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For Grades K-4 , week of May 09, 2016

1. Costly Goodbye for Kobe

Kobe Bryant ended his NBA career with a bang — scoring 60 points in his last game in pro basketball. But his point total wasn’t the only thing that was high. So were the prices. For his final Los Angeles Lakers home game against the Utah Jazz, tickets sold for hundreds and hundreds of dollars, and the price of souvenir items ranged from $424 for snakeskin texture jerseys to $38,024 for a hat made of lambskin and snakeskin (to fit with Bryant’s “Black Mamba” snake nickname). The hat came with his number 24 in 18-karat gold — and only eight were made. On top of that, a plastic bag of air said to be from Bryant’s last game in Los Angeles attracted bids of up to $15,000 on the Internet’s ebay auction site. Fans of famous people often will pay huge amounts of money for items connected to the stars. In the newspaper or online, closely read a story about a famous person you like. Then imagine you were running a charity that would raise money by selling items connected to this person. Think of three items you think people would want most. Write a complete sentence for each, explaining why people would pay money for it. Write a fourth sentence explaining which item you think people would pay the MOST for.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

2. Tiger Population Increasing

The world’s tiger population has increased for the first time in nearly 100 years. In its most recent estimate, the World Wildlife Fund says about 3,890 tigers are living in the wild, compared to 3,200 in the last count in 2010. The increase — primarily in the nations of India, Russia, Nepal and Bhutan — is due to improved protection and tracking efforts for the endangered species that is threatened by poaching and deforestation. Despite the good news, the WWF says there’s a lot of work ahead if the world’s nations are to meet their goal of doubling the population of tigers living in the wild by 2022. Efforts to increase the number of wild tigers in the world are an example of people taking steps to protect endangered species. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an effort to protect an endangered species. Use what you read to draw a series of comic strips showing what people are doing, and how it can help the species. Or tell the story from the point of view of the species.

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; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

3. Spacecraft Emergency

The planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft of America’s NASA space agency had to slip into emergency mode briefly, when its operations experienced a glitch nearly 75 million miles from Earth. Ground controllers at Cape Canaveral, Florida, managed to stabilize the craft, and engineers are studying incoming data to determine what went wrong. It’s not the first time the seven-year-old Kepler has been in trouble. A few years ago, controllers had to scramble to keep it working, despite repeated breakdowns. Now they need to determine if the Kepler is healthy enough to resume observations deep in space. The Kepler spacecraft is an example of high-tech technology being used to learn more about the universe. As a class, use the newspaper or Internet to closely read a story about another way technology is being used to learn new things. Write the word TECHNOLOGY down the side of a sheet of paper. Use each letter of the word to write a phrase or sentence describing the way technology is being used and how it can help people learn.

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.

4. Pioneer in Chess

Maurice Ashley of New York is the only African American to become a grand master in chess. Now he has been inducted into the Chess Hall of Fame. The induction was in a ceremony during the U.S. Chess Championships in St. Louis, Missouri, at which he was serving as a commentator. In addition to playing and commenting on chess, Ashley has been a chess coach and is the author of books on chess. He has been playing seriously since he was 14. Maurice Ashley is a pioneer in chess because he achieved something that had not been done before. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone else who is a pioneer in their field or career. With a partner, test your reading ability by writing out five questions based on what you learned by reading the story. Exchange questions with your partner and answer each other’s. Discuss answers together.

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; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

5. No Kids for These Shows

In order to “protect” children from “overnight fame,” the Asian nation of China has banned kids from participating in reality TV shows. The State Administration for Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television is believed to be reacting to the huge popularity of Chinese shows like “Where Are We Going, Dad?” and “Dad Is Back.” The ban on children’s appearances is part of a government effort to control China’s fast-growing online TV industry. Recent new rules have banned underage romance, smoking, and witchcraft, among other topics. Makers of TV shows have a lot more freedom in the United States than in China, and they can feature kids as characters. With a partner scan the newspaper for stories or situations involving kids. Pick one that you think would make a good TV show. Write a paragraph explaining why this situation would make an interesting show, and whether it would be a serious or funny show. Write out a scene involving two characters talking to each other. 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; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.