, including the Presidential Palace, were destroyed. Search the newspaper for stories commemorating the anniversary of the Haiti earthquake. Or find an example online. Write a summary of what has been accomplished for recovery and what still needs to be done.

Core/National Standard: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts and information.

2. Who's With Me?

As the world’s only superpower, the United States is a very influential country. Find an article about an event in another part of the world and write a short paragraph that describes a way the U.S. has affected, or may affect, the event politically, culturally or in humanitarian ways.

Core/National Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts and information; understanding how the world is organized politically, the formation of American foreign policy and the roles the United States plays in the international arena.

3. A Year of Heroes

Yahoo! News recently reviewed the news of the past year and created a list of heroes and heroic acts. Topping the list was Gabrielle Giffords, a United States representative from Arizona, who survived a shooting that killed and wounded several others. Other heroes include the Navy SEALS team responsible for finding and killing terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, the U.S. and Japanese women’s soccer teams, Red Cross volunteers who aid disaster victims and Lara Logan, a reporter who was attacked while covering protests for political rights in the African nation of Egypt. Others included in the list of top heroes were Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer, the Fukushima 50 who stayed to control the nuclear power plant meltdown after the Japanese tsunami and Texas volunteer firefighters. Search your newspaper for an article about someone who was a hero in your community. Or find an example online. Write a summary of the article and why the person is a hero.

Core/National Standard: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts and information.

4. Rise and Shine!

How many times have you run out the door yelling back to your mom that you don’t have time to eat breakfast? This should be the year when you make a resolution to eat one of the most important meals of the day. According to a Yahoo! News article, there are many reasons to eat a well-balanced breakfast that includes protein, carbohydrates and fruit. First and foremost, a good breakfast will sustain your energy and concentration throughout the day. Also, it will boost your immune system to help you fight off colds and the flu. In addition, it can improve the condition of your skin and help control your weight. Search your newspaper for breakfast meal recipes. Or find examples online. Print out several that look good. Break down the ingredients into food groups and evaluate whether they make a balanced meal. Make some of the recipes and share them with your classmates or family.

Core/National Standard: Comprehending concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention.

5. Working in the USA

America’s most famous museum, the Smithsonian Institution, has taken its show on the road. Since 1994, the Institution’s Museum on Main Street program has reached thousands of people in small towns around the country. It takes traveling exhibits to communities with populations between 250 and 20,000. This year’s exhibit is called “The Way We Worked.” It tells how work evolved in America and features video, still photos and audio presentations as well as artifacts, according to a Reuters news service article. Sometimes there are guest lecturers. In teams or pairs, find a story in the newspaper about professions or employers in your community. Write a summary of what the profession or employer contributes to the community. Then research what types of jobs your community has had over the years. Put together a class presentation on jobs through the years, using a variety of media including writing, photography, video and graphic arts.

Core/National Standards: Using technology to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.