1. Sports Are Back
After being shut down for months due to the coronavirus, pro sports in America are returning to action. Major League Baseball launched a shortened 60-game season last week, and the WNBA started its women’s basketball season last weekend. Training camps for National Football League teams open for all players this Tuesday (July 28). The National Basketball League resumes its season Thursday (July 30), and National Hockey League on Saturday (August 1). While pro sports are back, the experience will be very different from years past. For starters, there will be no fans in the stadiums and arenas for baseball, basketball and hockey (it has not been decided yet whether football will allow them). Players and coaches will be tested regularly before they can play, and facemasks will be worn by coaches and others who work closely with the team. All NBA basketball games will be played in Orlando, Florida, the WNBA games in Bradenton, Florida and NHL contests in the cities of Toronto and Edmonton in Canada. All games can be viewed only on TV. People have missed watching and following sports during the coronavirus shutdown. Now they will get to see some action again. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about a sport you like that’s returning to action. Use what you read to write a sports column telling what you missed about the sport and what were the most exciting performances of the first week. Share and discuss with family and friends.
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.
2. Incredible Journey
It is often said that dogs are homebodies as pets, with strong attachments to where they live. A dog from the state of Kansas demonstrated a strong “homing instinct” this summer — and shocked her owners. Cleo, a 4-year-old Labrador retriever, found her way “home” to a house she and her family hadn’t lived in in two years. And the house was nearly 60 miles away! Cleo’s family moved to the city of Olathe, Kansas two years ago from Lawson, Missouri in the next state. This summer Cleo went missing and started what turned out to be an incredible journey. She turned up a week later on the front step of the home where her family had lived two years earlier. The new owner of the house could see she was well cared for, so he had her checked for a microchip that could identify both Cleo and the name of her owner. When Cleo’s owner was told where she was, “he was kind of speechless,” the man who found her told CNN News. Pets and other animals often do amazing or surprising things. In the newspaper or online find and closely read a story about an animal doing something like this. Use what you read to draw a series of comic strips showing the animal doing its amazing feat and how people reacted.
Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.
3. Mass Tree Planting
When it comes to global warming, trees are the Earth’s great air conditioners. Trees absorb and store carbon dioxide, one of the leading “greenhouse gases” that trap heat in the atmosphere. In an effort to slow global warming, two million volunteers in the Asian nation of India took part in a mass tree planting this month. In one day, they planted more than 250-million trees on riverbanks, farmlands and around government buildings. The effort was part of a worldwide push to plant 1-trillion trees to reverse global warming. Global warming is affecting habitats and the environment all over the world. And people are taking action to slow it down. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one effect global warming is having on a habitat or the environment. Write a letter to the editor describing the effect, what people are doing about it, or what they could do.
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.
4. Flying Ant Day
In the European nation of England, flying ants are a common occurrence in the summer months. But this summer so many took to the air it seemed like something out of a horror movie. Swarms of the ants were so thick they showed up on the radar of weather stations as if they were rainstorms! The ants swarm at this time of year when young queen ants, followed by males, leave their nests to breed and start new colonies, CNN News reports. They only do it when the weather conditions are just right, so millions take off at the same time. The English even have a name for it, calling the takeoff date Flying Ant Day. Every year at this time, flying ants gather in huge swarms to form new colonies. What other things do different wildlife species do regularly each year? In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a species that repeats its actions every year. Use what you read to write a paragraph telling what the species does and why. Then write out any questions you still have about the species’ actions. With family or friends, use the Internet to find the answers to your questions.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
Reading the newspaper or Internet is a great way to build vocabulary and word power. One way to do that is to explore how synonyms (SIN-o-nims) and antonyms (ANT-o-nims) work. Synonyms are words that mean the same as other words, and antonyms are words that mean the opposite of other words. In the newspaper or online, find 10 words that you know the meaning of. List them on a sheet of paper. Next to each, write a synonym that could be used in place of the word. Then go back and write an antonym for each word. Finish by using two synonyms and two antonyms in complete sentences (one per sentence).
Common Core State Standards: Applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.