1. The Best of the Best
When it comes to women’s soccer, no one can top the U.S. national team. In this summer’s World Cup competition, the U.S. women won their second straight championship, and their fourth overall. Their four titles are a record for the competition that has been held every four years since 1991. The U.S. women took the championship with a 2-0 win over the European nation of the Netherlands, and did not trail for a single second in the whole tournament. They scored 26 goals — including a record 13 in one match —and allowed only three. U.S. star Megan Rapinoe was honored as the best player of the tournament, while the team called attention to the issues of equal pay for women soccer players and equal rights for all people. By winning the World Cup again, the U.S. women’s soccer team became national heroes. They were honored at a parade in New York City and earned praise from leaders all over the nation. In the newspaper or online, read what people are saying about the U.S. women’s team. Use what you read to write a short editorial praising the team for its achievements and for its efforts seeking equality for people in sports and the world.
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.
2. No Water
For people and other living things, water is the key to life. Without water, living things cannot survive. Which makes the situation in a city in the Asian nation of India extremely dangerous. Due to a two-year drought and lack of rainfall, the city of Chennai has run out of water. Its lakes and storage reservoirs are dry, and city leaders have been forced to truck in water from other places to serve Chennai’s 9-million people. Homes have no running water and there are long lines at places where residents can fill containers to carry to their houses. People use water in many ways in their lives. In the newspaper or online, find and study stories and photos showing different ways people use water. Make a list of these different ways, including ways that may not be direct. Then list all the ways you and your family use water. Write a paragraph or short essay telling how your life would be different if you had little or no water available.
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.
3. A Girl’s Message
Many people have spoken out to ask people not to drink and drive. But no message may be as effective as the words of an 8-year-old girl who lost her grandmother to a drunk driver in the state of Colorado. Rêve Lefebvre wrote and recorded a song about losing her grandmother, and it has taken off on the Internet. “I’m sad that someone took you away,” Rêve sings in the video of her song. “Every night I look around the stars for you. … You were too young to die. I’m too young to lose someone like you. I miss you. I miss you.” The emotional power of Rêve’s song was on display in the court proceeding for the man responsible for her grandmother’s death. The man was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Rêve Lefebvre’s song uses a powerful personal message to get people’s attention about an important issue. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone else using a personal experience to deliver a message on an issue. Write a letter to the editor telling why you think this personal message is effective getting people to think about the issue.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
4. To Life!
Global warming is having great effects all around the world. But some of the most amazing are occurring near the Earth’s North and South Poles. In those places, warming is bringing living things back to life. Mossy plants, bacteria and even tiny worms have come back to life as polar ice and glaciers melt in warmer temperatures . Some of the species had been buried under the ice and “permafrost” for thousands of years, but when exposed to light and air, they started growing again, the Washington Post newspaper reported. The discoveries are teaching scientists new things about the ability of some species to survive in extreme conditions for very long times. A wormlike nematode brought to life from the permafrost of the Russian region of Siberia is believed to be more than 41,000 years old. That would make it the oldest living animal ever discovered! Global warming is having a big effect on the Earth’s polar regions. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one effect on plants or animals. Pretend you are an affected species and write a personal column giving your view on how warming is affecting you and what that means for the Earth. Share with family or friends and discuss.
Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.
5. A Miracle Flower
Nature can do some amazing things. In the Asian nation of China, a lotus plant grown from seeds that were hundreds of years old has blossomed in a garden pool at the Old Summer Palace in the city of Beijing. Eleven seeds were found in an archaeology dig at the palace in 2017, and scientists chose eight of them to cultivate. Six of the seeds sprouted and were transplanted to the lotus pool in the palace garden. Only one has flowered so far, but all six plants are healthy, Chinese officials said. Chinese lotus is a water plant with a star shaped flower that is pink or white. Flowers provide beauty and variety to homes, yards, parks or natural areas. In the newspaper or online, find photos of different flowers in bloom. Choose one and write a poem, rap or rhyme describing how the blooming flower adds beauty to the world and how that makes people feel.
Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.