1. Big Gift from a Little Boy
Around the world, people are offering support for the European nation of Ukraine in its war against invading Russian soldiers. People have offered help in large ways and small and everything in between. In the state of Pennsylvania, a 7-year-old-boy from the town of Bensalem made news this month by donating all the money he had in the world to help victims of the war. Nicholas Perrin had been saving up for two years for a trip to Disney World in the state of Florida. But when he learned about the people who had been forced to leave Ukraine through his church, he wanted to help “because they aren’t at home any more,” according to the local ABC TV news station. He decided to donate the $250 in his trip fund to the United Ukrainian American Relief organization to buy new toys for children who had to leave theirs behind when their families fled from the fighting. Many people are doing special things to support the children and families affected by the war in Ukraine. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone who is doing this. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor suggesting special things your community could do to raise money to help Ukrainian children and families.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
2. ’Seize the Yay’
When the weather gets warmer in the spring, people start to think of things to do outdoors for fun. One of those things is going out for ice cream. And for fans of a certain ice cream brand, that will be a new experience this spring. Baskin-Robbins, which has been in business for 77 years, is rolling out a new look, new flavors and new merchandise for customers. B-R, as the company has long been known, is giving up its familiar blue and pink color scheme and the birthday party letters in its logo and replaced them with more modern letters and color combinations of brown and pink, brown and blue, and pink and white. It’s offering new merchandise such as bikes and skateboards from its website and has adopted a new motto and tagline “Seize the Yay.” That is a variation of the familiar life advice that urges people to “seize the day” to achieve fun and success, and company leaders hope customers will use it to celebrate big and small achievements (with ice cream, of course). The Baskin-Robbins company wants people to “Seize the Yay” and celebrate things they love this spring. With a partner, use the newspaper or Internet to find stories and photos involving things you love about springtime. Brainstorm ways you could get friends or classmates to celebrate these things with you.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
3. Wandering Eagle
In the bird world, raptors like hawks and eagles get a lot of attention because they are apex predators at the top of the food chain. Few have generated the excitement created by a Steller’s sea eagle that came to visit the state of Maine for three months this spring, however. The eagle is one of the largest and rarest in the world, and it was more than 5,200 miles from home! Steller’s sea eagles generally live on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula across the Bering Sea from the U.S. state of Alaska, but for more than two years one of the giant birds has been exploring North America. It was sighted in the state of Texas at one point, before moving up the East Coast to New England and the state of Maine. There it fed on fish and other wildlife along the Maine seacoast and attracted thousands of bird-watchers who traveled great distances for a chance to see it. Steller’s eagles are quite a sight to see, standing nearly 3 feet tall, weighing 20 pounds and sporting a huge orange beak, bright orange feet and an 8-foot wingspan. They are bigger than bald eagles and almost as big as South America’s harpy eagles, which are the largest eagle in the world. The Steller’s sea eagle is named for biologist Georg Wilhelm Steller who explored Russia and observed the bird. People get very excited when they get a chance to see a wildlife species they don’t usually see in the wild. In the newspaper or online, find and study stories or photos of a species you would like to see in the wild. Write a letter to a friend or relative telling what species you would like to see, and why.
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. Record-Setting Hockey
Kids who grow up loving ice hockey often joke that they could “play all day” on weekends or school vacations. Those players would have been right at home in the Canadian province of Alberta this month. A group of 40 players played a charity game that lasted 261 hours to set a new Guinness World Record! The “Hockey Marathon for the Kids” game in the town of Chestermere raised nearly $1-million for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation through pledges and donations, UPI News reported. The Marathon game, which went on non-stop for nearly 11 days, topped the previous world record for longest hockey game by 9 hours. What is your favorite sport to watch? In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about this sport. Use what you read and prior knowledge to write a sports column explaining why your favorite sport is the most fun to watch. Share with classmates and discuss.
Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.
5. Acrostic Nature Poem
April is Earth Month, a time when people celebrate nature and work to clean up the environment on Earth Day. It’s also National Poetry Month, a time to enjoy poetry in all its forms. Take part in both celebrations by using the newspaper and Internet to find a story or picture about nature or the Earth. Then write an acrostic poem about the subject of the picture or story. In an acrostic, poets write the name of the subject vertically on a sheet of paper. Then they use each letter of the word to start a line describing the subject. If you can’t find nature in the newspaper or online, write about a natural thing in your neighborhood. Read poems aloud — with expression!
Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts; reading prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate and expression on successive readings.