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for Grades 5-8

Nov. 11, 2019
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For Grades 5-8 , week of Apr 22, 2019

1. Landmark Ravaged

In the city of Paris, France, the Notre Dame Cathedral has been a landmark and attraction for more than 850 years. It has survived world wars, plagues and periods of neglect to become the Number One tourist attraction in the European city. Last week, Notre Dame was heavily damaged by a raging fire that destroyed the roof and the Catholic cathedral’s famous spire. The fire broke out during an extensive renovation of the building and was fueled by a “forest” of heavy wooden beams that supported the roof. French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild the cathedral within five years, and French corporations and millionaires quickly stepped forward to pledge nearly $1-billion for reconstruction. Notre Dame Cathedral is a landmark that is loved and greatly valued by the people of Paris. In the newspaper or online, find a story or photo involving a landmark building in your state or community. Use what you read to write a paragraph or short essay telling what this building means to the community and why it is important. Share ideas as a class.

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.

2. Goodbye E-Cigarettes

E-cigarettes and vaping products are growing in popularity around the nation — and especially among teens and pre-teens. That worries health experts, who fear young users may become addicted to the nicotine in e-cigarettes, or encouraged to try traditional tobacco cigarettes. To curb the use of e-products among middle and high school students, one of the nation’s largest drug store chains will stop selling them. In an announcement this month Rite Aid said it would stop selling e-cigarettes and vaping products in more than 2,400 stores over the next three months. From time to time, businesses change the way they do things in response to public concerns or public issues. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a business doing this. Use what you read to write a short editorial giving your opinion on the action by the business and what effect you think it will have.

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. Climate Threat

In a 60-year career, David Attenborough has earned a reputation as one of the world’s leading environmentalists. In TV series such as “Life on Earth” and “The Living Planet,” he has educated millions of viewers about the natural world and chronicled the challenges faced by both wildlife and habitats. Now, at age 92, he is taking on a project to call attention to the threat of climate change. In partnership with the World Wildlife Fund, he has created a Netflix TV series called “Our Planet” that examines how climate change is affecting wildlife, environments and people around the world. “What we do in the next 20 years will determine the future for all life on Earth,” Attenborough says. “We are totally dependent upon the natural world for every mouthful of food we eat and every lungful of air that we breathe. If we damage the natural world … we damage ourselves.” Climate change is affecting wildlife, habitats and people’s lives all over the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about different effects climate change is having. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for an animated film to explain these effects to children and the public. Create two characters to be spokespeople to explain the effects. Write a description for each character and why this type of character would be effective in an animated movie.

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.

4. Good (Bat) Dog

In minor league baseball, teams are always looking for ways to make games memorable. Unusual mascots, silly promotions and crazy competitions are featured all season long to keep the fans engaged. And if that’s not enough, some teams now are enlisting man’s best friend. Smart pooches are being trained as “bat dogs” to retrieve bats when batters drop them after hitting the ball. In Nevada, the Las Vegas Aviators employ Finn the Bat Dog to pick up bats, and on the other side of the country New Jersey’s Trenton Thunder enjoys the services of a dog named Rookie, the third pooch in his family to work the ballpark. Bat dogs have gotten so popular that fans look forward to seeing them in action. An umpire at a Las Vegas game found that out when he tossed a bat to the dugout instead of letting Finn do his job. The crowd booed the ump loudly. Sports teams often come up with unusual attractions, events or promotions to make games more fun for audiences. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about different promotions sports teams offer. Pick several and draw a series of comic strips showing how audiences might respond.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

5. Apple Drops Device

Apple has had many successes in the electronics world, but a long-promised wireless charging pad is not going to be one of them. The company has announced it has dropped plans to introduce the AirPower charging pad because it “will not achieve our high standards.” Apple has been working on the product for years, and in 2017 announced it would be selling the AirPower within 12 months. It even released marketing photos of the device, and as recently as this month industry watchers were predicting the AirPower would be released any day. As Apple worked to perfect the device, release dates were repeatedly delayed, before the project was stopped altogether late last month. Businesses often have to change plans about products or services they offer. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a business changing plans this way. Use what you read to write a short business column explaining the change, why it was made and how it could affect the company’s reputation or customers.

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.