Yak’s Corner
A print and online children’s news magazine published on 32 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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Online fun and educational activities for our youngest readers, their teachers and families, including two week’s worth of free Kid Scoop Download Edition learning packets. Each six-page packet focuses on a curriculum-based theme.
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for Grades 5-8

July 28, 2014
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For Grades 5-8 , week of July 28, 2014

1. Iraqi Orchestra Cancels Visit

The National Youth Orchestra of Iraq was planning to visit the United States this summer, but the turmoil in that Middle East country has forced it to cancel the trip. Because the strife has forced the U.S. Embassy to move its staff to different areas in the city of Baghdad, it was impossible to ensure that travel visas would be ready in time. The orchestra was planning to work in the U.S. with the Youth Symphony Orchestra in Elgin, Illinois, and to perform in Elgin, Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C. Violence has been escalating between rebels who are Sunni Muslims and the Iraqi government, which is led by Shiite Muslims. In the newspaper, follow the latest developments each day for a week. Read stories closely and at the end of the week, write a summary of the issues and news developments. Then write a prediction of what will happen over the next month.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

2. Girls Urged to Learn Coding

Google has launched a $50 million effort to attract more girls to the computer coding industry. As many as 4.2 million jobs in computing and information technology are expected to exist in the United States by 2020, but fewer than 1 percent of high school girls are choosing computer science as a career path. A Google executive says the new program, “Made with Code,” features a website designed to show girls that “coding is fun,” and that it’s not just limited to technology-related chores, but is helpful in a wide variety of businesses and activities. The website — www.MadeWithCode.com — encourages girls to use basic coding technique for fun activities like games and making bracelets and demonstrates the creativity of coding. Computing and information technology are two of the fastest growing — and highest paying — career fields. Visit the Made with Code website and browse the content and activities. Then design an ad for the newspaper or Internet to encourage girls to get into the computing and information technology fields. Stress the creativity and reward of the fields in your ad.

Common Core State Standards: Integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

3. U.S. to Study Bee Losses

A dramatic decrease in the number of honeybees and other pollinators may have a devastating effect on the world’s ecology, and the problem is so serious the White House is stepping in. President Obama has signed a memorandum calling for research into the causes of the decline, particularly the role of pesticides, and also is setting up a “pollinator health task force.” More than 14 federal health agencies will be represented on the task force because reversing pollinator losses is “critical,” the president said. Pollinators like honeybees spread the pollen that allows plants to produce fruits and vegetables. With family or friends, talk about the fruits and vegetables you and your family like most. Then imagine what life would be like without them for meals and snacks. Draw a series of comic strips for the newspaper showing life without these favorite foods that pollinators make possible.

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.

4. 50 Million Refugees

For the first time since the end of World War II, the total number of refugees, asylum seekers and people displaced within countries has surpassed 50 million, the United Nations reports. Just since 2012, the U.N. reports there has been an increase of 6 million, mostly due to the civil war in in the Middle East nation of Syria. Lebanon, which borders Syria in the Middle East, is by far the host to the highest proportion of refugees, compared to its total population (178 per 1,000). Lebanon is followed by the nation of Jordan, which borders Syria to the south, and the African nations of Chad and Mauritania. The influx of refugees imposes a severe strain on the host countries, because refugees must be sheltered and fed and host countries often are in desperate straits themselves. In the newspaper, follow the conflict in Syria and research the issue of Syrian refugees. Write a paragraph or short essay summarizing the latest developments in the conflict and the status of refugees.

Common Core State Standards: 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.

5. Treading Water Overnight

Two people who fell from their boat survived for hours at night in the ocean off Hallandale Beach, Florida — without flotation devices and with nothing to signal for help. The man, 50, and woman, 52, were uninjured after staying afloat for 14 hours by “treading water” — moving their arms and legs as if they were walking on land. They were rescued by a group of men on a fishing trip who were in the area. Newspapers often write human interest stories that convey the feelings and emotions of people like the couple rescued at sea. In the newspaper, find a story about a person in the news. Imagine what the person may have felt and experienced, and write a creative story or poem describing those emotions. Give your work a creative title and share with the class.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; demonstrating understanding of figurative language.