1. Save the Red Wolf
As few as 45 wild red wolves are left in the world, and all live within the borders of the United States. In an effort to help them, nature conservation groups are petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to increase protection of the species from trapping, shooting, poisoning and destruction of habitat in southern U.S. states. In just two years, the number of red wolves in the wild has decreased 50 percent, mostly because hunters mistake them for coyotes, which are legal to hunt. While red wolves are in trouble, their numbers are not as bad as they were at one point more than 30 years ago. At that time just 17 were counted living in the wild and they were gathered for breeding in captivity. A total of 14 were bred, and in 1987 they and their offspring were reintroduced into the wild in the state of North Carolina. Conservationists now want two more populations added in southern swampy areas with reserved habitats. They also want their protected status raised from “nonessential” to “essential.” All over the world people take steps to protect wildlife species that are struggling to survive. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an effort to help a wildlife species. Use what you read to write a short letter to the editor, calling attention to the effort and suggesting ways people could help.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
2. Harry’s Back — on London Stage
The Harry Potter book series has ended, but the wizard hero is back in action — this time in a play. “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” has opened onstage in London, England, and will continue in “preview” performances until the official opening night on July 30. The play features all the characters fans have come to know over the years, plus a generation of new ones. The play is presented in two parts — each of which could be a full-length play in itself. The story is by Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling and two co-writers. The script of the play will be released for fans the day after the July 30 opening night. The Harry Potter play is giving fans of the book series a chance to think about ways the young wizard could have new adventures. Think about Potter books you have read or other favorite books and brainstorm an idea for a new adventure the characters might have. Use your idea to draw a series of comic strips for the newspaper, showing how the adventure might unfold. Share with family or friends and explain why you liked the book they were based on.
Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
3. Oh Those Cavs!
Fans in Cleveland, Ohio, have waited a long time to celebrate a sports champion, and they are still celebrating the come-from-behind victory of the Cavaliers to win the National Basketball Association title. The Cavs fell behind 3 games to 1 in the NBA finals against the Golden State Warriors, but rallied to win the last three games of the series to win the title 4 games to 3. It was Cleveland’s first pro sports championship since 1964, when the Browns won the National Football League title. Defying the odds, the Cavs defeated the team that had just set a new regular season record for wins with an incredible 73 out of 82 games. The Cavs’ championship has boosted Cleveland’s spirits just as the city hosts the Republican National Convention this week. In the newspaper or online, closely read stories about how the Cavs’ NBA title has given Cleveland a new sense of pride. Then clip or print adjectives from the newspaper or Internet that would describe how Cleveland and Cavs fans are feeling this week. Use your collected adjectives, plus images from the newspaper or Internet, to create an art collage expressing the emotions of “The Cavs’ Spirit!”
Common Core State Standards: Integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.
4. Herring Return to the Hudson
For the first time in 85 years, fish known as herring are back in streams that are tributaries to the Hudson River in New York State. They have been detected swarming into the shallow waters of a stream known as Wynants Kill, near Albany, to spawn and lay eggs. They returned after a rusted, long-abandoned steel dam was removed from the mouth of the waterway. The dam was taken out of the stream as part of a nationwide movement to remove barriers and restore spawning habitats for many fish species. Just among the streams that feed the Hudson “there are more than 1,500 dams,” a New York state official said, “… most of them no longer in use.” Dams can be an obstacle for fish swimming upstream to spawn and lay eggs. Other species also face obstacles for survival or success. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an obstacle facing a wildlife species. Use what you read to write a paragraph summarizing what the species faces, and how it is adapting. Write a second paragraph listing any ways that people could help the species be successful.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
5. Zika Funding ‘Falls Short’
The World Health Organization (WHO) has appealed to member nations to fund a campaign against the Zika virus, but so far has “fallen far short” of what it needs. Just to deal with the current outbreak of the virus carried by mosquitoes, WHO has received only $2.3 million, or just 13 percent of the $17.7 million it had requested from member nations. Overall, WHO and other United Nations agencies have appealed for $56 million to fight the disease. WHO is coordinating international scientific work to study the virus, find ways to stop its spread and develop a vaccine. When a crisis like the Zika virus happens, organizations often appeal to the public for help beyond what governments can give. With a partner, closely read stories about Zika or another problem facing the world. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a TV commercial asking the public to help solve the problem. Write the first scene of your commercial, including images you would use.
Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.