1. Spring Has Sprung
The coronavirus has brought life to a full stop across the United States and in other countries. Schools and businesses are closed, public events have been canceled and families are being urged to shelter in place and “self-quarantine” to stop the spread of the virus. At the same time life is going on uninterrupted in the natural world, as if nothing has changed. Spring flowers are blooming, leaves are coming out on trees and birds are migrating north to their summer homes as they do every year. In the newspaper or online, find and list signs of spring in the natural world. Then walk around your neighborhood and see signs that spring is arriving along streets and in parks. Use what you find in the newspaper, online and in real life to create a “Spring Has Sprung” artwork. Give your artwork a title and write a paragraph telling how the arrival of spring can make people feel better when so many things have shut down.
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.
Every spring, the top spellers in the nation face off in the Scripps National Spelling Bee to see who is best. This year, they will not have that opportunity. The Spelling Bee has been C-A-N-C-E-L-E-D due to coronavirus. The Bee’s final round had been scheduled for May 24 at a Maryland convention center outside Washington, DC, but officials said uncertainty about future conditions surrounding the virus made canceling the “most responsible action.” Officials said the event that attracts 400 of the nation’s best spellers could be rescheduled or canceled entirely for this year. Spelling bees are way to build vocabulary as well as spelling skills. With a family member or friend, use the newspaper or Internet to find words to create a spelling bee of your own. Have each person make a list of words for the other to spell. Then challenge each other to spell the words. After spelling each word, tell what it means. If you don’t know, use an online dictionary to find out its meaning.
Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation and spelling when writing.; identifying multiple language conventions and using them; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.
3. Disneyland Fun Streak
The Disneyland theme park in California is one of the most popular attractions in the nation. Like other attractions, it had to shut down because of the coronavirus and disappointed many fans. No one was more disappointed than Jeff Reitz, a 47-year-old who may be Disneyland’s biggest fan. Reitz had visited Disneyland every day for more than eight years — a total of 2,995 visits in a row. Closing the park ended his streak, but he hopes to make the best of it. He plans to ask that his streak of Disneyland visits be recognized as a Guinness World Record. “I’m still looking forward to coming back and having more fun, but it won’t be that consecutive count any more," Reitz said. “The streak’s been ended.” People often like certain activities so much they want to do them again and again. In the newspaper or online, find stories, photos and ads involving activities you and your friends would like to do again and again. Use what you read to write a personal letter to a friend or family member explaining why you would like to do this activity over and over. Share ideas and discuss.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
4. Star on the Move
For fans of the National Football League, one of the most interesting times of the year is the “free agent” signing period. At this time, players whose contracts have run out are free to sign and play for another team. This year one of the biggest names in sports shocked the football world by announcing he was changing teams. Tom Brady, who had played 20 years for the New England Patriots, left to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The move came as a surprise to fans and NFL experts because the Buccaneers have been nowhere near as successful as the Patriots. With Brady as quarterback the Patriots have won six Super Bowls, appeared in three others and finished first in the AFC East Division 16 of the last 17 years. The Buccaneers have appeared in just one Super Bowl (in 2003) and have had a losing record in eight of the last nine seasons. “I’m starting a new football journey,” Brady said. People often choose to try new things or change careers. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a person doing this. Write a paragraph explaining why this person decided to make the change and what he/she hopes to get out of it.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
5. Reading Aloud
With schools closed, students are being asked to learn at home with their families. Reading aloud is a great way to do that. It helps build the number of words you know, and it helps you use words in an effective way. With brothers, sisters or other family members, use the newspaper or Internet to find a story that shows some action. It can be a sports story, a news story or a feature story. Read through it and think about which words should be stressed to make the listener feel the action of the story. Practice reading your story aloud in a whisper. Then read your story aloud with other family members. Discuss how the words you stressed in the stories helped listeners feel part of the action. For added fun, repeat this activity, taking turns with other family members.
Common Core State Standards: Reading prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate and expression on successive readings; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.