1. Election ‘Firsts’
Every election writes a new chapter in American history. And sometimes those chapters include historic “firsts” for the country and its states. In the 2022 election there were many “firsts” across the nation. The states of Arkansas, Massachusetts and New York elected their first women as governor. The state of Maryland elected its first Black governor and its first Black lieutenant governor. The state of California elected its first Latino U.S. Senator, and Oklahoma elected the first Native American as a U.S. Senator in almost 100 years. In races for the U.S. House, the states of Illinois and Colorado elected their first Latina women as House members, Michigan chose its first Indian American and Pennsylvania elected its first Black woman. Vermont chose the first woman for U.S. House in its history, and Alabama elected its first woman as a U.S. Senator. As a class, discuss the importance of people achieving “firsts” in politics. With a partner, use the newspaper and Internet to find and closely read a story about someone who achieved a “first” in this month’s election. Write a letter to the editor, telling how this person achieved this “first,” why it is significant and how it could inspire others.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
2. Who’s Most Valuable?
The Major League Baseball season is over, and fans of the Houston Astros are celebrating their victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series. But there is still some exciting baseball news to come. This week, the Major Leagues will announce which players have been voted the Most Valuable Players in the National and American Leagues, along with the Rookies of the Year, Cy Young Award winners for top pitchers and the Managers of the Year. The rookies will be honored Monday, the managers on Tuesday, the Cy Young pitchers on Wednesday and the MVPs on Thursday. Most Valuable Players aren’t just sports stars. In every field or situation in life there are people who are the “most valuable” to their schools, businesses, neighborhoods or communities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a person who is “most valuable” in their work or life. Use what you read to design an award certificate, honoring this person for his or her achievements and telling why.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
3. Finding Lost Pets
Anyone who has ever owned a pet knows how heartbreaking it can be when a dog or cat goes missing. In King Country in the state of Washington, pet owners can get help finding their pets from a popular — and highly successful — Facebook page. The page, which is called Lost Dogs of King County, has more than 34,000 members and a 92 percent success rate reuniting people with lost dogs (and the occasional cat), the Washington Post newspaper reports. When an owner reports a pet missing, all those volunteers jump into action. They organize search parties, put up Lost Pet signs and distribute photos and pet names on the Internet. “About 30 people post about missing dogs every day,” said the woman who runs the Facebook page. “We look into each and every one. If there’s a dog out there that needs help, that’s where my heart is. We do everything we can to help reunite them.” The Lost Dogs Facebook page is a creative way to use the Internet and social media to help the community. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another person or group using the Internet to help others. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend detailing how using the Internet is an effective way to provide help in this situation.
Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.
4. Amazing Brady Record
In a 23-year career in the National Football League, quarterback Tom Brady has set more than three dozen NFL records. Now at age 45, he has set a record that may never be broken. In a game in which he led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a win in the last minute of play, Brady became the first NFL quarterback to record a combined 100,000 career passing yards in the regular season and playoffs. Brady also holds career passing records for just the regular season — at more than 87,067 yards — and for just the playoffs — at 13,049 yards. He has 6,000 more regular season yards than second-place Drew Brees and his playoff total is nearly double that of runner-up Peyton Manning, the New York Times newspaper reported. In his record setting game Brady passed for 329 yards and a touchdown to lead the Buccaneers to a 16-13 come-from-behind win over the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams. To reach 100,000 career passing yards, Tom Brady had to perform at a high level for many years. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another person who has performed at a high level for many years. Write a paragraph telling what skills and personal qualities were needed for this person to be successful for so long.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
5. Rain & Snow, At Last!
California and other western states have been hard hit by droughts, lack of rain and wildfires this year. But an early winter storm last week finally brought an end to fire season in California. More than four feet of snow fell in the mountain regions of the state, while lower elevations got 5 or more inches of rain. The early November rain is a welcome change from recent years, which have seen devastating fires well into autumn due to dry and warm conditions, the Washington Post reported. Roughly 360,000 acres of land — more than 560 square miles — have burned in the state this year, destroying more than 770 homes. California’s rainy season usually starts in November, though it has not been as wet in recent years as in the past. “It’s not especially common for us to be getting significant precipitation this early in the season,” said one weather expert. “We are getting off to a good start this year.” Weather can help people or harm people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about weather harming or helping. Use what you read to design a poster comparing how weather can help people or harm people. Present your poster to the class.
Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.