1. A Roaring Success
When “The Lion King” first came out as an animated movie in 1994, it went on to become a huge hit. It sold nearly $423-million in tickets in the United States and another $546-million around the world. This summer, on the 25th anniversary of the original movie, a new “Lion King” has come out, and it looks like it may break all the old ticket records. The new movie features characters that look like real animals instead of cartoons, but it proved just as popular as the original on its opening weekend. It sold more than $185-million in tickets for the weekend in the United States and North America, a new record for the month of July and a new record for a PG-rated movie. Worldwide, it has already sold more than $531-million in tickets, nearly matching the total of the first movie in just 10 days. Like the original movie, the new “Lion King” follows the struggles and adventures of Simba as he grows up to become king. “The Lion King” is proving to be one of the movies kids and families want to see most this summer. In the newspaper or online, find and study stories, ads or listings for other summer movies. Pick one you would like to see and make a list of reasons you want to see it. Draw a picture showing what about the movie appeals to you.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.
2. Mystery Wreck
A sailing ship from the time of Christopher Columbus has been found at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, and researchers are excited because it appears to be in great condition. The 500-year-old wreck was found nearly 500 feet below the surface on the floor of the sea east of the European nation of Sweden. It appeared to have sustained little damage when it was sunk, with its hull well preserved and its masts and rigging intact. The vessel’s anchor was still attached to the hull and swivel cannons used for protection were visible. Researchers said the wreck was 52 to 60 feet long — about the same size as the flagship of Columbus’s famous 1492 expedition, the Santa Maria. The ship has not been identified but has been nicknamed “Okänt Skepp,” which means “unknown ship” in the Swedish language. Shipwrecks are valuable to scientists and history experts because they preserve items that show how people worked or lived. With a friend or family member, use the newspaper or Internet to find photos of modern ships or boats. Pick one and study it. Talk about items shown in the photo that would tell future history experts about how people worked or lived on the ship.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
3. Help Those Kittens!
Police do many things to help people in their communities. In the city of Muncie, Indiana this month they did something unusual to help animals at the same time. For one week, the police department allowed people to pay off money owed for parking tickets by donating cat supplies of equal value to the Muncie Animal Care and Services (MACS) organization. The MACS shelter needed the help because it had been hit with a summer surge of cats and kittens being dropped off. “We’re in dire need of supplies for the large volume of cats/kittens being cared for here at MACS, and they keep pouring in our doors,” the shelter said in a post online. People taking part in the program paid off their tickets by buying supplies like cat and kitten food, litter, beds, blankets and toys. A police spokesman said the department agreed to the unusual partnership because there was “just an overwhelming need” with more than 350 cats and kittens dropped off at the shelter in a very short time. Animal shelters care for animals and find homes for them. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an animal shelter in your state or community. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor suggesting ways people could help the shelter in its work.
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. Toy Comeback
All across America, there were a lot of unhappy families when Toys R Us announced it was closing all its U.S. stores last year. The company was having money problems and couldn’t maintain the more than 700 stores it operated in malls and shopping centers. Now, with a new owner and a new approach, Toys R Us is back. Owner Tru Kids Brands has announced it will open new stores and an e-commerce website in time for this year’s end-of-year holiday season. The stores will be smaller than those of the past and carry fewer toys. They also will feature more interactive and technology experiences to appeal to shoppers and areas built like playgrounds where kids can try out new toys. The first two stores will be located in Houston, Texas and Paramus, New Jersey. Toys R Us still operates 900 stores on the continents of Europe and Asia. Stores often try new things to attract customers. In the newspaper or online, find and study an ad announcing something new that a store is trying. Use information from the ad to write a paragraph telling how the new approach could appeal to customers.
Common Core State Standards: Citing textual or visual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
5. Off to the Fair
Parents often want to teach their children independence, but a toddler in the state of Minnesota scared his family by showing just how independent he was. Two-year-old Kenneth Allen wanted to go to the Chisago County Fair near his home in Rush City, so he fired up his toy John Deere tractor to get there. Kenneth cruised several blocks to the fairgrounds, and then figured out he could get in through a back entrance. Police found him at the Tilt-a-Whirl ride after his parents filed a missing child report. His father was relieved to see him, but immediately took away his “driver’s license” by removing the battery from Kenneth’s tractor. Kids develop independence in many ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story showing a child being independent in positive ways. Write a letter to a friend telling how being independent helps the child in the story. Then describe ways that being independent has helped you in your life.
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.