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for Grades 5-8

Sep. 21, 2020
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For Grades 5-8 , week of Mar. 09, 2020

1. Election Surprises

Presidential elections are often full of surprises, and this week the Democratic Party is dealing with one of the biggest in history. On Super Tuesday last week former Vice President Joe Biden surprised all the experts — and his own staff — by winning 10 of the 14 primaries up for grabs and will seek to build on that momentum with voting in Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington State this week. His chief opponent, Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, will seek to rebound from a disappointing Super Tuesday in which he won just in just four states (though one was the hugely important California). Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders will now compete head to head for the Democratic nomination for president. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the results of this week’s primaries and the candidates’ strategies going forward. Use what you read to write a short political column assessing what each candidate has to do to win the nomination.

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. The Bullies Lose

The Internet can be a cruel place, but cruelty backfired recently in the European nation of England. Thirteen-year-old Callum Manning was bullied online after setting up an Instagram account to show his love for books, but he became a social media celebrity when the bullies were called out by his older sister. After Callum set up his book account, classmates at his school in northeast England set up a group chat account to call him a “creep,” a freak and other insults — and made him a member so he would be sure to see the remarks. Callum’s sister got wind of the account and rallied to her brother’s defense. She tweeted “Can’t believe how awful kids are” and pointed out that he wasn’t “weird” or “sad” because he liked to read, CNN News reported. Within hours, Callum had gotten thousands of support messages, and within days his Instagram account had more than 230,000 followers. People who check in there can read his thoughts on books he’s read like Stephen King’s “The Shining,” which he said “was the first book I read in 1 day.” Online bullying is a problem facing every community. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about steps people and communities are taking to reduce it. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor offering your views on approaches that could reduce online bullying.

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.

3. Stop Coronavirus

As the coronavirus disease spreads around the world, more and more communities are asking “How can we stay safe?” According to health officials, the most important step people can take is also the simplest one: Wash your hands. Washing your hands after you have been in contact with others, in public places or around surfaces touched by others is the best way to reduce the spread of virus germs, officials say. And you should do it multiple times per day. Washing hands for at least 20 seconds removes dirt and germs from your skin, keeping you safer from the virus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Here’s how to get best results: Wet your hands under running water and turn off the tap. Lather your hands with soap and scrub them front and back and between the fingers for 20 seconds. (Time your wash by singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.) Rinse your hands under running water and dry them thoroughly. Wet hands easily spread viruses and dry hands reduce that risk. Repeat during the day as you come in contact with people or surfaces that have been touched by others. The spread of the coronavirus is now a worldwide concern. In the newspaper or online find and closely read steps that communities, nations and businesses are taking to stop the spread of the virus. Write a short editorial giving your view on which approaches you think will be 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.

4. Scary Lack of Rain

In recent summers the state of California has been hard hit by wildfires driven by high winds and higher temperatures. Now weather experts are worried that an exceptionally dry start to the year 2020 could be setting up California for another severe wildfire season. Northern California cities like San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento and San Jose recorded no rain at all in the month of February in what is usually wettest month of the year. In southern California, the city of Los Angeles recorded just a trace of rain in February, tying a record. In many areas February was the driest it has been since the 1860s, fueling worries about what will happen when the weather and winds heat up. The California wildfires have caused wide destruction of communities, wildlife and the environment. Many organizations seek to provide assistance to people and areas affected. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about some of these organizations. Use what you read to create a public service ad for the newspaper or TV, encouraging people to support one of the assistance organizations.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic.

5. Women’s History Win

March is Women’s History Month, and a teen girl in the state of North Carolina recently made a little women’s history of her own. Heaven Fitch became the first female wrestler to win a state high school championship in North Carolina history. Fitch, a junior who wrestles in the 106-pound division, earned the title by performing a backward somersault move to escape her opponent’s hold in the last seconds of the championship match. She later was named the most outstanding wrestler in the state championship tournament. Wrestling against boys, Fitch won 54 matches over the course of the season, against just 4 losses. Women like Heaven Fitch are making history and achieving success in more and more fields. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a woman achieving success or breaking new ground in her career field. Use what you read to write an award proclamation honoring this woman for her achievements. Be sure to state why the achievements are important as a role model for girls or other women. Draw a sketch showing what your proclamation would look like.

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.