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Grades 1-4
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for Grades 5-8

Sep. 17, 2018
Sep. 10, 2018
Sep. 03, 2018
Aug. 27, 2018
Aug. 20, 2018
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July 30, 2018
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July 09, 2018
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Mar. 26, 2018
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Mar. 05, 2018
Feb. 26, 2018
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Jan. 29, 2018
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Jan. 15, 2018
Jan. 08, 2018
Jan. 01, 2018
Dec. 11, 2017
Dec. 04, 2017
Nov. 27, 2017

For Grades 5-8 , week of Jan. 29, 2018

1. What a Day!

As sports couples go, Zach and Julie Ertz are one of the most prominent husband-and-wife teams in America. He is a pro football player for the Philadelphia Eagles and she is one of the top women’s soccer players in the United States. January 21 was a big day for the Ertzes. Zach Ertz caught eight passes against the Minnesota Vikings to help the Eagles earn a trip to the Super Bowl February 4. Julie Ertz, meanwhile, scored the game-winning goal for the U.S. women’s national soccer team in its 5-1 win over Denmark in its first match of the season. Julie Ertz didn’t learn the Eagles had won until her game against Denmark was over. A video of her emotional response getting the news went viral on the Internet. Julie and Zach Ertz are both highly successful in their sports careers. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about other couples in which both people are successful in a career. Use what you read to write an advice column for the newspaper, offering advice on how the people in such couples can support each other and overcome challenges they may face.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

2. Rescue in the Surf

Drone aircraft are being used more and more for activities ranging from military operations to photography to delivering packages. In the nation of Australia, a new use has been found for drones — and two swimmers are thankful it happened. The swimmers were rescued from a dangerous rip current when lifeguards used a drone they were testing to drop them an inflatable rescue pod. The swimmers, both boys, had been swept out to see by the rip current and couldn’t get back to shore due to 9 foot waves and surf. The rescue took just minutes after lifeguards learned of the danger the swimmers were in. Lifeguards said the rescue was a “first” for the use of drones. Drone technology has improved dramatically in recent years. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a new or more advanced use of drones. Write a paragraph explaining how this use of drones is an improvement over how things were done in the past.

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.

3. Feel-Good Nature

Everyone feels down or depressed from time to time, but if you want to guard against it get out to a park or natural area. A new study has found that teens and pre-teens who regularly experience natural areas with trees or vegetation are less likely to be highly depressed. The effect was strongest among middle schoolers, researchers reported in the Journal of Adolescent Health. The study was based on research involving more than 9,000 children 12 to 18 years old. Earlier research had shown that lower exposure to nature was “associated with more negative emotional and behavioral outcomes” for adults, according to the lead author of the new study. The new findings indicate that is also true for teens. Getting outside in natural areas can have positive effects ranging from physical exercise to improved moods and less stress. In the newspaper or online, find a story or photos of a natural area you would like to visit. Read the story or study the photos. Then write a poem, rap or rhyme expressing positive feelings you could experience by visiting this place. Use colorful verbs and adjectives in your poems, and read them aloud — with feeling!

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.

4. Michigan Meteor

Michiganders looking at the night sky earlier this month got to see a space rarity up close on January 16. A “very bright fireball” blazed across the sky above Michigan, Ohio and Illinois and provided thunderous sound-effects when it exploded and broke up in the atmosphere. The spectacle was caused by a meteor streaking through the atmosphere, America’s NASA space agency later confirmed. NASA said it was caused by a small asteroid about one to two yards in diameter, moving at 28,000 mph. That’s fairly slow for a meteor, but it was enough to “scared the bejesus” out of some spectators when it exploded. The explosion had the force of a 2.0 earthquake, NASA officials said. The Michigan Meteor was an unusual space occurrence. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another unusual space occurrence observed by people. Use what you read to write a short science column for the newspaper, explaining what caused the occurrence.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

5. Temple Restored

In the ancient Roman Empire, people worshipped many gods. One of the most mysterious was Mithras, whose followers created a secret cult for men that featured elaborate rituals and ceremonies and windowless temples for practicing them. In the city of London, England, an underground Temple of Mithras has been re-created and opened to the public nearly 2,000 years after it was first built. The re-creation is located on a site where the original temple was discovered by accident during a construction project in 1954. The original temple was built around the year 250 C.E. and used by soldiers, merchants and traders, archaeologists believe. Because it was a secret society, little is known about the details of the cult, but a statue of Mithras slaying a bull was a prominent symbol, CNN news reports. The Temple of Mithras was built as a place to practice a special activity. Many places today are also built for special activities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one such place. Prepare and present an oral report explaining how the features and construction style of the place enhance the activity. How many different examples can the class come up with?

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.