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Grades 1-4
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for Grades 5-8

Sep. 28, 2020
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For Grades 5-8 , week of Apr 27, 2020

1. Star-Powered Assistance

The World Health Organization has gotten a lot of attention for its efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus — and for being the target of criticism from President Trump. Earlier this month, the President said he was unhappy with WHO’s early virus efforts and announced he was cutting off U.S. support of $400-million a year. Superstar entertainers protested the cut of funds in the middle of a health pandemic and banded together to raise money for the international organization. Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Jennifer Lopez, Pharrell Williams, Alicia Keyes, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves and others teamed up for an 8-hour show called “One World: Together at Home” and raised nearly $128-million for WHO’s coronavirus response fund. Lady Gaga, who hosted the live-streamed show, expressed her thanks to medical workers who are “putting their lives at risk for us right now” and said “I am so humbled to have been a part of this project.” Entertainers are stepping up to raise money or provide supplies for doctors, nurses, hospitals and organizations working to fight the coronavirus. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about entertainers doing this. Use what you read to write an editorial telling how the efforts of entertainers can call attention to problems or issues connected to the coronavirus emergency.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

2. Skating No More

Skate parks are popular all over the country, and none is a bigger attraction than the elaborate one at Venice Beach in California. It is so popular, in fact, that users have been going there despite California’s stay-at-home order. They won’t be going back in the near future, however. Because users ignored the calls to stay away, the Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation has filled Venice Beach’s Skate Park with sand to prevent skateboarders from using it. “We’ve had continuous violators ... and we want them to stop,” a parks spokeswoman told local TV station KTTV. “ … We’re doing this for our safety, their safety and the safety of others. When this is all over, trust me, we will open them.” Even as infections from coronavirus go down, health officials say it is still important for people to observe social distancing. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about community efforts to encourage this. Then brainstorm an idea for an ad campaign to get people to practice safe distancing. Come up with a theme and design a newspaper ad, a TV ad and an Internet ad to express your theme. Be sure to list images you would use to support your campaign. Choose a spokesperson for your ads and explain your choice to family or friends.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

3. Biggest Soccer Stadium

Like other countries, the Asian nation of China shut down businesses and other activities as it fought to control the coronavirus. With Chinese life returning to normal, a soccer team is launching a historic project. The Guangzhou Evergrande team has begun construction of the biggest soccer stadium in the world. The stadium will seat 100,000 people, be shaped like a lotus flower and cost $1.7-billion to build, team officials said. The flower design was chosen because Guangzhou is known in China as the Flower City. Work began last week and is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. The 100,000 capacity would surpass the 99,354 capacity of Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium in Europe, which is currently the largest soccer-only stadium in the world. The Guangzhou Evergrande team is one of the most successful teams in China and Asia. In the United States sports teams are on hold and there is much discussion about when they might resume playing again. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about when — and under what conditions — competition might resume. Use what you read to write a sports column outlining what you think would be the right conditions for teams to resume play.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.

4. Change in Image

For nearly 100 years, the Land O’ Lakes butter company has featured a Native American woman posing in front of a lake on its packages. Now, in a time of shifting attitudes about using Native American images for products or sports teams, the Minnesota company is making a change. It has removed the image of the Native woman and replaced it with images of farmers working to produce dairy products. In announcing the change the company said it was made to emphasize Land O’ Lakes’ roots as a farmer-owned business, CNN News reported. It did not mention the Native American imagery, but others did. Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan tweeted: “Thank you to Land O’ Lakes for making this important and needed change. Native people are not mascots or logos.” All across America, businesses, organizations and communities are taking a new look at traditions and symbols in light of changing attitudes. In the newspaper or online find and closely read a story about a business or community doing this. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor giving your view about what should be done about the situation, if anything. Share and discuss with family members or friends.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; 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. Bad Air Alert

With businesses closed and cars off the roads, air quality has seen a significant improvement across the U.S. during the coronavirus emergency. But over the last several years, pollution has gotten dramatically worse, according to a new report. The “State of the Air” 2020 report by the American Lung Association found that particle (or “particulate”) pollution, smog and ozone had increased dramatically in 2016, 2017 and 2018 — three of the five hottest years in recorded history. As a result nearly 150 million Americans are routinely breathing unhealthy, heavily polluted air and increasing their risk for asthma, emphysema and other breathing disorders. Climate change, which has raised temperatures around the world, has worsened air quality by trapping pollutants in the air, the report said. Many communities are taking steps to reduce air pollution. In the newspaper or online, find and read stories about different efforts. Use what you read to write a paragraph or short paper analyzing which approaches you think will be the most effective.

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.