1. Summer Fun
Summer is officially here, and families are planning things they want to do while schools are on summer break. Some will take trips to vacation spots like beaches or mountains. Others will plan special activities or outings in their own communities. Others will do some of each. With family or friends, discuss things you have done on previous summer vacations that were fun or interesting. Then use the newspaper or Internet to make a list of activities you would like to do or places you would like to visit this summer. Draw a picture of each place/activity and write a complete sentence telling why you think it would be fun.
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. You Can Do It!
All kids benefit when they eat healthy foods and snacks. But how do you get them to give up junk food or fast-food meals? In the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a group of students has come up with a solution. The teenage students started a student-run food business called Rebel Ventures that creates foods that not only taste good, but are good for you. Their most popular item is a soft breakfast cake called Rebel Crumble that is now on the menu of Philadelphia public schools and available at local grocery stores. And the students aren’t stopping there. Next year they plan to open their own convenience store to sell nutritious meals and snacks in the West Philadelphia neighborhood. The goal, according to the students, is to make “healthy deliciousness” available to kids across the city. Students often do things to make their community better. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about students doing this. Discuss with family or friends. Then make a plan to do something that would make your community better.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
3. New Nation on the Moon
The Asian nation of India hopes to join a very exclusive club this fall. India’s space agency is making plans to land a space vehicle and rover on the surface of the Earth’s moon. If successful, India would be just the fourth nation to land a craft on the moon, joining the United States, China and the former Soviet Union (Russia). The moon mission is scheduled to lift off in mid-July and arrive in September. In addition to the landing craft and rover, the mission will include an orbiter called “Chandrayaan-2,” which means “moon vehicle” in the Sanskrit language of India. The Asian nation is also planning a manned space mission by the year 2022. India’s planned moon landing would be a breakthrough in the exploration of space. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another space mission. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, telling why the mission is important to scientists.
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.
4. Huge Horns
It’s no accident that longhorn cattle have that name. Their horns can grow out from their heads to enormous lengths. As if to prove the point, a longhorn steer in the state of Alabama has set a new world record for the widest horn “spread” ever. The steer’s horns spread out a total of 10 feet, 7.4 inches according to the Guinness World Records association. That’s wider than the Statue of Liberty’s face, and greater than the height of an NBA basketball hoop. The steer, a male named Poncho Via, topped the previous record for widest horns by a little more than one inch. Animals often are in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and study a story or photo of an animal in the news. Use what you read to write a poem, rap or rhyme telling the story of the animal. You may make your poem humorous or serious. Read or perform it aloud for family or friends.
Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.
5. Calm Kindness
Acts of kindness can take many forms. At the Universal Orlando Resort theme park in Florida an employee proved that by offering calm, simple support to a boy who was having an emotional “meltdown” next to the Spider-Man ride. Nine-year old Ralph Koppelman had been looking forward to Spider-Man all day and lost it when an employee announced the ride wasn’t working and had to be shut down. Ralph, who has autism and trouble controlling his emotions, fell to the ground “sobbing, screaming, rocking … and struggling to breathe,” his mother Lenore wrote later on Facebook. That’s when employee Jennifer Whelchel stepped in. Rather than trying to move Ralph and his family along, Whelchel lay down with him on the ground. She rested next to him, talked to him calmly and encouraged him to “let it all out,” his mother said. After about 10 minutes Ralph had regained his calm. He sat up and gave Whelchel a high five. His mother gave her a huge hug. People often make news by being kind. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone being kind to others. Use what you read to write a personal letter to a friend, telling how this act of kindness made you feel and how it could inspire others.
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.