, week of
Sep. 17, 2018
1. Hurricane Recovery
Hurricane Florence caused great damage to coastal states in the southeastern United States last weekend. Now residents and communities are faced with the challenge of cleaning up, repairing damage and recovering. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about recovery efforts. Make a list of problems that communities face and what work needs to be done to overcome them. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor describing one problem and what needs to be done to deal with it. Finish by suggesting ways that people in your community could help affected areas deal with hurricane problems.
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. Baseball Watch
This year’s Major League Baseball season is down to its final two weeks, and everyone is watching to see which teams will make the playoffs. The Boston Red Sox were the first team in the Majors to secure a spot in the playoffs, with the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves close behind in the American and National Leagues. The final spots in the playoffs may not be decided until the last weekend of the regular season September 30. The playoffs start October 2-3 with “Wild Card” games that complete the playoff lineup for both leagues. Competition for the last spots in the playoffs can be fierce. In the newspaper or online, closely read stories about two teams competing for a playoff position. Use what you read to write a sports column telling what each team needs to do to make the playoffs and which you think will succeed.
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.
3. ‘Tail Walking’
In schools across America, group projects are popular because students in them can learn from each other. That also seems to apply to dolphins. In the southern Pacific nation of Australia, a wild bottlenose dolphin who spent time at an aquarium for dolphins learned to “tail walk” from the captive dolphins there. And when the female was returned to the wild, she taught other wild dolphins to tail walk, too. Up to nine wild dolphins learned the skill, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Center told the Washington Post newspaper. No one is sure why the wild dolphins picked up tail walking, since it has no practical purpose in their lives. It could be that it was just fun or “simply because it felt good,” a spokesman for the dolphin center said. Many wild animals have special skills that help them survive in their habitat. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a wild animal with a special skill. Write the word “SPECIAL” down the side of a sheet of paper. Use each letter of the word to start a sentence or phrase describing how a special skill of the animal helps it survive.
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.
4. Cool Pilot
Learning to fly a plane is stressful, but it’s even more stressful if you experience an emergency on your first solo flight. That’s what happened in the state of Massachusetts this month, when a 17-year-old had to land her single-engine plane after losing a wheel during takeoff. Student pilot Maggie Taraska kept her cool after being told her main right-wheel assembly had fallen off during takeoff at Beverly Airport north of the city of Boston. With the help of her instructor, Taraska circled the airport several times before using emergency procedures she had practiced to bring the plane safely down with two wheels instead of three. “You've got a whole bunch of people clapping for you,” her instructor said, after the plane landed and slid into the grass beside the runway. Student pilot Maggie Taraska kept her cool when faced with an emergency. Many people have to keep cool every day in their jobs. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a person who needs to keep cool and stay focused in a job. Use what you read to write a paragraph explaining why it is important for this person to stay cool and focused on the job. Share with the class and discuss times you have had to stay cool and focused — and why.
Common Core State Standards: Citing specific textual evidence when writing; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.
5. Root Words
Figuring out words you don’t know is an important skill in reading. Sometimes “root” words can help you out. Root words are words that are part of larger words. “Read” would be a root word of “reader,” “re-read” or “reading” for example. Skim stories on the front page of the newspaper or on an Internet site that interests you. Make a list of 10 words that contain a root word. Write what you think each word means. Then look them up in a dictionary. Use three of the words you looked up in complete sentences.
Common Core State Standards: Identifying multiple language conventions and using them; recognizing nouns, verbs and modifiers; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.
Lessons & Classroom Activities
Resources by grade level