for Grades 5-8
, week of
Jan. 10, 2022
1. A Fourth Corona Shot
All over the world health and government leaders have been urging people to protect themselves from the coronavirus by getting two vaccinations and a booster shot. Now the Middle East nation of Israel is going even further, urging citizens 60 and older to get a fourth coronavirus vaccination to protect against the omicron variant. In what is being called a global first, Israel’s Health Ministry also is recommending a fourth dose for health care workers and people with compromised immune systems, the Washington Post newspaper reports. From the early days of the coronavirus epidemic, Israel has been aggressive urging its citizens to get vaccinated through its highly organized and digitized national healthcare system. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said ordering fourth doses is another example of the nation’s aggressiveness. “As we did with the booster in the delta surge, we intend to be active and groundbreaking, and do everything to win,” he wrote on the Twitter social media site. “The world will follow us.” Efforts to control the omicron variant of the coronavirus continue to make news in the United States and other nations. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about steps nations or communities are taking. Use what you read to write a short editorial outlining key steps your community or the nation should be taking.
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.
Trailblazing actor Sidney Poitier died last week at the age of 94. He was the first Black actor to win an Academy Award for Best Actor in the yearly Oscars competition, and when he passed newspapers and news websites wrote long obituaries of his achievements and his role opening doors for other African American actors. Obituaries are special news articles that tell the story of a person’s life, highlight achievements or milestones and inform readers how old the person was and what he or she died of. The best obituaries are not written in chronological order but lead with the most important or interesting thing a person did or was known for, and later give the background details. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read an obituary for Sidney Poitier or another prominent person who has died. Then read stories about another prominent person in the news. Think like an obituary writer and write an outline for an obituary for this person. What facts or qualities would you lead with? Use what you have read to write the opening paragraphs for an obituary for this famous person.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
3. Double Hero in Oklahoma
Oklahoma sixth grader Davyon Johnson is not only a well-liked guy in his school and community. He’s also a life-saving guy. Last month, the 11-year-old from the city of Muskogee saved people’s lives twice in his school and community — and he did it in a single day! Davyon first jumped into action when he saw a classmate choking on a bottle cap he had bitten to remove at the 6th & 7th Grade Academy at Ben Franklin, according to the Enid News & Eagle. Davyon quickly ran to the student and performed the Heimlich maneuver by giving him a quick, sharp hug around the stomach to pop the bottle cap out of his throat. That night Davyon doubled down on heroism when he saw an elderly woman struggling to escape a fire in her house. She was on her porch with her walker struggling to get down and Davyon sprinted across the street to help her get to her truck to escape. “I thought, ‘Oh, she’s not moving fast enough,'’” he told the Tulsa's News on 6 TV station “So I ran across the street and helped her escape.” For his heroic efforts Davyon Johnson was named an honorary member of both the Muskogee sheriff's office and the police force and was recognized by the board of education. He said he learned the Heimlich maneuver by watching a video on the YouTube channel on the Internet. Quick thinking and action can often make a big difference during emergencies. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone using quick thinking and action to help another person. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, commending the person for his/her action and discussing how it could inspire others.
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.
4. ‘Extraordinary Words’
In the world of politics, Stacey Abrams has won wide attention for her efforts registering people to vote. Now she has written a children’s book to call attention to bullying and how kids can stand up to it. In many ways the book called “Stacey’s Extraordinary Words” sounds like Abrams’ own life. But the Georgia Democrat hopes it will have wider reach than an autobiography of her life might have had. In Abrams’s new book, a girl named Stacey loves words and is thrilled when she is chosen by her teacher to compete in the school spelling bee. At the same time, she is worried that she will have to compete against Jake, the class bully whom she has always shrunk from. She describes him as “a bully who knew words, too. Just yesterday, he had used a complicated word that made Suki cry. Last week, she’d heard him say something cruel to Zivko about his accent,” the Washington Post newspaper reported. Young Stacey admits to being “intimidated” by Jake, who “sometimes said hurtful things to her, too.” With the help of her mom, Stacey works hard to prepare for the bee and finds the strength to stand up for what is right. Not surprisingly “perseverance” is one of her favorite words. People often make news for standing up for what they believe is right. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about people doing this. Use what you read and your own experiences to write a personal column titled “Taking a Stand.” Share with family, friends and classmates and discuss.
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.
5. Huge & Powerful Crab
Coconut crabs are the largest land crab in the world, with huge and powerful pincher claws. Just how powerful? A coconut crab became an Internet star this winter when it snapped a golf club in half with its claws on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean north of the nation of Australia. The crab, also known as a robber crab, earned its fame when it encountered a group of golfers playing a course on Christmas Island and climbed one golfer’s golf bag to attack his clubs. Coconut crabs can climb to great heights in trees when seeking food, and got their name for their ability to crack open coconuts to eat, the NDTV news network reported. They can grow up to three feet wide and weigh up to 9 pounds. Their claws are strong enough to lift objects as heavy as 60 pounds, and their grip is about 10 times stronger than that of humans. Coconut crabs are a wildlife species that have special bodies that allow them to do unusual things. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another species that has a special body. Use what you read to write a paragraph detailing how the species’ body helps it survive.
Common Core State Standards: Citing textual or visual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.