Activities  Home  K-4  5-8  9-12   Geo Quiz   Vocabulary Quiz   NewsVideo   Cartoons   Talking Points  Science Webcast 



Additional Resources for Your Classroom



Find over 300 resources that include teacher guides, student supplements, teacher training modules and so much more.

Click here to access instructional material


For Grades 5-8 , week of Oct. 03, 2016

1. Vice President Debate

On Tuesday, October 4, the Democratic and Republican candidates for vice president will square off in a vice presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. This will be the only time in the 2016 election that Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence will debate the issues on the same stage. The main job of a vice president is to be ready to step in should anything happen to the president. Kaine is a U.S. senator from the state of Virginia and Pence is the governor of the state of Indiana. Watch the vice presidential debate or read about it in the newspaper or online. Use what you watch and read to write a letter to the editor detailing what you think are the most important points each candidate made, and why.

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.

2. Ford Moving Work to Mexico

Ford Motor Co. is moving all of its U.S. small-car production to Mexico, because lower wages in that country would boost company profits. Ford’s Fiesta subcompact already is made in Mexico, but the Focus and C-Max have been made in suburban Detroit, Michigan. To accommodate the move, Ford is building a new $1.6 billion assembly plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. When companies move operations to another country, it is big news in the communities they leave because the moves eliminate jobs for local families. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the move by Ford or another company. Use what you read to write a paragraph analyzing the impact of the move on the community the company is leaving, and what can be done to address it.

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.

3. Stars to Help Veterans

“Stand Up for Heroes,” an annual benefit for wounded war veterans, will have an all-star lineup when it returns November 1 to New York’s Madison Square Garden. Among the artists who have agreed to perform at the benefit are Bruce Springsteen and comedy entertainers Louis C.K., Jon Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld and Jim Gaffigan. The benefit is presented by the New York Comedy Festival and the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which was named for the TV newsman wounded in the Iraq war by a roadside bomb. In the last decade, “Stand Up for Heroes” has raised more than $33 million for wounded veterans. It began in smaller venues, but moved to Madison Square Garden as attendance grew. Entertainers or celebrities often lend their support to charity causes. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the efforts of one entertainer. Use what you read to write a personal opinion column or essay, detailing how the involvement of the celebrity can help the charity.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; 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.

4. Trapped by Polar Bears

Five Russian meteorologists were trapped for two weeks high in the Arctic Circle when polar bears surrounded their weather station on an island in the Kara Sea. A research vessel chartered by a state-run oil firm frightened away the bears, using its helicopter. The ship had taken a detour to help the beleaguered scientists, when it looked like a specially dispatched ship would take as long as a month to reach the weather station. The polar bears were stranded on the island by melting ice because of climate change, and had “nowhere … to go,” one weatherman explained. They were a danger to attack, and had killed and eaten a guard dog at the station. Starvation was not a threat for the scientists, who had a year’s worth of food. They were always at risk, however, and had to carry arms whenever they made a trip to the nearby building that housed their electricity generator. Climate change and global warming are affecting wildlife and humans all over the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one effect on humans or animals. Use what you read to create a poster or artwork calling attention to the effect. Give your poster/artwork a creative title and discuss with your classmates how it illustrates the problem.

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; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

5. ‘Coach Made Me an All-Star’

When Larry Brown was Allen Iverson’s coach with the Philadelphia 76ers, their relationship was often a stormy one. Which was why it was surprising at Iverson’s induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame that he acknowledged “Once I started to listen to Larry Brown … [was] when I became an MVP … an all-star.” Iverson, a 6-foot shooting guard, was the National Basketball Association’s scoring leader for four seasons and was the league’s most valuable player in 2001, when he led the 76ers to the NBA finals. Brown, who was one of Iverson’s “presenters” at the Hall of Fame ceremony, was NBA coach of the year that season. The Basketball Hall of Fame honors players who achieve excellence over many years. In the newspaper or online, closely read a story about a person in sports or another profession who has achieved excellence over many years. Use what you read to write a newspaper feature story discussing the character and personal qualities that the person had to be successful for such a long time.

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