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Lessons for

Grades 1-4
Grades 5-8

Past lessons
for Grades 9-12

Mar. 01, 2021
Feb. 22, 2021
Feb. 15, 2021
Feb. 08, 2021
Feb. 01, 2021
Jan. 25, 2021
Jan. 18, 2021
Jan. 11, 2021
Jan. 04, 2021
Dec. 14, 2020
Dec. 07, 2020
Nov. 30, 2020
Nov. 23, 2020
Nov. 16, 2020
Nov. 09, 2020
Nov. 02, 2020
Oct. 26, 2020
Oct. 19, 2020
Oct. 12, 2020
Oct. 05, 2020
Sep. 28, 2020
Sep. 21, 2020
Sep. 14, 2020
Sep. 07, 2020
Aug. 31, 2020
Aug. 17, 2020
Aug. 10, 2020
Aug. 03, 2020
July 27, 2020
July 20, 2020
July 13, 2020
June 29, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 15, 2020
June 08, 2020
June 01, 2020
May 25, 2020
May 18, 2020
May 11, 2020
May 04, 2020

For Grades 9-12 , week of Jan. 11, 2021

1. City on Alert

The nation’s capital city is on high alert this week after a mob supporting President Trump overran police and stormed the Capitol building in Washington, DC. The violent protest seeking to block the U.S. Congress from confirming the election of Joe Biden as president led Washington’s mayor to declare a state of emergency that will remain in effect until January 21, one day after Biden is sworn in as the nation’s 46th president. The domed Capitol and other government buildings will have heightened security in an effort to prevent further violence from supporters of the President. Congress and other government leaders also will be examining how the mob was able to break into the Capitol building and why there wasn’t greater security on the Capitol grounds. The failure of police to secure the Capitol building and grounds is getting close scrutiny this week. Several top police officials have already resigned and more changes are expected. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about investigations into the security failures during the assault on the Capitol. Use what you read to write an editorial outlining the most important questions that need to be answered and the most important changes that need to be made.

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. Teen Free Speech

Freedom of speech is one of the most important rights contained in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It also has caused problems for schools that seek to set standards for “appropriate” speech in school settings. Courts have ruled that schools may limit student speech in classes or school activities on school grounds. And they have allowed schools to discipline students for social media or Internet posts connected to school activities. But what about comments made out of school that are not directly related to school activities? This month the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to take up the case of a Pennsylvania high school student who was suspended from cheerleading after she posted a profane rant voicing anger and frustration when she didn’t make the varsity squad. The rant posted on Snapchat showed the student giving the middle finger and cursing “school,” “softball,” “cheer” and “everything,” the New York Times reported. The United States Court of Appeals in Philadelphia sided with the student, and now the school district wants the Supreme Court to decide. Freedom of speech does not just involve things people say. It includes expressions of opinion in music, movies, TV shows, artworks and even the clothes people wear. In the newspaper or online, find and list different examples that involve free speech. Use what you read to write a personal opinion column detailing how life would be different if freedom of speech did not apply in these cases.

Common Core State Standards: 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.

3. Women’s Milestone

In the world of sports, women are breaking new ground every season — and not just in competition. The latest to make history is Becky Hammon, an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs in the National Basketball Association. When head coach Gregg Popovich was charged with two technical fouls and tossed from the Spurs’ game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Hammon took over as acting head coach and coached the team for the entire second half. In doing so she became the first woman ever to serve as acting head coach in a regular season NBA game. Though the Spurs lost to the Lakers, Hammon recognized the significance of her history-making moment. “Obviously it’s a big deal,” she told ESPN News after the game. “It’s a substantial moment.” Women are achieving breakthroughs in all career fields, not just sports. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a woman achieving something new. Use what you read to write a personal letter to a younger student, outlining why this breakthrough is important and how it could affect or inspire girls coming up.

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. Smash Up

For many people, events of the year 2020 have left them with feelings of anger and frustration that have been hard to deal with. Until now. A new business in the city of Warsaw, Indiana, has been set up to help people work out their frustrations — by smashing things. The business, called “Rage Therapy,” features a “rage room” filled with breakable items that people can smash with a sledgehammer. It’s a great way to get a clean start for a new year, its owners say. “Come to the rage room, smash all of 2020,” owner Ashley Finney told CBS news station WSBT-TV. “Bring in a fresh start [for 2021]. It’ll be an awesome time. If nothing else, you’ll laugh at yourself.” Customers seem to like the idea. “It’ll wear you out a lot faster than what you think … and you’ll feel it the next morning,” one said. “But it definitely helps take out whatever frustration you might have.” The Rage Therapy business in Indiana offers an unusual way for people to work out anger or frustration. What other activities could help people do this? In the newspaper or online, find activities that could help people reduce anger, frustration or other forms of stress. Use what you read to write an advice column, outlining healthy ways to do that for the new year.

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.

In the next activity, can you hotlink the word “here” to this link:

5. Dancing Robots

Robots are being used more and more to do things that humans used to do. That makes some people uncomfortable, who think that robot dogs and other creatures look like the attack machines seen in “Star Wars” and other science fiction movies. One company that is leading the way in the development of robots is Boston Dynamics. It has developed a robot dog named Spot that is already being used by police and security firms, and it even has robots that can dance! To demonstrate that “fun” side of robots, the company put out a video over the holidays showing human-shaped robots dancing with Spot and other creations to the tune of the 1960s song “Do You Love Me?” The video went viral, with people marveling at how lifelike the dancing was. It also left some people worrying that the robots danced better than they did! To watch the video, click here. Robotics is one of the fastest growing fields of engineering and technology. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a new use of robots. Use what you read to write a paragraph telling how this robot is doing things in better ways than they 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.