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For Grades K-4 , week of May 30, 2016

1. ‘Mighty Mutt March’

For many years, dog owners in San Francisco, California, have walked their dogs in the city’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Now, however, the National Park Service wants to put limits on dog-walking in the area — and dog owners aren’t happy. They recently staged a “Mighty Mutt March” with their dogs to protest the plan, holding signs that read “Unleash Our Land” and dressing their dogs in red protest bandanas. Park officials say the plan is designed to balance the needs of park users who are not dog owners as well as those who are. The dog owners say change is not necessary, and they have organized a Save Our Recreation group to work against the plan. People often join together to solve problems or change situations. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a group of people working together (outside of sports). Write the word TOGETHER down the side of a sheet of paper. Use each letter to start a sentence or phrase describing how working together is more effective than working alone.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

2. Olympic Mosquitoes

The 2016 Summer Olympics will be held in August in the South American country of Brazil, and that is causing worries among some nations. The reason is that the Zika virus is being spread by mosquitoes in Brazil, and nations want to keep their athletes from being bitten and infected. The Asian nation of South Korea, for example, has announced that its athletes will wear uniforms containing mosquito repellent when they are not competing to protect them against the virus. The outfits feature long pants and long sleeves and will be worn during ceremonies, training and down time at the athletes’ village. The uniforms will not be worn during competition, because the Olympics have strict rules on what athletes can wear when competing. The South Korean uniforms have been designed to protect athletes from the Zika virus. In the ads and photos of the newspaper, find images of other items designed to protect people. Print or clip out the images and use them to create an art collage showing “The Importance of Protection.” Write a paragraph explaining which items you think are the most important or useful for protecting people.

Common Core State Standards: Integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; 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.

3. World’s Longest Snake

Workers found what was probably the world’s longest snake at a construction site in the Southeast Asian nation of Malaysia. The reticulated python was 26 feet long, and weighed 551 pounds. It took civil defense workers on the island of Penang more than a half-hour to wrestle and subdue the creature, which unfortunately died after laying an egg. Cause of death has not been determined, but it probably was not connected to the egg, biologists agree. An autopsy examination of the snake is scheduled to determine why it died. The reticulated python gets its name from the pattern on its skin — “reticulated” means “like a net.” The huge python found in Malaysia was very unusual. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another unusual wildlife species. Use what you read to draw a series of comic strips, showing this species in action and what makes it unusual.

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. Handwriting Champ Has No Hands

A girl born without hands has won a national handwriting contest. Anaya Ellick, 7, won $1,000 in the annual event sponsored by the Zaner-Bloser company to promote good handwriting. Anaya does not use prosthetic replacement hands, but holds a pencil between her arms, standing at a desk in order to have the proper angle. As part of her prize, her school, Greenbrier Christian Academy in Chesapeake, Virginia, received a gift certificate from the company to be spent on print and digital resources. Her parents say Anaya doesn’t see herself as handicapped, noting that she is as independent as can be, “ties her shoes, gets dressed by herself [and] doesn’t really need any assistance to do anything.” Seven-year-old Anaya Ellick inspires many people for the way she refuses to let her physical condition affect the way she lives. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another person who inspires people. Use what you read to write a short letter to the editor describing how this person inspires people, and what they could learn from him/her.

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.

5. Millions Need Health Care

At least 400 million people around the world don’t have the health services they need, the World Health Organization and World Bank report. At least 6 percent of people in 37 low- and middle-income countries are living in poverty because of what they must spend for health care. “The world’s most disadvantaged people are missing out on even the most basic services,” the organizations report. The 98-page report was issued through the United Nations in New York City. People in other nations are often not as well off as people who live in the United States, and many Americans want to help them. As a class, use the newspaper and Internet to find and closely read stories about people in other nations who are in need. Discuss ways that American families, schools or communities could help them. Then write a paragraph outlining one way your school, family or community could provide help.

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