1. And the Winner Is …
Nine-year-old Kade Lovell loves to run, and he’s really good at it. But even he was surprised when he won his first-ever 10-kilometer (10K) race last month. He won because he made a mistake. His success came about because two races were being run at the same time in Sartell, Minnesota on September 21 — a 10K and a shorter 5K. Kade was running in the 5K, but at a point he was supposed to make a turn to stay with the 5K runners, a race official directed him onto the 10K course by mistake. Kade kept running … and running … and running. And when he crossed the finish line, he was surprised to discover he had finished first — not just in his age group but among all 10K runners. He covered the 10K (6.2-mile) course in just over 48 minutes, a full minute faster than the 40-year-old woman who finished second. “He’s never run this long, even in practice,” his mother, Heather Lovell, told the Washington Post newspaper. “Once he found out he had won first, he was excited. Then he was like ‘no way!’ ” Kids often make news by doing unusual things. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a young person making news for something he/she has done. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend telling what the young person has done and how it affects or inspires others. As a class, discuss unusual things you and your classmates have done — and why.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.
2. Surprise Snow
Fall has just begun, but already it’s looking and feeling like winter in some parts of the country. In the western state of Montana, a huge winter storm dumped up to 40 inches of snow last week, breaking records that went back 100 years. The storm was so bad that Montana’s governor declared a winter emergency as highways became blocked and communities lost power. Farmers were especially hard hit, because some of their crops had not been harvested and were still in the ground. “It’s a February storm in September,” said Jeff Mow, the superintendent of Glacier National Park. “We’re used to this kind of storm, just not this time of year.” Weather events are often in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read about one of these events. Use what you read to write a short editorial, outlining ways people can stay safe in this kind of weather event.
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. His Own Fossil Museum
A man who started collecting fossils as a hobby has gathered together so many that he is now opening a museum in the Asian nation of China. Xi Delong started collecting fossils 20 years ago and now has more than 2,000, the Global Times news agency reports. His collection includes a giant rhinoceros more than six meters long and a rare stegodon, an ancient relative of elephants. Xi’s collection has been valued at $7.4-million, the Global Times reported. People create museums to display unusual or historical items. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a museum that displays unusual items. Design an ad for this museum to encourage people to visit. Be sure to tell why a visit would be enjoyable or educational.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.
4. What a Slide!
One of the great things about amusement parks is that they are always coming up with bigger and better attractions. In the Southeast Asia nation of Malaysia, the Escape Theme Park has created one of the biggest and most unusual water slides in the world. The slide starts at the top of a hill and runs 3,645 feet through a rain forest inhabited by exotic birds, monkeys and other wildlife before shooting over a road and ending with a splash in a pool. Riders sit on an inflatable tube while making the journey, which lasts more than four minutes. The Malaysian water slide is believed to be the longest water slide for which riders use an inflatable tube. People love to visit amusement parks and other attractions for family fun. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story or ad for an attraction you would like to visit with your family. Use what you read to draw a series of comic strips showing why a visit to this attraction would be fun for your family. Discuss choices as a class.
Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.
5. A Christmas Record
Halloween is still weeks away, but many people are already getting the Christmas spirit. Christmas decorations are going up in stores and shopping malls, and shoppers already are searching the Internet for gift ideas. For pure creativity, however, a group in the Asian nation of India may have set the standard for this year’s holiday season. Members of the Mother India Crochet Queens have set a new Guinness World Record by making 66,158 Christmas decorations out of yarn. More than 350 members of the crafts group worked for months to crochet snowmen, Santa Clauses, snowflakes and other decorations, UPI News reported. Crochet (crow-SHAY) is a craft similar to knitting that creates objects and materials by interlocking loops of yarn with a hooked needle. In the holiday season, handmade crafts items are popular with many people. In the newspaper or online, find and study ads or stories about handmade items that could be gifts. Use what you read to write a short opinion column, telling why handmade items can make special gifts.
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.