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For Grades K-4 , week of July 16, 2018

1. Rescue!

In one of the most amazing stories of the year, 12 members of a youth soccer team were rescued with their coach after being trapped for more than two weeks in a cave in the Asian nation of Thailand. The boys had been trapped while exploring the cave when heavy rains flooded the only passage they could use to get out. Divers from around the world assisted in the rescue, which required the boys to swim under water and breathe through oxygen tanks. Some of the boys did not know how to swim, and needed to be guided by divers through openings as narrow as three feet. The members of the Thai soccer team faced great challenges for more than two weeks to survive and escape. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about what they faced and how they reacted. Then write a paragraph summarizing what you feel were the greatest challenges, physically and emotionally.

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

2. Marvelous Movies

The superheroes of Marvel Comics have been hugely popular with comic book fans for almost 80 years. And they are proving to be just as popular at the movies. When the movie “Ant-Man and the Wasp” came out earlier this month, it sold more tickets in its opening weekend than any other movie. And that’s not the most impressive part. The success marked the 20th straight time a Marvel superhero movie has been Number One in ticket sales its opening weekend. Earlier this year, Marvel movies “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” both opened at Number One and went on to become huge hits with moviegoers. Summer is a great time to go to the movies because movie companies bring out their biggest films when people are on vacation. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about movies you have seen or would like to see this summer. Write a letter to a friend suggesting a movie to see together, and telling why you think your friend would like it.

Common Core State Standard: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

3. Hot Dog Champ

You may not have heard of Joey Chestnut, but he’s as big a star in his field as LeBron James is in basketball. And that field is … eating. More exactly, competitive eating. Chestnut proved that again on July 4 by winning the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest for the 11th time in the last 12 years. And he set a new record, eating 74 hot dogs and their buns in just 10 minutes in the competition at the Coney Island amusement area in New York City. The old record, also held by Chestnut, was 72 dogs. By winning, Chestnut won a prize of $10,000 and hot dog bragging rights for another year. In the summer months, special events like eating contests are held to entertain kids and their families. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a special event coming up in your community. Design a poster for the event to make people want to attend. Give your poster an eye-catching headline and text highlighting things that are interesting about the event. What kind of photo or image would you choose for your poster?

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

4. Love from Tragedy

Wildfire season is heating up in the state of California, but sometimes a good experience can ease the pain. That happened to a couple in the Santa Barbara County town of Goleta, who not only lost their home but a cherished engagement ring in a wildfire on the Friday after the Fourth of July. When the fire bore down on their home, Laura and Ishu Rao only had time to get their two kids, three dogs and a cat into the car and escape. Laura did not think to grab her engagement ring, which she had taken off when they went to bed. After the fire the Raos returned to the ashes that had been their home and searched for the ring. Miraculously, they found it by tracing pipes to the bathroom area where she had left it. To celebrate, Ishu got down on one knee and asked Laura to marry him again. Not surprisingly, she said “yes.” The story of the Raus is a positive one because it makes people feel good. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read another positive, “feel-good” story. Write the words FEEL GOOD down the side of a sheet of paper. Use each letter to start a sentence or phrase describing a way the story makes readers feel good.

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.

5. AI for the Army

Artificial Intelligence is one of the fastest growing fields of technology, and it is being used by a wider variety of organizations and businesses than ever before. The latest example comes from the U.S. Army, which has announced it will use AI to monitor key pieces of equipment to make sure their parts aren’t failing. The Army has contracted with a company called Uptake Technologies for a pilot program to monitor Bradley combat vehicles, the Washington Post newspaper reports. “We’re looking to see if we can … spot equipment failures before they happen,” said Lt. Col. Chris Conley, a manager for the Bradley fleet. Every day, technology is being used in new ways to help people do things. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a new use of technology. Write a letter to the editor describing how this use of technology is helping people, and why that is better than the way things were done previously.

Common Core State Standards: Citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.