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For Grades 5-8 , week of Aug. 22, 2016

1. The Race for President

The 2016 presidential race is heating up, with Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton criss-crossing the country and talking about the issues important to them. Issues for candidates can be national, state, regional or local. Candidates for president usually will focus on national issues. Look through today’s newspaper and find several national issues that are getting attention from the candidates for president. Read the stories about these issues and write a paragraph summarizing the issues and why they are important to each candidate. Then find a story about a state issue that might interest a candidate for president. Read the story about this issue. Write a second paragraph explaining why this issue would be important for the candidates.

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. Another Heat Record!

June was the Earth’s 14th straight record hot month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced. It was 1.62 degrees warmer than the average temperature for June and a shade above the record set last year. Scientists attribute this to a combination of manmade global warning and the natural El Nino weather pattern, which periodically warms the Pacific Ocean region. Scientists note that record monthly temperatures were set throughout the first half of this year, and 2016 so far is about 2.7 degrees warmer than average overall. The last month that did not set a new record was April 2015. Global warming is drawing attention all around the world for its effects on temperatures, sea levels and the environment. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one effect of global warming that is being discussed by scientists. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a TV ad or short video to explain the effect to the public. Write an outline for your ad/video, including images you would use. Share ideas with family, friends or classmates.

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.

3. Rats a Threat to Kiwi Birds

Invasive predators are threatening the survival of some of New Zealand’s unique native species. Now the island nation in the southwest Pacific Ocean plans to do something about it — with a program designed to eliminate possums, rats, weasels and other predators by 2050. The invasive species were introduced by Polynesian and European settlers, and they now are killing millions of birds and other native species, including the kiwi bird, the nation’s symbol. The government says the effort will be “the most ambitious conservation project attempted anywhere in the world,” but it is expected to be opposed by animal rights activists, as was a similar plan in nearby Australia. The program could cost as much as $6.2 billion over 50 years. Invasive plant and animal species are a problem in many parts of the world, including the United States. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an invasive species and its effects. Use what you read to write a short editorial detailing how government, science or the community should respond to control or eliminate the invasive species.

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.

4. Women Physicians Earn Less

Even among physicians, women earn less than their male counterparts. According to an analysis in the journal called JAMA Internal Medicine, male doctors at some of the nation’s most prominent public medical schools can earn as much as $20,000 more a year than their female colleagues. Among surgeons, the pay gap is even wider at $40,000 or more. The only specialty in which women are paid more is radiology, in which adjusted average salary favors women by roughly $2,000 per year. Income inequality between men and women has gotten a great deal of attention from political and business leaders this year. In the newspaper or online, find and read stories about leaders offering their views on what should be done to close the gap. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, summarizing key points you think people should know.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

5. One-Handed Boxing Win

Despite a broken right hand and a torn right biceps, Deontay Wilder has retained the world heavyweight boxing title. Fighting one-handed from the fourth round on in a recent championship bout in Birmingham, Alabama, he battered Chris Arreola until the eighth round, when the fight was stopped and declared a technical knockout. Wilder said the injury was caused by an awkward punch he made. Arreola had been a late substitution for a Russian opponent, Alexander Povetkin. Athletes often overcome injuries or obstacles to achieve success. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an athlete who has overcome injury or an obstacle. Use what you read to write a poem, rap or rhyme telling how this person’s effort could inspire others.

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