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For Grades 5-8 , week of July 17, 2017

1.A Record for Wiz

Wiz Khalifa has had a lot of success in his music career, and now he’s done something no artist has been able to do for the last five years. His video “See You Again” featuring singer Charlie Puth has ousted the Korean hit “Gangnam Style” as the most viewed video ever on YouTube. When “See You Again” hit 2.9 billion views earlier this month, it set a new record for YouTube. “Gangnam Style” by the Korean pop star Psy had held the most viewed video record for five years, after topping Justin Bieber's “Baby” in November of 2012. This year “See You Again” averaged more than three million views per day to set the new record. It was featured in the 2015 action film “Furious 7” as a tribute to the movie's star, Paul Walker, who was killed in a car crash. Videos by rap and music artists get a lot of attention from young listeners and viewers. Use the Internet to find and view a video by an artist you like. Then think like a newspaper music critic and write a review of the video, telling what is unusual, new or appealing about it. Watch and discuss with family or friends.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

2.Billions for Charity

Warren Buffett is the second richest person in the world, with a net worth of $75.6 billion thanks to the success of his Berkshire Hathaway company. This summer, he gave away $3.17 billion to charity as part of The Giving Pledge program. Buffett set up The Giving Pledge program with Microsoft founder Bill Gates to encourage the world's billionaires to donate their wealth to charity and philanthropic causes (Gates is the world’s richest person with a net worth of $86 billion). In his latest charity contribution Buffett gifted $3.17 billion in Berkshire Hathaway stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and four foundations with ties to the Buffett family. If you had $3 billion what charities or causes would you support? Or what problems would you try to solve? In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about charities or causes you would support if you were very wealthy. Use what you read to write a personal column or opinion piece telling why you would support these charities or causes, and why support is important.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; closely reading written or visual texts to make logical inferences from it.

3.High Time for Soccer

Soccer is a demanding game under the best of circumstances, and it’s even more so if you play it at an altitude of 19,000 feet. Yet that is what a group of more than 30 women soccer players did to call attention to the inequality women face in sports. The women climbed Africa’s tallest mountain carrying goal posts and nets and played a 90-minute game on Mount Kilimanjaro on a field of volcanic ash. The game set a record for greatest altitude for a soccer match, and called attention to the commitment women athletes bring to their sports, even when overshadowed by men. “You can't challenge the fact that you’ve got a group of athletes who are playing at almost 19,000 feet,” said American defender Erin Blankenship, co-founder of Equal Playing Fields, which organized the event. “It doesn’t matter what gender they are.” Women athletes are getting greater and greater attention for their achievements in sports. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about a female athlete who is successful. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, explaining how this female athlete could inspire younger girls in sports.

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.

4.Protecting the Crabs

In the state of Maryland, fishing for blue crabs provides incomes and jobs for thousands of people. But the number of blue crabs has dropped dramatically in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay this summer, and the state has decided to take action. State officials have announced that Maryland will end the commercial crabbing season a week and a half early due to concerns about the crab population, and also limit catches late in the season. Last winter, a survey of the crab population found there were only half as many young, juvenile crabs in the bay as a year earlier, and nearly 100 million fewer crabs in all. Under the revised regulations, Maryland’s crab season will end November 20, 10 days earlier than in the 2016 season. Shortening the Maryland crab season is an example of people taking action to protect a wildlife species. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read about another effort to help or protect a wildlife species. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a short film or video to educate people about the effort. Write an outline for your film, including images you would use. Then write the opening scene, in the style of a movie screenplay.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

5.Upgrading a Palace

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is getting a huge pay boost this year — but she won’t benefit from it personally. Most of the money will be used to help refurbish Britain’s landmark Buckingham Palace, where the queen lives. The British government has announced that the Queen’s yearly “sovereign grant” will be boosted from $54.6 million to about $97 million this year and will remain at higher levels for the 10 years it will take to upgrade Buckingham Palace. The project will replace wiring and pipes that are over 60 years old and improve visitor access to the 775-room palace in the city of London. The overall design and exterior of the palace will remain the same. When buildings get older, they often need to be upgraded or renovated. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a renovation of a public or privately owned building. Write a paragraph detailing the benefits of the upgrade, and issues renovators need to consider to preserve the character or significance of the building. With family or friends, discuss buildings in your community that you would like to see renovated or upgraded.

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.