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For Grades 5-8 , week of Oct. 29, 2018

1. What’s Your Costume?

Halloween will be celebrated Wednesday, and in every community people will be dressing up as superheroes, sports stars or characters from books or movies. Or they’ll be pretending to be famous people like sports stars, musicians or even politicians. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a famous person whom people might like to dress up as for Halloween. Write a paragraph explaining why people would want to dress as this person, and whether their costume would be serious or funny. Finish by drawing a picture of a costume you will be wearing (or want to wear) for Halloween. Share it with the class.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

2. Record-Breaking Bridge

The Asian nation of China has nearly 1.4-billion people and is growing in influence as an economic and political power. To expand its influence, it has just completed and opened the world’s longest sea bridge. The 34-mile structure connects the Chinese mainland to the regional districts of Hong Kong and Macau in one of China’s strongest economic regions. The bridge cost more than $20-billion and took nine years to build. In addition to elevated bridge areas, it includes a four-mile-long tunnel and manmade islands to support the steel structure. The Chinese sea bridge is an amazing example of modern construction. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another unusual or outstanding construction project. It can involve a bridge, a building or something else. Use what you read to write a paragraph explaining what is unusual about the project, what challenges were faced by builders and how they overcame them.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing.

3. Trees in Trouble

The state of Utah has many natural attractions, but one of the most unusual is a forest of aspen trees known as the Pando aspen clone. It is the largest natural organism in the world, because it covers more than 100 acres of land and has just one root system. But this natural wonder near Fishlake National Forest is in trouble, scientists report, and people need to step up to save it. The problem is not pollution or climate change, as is often the case, but animals. Deer, elk and cattle are grazing in the area and eating the Pando to death. The animals are “degrading” the ecosystem by eating new aspen shoots that could regenerate the forest. Many natural areas face challenges to their health or survival. And efforts by people often are needed. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a natural area that is facing threats to its health or survival. Use what you read to write a short editorial for the newspaper, giving your views on steps people could take to aid this natural area. Share editorials and discuss as a class.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

4. Some Slogan!

Across America, every city and state wants to attract tourists because they spend money and help businesses and the local community. To do that, most have come up with snappy slogans to encourage people to visit. The state of Nebraska, however, is taking a different approach in the hope it will attract visitors because it is so unusual. The state’s Tourism Commission announced this month that its new tourism slogan will be: “Honestly, it’s not for everyone.” Really. The slogan will appear in tourism ads running in other states next spring along with pictures that disprove Nebraska’s image as a flat, dusty place. Officials hope the slogan’s low-key humor will intrigue people about what Nebraska has to offer. “We had to shake people up,” said the state’s tourism director. What slogan would you create if you were in charge of tourism for your city or state? In teams or pairs, use the newspaper or Internet to read stories about interesting attractions in your state or community. Brainstorm ideas for a slogan to encourage people to visit. Choose one and create a tourist poster using it. Present your slogan and poster to the class and explain why you chose it.

Common Core State Applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.

5. Trash for Travel

Recycling is a way to reduce waste and re-use materials like plastics, metals and paper. Many communities in the United States run recycling programs, but in other parts of the world the idea has yet to catch on. In the European nation of Turkey, the city of Istanbul is trying a new approach to get people to recycle instead of littering or throwing materials out with the trash. The city has installed “reverse vending machines” at subway stations that give passengers cash credit for plastic bottles or aluminum cans. The credits are added to subway cards that people use to pay for rides on the system’s trains. In Istanbul, which has 15 million people, most residents are unaware of the benefits of recycling and throw out trash that could be recycled. Recycling can reduce the amount of trash that communities have to get rid of. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about recycling efforts in different communities. Use what you read to design a website showcasing the successes of these communities. Design the home page to show different efforts, or different aspects of recycling. Pick an image to illustrate each. Then write headlines and text blocks to explain each category.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic. they need.