1. My Ideas Are Best!
The 2012 race for president is up and running. Republican candidates are making appearances on talk shows and in debates. When candidates meet for a debate, they answer questions from a moderator or panel of experts. In their answers, you hear many different viewpoints presented on different topics. Right now, the candidates are talking about jobs for Americans, the country's economy, wars in Libya and Afghanistan, education, health care and more. Voters decide who they think is the best person for the job based on the answers of the candidates. As a class, find stories about the Republican candidates and President Obama in your newspaper. Fold a paper in six to eight squares and write what the candidates think about the different issues facing our country. Each square should contain a candidate and his/her ideas.
Core Standard: Explaining the relationships of interactions between two or more individuals based on specific information in the text.
2. Getting Ready for the Day
Fall officially begins this week, and you may already be noticing a change in the weather. Experts on weather also are noticing changes as they make their daily forecasts. Weather forecasts can help you make sure you will be dressed properly. Look at the weather page and weather map in today's newspaper. Draw a picture of yourself dressed properly for tomorrow's weather. Then find a city or country listed on that page that begins with the same letter as your first or last name. Find out what the weather will be like there tomorrow. Draw a picture of a student your age who is dressed for the weather in that place.
Core Standard: Interpreting information presented visually, orally or quantitatively; using the craft of the illustrator.
3. Who's Writing?
Knowing how things are the same and how they are different is an important skill to have. There are many times different newspaper reporters will write about an event, and you will wonder if they were at the same place covering the same thing. One reporter will think one thing is important, and another reporter will think something else is important. For example, when the Detroit Tigers beat the Chicago White Sox 14-4 recently, the Detroit Free Press writer focused on how well the hitter Ryan Raburn did. On the other hand, the writer from the Chicago Tribune wrote about White Sox batting coach Greg Walker. The same is true with football game coverage. The sports writers from the Arizona Republic and the Charlotte Observer had two very different takes on the Arizona Cardinals' win over the Carolina Panthers. Search your newspaper for two sports stories about the same event. Draw pictures of how the stories are different and how they are the same.
Core Standard: Comparing and contrasting the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic.
4. Picture Perfect
A close-up picture of chef Phil Jones wearing a bright blue-and-yellow T-shirt was featured in the Life section of the Detroit Free Press recently. Another picture showed him grating cheese onto appetizers. The story was about food, but it really was about more than that. The caption on the first picture told us that he is the manager at a restaurant called Colors, and that the soon-to-be-opened eatery has a special program to teach people how to become better chefs. Pictures and captions are an important part of a newspaper. Often, they are what draw readers to stories. Search your newspaper for a photograph that catches your eye and calls attention to a story. Cut or print out the photo and story and talk with your class about why the picture and caption made you want to read the story. Explain what the story is about to your friends.
Core Standard: Using information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text.
5. From Pain to Paint
When John Kraetz, a 36-year veteran firefighter, found himself laid low by a disease, he found a new love. The fire chief with the Rural/Metro Fire Department in the towns of Carefree and Cave Creek, Arizona, picked up a paintbrush and started painting scenes from Mexico, where he has a home in a small fishing village on the Sea of Cortez, according to an article in the Arizona Republic. Each week, he gets a chemotherapy shot that makes him extremely sick for about two days and then leaves him feeling generally lousy for the rest of the week. It's during that lousy time that he puts paint to canvas. Several of his paintings have sold, and he is having a showing in an art gallery. He said that it's hard to go from being in a physical job to being laid up, but his art is helping him get through. Find a newspaper article about a person overcoming hardship. Write a personal letter to the person offering support.
Core Standard: Analyzing in detail how a key individual is introduced, illustrated and elaborated in a text (e.g through examples or anecdotes).