1. So Many Harrys!
All over the world people love Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling’s wizard stories. But a town in the European nation of Ireland has shown its love in a record-setting way. This month the town of Bandon in County Cork set a new mark for the number of people dressed as Harry Potter in one place. About 1,080 people dressed as the wizard hero, to top the previous record of 997 set by a town in the south Pacific nation of Australia. The world-record attempt was set up by the Secret Society of the Bandon Banshee — a group that celebrates Bandon’s connection to the Harry Potter world. In the second Harry Potter book — “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” — a fake hero named Gilderoy Lockhart claims he fought and banished a banshee monster in Bandon, County Cork. The Harry Potter books are loved by readers all over the world. In groups or as a class, discuss books you like and give reasons why. Then choose one book and brainstorm an idea for a short video or film telling why kids your age would like this book. Write an outline for what you would say in your video and images you would use. Choose a celebrity to narrate your video if you like. Share with the class.
Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
2. Very Special Help
Police officers often do unexpected things to help people. In the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, one officer recently used his own money to buy car seats for the children of a woman who couldn’t afford them. Officer Kevin Zimmerman’s kindness began when he pulled over mom Andrella Jackson for having the wrong registration on her car. While talking to her, he noticed she had children in the back seat, but no car seats, WTMJ-TV reported. When he asked why, she told him she couldn’t afford them because “with winter coming up I have to get coats and boots and shoes for my kids.” Zimmermann, who has three children of his own, didn’t give Jackson a ticket for her violation. Instead he went to a nearby Walmart and bought two car seats for Jackson’s children. “He’s awesome,” Jackson said later. “I really love him. I really appreciate everything he did for me.” People offer help or kindness to others in many ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story of someone being kind or helpful to another person. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor publicly thanking the person who was kind, and telling how such actions make the community a better place.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.
3. Tiger, Tiger
Tiger Woods is one of the greatest golfers in history, and this month he added another milestone to his career. He won a championship in the Asian nation of Japan to tie golf legend Sam Snead for the most career victories on the professional PGA Tour. By winning the Zozo Championship, Woods earned his 82nd PGA victory, tying Snead’s record that had stood for 54 years. Woods had to overcome a rain delay that pushed the tournament to five days to earn his third win in his last 14 starts. In April he won the world famous Masters Golf Tournament to achieve his 15th championship in a major PGA event. Tiger Woods has been a top athlete for many years. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another athlete who has been successful for many years. Pretend you are going to interview this athlete. Write out three questions you would like to ask to learn more about how this athlete remained successful for such a long time. Then write out answers you think the athlete might give.
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. ‘Spirit Moose’
All-white animals are rare in the wild, but this month wildlife lovers spotted not one but two white moose in the Canadian province of Ontario. The two moose known as “spirit moose” were videotaped on Highway 101 in northern Ontario after a series of sightings in the previous two weeks. One of the moose was an adult female and the other was a young juvenile. The two moose are not completely albino with white coats and pink eyes. Experts say the moose are “leucistic,” which means they have some color along with their white coats. The adult female has a round gray spot on her back hip. “Spirit moose” are believed in native cultures to bring good luck to those who see them. They are protected from hunting by Canadian law. People love to see unusual or beautiful animals in the wild. In the newspaper or online, find and closely study a story or photo of an animal you would like to see in the wild. Use what you read and previous knowledge to write a paragraph telling why you would like to see this animal in the wild and how that would be different from seeing it in a zoo.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing visual and textual evidence when writing.
5. ‘Figure 8’
One of the most unusual challenges in the world of sailing is to complete a “Figure 8” trip around North and South America and Antarctica. A 57-year-old man from San Francisco, California just completed the trip on a 45-foot sailboat — and he did it all by himself. Randall Reeves left San Francisco a year ago and sailed down the west coasts of North and South America. When he reached the tip of South America, he turned east and circled the continent of Antarctica at the Earth’s South Pole. He then sailed up the east coasts of North and South America and around the northernmost points of North America near the North Pole. He finished his journey by sailing down the western edge of North America and back to San Francisco. In making the 40,000-mile trip, Reeves had no human voice contact for 200 days and slept only 90 minutes at a time for more than 230 days. Randall Reeves’s “Figure 8” sail was an unusual adventure. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an adventure you would like to have. Use what you read to create a song about the adventure and why you would like to have it. Take the tune of a song you like and re-write the words to talk about the adventure. Then share or perform it for the class.
Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.