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for Grades 5-8

Nov. 11, 2019
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For Grades 5-8 , week of Mar. 04, 2019

1. Powerful Oscar Words

The 2019 Oscars are history, but the powerful words of some winners will inspire people for years. Hannah Beachler, who became the first African American woman to win an Oscar for Best Production Design, noted how getting to work on “Black Panther” had given her strength, and told viewers that “I give this strength to all of those who come next to keep going and to never give up. And when you think it’s impossible, just remember this piece of advice I got from a very wise woman: I did my best, and my best is good enough.” Lady Gaga, who won for Best Original Song for “A Star Is Born,” reminded the audience that “This is hard work. ... It’s not about winning … what it’s about is not giving up. If you have a dream, fight for it. … It’s not about how many times you get rejected or you fall down or you're beaten up. It’s about how many times you stand up and are brave and you keep on going.” People who win awards or are honored often offer advice for others. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about Oscar winners or others who have offered words of advice. Pick one and write a letter to the editor telling why the person’s words could inspire others — and how they inspire you.

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. Read, Read, Read!

March is National Reading Month, and all over the country students, teachers and families have set a goal to have kids read at least 15 minutes a day. Many are reading books, of course, but there are many other sources of great reading material. Newspapers, websites, social media and even advertising can provide reading materials that can keep you informed, challenged or entertained. Everything you read improves your vocabulary and helps you better understand how people communicate. To mark National Reading Month, use the newspaper and Internet to read at least 15 minutes a day. Read a variety of materials — news stories, sports reports, music reviews and editorials. Keep a log of what you read and write a few sentences for each item, telling what you learned or gained from reading it. At the end of the month, write a paragraph telling what kind of reading you liked best, and why.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

3. Milestone Extinction

Climate change is affecting wildlife populations all over the world. In the southern Pacific nation of Australia, a small brown rat has been declared the first mammal to actually become extinct due to changes in the Earth’s climate. Australian officials say the extinction was caused by rising sea levels on a small coral island off the famous Great Barrier Reef. The island was home to the rat known as the Bramble Cay melomys, which saw its habitat flooded by rising seas caused by melting polar ice caps. Several hundred of the rodents occupied the island in the 1970s, but the population has disappeared, scientists said. Last month the melomys was officially declared extinct by wildlife authorities, who said extinction was “almost certainly” due to “ocean inundation” from rising sea levels. Global warming and climate change are affecting wildlife all over the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one way that warming is affecting wildlife. Use what you read to write a short editorial calling attention to this effect. In your editorial list steps people or governments could take to address the situation.

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. Honor for Pioneer

Katherine Johnson was brilliant at math and a trailblazer for African American women at America’s NASA space agency. Before computers were widely used, her hand calculations of complex math problems helped put America’s first astronaut in space and helped send the first astronaut in orbit around the Earth. Johnson’s work was honored in the movie “Hidden Figures,” and now she has been honored in an even more significant way. NASA has renamed a key research facility the Katherine Johnson Independent Verification and Validation Facility to honor her work contributing to the safety and success of top missions. Johnson, who is now 100 years old, was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 by President Barack Obama. Katherine Johnson was a role model for African American women in her time. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an African American woman who is a role model in her field today. Use what you read to write a proclamation detailing the achievements of this woman, what issues are important to her, the strength of her character and how she can inspire others. Read proclamations aloud as a class.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

5. Hair for the Summit

President Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was not successful last week. But an enterprising hairdresser in the southeast Asian nation of Vietnam was. To commemorate the event, hairdresser Le Tuan Duong of the city of Hanoi offered to cut the hair of customers to look either like the style of Trump or the style of Kim. About a dozen customers of the Tuan Duong Beauty Academy took advantage of the offer before the leaders met for their summit talks. Duong wasn’t promoting one style or the other, which was probably a good thing when both leaders walked away without an agreement. Businesses often come up with innovative ways to attract customers. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read ads and stories about such efforts. Then pick a business, store or restaurant you like and brainstorm an unusual idea to attract new customers. Design an ad for the newspaper promoting your idea. Give your ad an eye-catching headline and write “bullet points” highlighting reasons people should take advantage of your offer. Share with the class.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.