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Past lessons
for Grades 5-8

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
Apr 20, 2015
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 5-8 , week of Aug. 31, 2015

1. ‘Sesame Street’ on HBO

After running exclusively on the Public Broadcasting System since 1969, “Sesame Street” will appear on HBO for at least five seasons, according to an agreement between that premium cable channel and financially struggling Sesame Workshop. Shows will still be seen on PBS, but months later than on HBO. The deal “provides Sesame Workshop with the critical funding it needs,” a Sesame Workshop executive explains. “… It gives HBO exclusive pay cable … access … and it allows ‘Sesame Street’ to continue to … reach all children, as it has for 45 years.” “Sesame Street” finds creative ways to teach young children skills they need in school and things they need to know about dealing with other people. In the newspaper, find and read a story about a subject younger kids should know about. Then brainstorm an idea for a video that would explain or teach younger kids about the subject. Write an outline for your video, and then write the first scene.

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.

2. Toy Guns Can’t Look Real

Toy guns that look like real guns can cause deadly problems. So now a handful of stores in New York State have agreed to keep realistic-looking toy guns off their shelves in New York. The decision by stores that include Walmart, Kmart, Sears and Amazon is part of a settlement with the state attorney general’s office, which found that more than 6,400 toy guns sold from 2012 to 2014 violate state laws. Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has cited “instances around the country in which police officers have mistaken toy guns for actual guns” as a key reason for pulling them from stores. The settlement regulations are designed to cut down on robberies and other crimes committed with toy guns and shootings by police or others who might mistake a toy gun for a real one. Public safety rules and regulations are adopted by legislatures and law enforcement to make people safer. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a public safety rule or regulation that has been proposed or enacted. Based on what you read, write a short editorial giving your opinion on the rule, what it seeks to accomplish and how effective you think it will be.

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.

3. ‘Bless This Player’s Knee’

Pope Francis is visiting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the end of September and the city’s pro football fans have a special request for him. Thousands of Philadelphia Eagles fans have signed a petition asking the Pope to bless the knees of frequently injured Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford. There’s been no reaction from the Pope or his Vatican staff, and the Eagles won’t even be in town the weekend the Pope is in Philadelphia. They’ll be in northern New Jersey to play the New York Jets on September 27. Bradford, who is trying to come back from a second torn ACL injury, told reporters that if the Pope wanted to bless his knee, “I would be fine with that.” The petition states: “Our Super Bowl hopes rely on Sam Bradford’s knees staying healthy. … [It’s] the only way we will have a parade down Broad Street.” Sports fans will go to great lengths to support their team. In the newspaper or online, find and read stories about fans in your state going to great lengths to support a college or professional team. Use what you read to draw a series of comic strips, showing these fans in action.

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; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

4. President in the Arctic

President Obama will become the first president to visit the Alaskan Arctic in an effort to meet the threat of climate change. He will visit the state’s rapidly melting glaciers and meet with hunters and fishermen whose livelihoods are threatened by global warming. “What’s happening in Alaska isn’t just a preview of what will happen to the rest of us if we don’t take action,” the President said. “It’s our wake-up call. The bells are ringing.” Global warming and climate change are making news all over the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the effects of climate change and global warming. Use what you read to write a paragraph or short essay summarizing one effect and what could be done about it.

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.

5. Desperate

Talk about desperation. An immigrant from Africa seeking refuge in Europe risked his life by climbing four fences, evading search teams and security cameras and walking about 30 miles in the English Channel Tunnel in an effort to reach England. The illegal immigrant dodged high-speed trains between Paris and London before being caught and arrested on the English side. The immigrant, who came from the African nation of Sudan, is not likely to be rewarded. A spokesperson for Euro-tunnel said he “could now face prison, and will not likely be able to get asylum. … He has lost everything.” He must be punished, officials said, because “it is very dangerous to enter the tunnel and a person can be seriously injured or killed.” Thousands of immigrants are seeking to enter countries on the continent of Europe to escape violence and hardship in Africa. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about problems this illegal immigration is causing and how it should be addressed. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor calling attention to the problem.

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.


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