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for Grades 5-8

Aug. 26, 2019
Aug. 19, 2019
Aug. 12, 2019
Aug. 05, 2019
July 29, 2019
July 22, 2019
July 15, 2019
July 08, 2019
June 24, 2019
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Dec. 17, 2018
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Nov. 26, 2018
Nov. 19, 2018
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Oct. 29, 2018

For Grades 5-8 , week of Aug. 26, 2019

1. Big Bucks for Obama Jersey

Long before he was president, Barack Obama was a pretty good basketball player at a prep school in the state of Hawaii. Now his high school basketball career has gotten new attention with the sale of a jersey he wore at the Punahou School — for $120,000! The Number 23 jersey was sold by Peter Noble, who was three years behind Obama at the school in the city of Honolulu. He said he acquired the jersey when it was about to be thrown out, and didn’t realize for years that it had been worn by the future president. Then he saw an old picture of the basketball team and realized that the jersey Obama was wearing was the same as the one he had. The buyer, who did not wish to be identified, is a collector of American and sports artifacts, the Associated Press news service reported. Though he has been out of office 2 ½ years, former President Obama remains in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about things he is doing. Pick one activity and summarize how it benefits him, and how it benefits other people.

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. Salmon Are Dying

Global warming is affecting places all over the world this summer, especially in the Arctic areas around the Earth’s North Pole. Heat waves have led to record temperatures in northern regions that have never experienced them before. Now word has come from the U.S. state of Alaska that water in streams and rivers has gotten so hot that it is killing large numbers of the game fish salmon. Salmon are hugely important to Alaska’s economy and environment, and are held in special esteem by the state’s native peoples. This summer’s die-off has affected a variety of salmon species, including sockeye, chum and pink salmon, CNN News reports. Many died before they could complete their yearly journey upstream to spawn and lay their eggs. Scientists say the salmon are dying because high temperatures reduce the oxygen in water, causing the salmon to suffocate. Temperatures in salmon rivers have been recorded as high as 81.7 degrees this year, while the highest temperature recorded previously was just 76 degrees. Global warming is having great effects on wildlife around the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about how warming is affecting one wildlife species. Use what you read to write an editorial analyzing how this could affect the long-term health of the species and the health of the larger environment.

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

3. Sand Thieves

A grain of sand may be a very small thing, but it can have a big effect on people. A couple of vacationers in the European nation of Italy found that out this summer when they were arrested for attempting to take home white sand from a beach on the Italian island of Sardinia. The couple were stopped when police noticed they had bottles of the sand in their car at the entrance to an ocean ferry heading back to France. It is illegal to remove beach sand in Italy, and while the couple said they did not know that they could face stiff penalties when they appear in court. They could receive fines of up to $3,300 and up to six years in jail. Many communities have unusual laws that people are not familiar with. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an odd local law and how it affects people. Use what you read as a jumping off point for a creative story based on reaction to the law. Write the opening scene of your story in a way that will grab readers’ attention.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

4. So Long, FogCam

The nation’s longest-operating webcam will cease operations at the end of this month. When it does, residents of the San Francisco Bay area in California will lose their most reliable and long-standing source of information on … fog. That may not sound like an important subject, but in San Francisco fog rolls in quickly and dramatically from San Francisco Bay, changing the weather in just minutes. FogCam, which has operated from a variety of sites at San Francisco State University, has been chronicling San Francisco’s famous fog since 1994, making it one of the world’s oldest webcams. Operators Jeff Schwartz and Dan Wong did not give a reason for shutting the FogCam down, but indicated in local interviews that maintenance and upkeep had become issues. Weather and natural conditions often are in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about weather and natural conditions in one community. Write a weather report for the TV news telling how the conditions have affected the community.

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

5. It’s Good to Be Kind

When it comes to sharing kindness, small gestures can often have a big impact. Consider the case of restaurant server Dylan Tetil, who works at an Eat’n Park restaurant just south Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Tetil was on duty one night when a 91-year-old man came in and sat down by himself. When Tetil went to take his order, he had to kneel down because the man had hearing problems, the local KDKA-TV station reported. They talked and the elderly man confessed he was lonely because he didn’t have many people to converse with. After Tetil brought the man his food, he came back and said he was “on break.” He asked if he could sit with the man while he ate. “[I] listened to some of his stories,” Tetil recalled. “He was talking about the war, some of the injuries he had, the places he’s been, his family. Tears were just running down his face. You can just tell this man hasn’t had a true, caring person to talk to in a long time.” A customer at a nearby table took pictures of their encounter and within days they had more than 100,000 likes and 30,000 shares online. “That’s how I think the world should operate and the world would be a better place,” Tetil said. Acts of kindness can have great impact on other people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a person being kind to someone else. Write the word KINDNESS down the side of a sheet of paper. Use each letter of the word to begin a sentence or phrase describing one effect of this act of kindness. Share with family or friends. Discuss ways you could be kind to others.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; organizing data using concrete objects, pictures, tallies, tables, charts, diagrams and graphs.