, week of
Jan. 27, 2020
1. Super Bowl
Next Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday and football fans all over the nation are gearing up to see whether the Kansas City Chiefs or the San Francisco 49ers will win the National Football League championship. The Chiefs won a trip to the Super Bowl by defeating the Tennessee Titans 35-24 and have won 14 of 18 games in the regular season and the playoffs. The 49ers defeated the Green Bay Packers, 37-20 to advance to the Super Bowl and have won 15 games against just three losses. Every year dozens of stories appear in newspapers and the Internet ahead of the Super Bowl. They cover everything from what each team hopes to do to the habits and hobbies of players. In the newspaper or online, find and read stories about this year’s Super Bowl. Then brainstorm an idea for a story you would like to produce if you were a newspaper or TV reporter. Write a paragraph describing the story and why people would find it interesting. Follow Super Bowl news coverage this week to see if anyone does your story!
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. ‘Dancing Dragon’
With the discovery that some dinosaurs had feathers, scientists have paid a lot of attention in recent years to the connections between dinosaurs and birds. That connection was reinforced in a new way recently when fossil scientists identified a small, feathered dinosaur in the Asian nation of China. The dinosaur, which lived about 120 million years ago, was about the size of a raven or crow, but had a very long bony tail and a mouth full of sharp teeth, scientists said in a report released this month. It was an early relative of the velociraptors seen in the “Jurassic World” movies with small, light bones, wing-like forelimbs and feathers on its legs, CNN News reported. The new dinosaur “fits in” with “feathered, winged animals that are closely related to the origin of birds,” the author of the study said. The dinosaur was given a name that means “dancing dragon.” Fossil and dinosaur discoveries give scientists a better understanding of species that lived in the past. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another fossil discovery that is helping scientists understand past species. Prepare a short oral report for the class telling what the discovery has revealed about this species from the past and why that is important.
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.
3. Recycle Those Toys
When families go to the beach on vacation, kids enjoy playing in the sand with beach toys. But sometimes toys get left behind, causing litter and endangering wildlife. In the state of Alabama, Gulf State Park has come up with an unusual solution to the toy problem. It has installed toyboxes at the entrances to beach areas where kids can choose toys to play with when they arrive, or leave toys when they go home. The goal is to encourage people to “recycle” toys and keep the beach clean at night when wildlife like sea turtles may be in the area. Wildlife “can get tangled up very easily” in discarded toys, park officials said, especially if they have netting, strings or ropes attached. The toyboxes at Gulf State Park have been installed to reduce litter and help wildlife. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read another story about an effort that reduces litter or helps wildlife. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor telling how an effort like this could benefit your community.
Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
4. Bedtime Story
When it comes to helping others, children can often lead the way for their families and communities. That was certainly the case recently in the village of Libertyville, Illinois. A five-year-old boy gave the community a lesson in caring when he asked for some very unusual birthday presents. Instead of toys, Tyler Sliz asked people to give him bedding items like blankets, pillows and sheets to help families and children in need. Tyler made the unusual request after his family learned of a program called Sleep in Heavenly Peace through their local church. The organization builds, assembles and delivers beds for children in need. At first Tyler wanted to help build beds, but when he was told he was too young, he decided to provide bedding instead. Since his birthday last fall, he has donated more than 125 pieces of bedding and plans to keep going. He wants to “fill my whole house” with bedding to donate, he says. Children and students often make news by helping others. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a child or student doing this. Use what you read to draw a series of comic strips showing what this student did and how it helped others.
Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.
5. Live Long & Prosper
When people love their jobs, they want to keep going as long as they can. In the state of Indiana, Bob Vollmer has loved his work so much he’s worked for the state’s Department of Natural Resources for nearly 60 years. And he’s still at it at age 102! That will come to an end next month when Indiana’s oldest state worker calls it a career and retires from his job as a land surveyor. He never worked a desk job and was happiest when he was outdoors checking on Indiana’s state properties. “He never wants to be idle,” Vollmer’s boss told NPR Radio News. “He’s always on the go, always moving.” And what advice would Vollmer give people who want a satisfying career? “Try to be right with people,” he says. “If anybody does anything for you, helps you in any way, be sure and say thank you. … My dad’s the one that put me straight on that.” Bob Vollmer loved his job so much he kept working after he turned 100. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone else who loves their job. Write a personal letter to a friend or family member telling why this person loves the job, and what he/she gets out of it. In your letter include your thoughts on what would make you love a job.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
Lessons & Classroom Activities
Resources by grade level