Resources for Teachers and Students

For Grades 5-8 , week of Apr 11, 2022

1. Coaching Into History

For more than 30 years, Dawn Staley has been a leader in women’s basketball. Now she has made history for ALL of basketball. By winning her second NCAA championship as coach for the University of South Carolina, Staley has become the first Black coach — male or female — to win more than one title in NCAA Division I basketball. In the process she has become a role model for Black coaches on and off the court — and she has become a spokesperson for issues important to the Black community. After winning her second NCAA title, Staley acknowledged the special place she occupies in college sports. “I felt a great deal of pressure to win because I’m a Black coach,” Staley said. “If you don’t win, there’s so much other scrutiny … you feel all of that. You feel it probably 10 times more than anyone else.” Before becoming a standout coach, the 51-year-old Staley was a star at every level as a player. After an all-star high school career, she won back-to-back college player-of-the-year awards at Virginia, appeared in six WNBA All-Star Games and earned three Olympic gold medals for the U.S. Women’s Team. Dawn Staley embraces being a role model for other coaches and players. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about another person who is a role model for others in their field. Use what you read to write a personal column on “The Importance of Role Models.” Include role models who have inspired you, if you like.

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. Pink Floyd for Ukraine

In the history of rock music, the band Pink Floyd is one of the most popular ever. Known for experimentation and imagination, the band has attracted fans of different generations for more than 40 years with now-classic albums like “The Dark Side of the Moon,” “Wish You Were Here,” “Animals” and “The Wall.” Now it has released its first new song in nearly 30 years — and it’s doing it for a cause. The band has released “Hey Hey Rise Up” to raise money for the people of Ukraine. The song is a collaboration with singer Andriy Khlyvnyuk of the Ukrainian band BoomBox and features a protest song that urges the nation “to free our brother Ukrainians from hostile chains and … liberate our glorious Ukraine.” When Russia invaded Ukraine, Khlyvnyuk left the band to join the fight and recorded the protest song “The Red Viburnum in the Meadow” in a public square dressed in military gear. In the new song Pink Floyd provides original instrumental back-up to Khlyvnyuk’s vocals. “Hey Hey Rise Up” is the first new original piece of music the band has recorded since 1994. Leaders in entertainment have joined leaders in other fields to provide financial and humanitarian support for the people of Ukraine. In the newspaper or online find and closely read stories about ways people are doing this. Use what you read to write a short editorial outlining ways your community or school could help Ukrainian families, children, communities or refugees. Discuss ideas as a class.

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.

3. ‘Pre-Diabetes’ Risk

Diabetes is a disease that can cause serious health problems ranging from heart disease, to kidney failure, to blindness. More than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, and an alarming number of Americans are developing “pre-diabetes” that can lead to the full form of the disease. That is especially true among teens and pre-teens. According to a new study, the rate of pre-diabetes among young people 12 to 19 years old has more than doubled in 20 years in the U.S., rising from 11.6 percent to 28.2 percent from 1999 to 2018. Diabetes occurs when blood sugar rises to unhealthy levels. Someone with pre-diabetes has a blood sugar level that is higher than normal but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Pre-diabetes is more common among youths and young adults who are obese than among those of normal weight, medical experts say. Exercise, weight loss and healthier eating can bring blood sugar levels back to normal. People with pre-diabetes can take steps to ensure they don’t develop full diabetes. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about steps people can take. Then brainstorm an idea for a public service video. Write an outline for your video, including images you would use. Pick a celebrity to narrate your video, and write a paragraph to explain your choice.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

4. Trashy Reward

People who play lottery games get a lot of emotional highs when they win. They can also can get emotional lows — and not just for losing. A woman in the state of Virginia felt both ends of that emotional roller coaster this spring. She realized she had won, but then discovered she had already thrown out her ticket. Fortunately, Mary Elliot of Buckingham County hadn’t yet taken the trash out. And after going through the trash piece by piece, she found her winning ticket for the state’s Cash 5 EZ Match game. It was stained by coffee grounds and wouldn’t scan, but lottery officials were still able to verify it, CNN News reported. And was it worth all the effort? You bet! For her efforts Elliot took home the game’s top prize — $110,000! Many people get an emotional high from the excitement of playing lottery games. Others get an emotional lift from other activities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an activity that gives people an emotional high or lift. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend describing how this activity gives people a lift — and telling what activities give you a lift.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

5. Rare Raccoons

In the wildlife kingdom, animals that have no color — or almost no color — are very rare. So it is extremely rare that two such animals would be born into the same family litter. Yet that was what happened this spring in the state of Colorado, when two baby raccoons were born with almost no color in the same family. Now the unusual babies will become featured attractions at the Denver Zoo. Their lack of color is caused by genetic mutations that block color genes from forming. Animals with no color at all are called albino and have totally white fur and pink eyes. Animals with almost no color have a condition called leucism (LEW-siz-em), which makes their fur very pale but may not affect eye color. The Colorado raccoons are leucistic and likely would have had a hard time surviving in the wild without the camouflage of dark fur, zoo officials said. Unusual animals often make news in the wildlife kingdom. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one. Use what you read to prepare a one-minute TV news report on the unusual animal, how and where it was noticed and how scientists think it acquired its unusual qualities.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.