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for Grades 5-8

Oct. 27, 2014
Oct. 20, 2014
Oct. 13, 2014
Oct. 06, 2014
Sep. 29, 2014
Sep. 22, 2014
Sep. 15, 2014
Sep. 08, 2014
Sep. 01, 2014
Aug. 25, 2014
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July 28, 2014
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May 26, 2014
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Apr 28, 2014
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Mar. 31, 2014
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Feb. 24, 2014
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Feb. 10, 2014
Feb. 03, 2014
Jan. 27, 2014
Jan. 20, 2014

For Grades 5-8 , week of Oct. 27, 2014

1. Carter Campaigns Again

It’s been more than four decades since future President Jimmy Carter stumped for votes across Georgia, but at 90 years old he’s hitting the campaign trail again. His grandson, State Senator Jason Carter, is the Democratic candidate for governor, and Gramps — who held that job 40 years ago — is campaigning for him. The two Carters appeared together at a predominantly African-American church, specifically opposing the state’s voter ID law, which they contend is aimed at keeping down the traditionally Democratic black vote. Jason Carter is challenging Republican Governor Nathan Deal in the November 4 election, and polls suggest a tight race. In 36 states and three U.S. territories, voters will choose governors this fall. In the newspaper or online, find stories about a governor’s race that is expected to be close. Closely read the positions of the top candidates on three issues. Write a paragraph for each issue, summarizing each candidate’s position.

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. Warmer Waters Threaten Fish

Some of the most important commercial fish species might be finding new homes or become extinct by 2050, a recent study warns, because the water they live in is getting warmer. If water temperature rises by as little as three degrees in tropical areas, according to a report in the ICES Journal of Marine Sciences, some fish might be forced to leave their natural habitats. The report states that this could be a great loss for tropical regions on Earth, which are highly dependent on fish for food, nutrition, employment and income. At the same time, it could boost biodiversity in the Earth’s polar regions, to which the fish might migrate. The report did not address warnings that overfishing and pollution threaten global fisheries, leaving fewer fish to migrate. The global warming of oceans and land areas is having many effects on wildlife and habitats. In the newspaper or online, find a story about one effect of global warming. Read the story closely and write a short editorial outlining steps people could take to reduce the effect caused by warming.

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

3. Election Ads Online

Politicians have discovered the Internet as a medium to promote candidates and positions, but they are discovering that there are limits to the Internet as well. As Election Day nears on November 4, candidates are learning that premium space on the web has already been booked. Savvy political players moved early to purchase space for future ads from major vendors such as Google, Yahoo and Pandora — especially in states where close races were anticipated for governor and U.S. Senate. Political advertising on the Internet, TV and radio plays a huge role in modern campaigns. In the newspaper or online, find a story about the way candidates are using advertising to appeal to voters. Summarize the impact of an ad you think is effective in a paragraph or short essay.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

4. An ATM in Mogadishu

In the United States, at least 420,000 automatic teller machines are in use — the most in the world. But in some areas, the ATM is almost unknown. In the African nation of Somalia, the first-ever ATM has been unveiled in the city of Mogadishu, installed by Salaam Somali bank. The Mogadishu ATM dispenses U.S. dollars, even though the country’s main currency is the Somali shilling. The world’s first automated teller machine was installed in 1967 in London, England. The ATM is an example of technology being used to bring great change in the way things are done. In the newspaper, find another example of a technology device that has brought great change. Draw a series of comic strips illustrating how this device has changed the way people work, communicate or perform tasks.

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.

5. Colombian Women Honored

A group of women in the South American nation of Colombia has received one of the world’s greatest honors for humanitarian work for helping people. The group, called Butterflies With New Wings Building a Future, received the 2014 Nansen Refugee Award from the United Nations for its work with survivors of sexual violence and forced displacement from homes. Colombia, which has had a 50-year civil war between government forces and paramilitary groups, is second only to the Middle East nation of Syria in the number of residents forced to flee their homes. In 50 years, an estimated 5.7 million Colombians have been displaced because of violence or fighting. All over the world, groups like Butterflies With New Wings help people who are faced with hardship, war or violence. In the newspaper or online, find a story about a group helping people somewhere in the world. Read the story closely and brainstorm an idea for a public service TV ad seeking support for the group. Write an outline for your ad, including both its message and the images it would use.

Common Core State Standards: Integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.


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