1. That Spells Help
Throughout the United States, people do many different things to help needy families. In the state of West Virginia, a food bank collected thousands of cans of food to set a world record — and it helped the needy at the same time. The record set by the Mountain Mission food bank in the city of Charleston was for the most cans used to spell out a word. The word was “Mountaineers,” and the food bank used 25,550 cans to form it in front of the State Capitol building, UPI News reported. “Mountaineers” is the name of teams competing for West Virginia University and is sometimes used as a nickname for the early settlers of the state located in the Appalachian Mountains. The food bank’s effort easily topped the previous record for cans used to spell a word, which was set by the SpartanNash company of Grand Rapids, Michigan, when it used 5,791 pieces of packaged food to spell out its own name. West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said the food used in the food bank’s record-breaking effort will be donated to feed West Virginia families during the holidays. Many organizations provide help to families in need during the holiday season. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a group that is doing this. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend, telling what this group is doing, why that is important and how you, your school or your community could help the group in its efforts.
Common Core State Standards: Citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
2. What a Treasure!
People who use metal detectors always are hoping they will find buried treasure with their high-tech devices. Detectors discover metals underground by sending out electronic signals that cause beeps when they hit metal objects. In the European nation of England, a man using a metal detector on a country walk found a gold diamond wedding ring buried in the mud — and it may be worth as much as $50,000. The ring found by 69-year-old David Board dates back more than 600 years and is believed to be the wedding band given by a wealthy man to his wife when they were married, CNN News reported. The band features two strands of yellow gold woven together with a diamond set into the metal. It is in “stunning” condition, Board said, and inscribed in French with words that translate “I hold your faith, hold mine.” It is in “almost perfect condition,” according to the Noonans auction house, which will put the ring up for sale on November 29. Finding buried treasure is an unexpected kind of good fortune. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone else having good fortune that they did not expect. Write a paragraph telling how you would respond if you had the good fortune experienced by the person in the story. Compare stories as a class and discuss.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.
3. Pooches on the Move
Founded in 1877, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the oldest in the United States and the second oldest sports event of any kind in the nation. For most of its history, it has been held at Madison Square Garden in New York City, home of the New York Knicks and Rangers sports teams. The coronavirus epidemic forced the show to an outdoor estate in Tarrytown, New York, for the last two years, but next year it is coming back to New York City. Westminster officials have announced the show will take place next May at the home of the famous U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York’s Queens neighborhood, the Associated Press news service reported. The dogs and their trainers will compete at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center named for the pioneering women’s tennis pro. Dogs at Westminster face off in agility, obedience and breed-by-breed competition. A best-in-show award is presented on the final night of judging. At this year’s show, 211 breeds competed, with a bloodhound named Trumpet taking the best-in-show honor for the first time in the breed’s history. At shows like Westminster, dogs are judged not only for their appearance but for their agility and obedience skills. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another sport or activity in which competitors need more than one skill to succeed. Use what you read to write a personal column telling what skills are needed for success in this activity and why they are important. Include which of these skills you have, if you like.
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. The Oldest American
With better health care and more active lifestyles, senior adults are living longer and longer in the United States and around the world. No American now alive has lived longer than Bessie Hendricks of Lake City, Iowa. A former school teacher, Hendricks just turned 115, and celebrated with her children, one of whom just turned 90. She was born in the year 1907 and has seen 21 U.S. presidents in her lifetime, along with two world wars, the invention of television, the first space flights and the growth of the Internet. She said hard work and love of family were the keys to her long life. “She’s always cared about her family,” her son Leon said. “She always did that. Family came first to mom. Always.” Older Americans are often in the news for remarkable activities and achievements. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one older American in the news. Pretend you are a news reporter and write out three questions you would like to ask this person about being successful at an advanced age.
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. Big Ben, Big Bongs
The Great Clock and Bell Tower known as Big Ben have long been a landmark in the city of London, England. Residents and visitors alike looked forward to hearing the clock’s Great Bell toll the hours, but for the last five years Big Ben has been silent except for special occasions due to a $95-million renovation project. Now Big Ben has come back to life, and its bell will bong the hour and quarter-hours every day for all to hear. The renovation of the last five years has been the longest the clock and bell have been mostly silent since they were put in place 163 years ago. The bell only rang at very special occasions, such as the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in September, when it rang 96 times, once for each year of her life. During the renovation the 25,000-pound clock mechanism was taken apart, and more than 1,000 separate parts were cleaned and repaired, the Washington Post newspaper reported. The clock’s return to service was welcomed by Londoners. “Marvelous, wonderful,” one said. “Been a long time.” Landmarks are special features of communities that people love to see or enjoy. In the newspaper or online, find and study a story or photo about a landmark in your community or state. Use what you find to write a short editorial telling why the landmark is special to the community and how it makes people feel.
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.