, week of
Feb. 18, 2019
At this month’s Grammy Awards, music star Drake won the Grammy for best rap song for his hit “God’s Plan.” When he accepted the award, he delivered some heartfelt advice for “all the kids that are watching this that are aspiring to do music, all my peers that make music from their heart, [and] do things pure and tell the truth.” Awards are great, he said, but “If you have people who are singing your songs word for word, if you’re a hero in your hometown … if there’s people who have regular jobs, who are coming out in the rain, in the snow, spending their hard- earned money to buy tickets to come to your shows … you don’t need this right here. I promise you. You already won.” Celebrities often speak out to offer advice or encouragement to their followers. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a celebrity who has done this. Use what you read to write a personal column, telling how you reacted to the remarks, how they could help you in the future and how they could help others who need support or encouragement.
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.Insects at Risk
Insects play a huge and important role in the natural world. They pollinate flowers so that plants can produce fruits and vegetables. They control pests that damage plants and animals. And they keep the environment clean by consuming animals that have died. Around the world, however, insect populations are in danger, and a new study warns that could have “catastrophic” effects on the Earth’s ecosystems. Researchers note that 40 percent of the world’s insects are at risk of dying out due to increased use of pesticides, habitat loss, pollution and climate change. That could have widespread effects on ecosystems, researchers noted, because some 80 percent of wild plants use insects for pollination and 60 percent of birds rely on insects for food. Insects play an important role in the production of foods. But they also face many challenges and threats. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about threats faced by insects that help food production. Use what you read to write a short editorial analyzing why the threats are important and what could be done to address them.
Common Core State Standards: Citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
In the European nation of England, few people own guns or use them to commit violent crimes. But many people carry knives, and knife violence is becoming an increasing problem. In the city of London, homicides increased 14 percent over a year’s time ending last September, and in February 2018 London’s homicide rate topped that of New York City for the first time ever. Many of those homicides involved knives, and London now is taking steps to curb knife violence. Starting later this month, knife-crime offenders will be required to wear GPS tracking devices after being released from prison. The program will allow police to automatically check the location of released offenders when a knife crime occurs. In the United States and other nations, government officials are taking steps to reduce violent crime. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about different approaches. Use what you read to prepare a short oral report on approaches you think have the best chance for success.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
When a city hosts an Olympic Games, it involves a lot of construction. That certainly is the case in Kyoto, Japan, which will be home to the Summer Olympics in 2020. Construction is good for the local economy, but it also has other benefits. All the digging in Kyoto is turning up artifacts that date back centuries. On sites for hotels and other facilities, archaeologists have found ruins of a 500-year-old temple, mythical beasts carved on building materials, vessels used in religious ceremonies and even pieces of a moat. “Anywhere you dig in Kyoto, you find a lot of stuff," archaeologist Koji Iesaki told NPR Radio. “It's like a treasure mountain.” Archaeology digs often turn up materials that shed light on life in the past. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about discoveries made by such digs. Then talk as a class about the history of your community. What areas might be good targets for archaeology digs? Write a proposal for a dig in one area, detailing why it would be worth exploring and what historical materials might be found.
Common Core State Standards: engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
Some wars never seem to end. World War One was fought 100 years ago, but people are still dealing with its after-effects. Just this month a live German grenade from that war turned up in a shipment of potatoes from the European nation of France. The grenade looked just like a potato, so it was not surprising that it was overlooked when the shipment was packed for delivery to the Asian region of Hong Kong in China. It still was dangerous, however, and had to be detonated by police. France was the site of fierce fighting between French and German forces during the war. Unexpected discoveries often can inspire creative stories. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an unexpected discovery that surprised people. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a creative story. Then write the 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.