1. Giving Thanks
This week the nation celebrates Thanksgiving, and families will be gathering to express thanks for the good things in their lives. People give thanks for many different things — family, friends, success, opportunities, nature, pets, help from others and much more. As a class, talk about the things you are thankful for this Thanksgiving. Are they physical things, emotional things or something else? Then pair off and scan the newspaper or Internet to find and read about people who have good things to be thankful for. Use what you find to design a Thanksgiving newspaper ad showing five people who have something to be thankful for. Use images from the newspaper or Internet to illustrate your ad. Write a complete sentence for each person explaining what he/she has to be thankful for.
Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
2. College Grad at 9
Nine-year-old Laurent Simons says he’s “very lazy,” but few would agree with him. He’s about to achieve one of the most remarkable feats of the year for students. Next month the boy from the European nation of Belgium will become one of the youngest people in the world to earn a college degree. Laurent studies electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the nation of the Netherlands. Once he finishes his final project — involving a brain-connected electrical chip — he will graduate in December. He entered the university at age 8 and is completing a three-year program in just 10 months. Then he’ll be moving on to advanced study in engineering and medicine. He says he has “#Giganticplans” for his future and eventually wants to develop artificial hearts to help people like his grandparents. They have heart problems, and he said “I’d like to help people like them.” Children are often in the news for doing unusual or inspiring things. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about such a child in the news. Use what you read to write a paragraph explaining the skills or character traits the child needed to do the unusual or inspiring thing. Share with the class and discuss.
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.
3. Water on Jupiter Moon?
One of the big goals of America’s NASA space agency is to discover if there are living things elsewhere in our solar system or in outer space. To find life, NASA first must look for water, because living things cannot exist without it. This month NASA researchers announced that the “next best thing” to water has been found on the planet Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. The researchers said they had confirmed that plumes of water vapor have been found above the surface of Europa, which would indicate water exists there. Scientists have suspected for many years that there is water on Europa, making it a possible site for life elsewhere in our solar system. NASA is planning a Europa Clipper mission that will gather more data on water vapor and water on Europa as soon as the year 2025. The mission will do 45 fly-bys of Europa and probe the massive moon with radar and cameras. Scientists are constantly learning new things about our solar system and outer space. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about something scientists have learned recently about the solar system or space. Write a short letter to the editor, telling why the discovery is important and how it was achieved.
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.
4. ‘One in a Million’
When rare animals are discovered in the wild, they often cause great excitement among nature lovers. A deer in the state of Michigan is the latest example. The deer is a male stag that has three antlers instead of two. The deer was photographed in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula area by a retired state legislator who was walking his dog in the woods. Steven Lindberg didn’t realize at first that the deer was unusual. He was too busy trying to get a clear shot of the stag and a female doe nearby. But when he got home and loaded his pictures onto his computer, he was stunned that the stag had a third antler, the Washington Post newspaper reported. And when he posted the picture to his Facebook page, it became an Internet sensation. And no wonder. The three-antler deer is a “one in a million” find, according to a local animal expert. Animals are often in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an animal making news. Write the name of the animal down the side of a sheet of paper. Use each letter of the animal’s name to start a sentence explaining a reason people are interested in this animal. Share with the class and discuss.
Common Core State Standards: Citing textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
5. Precious Recovery
From the time she was married in 1960, 80-year-old Jan McGuire wore the wedding ring given to her by her husband Don at their wedding ceremony. This month, the Lowell, Massachusetts woman felt her heart sink when she discovered she had lost the ring while working her part-time job bagging groceries at a local market. She never thought she would see it again, and that broke her heart because her husband died six years ago. “I felt that was all I had left” to remember him, she told local TV station WBZ. At the suggestion of her daughter she posted about the loss on Facebook, but she didn’t have much hope it would help. And then, out of the blue, someone turned the ring in at the store where she works. “I was so shocked,” she said. “I was so excited. I couldn’t stop crying. It gives you faith [and] a good feeling, a good Thanksgiving feeling.” Unexpected or random acts of kindness are often in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone doing something kind for others. Use what you read to write a short editorial urging people to find ways to “Be Kind” to others — and why that would make the community a better place.
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.