For Grades 5-8 , week of July 29, 2019

1. A Music Record

The rapper Lil Nas X has caused a lot of controversy this summer with his hit song “Old Town Road.” Fans and critics have argued at length over whether the song is a rap song or a country song. One thing there’s no arguing about is that “Old Town Road” is a very popular song. Last week it tied the all-time record for consecutive weeks as the Number 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 list, and it could break the record if it remains Number 1 this week. To tie the record “Old Town Road” was Number 1 for 16 straight weeks, a mark that has been recorded just twice before. The Number 1 rankings were based on the original version of “Old Town Road” and three remixes with other stars. The last song to rank Number 1 for 16 straight weeks was “Despacito” in 2017. “Old Town Road” is setting records for popularity with music fans. What other songs are popular with you and your friends this summer? Use the newspaper or Internet to read about one song you like. Use what you read and prior knowledge to write a music review for the newspaper, telling what you like about the song. Support your opinions with specific evidence from the song, including lyrics and melody. Share with family or friends.

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. ‘El Chapo’ Fashions

Timing is everything in the world of business. Having the right idea at the right time can be the key to success. So give a shout-out to the daughter of drug lord Joaquin Guzman, known around the world as “El Chapo.” Just as Guzman was sentenced to life in prison for his drug crimes, his daughter launched a fashion line based on his legacy and legend. Alejandrina Gisselle Guzman Salazar called the line El Chapo 701 in a reference to Forbes magazine once naming her father the 701st richest person in the world. The brand made its debut at a fashion expo in Guadalajara, Mexico, according to social media posts. Its clothing items include satin bomber jackets, “Lord of the Mountains” hoodies, ripped jeans and accessories, CNN News reported. Salazar may not be the only family member getting into the fashion business. El Chapo’s wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, has said she is also planning a clothing line. When it comes to clothing, everyone has a different sense of style. In the newspaper or online, find and study ads and stories about clothes you like. Use what you read to write a poem, rap or rhyme about “My Style” in clothing or fashions.

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

3. War Close to Home

In the eyes of most Americans, World War II was a war fought in far-off lands on the continents of Europe and Asia. But unknown to many in this country, the war came a lot closer to home than people realized. Nearly 74 years after the war with Nazi Germany ended, discovery of a long-lost shipwreck has proven just how close the war came to American shores. Wreckage of a warship sunk by a German submarine was discovered just five miles off the coast of the state of Maine and 300 feet down in the Atlantic Ocean. The USS Eagle PE-56 was sunk by a German torpedo on April 23, 1945, while towing a practice target for bombers from a nearby naval air station. It was the last American warship sunk by a German submarine, and it went down less than a month before Germany surrendered to the U.S. and allied forces. Forty-nine of the Eagle’s 62 crew members were killed in the attack. Members of the U.S. military continue to put themselves in danger on missions around the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an operation in which military forces are at risk. Use what you read to write a summary of the operation and why it is important.

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. ‘Ice Cold Beer’

In the summertime, many kids set up sidewalk stands to sell lemonade or other cold drinks. So how do you get your stand to stand out? In Brigham City, Utah, 11-year-old Seth Parker set up a stand and boldly declared he was selling “ICE COLD BEER.” His stand quickly got the attention of the neighborhood, and someone even called the police about a minor selling alcohol. When the police arrived, however, they discovered that Seth’s operation was not only legal, but pretty clever. Just above the “BEER” in his sign was written the word “root” in tiny letters. “Quite honestly, once our officers got there, they found it quite ingenious,” Lt. Tony Ferderber, told CNN News. The police liked the idea so much they posted a picture of Seth’s stand on the department Facebook page. That gave Seth’s business a boost — so much so he’s thinking of taking the idea to neighboring towns. Seth Parker’s “ICE COLD BEER” sign was an example of clever marketing to call attention to a product. In the newspaper or online, find and study an ad that calls attention to a product or service in a clever way. Write a consumer column for the newspaper analyzing why you think this ad is effective. Share with family or friends and discuss other clever ads you have seen.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.

5. Telescope Protest

Modern telescopes can bring together worlds that are billions of miles from each other. In the state of Hawaii, however, a plan to build a giant telescope on the top of a mountain is pushing people apart. At issue is an 18-story, billion-dollar telescope that the University of Hawaii wants to build at the top of Hawaii’s tallest mountain. The problem for many native Hawaiians, however, is that the mountain known as Mauna Kea is considered a sacred place that should not be disturbed. The native Hawaiians have opposed the project since it was first announced, and this month staged a peaceful protest at the entry to the access road leading to the mountain peak. Mauna Kea was chosen as the place for the $1.4-billion telescope because of its elevation and clear skies. Scientists say it is one of the best places on Earth to observe space. Native Hawaiians, however, feel the mountain “is a deeply sacred place … a shrine for worship, [and] a home to the gods.” Projects like the Mauna Kea telescope often cause disputes between people favoring development and people seeking to preserve places or traditions. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a dispute like this. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, offering a suggestion on how the dispute might be resolved through a compromise.

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.