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Lessons for

Grades 5-8
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Past lessons
for Grades K-4

Apr 20, 2015
Apr 13, 2015
Apr 06, 2015
Mar. 30, 2015
Mar. 23, 2015
Mar. 16, 2015
Mar. 09, 2015
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Feb. 23, 2015
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Oct. 27, 2014
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July 28, 2014
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July 14, 2014
July 07, 2014

For Grades K-4 , week of Apr 20, 2015

1. OK Being Different

Movie star Angelina Jolie has some advice for kids: Being different is good. Accepting a Kids Choice Award as “favorite villain” for her role in “Maleficent,” Jolie advised kids to “Cause a little trouble — it’s good for you.” As a child, Jolie confided, she was told she was “different,” and felt out of place — “too loud, too full of fire, never good at sitting still, never good at fitting in.” In the newspaper find a story or photo involving a person who is different in some way. Read the story closely or study the photo. Based on what you read, write a paragraph explaining how this person’s differences could be a source of pride — or strength.

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. Pretzel Factory Expanding

Philly Pretzel Factory is going nationwide, and the maker of soft pretzels eventually expects to become international. It has announced plans to open 500 Pretzel Factory shops throughout the United States by 2020 — at least one in each state. The chain based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, currently has 148 locations in 10 states. A company official has predicted that Pretzel Factory shops will also be opening in Canada, Europe and Asia as early as 2016. Businesses that are popular and successful often look to add new stores or expand into new areas. With a partner, find an ad or story in the newspaper involving a business that sells a product or food you like. Read the story and use the newspaper or Internet to learn more about the business. Think like a business owner and write a paragraph outlining how this business might expand or grow to serve more people.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

3. ‘Fancy Nancy’ on TV

Disney Junior, the preschool division of Disney Channels Worldwide, will turn the best-selling “Fancy Nancy” children’s book series into an animated TV movie and weekly show. Written by Jane O’Connor and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser, the “Fancy Nancy” books have sold more than 28 million copies since the first one was published in 2005. For years, the 20th Century Fox movie company planned to make a live-action film from the stories, but it recently decided to move on. In addition to the movie and TV show, Disney plans to sell related toys and products. Animated movies tell stories with cartoon drawings. Pretend you are making an animated movie about something you find interesting in the newspaper. Draw a series of comic strips telling a story based on your newspaper item. Give your comics a title that could also be a movie title. Discuss as a class.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

4. Tougher Termites in Florida

A new kind of termite may be chewing its way through South Florida’s houses. University of Florida scientists report that Asian and Formosan subterranean termites have been mating, and their offspring combine the strongest qualities of their parents. The two insect species are particularly damaging and difficult to control, because they travel underground and burrow up from the ground into buildings. Insect and wildlife species can cause problems when they grow in number or develop qualities that make them difficult to control. In the newspaper or online, find and read a story about a species that could cause trouble for humans or the environment if it got out of control. Use what you read to write a short editorial for the newspaper outlining ways to control this species.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; closely reading what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

5. New Oldest Person

A few weeks after celebrating her 117th birthday, Misao Okawa of Osaka, Japan died, leaving an American, Gertrude Weaver, 116, of Arkansas, as the world’s oldest person. Okawa was asked about the secret to long life at her birthday celebration and replied “I wonder about that, too.” The statistics are kept by the Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group. Adults are living longer and longer in the United States and around the world, and they often do amazing things at advanced ages. In the newspaper, find a story about a senior adult who is still active and doing things in his/her life. Read the story closely and write a letter to the editor, detailing how this senior adult could inspire other people.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

Step onto any school campus and you'll feel its energy. Each school is turbocharged with the power of young minds, bodies, hearts and spirits.

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