Yak’s Corner
A print and online children’s news magazine published on 30 Thursdays from September through May for Michigan kids ages 6-13. Each eight-page issue is filled with educational and entertaining stories about places, people and events in Michigan and around the world. The Yak’s Corner online page also includes “Yaktivities” for each issue, a Yak Art Gallery, student writing and more.
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For Grades K-4 , week of Oct. 31, 2011

1. Heroes and Grinders

On November 3, 1718, the fourth Earl of Sandwich was born. The Earl is famous for inventing a food people eat for lunch every day -- the sandwich! In honor of his birthday, create a new sandwich of your own. Cut or print out interesting "ingredients" from today's newspaper. They can be pictures of lettuce and tomatoes or other "sandwichy" foods -- or you can get more creative. Paste your ingredients on a piece of paper and draw two slices of bread to hold your sandwich. Give your new sandwich a creative name, and share names as a class. Who had the funniest one?

Core/National Standards: Reading and writing with developing fluency, listening and interacting appropriately, viewing strategically and representing creatively; adding drawings or other visual displays to clarify ideas, thoughts and feelings.

2. Here Comes the Sun

Sometimes we take the sun for granted, and the sun doesn't make the news very often. However, every picture taken outside during the daytime shows the sun's effect on the world. Where the sun can't reach, there are shadows. Cut out five daytime outside pictures from today's newspaper. Paste them on larger pieces of paper. Using a flashlight to represent the sun, experiment and figure out where the sun must be in each of the pictures. Draw the sun where you decide it is on each of the larger sheets.

Core/National Standards: Using drawings or other visual displays to clarify ideas, thoughts and feelings; explaining how shadows are made.

3. Tsunami of Trash

Last March a powerful earthquake and tsunami created millions of tons of trash in the Asian nation of Japan. Ocean currents then pulled wrecked homes, boats, furniture and belongings out to sea in the Pacific Ocean. And the mess is still there. Researchers from the University of Hawaii say currents are now pushing 5 to 20 million tons of wreckage toward Hawaii in the middle of the Pacific Ocean -- and it could reach the west coast of the United States in three years. As a class, talk about ways natural disasters and other events can affect oceans or the environment. Then write a letter to the editor of the newspaper describing a good way to clean up after such an event.

Core/National Standard: Writing opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic they are writing about, state and opinion and supply reasons that support the opinion

4. Let's Go to the Movies

November marks the beginning of the holiday movie season. It's a time when movie companies put out big shows they hope kids and families will want to see during holiday vacations. This year there will be lots of kid-friendly movies, featuring everything from the Muppets, to Alvin and the Chipmunks to Puss in Boots to dancing penguins. As a class, talk about the kinds of movies you like to watch with friends or your family. Then find a movie ad in the newspaper for a movie you want to see. Write a complete sentence describing why you want to see this movie. Then draw a cartoon showing you enjoying the movie with your friends.

Core/National Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts and information; adding drawings or other visual displays to clarify ideas, thoughts and feelings.

5. Play Outside, See Better

There are many benefits of playing outside, instead of sitting in front of the TV or computer. Now a scientific study in the European country of Great Britain suggests a new benefit: seeing better. Increasing outdoor time could help prevent near-sightedness, said Dr. Anthony Khawaja, an eye expert at the University of Cambridge. Dr Khawaja's team made that conclusion after reviewing studies involving more than 10,000 children. As a class, discuss different benefits from playing outside at school, in parks or at home. Then draw a comic strip for the newspaper showing friends involved in active outdoor activities. Core/National Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions, building on ideas of other students and expressing their own clearly; adding drawings or other visual displays when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts and feelings.