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For Grades 5-8 , week of Aug. 03, 2020

1. Home Work

Health experts believe the United States will be dealing with the coronavirus for a long time, and at least one major company agrees. Google has announced that it will continue to let employees work from home for at least another year, until July 2021. The company previously had said most employees would be working from home through the end of this year. But in a memo to employees obtained by CNN Business News, Google’s chief executive officer said the company is extending its “work from home option” through June 30 next year. “I hope this will offer the flexibility you need to balance work with taking care of yourselves and your loved ones over the next 12 months,” CEO Sundar Pichai said. Though Google has reopened 42 offices around the world, its work-at-home decision could lead other companies to follow suit. Tech companies like Twitter and Facebook already have said they plan to allow some employees to continue working from home indefinitely. Working from home has become the “new normal” for millions of workers in the United States and around the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about people doing this. Use what you read to create a chart showing the Benefits and Shortcomings of working from home. Illustrate your chart with images from the newspaper or Internet.

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; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.

2. NFL Protests Coming

The National Football League used to frown on protests by players. After quarterback Colin Kaepernick and others kneeled during the national anthem to protest police brutality, the league passed rules to require players to stand during the anthem no matter what they wished to protest. Now, with the whole nation protesting police violence after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota officers, the NFL is embracing protest. When league plays its first games this year, players will be allowed to honor victims of police violence with decals on the back of their helmets. In addition, messages declaring “End Racism” and “It Takes All of Us” will be stenciled in the end zone borders for Week 1 and the “Black National Anthem” (“Lift Every Voice and Sing”) will be played before the national anthem at every game. In a memo to teams, the league declared the goal of these moves is “use our example and our actions to help conquer racism." The National Football League is not the only sports league to support the goals of the Black Lives Matter movement. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about things other leagues or players are doing to show support. Use what you read to write a sports or political column giving your opinion about which efforts will have the most lasting effect.

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.

3. A Stand-Up Croc

Fossil footprints can reveal a lot about creatures that roamed the Earth millions of years ago. In the Asian nation of South Korea, for example, a footprint discovery has revealed that ancestors of modern crocodiles once lived in the area. But not just any crocodiles. The footprints show that the crocodile ancestor that lived in South Korea 100-million years ago walked on two feet, instead of four. And it wasn’t tiny. The size of the footprints allowed scientists to estimate that this crocodile ancestor was nine feet long from the tip of its nose to the end of its tail and it likely walked with its head a few feet up from the ground so that it could see prey and predators from a distance. The fossil footprints were so clear they showed the skin on the bottom of the croc’s foot. The ancient crocodile is “definitely a new species,” scientists said in a report in the journal Scientific Reports. Fossil discoveries help scientists get a better understanding of creatures that lived on Earth millions of years ago. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a fossil discovery. Use what you read, and other resources, to prepare a three- to five-minute oral report explaining what has been discovered, how it was discovered and why the discovery is important. Present your report to family or friends.

Common Core State Standards: Citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.

4. Fashion Sensation

What happens to the clothes that people leave behind when they wash them at a laundromat? In the hands of two 80-year-olds on the Asian island of Taiwan, they become an Internet sensation. At the urging of their grandson, Chang Sho-Er, 84, and her husband Wan Ji, 83, became a hit on Instagram when they started modeling modern fashions that customers had left at their laundromat. They were skeptical at first, CNN News reported, with Wan Ji asking “Will anybody want to look at this?” But their grandson, Reef Chang, convinced them it was good to show people that you’re never too old to have fun with fashion. And Instagram users agreed. In just over a month Wan Ji and Sho-Er had more than 130,000 followers. It “makes it feel like I have more grandsons and granddaughters,” Sho-Er said. Everyone can have fun with clothes and fashions. In the newspaper or online, find ads for clothes you would like to wear. Put together two or three “outfits” of tops, bottoms, hats, shoes or other accessories that would express your personality. Pretend you are a fashion writer and write a paragraph for each describing how it expresses the personality of someone who would wear it.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

5. Fresher Rose Garden

In Washington, DC, the Rose Garden is one of the most famous areas of the lawns and grounds surrounding the White House. For more than 100 years presidents have used it for big announcements and special occasions. Now the Rose Garden will get a fresh look, thanks to First Lady Melania Trump. The First Lady has announced she will oversee the first renovation of the garden in 58 years. The effort will restore the layout and footprint of a redesign overseen by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of President John F. Kennedy, in 1962. “It has been my goal from the very beginning of this project that the restoration of the Rose Garden [be] sensitive to the history of all that has come before,” Melania Trump said, especially the design of Jacqueline Kennedy, whom she admires. Public spaces often get redesigned to give them a fresh look or more effective layout. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about some spaces that are being redesigned. Then find a photo of a public space in your community or state. Pretend you have been hired to redesign this space. Write a paragraph or two telling what you would do and why. Then create an illustration showing your design.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points;