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Lessons for

Grades 1-4
Grades 9-12

Past lessons
for Grades 5-8

Mar. 12, 2018
Mar. 05, 2018
Feb. 26, 2018
Feb. 19, 2018
Feb. 12, 2018
Feb. 05, 2018
Jan. 29, 2018
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May 22, 2017

For Grades 5-8 , week of Mar. 12, 2018

1. Puppy Love

People who love dogs often get very emotionally attached to them as pets. And people apparently had the same feelings in prehistoric times, according to a new study of a 14,000-year-old puppy. The puppy died after being sick for weeks and weeks with the disease known as distemper, scientists declared after re-examining remains of the dog that were found more than 100 years ago in the European nation of Germany. That means its owners cared for it as it battled the disease, scientists said, because it would not have lived that long without extra care. The care of the puppy shows that somebody had a "strong emotional bond" with it and wanted it to survive, the lead researcher said in a paper published in an archaeology journal. "This dog must have been special to somebody," noted another scientist. People often develop strong emotional attachments to pets or animals they care for. In the newspaper or online find and closely read a story about a person who is emotionally attached to an animal. Write a paragraph explaining how the person shows this attachment. Finish by writing a paragraph detailing how you or a person you know shows emotional attachment to an animal.

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. The Top Airlines

Everyone who flies when traveling has a favorite airline. But which do experts consider the best? The air travel website known as TPG has developed a method to analyze the performance of airline companies based on data reported to the U.S. Department of Transportation. And its 2018 ratings are out. The top airline based on data relating to such things as airfares, bag and change fees, on-time arrivals and cabin comfort is Alaska Airlines. In second place was Southwest Airlines, followed by Delta, United, Frontier and American. "We use data behind all of these rankings and we just … let the data speak," said Brian Kelly, founder of TPG (which stands for The Points Guy. ) Business or consumer writers often rate products or businesses. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story rating a product or business. Then use the approach of the story to write a consumer column rating a product or business you or your family use. Be sure to cite specific evidence to back up your rating.

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.

3. Times Are A-Changing

The Boston Red Sox are a team rich in history in Major League Baseball. But now the team wants to shift attention away from a darker chapter of that history. The Red Sox have asked the City of Boston to get rid of the name Yawkey Way for the street outside its famous ballpark, Fenway Park. The street is named for former Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey, who owned the team from 1933 until his death in 1976. The problem for today's Red Sox is that Yawkey held racist attitudes and for years resisted allowing African Americans to play in the modern Major Leagues. The Red Sox were the last team in baseball to racially integrate, and even refused to sign future great Jackie Robinson when they had the chance. The team has asked the city to restore the street's original name, Jersey Street, "to reinforce that Fenway Park is inclusive and welcoming to all." All over the country, communities are re-examining the ways people of the past were honored in light of changing attitudes about race, sex, history and diversity. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a community re-considering an honor for a person from the past. Use what you read to write a short editorial giving your opinion on what the community should do, if anything, regarding the past honor to the person.

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

4. Child Marriage

In many nations around the world, child marriage has been an ongoing problem for girls as young as 11 or 12 years old. In developing or underdeveloped nations, families marry off daughters in exchange for dowry payments, whether the daughters approve or not. In recent years, however, changes in attitudes have improved the situation for girls, according to the United Nations Children's Fund known as UNICEF. In a new study, UNICEF reports that the rate of girls marrying before they are 18 has dropped to one in five around the world, down from one in four just 10 years ago. That still means 12 million girls get married each year, but it marks a significant improvement, UNICEF said. "Any reduction is welcome news," noted UNICEF's Anju Malhotra, "but we've got a long way to go." In developing countries, children do not have the rights and protections they have in the United States. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about how children are treated in one country. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor calling attention to the risks and problems children of this country face, and how the United States or other nations could help.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

5. Food Crackdown

Like the United States, the European nation of Great Britain has a health problem. People eat too much unhealthy food, and way too many of them are overweight or obese. Now Britain's government is taking action: It has become the first country to challenge food manufacturers to cut calories in everyday foods by 20 percent to reduce obesity in adults and children. The campaign is targeting pizzas, prepared meals, prepared sandwiches, processed meat products, sauces, dressings, pre-made salads, snacks and other fast foods. Food manufacturers are being urged to reduce calories in foods by changing the recipe of products, reducing portion size or encouraging consumers to purchase lower-calorie products. Obesity is a growing problem in many nations. In teams or pairs, use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read stories about efforts to deal with the problem, either by getting people to live healthier lifestyles or getting businesses to produce healthier foods. Use what you read to design a marketing campaign of TV or newspaper ads to persuade people or businesses to take positive action. Come up with a slogan or theme for your campaign and present your ideas to the class.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic.