For Grades 5-8 THE WEEK OF Oct. 24, 2011

1. St. Crispin's Day

On October 25, 1415, the European countries of France and England fought the Battle of Agincourt. The 6,000 English men and boys were led by King Henry V against 20,000 French men. Amazingly, the English won. The battle inspired playwright William Shakespeare to write one of his most famous speeches  the St. Crispin's Day speech in the play Henry V. Look through today's newspaper for inspiration. Then write a short story that is inspired by something interesting you read about that's happening in the world.

Core/National Standard: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events, using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.

2. Lady Liberty Turns 125!

On October 28, 1886, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated. It was a present from France to honor America as a symbol of freedom in the world. As a class, read a story in today's newspaper about the Statue of Liberty or about America itself. Then write a short paragraph about what the United States of America means to you. Afterwards, discuss your ideas with your classmates.

Core/National Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners; communicating information accurately and effectively and demonstrating expressive abilities by creating oral, written and visual texts that enlighten and engage an audience.

3. Out of This World

Travelers take Virgin Airlines flights every day to get to destinations around the world. Now owner Richard Branson is getting closer to taking travelers to destinations outside of the world. According to an Associated Press article, he has opened a commercial spaceport in southern New Mexico. He hopes the testing of a spacecraft he is developing is finished by 2012 so he can start commercial space flights. More than 450 people have already purchased tickets to fly into space on trips lasting two and a half hours. Tickets for the privilege of going suborbital cost $200,000, and the flights will be manned by astronauts. During the flight, travelers will get to experience about five minutes of weightlessness and views that have been seen only by astronauts. Search your newspaper for a story about a place you would like to travel until space travel is available. Write an essay about why you want to go there. Include an illustration with your essay.

Core/National Standard: Using precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details and sensory language.

4. 7 Billion of Us

Goldelive Ndagermiwe is 40 years old and has eight children with another one on the way. Ahmed Kasadhes dad fathered 25 children, and the younger Kasadhe has 14. He hopes to have more. With people like these, the Earths population should hit 7 billion by Oct. 31, according to the United Nations Population Fund in an Associated Press article. Not all countries are seeing a growth in population, though. Western Europe, Japan and Russia have seen a decline in birth rates and are facing the issues that come with an aging population. Countries like China and India, which are the two most populated nations, are looking at policies put in place to reduce population growth. Search your newspaper for articles about China, India, the United States or another country with a large population. As a class, discuss the effects of population growth on individual countries and its impact on the resources of the Earth.

Core/National Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners.

5. Words in Context

The word drive can mean to get behind the wheel of a car and go to a destination; it can also be an inner desire that a person has to succeed. Sometimes words can have multiple meanings, and it requires critical reading skills to determine what definition the author is using. By reading what comes before the word and what comes after the word, it is easier to tell which meaning of the word is being used. If an author is writing about an athletes drive to become an Olympic champion, you can assume it doesnt involve an automobile. But if the story involves a race track, you cant be so sure. Search your newspaper for an interesting story. List words in it that have multiple meanings. Write out the meanings and put a star next to the one used in the story.

Core/National Standard: Determining or clarifying the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases.