1. Hello, Spring
Spring officially arrives this week in the United States. The first day of spring, or the Vernal Equinox, occurs on Monday, March 20. On this day there are equal amounts of spring daylight and darkness (in the Latin language, the word “vernal” means “spring” and “equinox” means “equal night.” Although it still feels wintry in many parts of the country, there are many signs that spring is arriving. Some can be seen in nature and some can be seen in the activities of people and businesses. In the newspaper or online, find and study stories, photos, ads and other materials that include different signs of spring. Print or clip images and stories and create an artwork titled “Spring Is Here.” Write a paragraph explaining why you chose the images in your artwork and share with family, friends or classmates. For added fun, write a short poem, rap or rhyme to go with your artwork.
Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts; demonstrating understanding of figurative language.
2. Costly Snack
In the movie “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” candy lovers rush to buy Willy Wonka candy bars in hopes of finding a golden ticket that would give them special prizes. In the European nation of England, the Walkers snack food company ran a similar contest in February, asking customers to look for heart-shaped potato chips in their bags — and promising a prize of up to $120,000 for the best one. A woman in west-central England found a chip that would have qualified for the big prize but didn’t know about the contest, Fox News reported. Dawn Sagar thought the chip was interesting, took a picture of it for friends — and then ate it! Her friends frantically tried to contact her after seeing the photo, but were too late. "It wasn't until they messaged me back saying not to eat it due to the competition that I knew anything about it,” Sagar said. Companies often run contests to call attention to the foods or products they make. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about a contest of this sort. Then find an ad or photo of a product you like. With a partner, brainstorm an idea for a contest involving this product that would get people’s attention. Write a description of the contest, how hard it would be and what would be the prize.
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. True to Life Doll
When Halle Bailey was chosen to be the Little Mermaid in the live action movie of the children’s tale, millions of African American girls and moms were thrilled to see someone who looked like them playing the character of Ariel. Now Bailey is thrilled herself, at the doll that has been made of her movie character. “This means so much to me … to have one that looks like me, that’s my favorite Disney character,” Bailey said when the doll was announced. “And look, she even has my mole!” The new mermaid doll mirrors Ariel’s appearance in the upcoming movie, which shows the princess with Brown skin and a hairstyle with long dreads, the Washington Post newspaper reported. The choice of Bailey to play Ariel in the live-action movie was greeted with cheers by Black women and girls excited to see a woman of color playing the lead role. In Disney’s 1989 animated film Ariel was White and had red hair. As the star of “The Little Mermaid,” Halle Bailey will be a role model for African American girls — and all girls. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about another person who is a role model for others. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend or classmate talking about the importance of having role models. Include role models who have inspired you, if you like.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
4. Such a Young Teacher
When students talk about future careers, many say they want to be teachers when they grow up. In the Asian nation of India, a young girl didn’t want to wait. At 7 years old, Praanvi Gupta has become the youngest female yoga teacher in the world. Praanvi, who started practicing yoga with her mother when she was 3 1/2 years old, was certified as a teacher by the Yoga Alliance Organization after completing a 200-hour training course, UPI News reported. The Guinness World Records organization said she was 7 years and 165 days old when she was certified. In addition to teaching, Praanvi shares her love of yoga on an Internet YouTube channel, “Learning with Praanvi.” “I want to spread the love of yoga to as many people as possible,” she says. Praanvi Gupta teaches about something she loves. What things do you love that you would like to teach others about? Teachers don’t just teach about things you learn in school. They can teach about other topics that interest people, such as animals, sports, art, people or special skills like music or dancing. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a subject you would like to teach. Think creatively and write a “lesson plan” telling what you like about this subject and why students your age would like it
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.
5. ‘Pinky’ the Grasshopper
There are more than one million species of insects on Earth, and scientists are always looking for new and interesting ones. An 8-year-old boy from the state of Kansas stumbled upon one you don’t see every day, and insect lovers are buzzing. Kandon Watson of Arkansas City was out in the yard searching for grasshoppers not long ago when something unusual caught his eye. It was a grasshopper, but it was bright pink! Most grasshoppers are green, tan or brown, but in rare cases they turn pink or red because of a mutation in their bodies. Kandon was going to set the pink grasshopper free, until his aunt looked it up on the Internet and discovered how rare it was, according to KAKE-TV. Since then Kandon has kept it in a jar with fresh leaves and water. Finding him was “really cool,” he said. “I named him Pinky.” Rare animals often are in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a rare animal making news. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor telling why this animal is rare, what challenges it faces in the wild and ways people could help it live or succeed.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.