, week of
Oct. 13, 2014
1. Hispanic Soldiers Honored
Hispanic Heritage Month runs through October 15, and belatedly a group of trailblazing military veterans is getting recognition. This year, members of the Puerto Rican military regiment known as the Borinqueneers were honored with a Congressional Gold Medal for their heroism with the U.S. Army in World Wars I and II and the Korean War, despite sacrifices and discrimination they faced. The all-Puerto Rican unit was segregated and kept apart from white soldiers, much as the African American Tuskegee Airmen were. Only about 200 of the veterans remain, all in their 80s and 90s, and the Gold Medal was the first official honor bestowed on them as the fierce fighters they were. The regiment took the Borinqueneers name from the original Native American name for Puerto Rico. Hispanic Americans contribute to American life in many ways and in many fields. Find a story about a Hispanic person, business or organization in the newspaper. Write a paragraph detailing the contribution made by the person or organization to American life.
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.
2. Largest Flying Dinosaur
What was probably the largest flying dinosaur ever has been unearthed in the Asian nation of China. The 125-million-year-old creature had unusually long feathers over its entire body, including arms and legs, which made it look like it had two pairs of wings. The dinosaur was a microraptor (a group of predatory, feathered dinosaurs), and about four feet long. It’s not clear whether it actually flew or just glided. Scientists now believe that flying dinosaurs were the ancestors of modern birds. And modern birds take many different forms. In the newspaper or online, find photos of three birds that are very different from each other. Write a list of features that make each bird stand out. Then write why you think each bird developed these features. Discuss as a class.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
3. Stamps Honor Chefs
The U.S. Postal Service often issues new stamps to honor people who have made great contributions. The latest is a new series of “Forever” postage stamps that features some of America’s greatest cooks. These cooks are chefs who made their mark as teachers or restaurant owners, and they are “all pioneers,” a Postal Service official said. The stamps, which became available September 26, feature chefs from many backgrounds, including Julia Child, James Beard, Edna Lewis, Felipe Rojas-Lombardi and Joyce Chen. The Postal Service often honors groups of people who work in the same field. In the newspaper, find someone who interests you. Then find or brainstorm other people who work or perform in the same field. Pick five people to honor on postage stamps and write a sentence for each explaining why you would honor them. For added fun, draw pictures of the people on stamps.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; 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. Batting Champ
Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was leading the league in hitting before the last game of the season and could have won the American League batting title by sitting out. The team wanted to do that to make sure he’d get the honor, but when fans protested the Astros reversed the decision. Altuve, who was an All-Star this season, responded with two hits in four at-bats against the New York Mets to clinch the American League batting crown with a .341 average. He ended the season six points ahead of Detroit’s Victor Martinez, who went 0 for 3 against Minnesota in his last game. Altuve also led the Major Leagues in hits with 225, an Astros record. People often choose to face challenges, rather than avoid them. As a class, use the newspaper and Internet to find a story about a person who chose to face a challenge. Closely, read the story together. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, describing what others could learn from how the person faced the challenge.
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.
5. Giant Tortoise on the Streets
You never know what you’ll see on the streets of Los Angeles, California. This summer police had to deal with … a 150-pound giant tortoise! Catching the tortoise was no problem for police officers, considering the slow pace at which a tortoise moves. But it took two officers to lift it into a patrol car before turning it over to animal control authorities. Giant tortoises are not native to Southern California, so how it got to the streets of L.A. puzzled authorities at first. But a day after it was captured, the mystery was solved when a local family claimed the tortoise and said it had wandered away from their yard. People were amazed to see a tortoise on the street, but what must the street have looked like to the tortoise? Find photos of your community in the newspaper and imagine a tortoise walking through the scenes. Draw a series of funny comic strips with the tortoise as the main character, showing what it might think of what it saw in the scenes.
Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events.