1. History-Making Hound
The Westminster Dog Show is the oldest dog show in the United States, and this year its winner achieved something that had never happened in 145 years. For the first time, the dog chosen Best in Show was a bloodhound — a brown, wrinkly, 4-year old male named Trumpet. The floppy-eared Trumpet, who only started competing in dog shows in January, topped six other dogs to win the championship. The others were a French bulldog named Winston, who earned runner up honors as Reserve Best in Show; a Lakeland terrier named MM; a pure white Samoyed named Striker; an English setter named Belle; a Maltese named Hollywood; and a German shepherd named River. “I was shocked,” Trumpet’s handler, Heather Buehner, said after winning. “… I feel like sometimes a bloodhound might be a little bit of an underdog. So I was absolutely thrilled.” In a show like Westminster dogs are judged against the ideal “standard” for what the breed should be. Bloodhounds are bred to hunt by using their strong sense of smell. They can grow to be 27 inches long and weigh more than 100 pounds and are judged on everything from their wrinkles and ears to the expression on their faces, which should be “noble and dignified.” Dogs are the most popular pets in the United States, with almost 50 million households owning at least one dog. What kind of dog would you like to get if you were getting a new dog? In the newspaper or online, find photos, stories and ads about different kinds of dogs (don’t forget mixed breeds or “mutts”!) Use what you read to write a letter to a parent or family member telling what kind of dog you would like, and why. Share letters with family or friends and discuss.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
2. What a Save!
In the sport of hockey, players are often credited with making important “saves” to prevent goals. In the state of New York this month, a basketball player proved that athletes can make important saves in that sport as well. And they can be more important than keeping an opponent from scoring. At a game in the playoffs for a new pro basketball league, Myles Copeland saved the life of a referee who had collapsed on the court and become unresponsive. Copeland, who is a firefighter when not playing in the league, administered CPR for 10 minutes to keep the referee’s heart beating until emergency crews could arrive. The 25-year-old Copeland played Division III college basketball in Indiana, and has been a firefighter in Toledo, Ohio for a little more than a year, ESPN sports reported. He said his quick response when referee John Sculli collapsed was “kind of instinctual” for someone with his training. “It surprised me how quick I was able to switch into that mode, especially being in a basketball game. But with being a firefighter, when you're off the job, you're really not off the job. You still got to keep an eye out for the community.” People often are praised as heroes when they act quickly to help another person. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone who has done this. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, as if you were the person who was helped.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.
3. Rock, Paper, Scissors
At some point while growing up, most kids play the game Rock, Paper, Scissors. People who have played it know it’s a hand game in which players form one of the three shapes on the count of three. The winner is determined by the relationship of the shapes — rock crushes scissors, scissors cut paper and paper can cover rock. In the European nation of Slovenia this month, Rock, Paper Scissors was used to determine the outcome of a top bicycle race by teammates competing for the Middle East nation of the United Arab Emirates. UAE riders Rafal Majka and Tadej Pogacar were leading the Tour of Slovenia race side by side as they headed for the finish line when they took the unusual approach to use the children’s game to determine the winner, the Washington Post newspaper reported. They reached out to each other, flexed their arms twice and then revealed their choices. Pogacar displayed a rock with his hand; Majka selected paper. Since paper can cover rock, Majka won, and Pogacar allowed him to ride slightly ahead to win the 94.8-mile race. The teammates crossed the finish line with big grins on their faces and threw their arms around each other. Teammates in sports or other activities often help or support each other in unusual ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about teammates who have done this. Use what you read to write a sports column talking about different ways people can be good teammates and why that is important.
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. Amazon Wildlife
In days of old, scientists who wanted to study wildlife would trap them in the wild, take them to zoos or even kill them to examine their bodies. Today, scientists who study wildlife “trap” animals, birds, reptiles and more in a much kinder way. They set photo “traps” that take pictures when animals pass in front of them. On the continent of South America, scientists have used such photo traps to create the world’s largest photo collection of wildlife that live in the Amazon rain forest. The Wildlife Conservation Society set up hundreds of photo traps throughout the Amazon over the last 20 years to capture more than 57,000 photos and videos of wildlife going about their daily lives when people were not around. The Society photos and videos were combined with other resources to create a database of more than 150,000 images of mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and amphibians that live in the rain forest that is the largest in the world. The Amazon rain forest is home to more than 1,300 bird species, 427 mammal species, 400 species of amphibians and 378 of reptiles. Photo traps help scientists learn about wild animals by showing them going about their daily lives. In the newspaper or online, find and study a story or photo of a wild animal you would like to know more about. Use what you read to write a paragraph telling how a photo trap could help you learn more about this animal. Describe what you could learn from the photo trap at night or during the day, and which would be the most valuable.
Common Core State Standards: Citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.
5. Sinking Business
For more than 50 years, one of the most popular landmarks in the Asian city of Hong Kong was a giant restaurant that floated in the harbor. At 260-feet-long the eating establishment was almost the length of a football field and was called, not surprisingly, “Jumbo Kingdom,” or the “Jumbo Floating Restaurant.” When the coronavirus closed off Hong Kong to tourists, the restaurant was forced to shut down, and this month it was hit with another disaster. While being towed to another location in Southeast Asia, the Jumbo Kingdom got caught in rough weather in the South China Sea and sank near the Paracel Islands. It was the end of an era for an establishment that served Cantonese-style Chinese food and had hosted celebrities ranging from U.S. President Jimmy Carter to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II to the actors Tom Cruise and Chow Yun Fat. Many communities have landmarks that people like to go see when they visit. In the newspaper or online, find and study stories and photos about a landmark in your community or state. Use what you read to design the home page for a website featuring this landmark. Pick two or three features of the landmark to showcase and find photos of them in the newspaper or online. Write a headline for the top of the home page and a paragraph to describe each photo.
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.