1. Hall of Famers
Even before he died in a tragic helicopter accident in January, Kobe Bryant was destined to be elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame on his first try. This month, the Hall made official, electing Bryant along with fellow NBA stars Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett and WNBA women’s star Tamika Catchings. Bryant, Duncan and Garnett were three of the top NBA players of the last 20 years, and Bryant and Garnett had the added distinction of going pro right out of high school. Catchings was a champion at every level, winning an NCAA college championship, a WNBA championship and four Olympic gold medals with the U.S. women’s basketball team. Induction ceremonies for this year’s honorees are scheduled to take place August 29 at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. Kobe Bryant and other Hall of Fame players are honored for success and excellence achieved over many years. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone else who has been successful for many years. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend, detailing what skills and personal traits this person needed to be successful for so long.
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.
2. Tiger Has the Virus
The coronavirus is affecting people all over the world. And now it has affected a tiger. The Bronx Zoo in New York City reports that a 4-year-old Malayan tiger named Nadia has tested positive for the virus and is believed to be the first big cat in the world to catch the disease from a human. Nadia’s illness came to light March 27 when she demonstrated corona symptoms that included a dry cough. Several other lions and tigers also are showing corona symptoms, zoo officials said, although they have not been tested. Public health officials believe the big cats caught the disease during feeding or enrichment activities from a zoo employee who was not showing symptoms. All are expected to recover. Employees at the Bronx Zoo are working to help Nadia and the other big cats recover from the coronavirus. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about people helping animals in another way. Use what you read to draw a series of comic strips about the way the animals are being helped. Present the story from the animals’ point as if they were telling it.
Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events.
3. Recovered at 104!
The coronavirus has caused a lot of sadness and heartbreak across the nation. But a 104-year-old military veteran from Lebanon, Oregon has given people a reason to cheer up. William “Bill” Lapschies has made a full recovery from the virus, making him one of the oldest-known survivors in the United States. In early March, Lapschies and a small group of elderly men living together in a state-run veterans’ facility were among the first Oregon residents to test positive for the coronavirus. After a series of ups and downs, however, Lapschies “just got better and better,” his granddaughter said. Before moving to the veterans facility, he ran a family farm with his wife of 62 years until her death. Together they had two daughters, six grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren. Bill Lapschies’ recovery from coronavirus is a remarkable achievement for a senior citizen. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another senior who has done something remarkable. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, congratulating the senior for his/her achievement and stating how that could inspire others.
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. Ultra Special Runner
The coronavirus has shut down most sports activities around the world. Except for running. Runners can keep a safe social distance from others and still stay fit and healthy. They also can still compete, as runners from dozens of different countries proved by taking part in what was named the Quarantine Backyard Ultra marathon. The Ultra was a “virtual race” in which runners ran in isolation in spaces ranging from living rooms to back yards to coffee shops. It was won by Michael Wardian of Arlington, Virginia, who ran a phenomenal 262.5 miles in barely 2 ½ days, without sleep, non-stop. In winning the race, the 46-year-old Wardian ran loops of his block in his neighborhood and clocked 4.167 miles per hour. His total distance was equal to 10 regulation marathons of 26.2 miles. More than 2,000 runners from nearly 60 countries took part in the Ultra. Athletes are trying unusual activities to stay active during the coronavirus emergency. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one such athlete. Use what you read to write a short sports column telling how this activity will help the athlete after virus restrictions are lifted.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
5. Fun with Birds
For more than 100 years the National Audubon Society has been working to protect the nation’s birds and educate people about their habits. With schools closed and students isolated at home, the society is offering special lessons and activities to teach students about birds and get them to look more closely at the birds that live in their neighborhoods. The activities can be found at the society’s Audubon Adventures website and include topics ranging from “Nature Hunts” to “How Do Birds Get Their Names?” With family or friends talk about how birds like the Red-Winged Blackbird, Black-Capped Chickadee, Great Horned Owl or Red-Headed Woodpecker got their names. Then use the newspaper or Internet to find stories or photos involving other birds. Talk about how those birds may have gotten their names. Finish by taking a walk in your neighborhood and noting birds that you see. What do they look like? What are they doing? Make up names for them based on what you see. For added fun, look at objects in your neighborhood and turn them into birds. Draw them and give them funny or creative names.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.