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Grades 5-8
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Past lessons
for Grades K-4

Aug. 31, 2015
Aug. 24, 2015
Aug. 17, 2015
Aug. 10, 2015
Aug. 03, 2015
July 27, 2015
July 20, 2015
July 13, 2015
June 29, 2015
June 22, 2015
June 15, 2015
June 08, 2015
June 01, 2015
May 25, 2015
May 18, 2015
May 11, 2015
May 04, 2015
Apr 27, 2015
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Apr 13, 2015
Apr 06, 2015
Mar. 30, 2015
Mar. 23, 2015
Mar. 16, 2015
Mar. 09, 2015
Mar. 02, 2015
Feb. 23, 2015
Feb. 16, 2015
Feb. 09, 2015
Feb. 02, 2015
Jan. 26, 2015
Jan. 19, 2015
Jan. 12, 2015
Jan. 05, 2015
Dec. 15, 2014
Dec. 08, 2014
Dec. 01, 2014
Nov. 24, 2014
Nov. 17, 2014
Nov. 10, 2014

For Grades K-4 , week of Aug. 31, 2015

1. ‘Star Wars’ by Disney

The “Star Wars” movies have been hugely popular with kids, and now the Disney company is turning them into theme parks you can visit. Disney is building two huge “Star Wars” attractions at Disneyland in California and at Walt Disney World in Florida. Each of the 14-acre theme parks will be chock full of droids, “fantastic roaming beasts” and other inhabitants of “Star Wars” lands. Disney has not announced when these attractions will open to the public, but says they are the company’s “largest, single-themed land expansion ever.” Some “Star Wars” exhibits already exist at Disney parks, but the new ones are designed to let visitors feel they are inside the “Stars Wars” world. Theme parks and amusement parks are popular attractions for kids and families. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read ads and stories about theme parks in your area or state. Use what you read to write a paragraph or short essay explaining why these parks appeal to kids and families.

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.

2. The World’s Oldest Cat

A cat named Corduroy has become one of the most unusual cats in the world. He is 26 years old and has been named the world’s oldest living cat by Guinness World Records. Ashley Reed Okura of the town of Sisters, Oregon has had him since he was a kitten and she was just 7 years old. Corduroy is active and in good health, his owner says, except for some kidney problems. She says his long life may be due to the fact he has always ranged freely outdoors and has gotten lots of exercise. People love their pets. In the newspaper or online, find and read a story about a pet that someone loves or find an ad for a pet you would like to have. Use what you read to write a poem, rap or rhyme explaining why someone would want or love this pet.

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.

3. Space Windows Cleaned

Even space stations need their windows cleaned, and two Russian cosmonauts took a spacewalk this summer to clean a porthole window on the International Space Station. It had not been cleaned in years and had been coated by dirt and grime left by the exhaust fumes of visiting spaceships. During the six-hour job 250 miles above the Earth, the cosmonauts also installed new equipment and carried out maintenance. It was the station’s fourth spacewalk this year, and the 10th spacewalk by station commander Gennady Padalka. Padalka now holds the record for the most time spent walking in space outside the Space Station. Manned space missions involve many challenges for the people on board. In the newspaper or the website read about a space mission in which people face challenges on a spacecraft. Use what you read to draw a series of comic strips for the newspaper, showing the challenges and how they were met.

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. Call Her ‘Miss World Record’

American swimmer Katie Ledecky capped off a history-making week in Kazan, Russia, by setting a world record in the 800-meter freestyle — her 10th world record in 24 months. The 18-year-old finished the meet with five gold medals in the world championship competition — the first swimmer ever to win the 200-, 400-, 800- and 1,500-meter freestyles (her other gold was in the 4x200 freestyle relay). Ledecky, a resident of Bethesda, Maryland, is taking a year off to train for the 2016 Summer Olympics in the South American city of Rio de Janeiro. After that, the swimmer whom a TV reporter nicknamed “Miss World Record” will enroll at Stanford University in California. In every sport, young athletes set new records or perform outstanding feats. In the newspaper, find and closely read a story about a young athlete achieving great success. Use what you read to write a short newspaper editorial, offering your opinion on how this athlete could inspire others.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

5. Amazing Webs!

Webs big enough to cover whole trees have been spotted near Rowlett, Texas, and experts believe they were created by thousands of spiders working together. Spiders usually work alone to construct webs, a Texas state scientist has explained, “so finding spiders working together to build a huge web … was a real surprise.” The species credited with working together “communally” on the Rowlett webs has been known to make communal nests when conditions were right. The most recent example occurred in 2007, along a lake about 35 miles from Rowlett, a town located 20 miles east of the city of Dallas. Wildlife species often do unusual or amazing things. In the newspaper or online, closely read a story about such a species. Then write a paragraph detailing what scientists could learn by studying this species or activity.

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.