1. Tiger’s Back
Tiger Woods is one of the most familiar names in professional golf — and in all of sports. Early in his 22-year career, he was the most dominant player in golf, winning 14 major championships and spending years ranked Number One in the world. The last 10 years of his career, however, have been marked by struggles both on and off the golf course. He sustained serious back injuries that required four medical operations, and many believed he would never be a top golfer again. This month, the 43-year-old Woods proved all the doubters wrong by winning the Masters Golf Tournament, one of the most important championships in golf. Woods’ victory by one stroke gave him his fifth Masters championship and his first major tournament win in nearly 11 years. As an athlete, Tiger Woods has overcome many challenges to succeed. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another athlete who has overcome challenges to succeed. Write a paragraph explaining what personal qualities and character traits the athlete needed to be successful. Write a second paragraph telling how those qualities could help you or your classmates succeed. Discuss as a class.
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.
2. Giant Airplane
The world’s largest airplane has taken off. The plane known as the Stratolaunch successfully took a test flight this month, soared to 17,000 feet above the Earth and landed safely after a 2 ½ hour flight. The plane is gigantic, with a double body, 28 wheels, six 747 jet engines and a wingspan longer than a football field. The plane’s wingspan is wider than any plane ever to fly. The giant plane was designed to launch rockets carrying satellites while flying in the air, instead of from a launch pad on the ground. It was hoped launching rockets from a plane would reduce the cost of space missions. The Stratolaunch airplane is a new kind of vehicle to transport things. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another new kind of vehicle. Use what you read to design an ad for the newspaper, telling what new things this vehicle can do that are an improvement over the way things were done in the past. Give your ad an eye-catching headline.
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.
3. 4-Legged Firefighters
Giant wildfires have caused huge damage in the state of California in recent years. Fueled by dry conditions and high winds, they have burned millions of acres, destroyed thousands of homes and caused hundreds of injuries, and even death. Now several California communities are trying a new approach to reduce the risk of wildfires. They are using goats to eat the brush, bushes, grasses and ground cover that helps fires spread. Goats can eat a lot, officials say, and they can easily work on steep hills and in canyons — two areas where fires can spread quickly. “They’re very effective and it’s a great method of clearing the vegetation in an environmentally friendly way,” a spokesman for the Anaheim Fire and Rescue Department told CNN news. The town of Nevada City, meanwhile, turned to the Internet to raise funds for a project. They renamed the usual “Go Fund Me” approach to fit the occasion. It’s called “Goat Fund Me” instead. Animals can help people in many ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an animal helping people. Then brainstorm a way animals could help people in your community. Write a proposal for using animals in a new way.
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.
4. Self-Taught Music Star
Avett Ray is just seven years old, but he already is a highly talented piano player performing concerts for hundreds of people. But that’s just part of his story. He taught himself to play when he could barely reach the keyboard — and he is blind. Avett played his first song when he was just 11 months old, a version of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” he learned from memory from a toy. He now plays classical music by the likes of Bach and Mozart and covers popular songs by Adele, Queen, the Beatles and others. He just picks them up by ear, even complicated pieces. “Once he listens to a song, he can play it,” his mom Sarah Moore says. Many children develop special talents at an early age. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a child who has done this. Use what you read to brainstorm a short movie or video showing this child’s talent and how he/she developed it. Write an outline for your movie, including what images you would use. Then write a summary of your opening scene. Share with the class.
Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
5. Happy Birthday
Bullying can affect students of all ages, and sometimes it just takes a caring adult to help ease the pain. That was the case in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where a police officer stepped in to help a boy who was being bullied have a happy birthday. Officer Austin Lynema met 9-year-old Thomas Daniel on a day Thomas missed the bus for school. But that was not the only thing upsetting the young student. It was his birthday and he was afraid no one would come to his party because he was being bullied at school. Lynema and his partner decided to attend the celebration and were saddened to see that no one, in fact, did show up. So they decided to throw Thomas a surprise party the next morning, complete with Happy Birthday doughnuts and a bagful of police-themed presents, CNN News reported. “We weren't going to let a 9-year-old not have a party,” Lynema said later. Police and firefighters often do things to help people in ways that go beyond their regular duties. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a police officer or firefighter doing something special to help others. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor thanking this officer or firefighter for what they did.
Common Core State Standards: Citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.