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for Grades 5-8

Nov. 23, 2015
Nov. 16, 2015
Nov. 09, 2015
Nov. 02, 2015
Oct. 26, 2015
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Sep. 28, 2015
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Mar. 30, 2015
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Mar. 09, 2015
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Feb. 23, 2015
Feb. 16, 2015

For Grades 5-8 , week of Nov. 23, 2015

1. TV Reacts to Paris Attacks

The deadly terrorist attacks in the city of Paris, France got a quick reaction from American TV networks — and not just in the way they organized news coverage. U.S. TV networks also reacted by pulling episodes of entertainment shows whose plots involved terrorism in major cities. For example, CBS replaced an episode of “Supergirl,” in which a city is protected from a series of bombings, with a Thanksgiving-oriented episode. “NCIS: Los Angeles” replaced an episode in which a teenage girl is recruited by terrorists with one involving the search for a missing woman. “Saturday Night Live,” meanwhile, skipped its usual opening monologue and substituted a message of support to Paris. The attacks on Paris have heightened concerns about fighting terrorism and stopping terrorist groups like ISIS, which has taken responsibility for the Paris attacks. In the newspaper or online, closely read stories about the latest developments regarding the Paris attacks and those responsible. Use what you read to summarize the three most important developments of recent days.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; 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. New ‘Star Wars’ Video Game

Just before the opening of the movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the entertainment franchise is unveiling a new video game, “Star Wars Battlefront.” Critics are acclaiming its photorealistic graphics. The new game, published by Electronic Arts, allows players to engage in pivotal battle scenes depicted in the three original “Star Wars” movies. Electronic Arts has increased its sales estimate for the game in the current fiscal year to 13 million units. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is expected to be a major hit in the holiday movie season. And whenever there’s a major movie, there are lots of product tie-ins and promotions that go with it. In the newspaper or online, find and read a story about product tie-ins and promotions connected to the new “Star Wars” movie or to other holiday movies. Pick one you think sounds cool — or silly — and write a “review” of it in the style of a newspaper entertainment critic. Give specific reasons to support your opinions.

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.

3. 600-Year-Old Shipwreck

An old shipwreck unearthed in the mud of a river near Southampton, England, is probably the Holigost, which played a role in two sea battles that enabled British King Henry V to conquer territory in France in the 15th century. If recovered safely and verified, the ship will be preserved for display in the nearby city of Portsmouth. Estimated at 100 feet long and 40 feet wide, the Holigost — or Holy Ghost — was considered one of the four “great ships” of Henry V’s navy. It had a crew of 200, plus seven cannons, among other weapons. It was designed to carry several hundred soldiers in addition to the crew. Henry V is the title character in William Shakespeare’s famous play, “Henry V,” which deals with his war against France. Shipwrecks give archaeologists and historians a great way to study the past, because water or mud can preserve them and their contents. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a discovery by archaeologists. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a short video or film about the discovery. Write an outline for your film, including visual images you would use. Then write the opening scene in the form of a screenplay.

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.

4. Walgreen’s Acquiring Rite-Aid

This is big news in the drugstore world: Walgreen’s is acquiring Rite-Aid, and the buy-out will create the nation’s largest drugstore chain. They had been the nation’s second and third largest drugstore chains, after CVS Health Corp. The $17.2 billion deal will give Walgreen’s about 12,800 locations across the U.S. The deal is expected to yield more than $1 billion in savings by eliminating cost overlaps. When one business acquires another, it’s big news because it affects employees, consumers and whole communities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a business acquisition, or a business merger. Use what you read to write a paragraph or short essay outlining the benefits of the acquisition or merger, and any possible negative effects on employees, consumers or the community.

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; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

5. A Book About Standing in Line

Someone has written a book about the stressful and frustrating act of waiting in line. Called “Why Does the Other Line Always Move Faster?” it promises to reveal “The Myths and Misery, Secrets and Psychology of Waiting in Line,” as its subtitle declares. The book is by David Andrews, and the 33-year-old author knows a lot about waiting in line — or in “the queue” as lines are known in European nations like Romania, where he grew up. His parents were missionaries in Romania, and people “stood in long lines for everything,” he recalls. Later, he experienced more lines in the U.S. Navy, waiting for meals, medical checkups and more, he says. Andrews’ book about waiting line takes a creative look at an everyday thing. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an everyday event experienced by people. Use what you read to write a poem, rap or rhyme that creatively talks about the event. Express your emotions in the poem, so that people will feel what it’s like to experience this event. Give your poem an eye-catching title that will make people want to read it.

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.