1. Hello, 2023
It’s a new year, and people all over the world are looking to make a fresh start, improve their habits or set new goals. They often do this by making new year’s resolutions in which they write out the things they want to achieve. The word “resolution” comes from the word “resolve,” which means to decide firmly on a course of action. As a class, discuss resolutions you would like to make to improve your habits or achieve goals in the new year. Then search the newspaper or Internet for people in the news who might want to make new year’s resolutions. Pick three and write out a resolution each might want to make — and why. Finish by writing out a resolution you would like to make and explain how you can make it come true.
Common Core State Standards: Responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
2. History Every Day
American history is not just something that is celebrated on the Fourth of July. Websites like OnThisDay.com show that interesting and important things have happened almost every day in our history (click here). Just this week, for example, two famous people from American history were born — Betsy Ross and Paul Revere. And they were born on the same day — January 1 — in different years. Betsy Ross, who is said to have sewn the first American flag, was born on January 1, 1752 in Gloucester City, New Jersey and later lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the Declaration of Independence was signed. Paul Revere was born the same day in 1735 in Boston, Massachusetts and is famous for his “midnight ride” warning that “the British are coming” at the start of America’s War of Independence. As Revere and Ross demonstrated, history is made every day in the United States and other nations. As we start a new year, team with a partner and use the newspaper or Internet to read a story about an event that could be remembered in the future as important to history. Use what you read to write a paragraph telling why you think this event is important and could be remembered.
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.
3. Lego Love
For more than 70 years, Lego brick sets have been hugely popular with kids and adults all over the world. More than 600-BILLION pieces have been sold in different combinations, and they have inspired people to do some unusual things. They inspired Russell Cassevah to set two world records walking barefoot over paths of Legos (ouch!). And now they have inspired him to use Lego sets to cheer up children in hospitals across the United States, the Washington Post newspaper reports. Cassevah has established an organization called the Little Bricks Charity, and each year he uses donations to give away more than $120,000 worth of Lego sets to kids being treated at 29 children’s hospitals nationwide. Cassevah, a 38-year-old who has loved Legos since he was 4, sometimes builds with patients after delivering their Lego sets. “When I build with kids, my goal is to create fun memories and give them a voice and let them talk,” he said. More than anything, he adds, they “laugh and have fun.” People do many different things to help children or families in need. In the newspaper or online find and closely read a story about children or a family that could use some help. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor telling what kind of help is needed and how the community could provide it.
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. High Flying Career
In the United States and around the world, older adults are living longer and more active lives. Consider the case of Bette Nash. At 86 years old, she is the longest serving airline flight attendant in the world. Nash, who took her first flight as a teenager in the 1950s, has been flying and serving passengers for more than 65 years, the Modern Met news site reports. She started her career in 1957 as an attendant for Eastern Airlines, which eventually became American Airlines. Nash still flies for American, and as a senior attendant she has been able to choose her preferred route from New York City, to Washington, DC to Boston, Massachusetts. She likes to have that route because it allows her to be home every night to care for her adult son, who has a disability. She has no plans to stop flying “as long as I have my health.” “It’s just been the perfect career path,” she says. “It’s given my love of people an outlet, and I like to think I’ve given good service to others.” Many careers provide opportunities for people who enjoy working with other people or the public. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one such career. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend telling what skills and personality traits are needed to be successful in this career. Which of these skills do you have?
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.
5. The Year in Pictures
It’s often said that a picture is worth 1,000 words. What that means is that pictures communicate and connect with people in a way that words do not. They SHOW how people feel in situations that are both painful and wonderful and they provide proof of problems that need to be solved. In December or January each year, newspapers and websites look back at the previous 12 months to give viewers a look at “The Year in Pictures.” In the newspaper or online, find and study a “Year in Pictures” feature. Choose one photo from the feature or find a photo from today’s news that tells a powerful story. Write a paragraph explaining how the picture tells a story more effectively than words could do alone. Share with the class and discuss.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and making logical inferences from them.