1. Snowy and Cold
January and February often provide fierce winter weather for states in the northern part of the nation, and this year many are being hard hit. Last week, powerful snowstorms dumped huge amounts of snow from the Midwest to New England, leaving communities digging out from up to 30 inches of snow. Bitter cold then sent many areas into a “deep freeze” with temperatures dropping far below zero degrees Fahrenheit. More than 17 inches of snow fell in New York City and Nazareth, Pennsylvania was buried under 33 inches. Fargo, North Dakota and St. Paul, Minnesota recorded low temperatures of nearly 15 degrees below zero last weekend. Severe winter weather affects communities in many ways. In the newspaper or online, find and study stories and photos about severe winter weather the nation is experiencing. Use what you read to write a paragraph telling how communities are dealing with the weather, and what things are the most important in the days ahead.
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. Happy Valentine’s Day
Next Sunday is Valentine’s Day. Across the country people observe this day by finding ways to do special things for people they love. Search the ads in the newspaper and online and pick out small presents you might buy for people you love. Draw a heart on a sheet of paper and list each present, who it is for and why you chose it. Discuss your choices with friends and classmates. For added Valentine fun, draw another heart and list things you could DO for special people that would not involve presents.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; organizing data using concrete objects, pictures, tallies, tables, charts, diagrams and graphs.
3. Groundbreaking Coach
February is Black History month, and in all career fields African Americans are breaking new ground and finding success. In the National Football League, Jennifer King of the Washington Football Team has made history by becoming the first African American woman to become a full-time assistant coach. The 36-year-old King is Washington’s assistant running backs coach and one of just two female full-time position coaches in the league. The other is Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust, who coached in last weekend’s Super Bowl. “It’s so important just to open up the pool of applicants,” King told the Washington Post newspaper. “… I think for future female coaches coming up, this kind of gets their foot in the door.” Before coaching football, King played and coached basketball at the college level for more than 10 years. In all career fields, African Americans are doing things they have never done before. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one of these people. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor telling how this person’s achievements could inspire young African Americans and all Americans.
Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
4. Highway in the Ocean
California’s Highway 1 is one of the most famous roads in America, running along the coast and offering beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. It also is one of the most dangerous roads, because it is perched on cliffs in some places and can be damaged by severe weather. Californians were reminded how dangerous Highway 1 can be in January when a storm of heavy rain and snow caused a huge chunk of the highway to collapse into the sea near the famous Big Sur area that is popular with tourists. No one was hurt in the collapse, but the road has now been closed indefinitely. When California’s Highway 1 collapsed, it called attention to how the geography and natural features of areas can affect human activities. In the newspaper or online, find and study a story or photo of a natural feature that affects its community. Share this story or photo with family or friends and tell them how the feature affects human activities. Then talk about natural features that affect activities in your community. Remember that natural features can be mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, fields, parks or beaches, to name just a few.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
5. What a Great Dane
Freddy the Great Dane earned a huge reputation in his 8 ½ year life. And it was well deserved. He was recognized as the tallest dog in the world by the Guinness World Records organization. Freddy, who died in late January, was 3 feet, 4 inches tall from his feet to the top of his shoulders. When he stood on his hind legs, he was taller than most NBA basketball players with a height of 7 feet, 5 ½ inches. At the time of his birth, Freddy was the runt of the litter and had to be hand fed. Owner Claire Stoneman of Essex, England had no idea he would grow so big. When he was named the world’s tallest dog in 2016, Stoneman said it cost her $123 a week to feed him. Great Danes are one of the world’s tallest dog breeds and usually live 8 to 10 years. Freddy the Great Dane was a special and unusual animal. In the newspaper or online, find and read a story about another special animal. Use what you read to create a comic strip or comic book showing what makes this animal special. Show it having adventures based on its special qualities.
Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.