1. Holiday Adjectives
The holiday season is in full swing, and communities across the nation are sharing their excitement. Among the ways people share excitement are the adjectives they use to describe things — “beautiful,” “sparkling,” “magical,” and more. To get in the holiday spirit, write out the alphabet on a sheet of paper. Then use the newspaper and Internet to search for holiday adjectives that start with each letter. You can list more than one for any letter, but try to find at least one for each. Share adjectives as a class. Then write a holiday letter to a friend, using five of your adjectives in complete sentences. Share the excitement!
Common Core State Standards: Identifying multiple language conventions and using them; recognizing nouns, verbs and modifiers; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.
2. Stop for That Bus
School bus safety is an important issue to every community, because parents want to make sure their children will be safe riding to and from school. One of the most important safety laws requires drivers to stop when a school bus’s red lights are flashing, because children could be crossing the street after getting off. In the province of Prince Edward Island in Canada, officials have passed a tough new law to make sure drivers don’t try to pass a bus when its lights are flashing. Any driver who illegally passes a bus when it is stopped will lose his/her driver’s license for three months and face a $5,000 fine. “We all have a role to play in keeping children safe on their way to school,” said the province’s transportation leader. Safety rules are important in every community. As a class, discuss safety rules that affect you or your family. Then use the newspaper or Internet to find a photo of an outdoor scene in your community or state. Study the photo closely. Make a list of safety rules that apply to the scene and state why each is important.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
3. One Really Old Bird
The world’s oldest known wild bird is an albatross that nests each year at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The bird, known as Wisdom, is at least 68 years old and is still laying eggs and raising chicks, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She was first identified and fitted with a tracking band on her leg in 1956. Wisdom is a Laysan albatross, a species that spends 90 percent of its life flying over the ocean or resting on waves. Laysan albatrosses can grow to be 32 inches long and have a wingspan of up to 80 inches (6.6 feet). They feed on squid and fish eggs and return every year to the place where they were born. Scientists study birds and other wildlife to learn more about their habits, habitats and secrets to survival. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a bird or other wildlife species. Use what you read to write a paragraph explaining what scientists could learn by studying this species.
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. What a Toothbrush Jar!
People love yard sales because they never know what they’ll find at them. In the European nation of England, a man found a pottery jar he liked and discovered later that it was more than 4,000 years old! Karl Martin was attracted to the jar because it had an interesting painting of an antelope on it. He bought it and another jar for about $5 and took them home. He used the antelope jar to hold his toothbrush for several years. Then while working at an antiques auction house, he saw pottery going up for sale that looked like his. He asked the experts what they thought, and they gave him the surprise of his life. His toothbrush jar dated back 4,000 years to an early civilization in the Indus Valley in southern Asia. The Indus Valley was one of the world’s three early areas of human civilization. People often make news for unusual discoveries. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone making an unusual discovery. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a creative story based on this discovery. Give your story a title and write the opening scene.
Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
5. Miracle Reunion
The California wildfires have caused pain and heartbreak for thousands of people. But more than a month after the Camp Fire started on November 8, a woman from the town of Paradise found joy at the site of her destroyed home. She was re-united with her two blond Anatolian shepherd dogs, one of whom had been waiting patiently at the site for her return. Andrea Gaylord of Paradise could not get to her home when the fire broke out, so she could not evacuate her dogs named Madison and Miguel. Miguel was found by a rescuer worker, but the whereabouts of Madison were unknown. Then when the evacuation order was lifted this month, Gaylord went to the ruins of her home. There was Madison, appearing to guard the property. “You are the best dog,” Gaylord said through her tears. “The best.” Pets play an important role in the lives of many people. In the newspaper or online find and closely read a story about a pet that plays such a role. Pretend you are that person and write a personal letter to a stranger explaining why the pet is important to you.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.