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For Grades 5-8 , week of Nov. 07, 2016

1. A Heated Election

This year’s race for president was one of the hardest fought in years, with charges, counter-charges and heated arguments on both sides. Tuesday’s voting determined who will be the next president, but some political experts feel the arguments may continue between supporters of Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. In the newspaper or online, closely read stories or opinion columns analyzing the outcome of the election. Use what you read to write a summary of views being expressed, and which you think will turn out to be most accurate six months from now. Use evidence from your reading to support your prediction.

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. Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Cubs Win!

When the Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians to win baseball’s 2016 World Series, it ended the longest championship drought in professional sports. And fans in Chicago were so happy they swarmed to the brick outdoor walls of historic Wrigley Field to write their names, their congratulations and the names of relatives who died without ever seeing the Cubs win the world championship. The last time the Cubs won the World Series was 108 years ago, and they hadn’t even appeared in the Series since 1945, when they lost to the Detroit Tigers. This year’s World Series went the full seven games, and the final was an extra-inning thriller in which the lead kept changing hands. Sports teams can be a great source of pride for communities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a team that is a source of pride for your community or state. Use what you read, to write a poem, rap or rhyme detailing how the team makes your community proud. Title your poem “We’re So Proud!” and perform or share it with the class.

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

3. Soda Tax Urged

The World Health Organization is urging countries to tax sugary drinks to battle the worldwide epidemic of people who are overweight or obese, improve public health, save lives and cut health care costs. Sugary drinks like sodas, energy drinks and iced teas have been linked to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay. A panel of experts convened by WHO has confirmed the connection. In the United States, cities like Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Berkeley, California have adopted soda taxes. The Philadelphia tax is being challenged in court by soda and bottling companies. Obesity is a growing problem for children and adults in the United States. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about efforts to reduce the number of people who are overweight or obese. Use what you read to create a multi-media presentation for the class, detailing what is being done and what results are being achieved.

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

Two paintings stolen from the Van Gogh Museum in the nation of the Netherlands have been recovered in Naples, Italy, as part of a continuing investigation into organized crime by Italian prosecutors. The two paintings by art master Vincent van Gogh were stolen early one December morning in 2002 by burglars who broke into the Dutch museum through the roof, and escaped out a side door. The artworks were painted in the 1880s in the Netherlands and showed a seashore scene and a scene of people leaving a small church. The recovery of the stolen Van Gogh paintings is an example of law enforcement agencies working to solve a crime. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read another story about law enforcement solving a crime. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a short film or video about the crime and what it took to solve it. Write the opening scene for your film in the form of a movie screenplay. Indicate where the scene would take place and what would be shown.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

5. Patriotism in School

In the Asian nation of China, “patriotic education” must now be emphasized in the curriculum and activities of all schools, the Chinese Ministry of Education has decreed. The policy affects all textbooks, tests, sports, museum visits and use of the Internet. It even applies even to Chinese students studying abroad in other countries. Prior to the new rules, Chinese textbooks and classes already promoted loyalty to China’s Communist Party as a bedrock value. As a Communist nation, China imposes rules and laws that give people much less freedom than the laws in the United States. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about Chinese laws, rules and regulations. Write a paragraph detailing how the Chinese laws make life different from life in the United States — and what they would be like to live under.

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.