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for Grades 5-8

Sep. 16, 2019
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July 29, 2019
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For Grades 5-8 , week of Apr 29, 2019

1. No Hair Discrimination

The kind of hairstyle people choose often reflects more than their personality; it can reflect their ethnic culture or heritage as well. In the state of California legislation being considered by the State Assembly is acknowledging that in a new way. The legislation would make it illegal for schools and workplaces to have dress codes that forbid braids, twists and other natural hairstyles. Known as the C.R.O.W.N. Act (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair), the bill would amend the state’s anti-discrimination laws to include specific references to hairstyles. The goal is to “foster inclusion and diversity,” according to the bill’s sponsor, Holly J. Mitchell, an African American state senator from Los Angeles. It seeks to prevent bias against African Americans and others who choose to have natural hairstyles. The bill has already passed the California State Senate. The proposed hairstyle legislation in California seeks to prevent discrimination against people in schools and workplaces. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about other efforts to address or prevent discrimination. Use what you read to write a short editorial, addressing one effort, what it seeks to correct and whether you think it is an appropriate approach.

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. Giant Carnivore

The continent of Africa is known for its exotic animal species, but 23-million years ago it had one that was bigger and fiercer than anything alive today. It was the largest carnivorous mammal ever to live on Earth, scientists say. The existence of this fierce carnivore was brought to light by a chance discovery in the fossil collection at the National Museums of Kenya, CNN News reported. Scientists examining the collection ran across a huge skull and jaw with enormous teeth. The size of the skull and jaw led scientists to conclude this species weighed up to 1.6 tons and could prey on animals as big as today’s elephants. It lived for 45-million years on Earth, and went extinct between 15-million and 18-million years ago, scientists said. Fossil discoveries allow scientists to learn more about life on Earth long ago. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a recent fossil discovery. Use what you read to write a paragraph telling why the discovery is important and what it has added to our knowledge of the past.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

3. Name Recognition

Elections can often be confusing, but in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island this month voters had to deal with even more confusion than usual. In the April 23 election for the District 20 seat in the province’s Legislative Assembly, incumbent Matthew MacKay faced a challenge from an unusual opponent — a man also named Matthew MacKay. Not surprisingly, they turned out to be the two top vote-getters, with the incumbent MacKay handily defeating his challenger by a 2-to-1 margin. To help voters, the challenger had agreed to use his middle initial on the ballot. But observers said it really wasn’t needed. The district only has 4,000 residents and both men know most of them personally. Candidates for political office are always looking for a way to stand out from the crowd. In the newspaper or online, find and read stories about people running for office. Pick one candidate and write a political column outlining what he or she is doing to stand out.

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. That’s Fast Golf!

Golf is usually a slow-moving or leisurely sport. Unless you’re Eric Byrnes. Byrnes, who is a golfer and former Major League Baseball player, likes speed. This month he set a new one-day world record for speed golf. Playing on a course in Mesa, Arizona, Byrnes played 420 holes of golf in just 24 hours to earn a place in the record book. That total is more than 23 times greater than the 18 holes in an average round of golf. Byrnes, 43, passed the old one-day record of 402 holes when he still had an hour and a half to play. Athletes often break records or get attention for unusual achievements. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an athlete who has done this. Use what you read to write a personal letter to the athlete, asking three questions you would like answered about how the record or achievement was attained.

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

5. Lucky Mistake

Mistakes don’t often pay off, but one did for a Michigan woman in a very big way. Antoinette Ousley of the city of Inkster won half of a $156,090 lottery jackpot when she forgot one of her children had had a birthday. Ousley told the United Press news organization that she always plays the same combination of numbers based on her children’s ages and birthdates. On the day she won she forgot that one of her kids had had a birthday. “I forgot to switch the number 19 to 20, but it ended up paying off!” she said. Ousley’s share of the Fantasy Five jackpot totaled $78,045. “I feel so blessed,” she said. People often dream about winning a lottery and what they would do with their winnings. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about lottery winners and what they did with their prize. Then pretend you have won a lottery prize. Write a personal column telling what you would do with your winnings. Include one thing you would do for yourself, one thing you would do for family or friends and one thing you might do for the community.

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.