Resources for Teachers and Students

For Grades 5-8 , week of Oct. 30, 2017

1. A Player’s Generosity

Chris Long has been a standout defensive end for 10 years in the National Football League. This year he is standing out for something entirely different. The Philadelphia Eagles player is donating all 16 of his game checks to charities that support education. It started when a white supremacy rally turned violent in his home town of Charlottesville, Virginia. Long said the violence did not represent the values of the community and announced he was going to donate six game checks to set up scholarships for local students. This month, he followed up by saying he would donate his remaining 10 checks to organizations that support educational fairness and opportunity in Philadelphia, St. Louis and Boston — the three cities he has played in. By donating his game checks, Chris Long is doing something unusual to help others. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone else who is doing something special to help others. Brainstorm an idea for a short film or video to tell the story of this person’s efforts. Write an outline for your film, including images you would use. Write the opening scene, in the style of a movie screenplay.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

2. ‘A Fire Story’

People are still struggling to recover from the Northern California wildfires. And for different people, recovery takes different forms. For Brian Fies, who lost his home in the town of Santa Rosa, he sat down with paper and Sharpies and did what he does best. Fies (pronounced “Feez”) is a graphic novelist and cartoonist. After escaping the blaze that destroyed his neighborhood, he wanted to record and process the experience as fast as he could. The result is “A Fire Story,” an 18-page web comic that chronicles how he and his wife escaped what he called a “napalm tsunami” of flames. It was heart-wrenching to draw, he says, but he had to do it to “bear witness” to what had happened. “And this medium is the best way I know to tell a story,” he says. Like cartoons and comic strips, graphic novels use both images and words to tell stories and call attention to issues. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about an issue you think is important. Use what you read to draw a chapter of a graphic novel, telling a story that calls attention to the issue and explains why it is important.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or event

3. Pollution Is Expensive

With nearly 8.7 million people, London, England is the second largest city on the continent of Europe. As a result, it has a significant problem with air pollution caused by cars and trucks. Now it is cracking down on pollution by making it expensive to drive in the city. A new $13 “emission charge” has been put into place for older, high-pollution vehicles entering the city, on top of a $15 “congestion charge” assessed vehicles driving in the city’s center. Together, the two charges will cost some drivers $28 every time they drive in the city. Both fees will be charged from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the work week and will apply to both diesel and gasoline vehicles. London’s fees on cars and trucks are a new approach to reducing air pollution. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another new approach being tried to reduce pollution of the air, water or land. Use what you read to write a short editorial evaluating the program and its chance for success.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

4. Women in the Military

Since women began enlisting in the U.S. armed forces in 1917, more than 3 million have served in conflicts ranging from World War II, to Korea, to Vietnam, to Iraq. While many memorials were erected to honor men who fought and served, it wasn’t until 1997 that a memorial was erected to honor women. The Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery is still the only major national memorial for women. This month military veterans gathered at Arlington to mark the 20th anniversary of the memorial and to celebrate all the contributions women have made to the armed forces. “We’ve touched every kind of service — medical, dental, computers, flying,” said Elvira Chiccarelli, who served in the Vietnam War. Women now fill a variety of roles in the U.S. military. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a woman finding success in a military role. Write a letter to the editor outlining the skills she needed to be successful and how her success could inspire girls or other women.

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.

5. A Moon Tunnel

Since the 1970s scientists have wondered if tunnels exist beneath the surface of the Earth’s moon — and whether they could be a home for future human colonies. Now they have gotten proof that at least one exists. Analysis of data gathered by Japanese and U.S. spacecraft has confirmed the existence of a 31-mile underground tunnel in the moon’s Marius Hills region, according to a report in the science journal called Geophysical Research Letters. The tunnel was confirmed when a Japanese space craft blasted radio waves down a large hole in the moon’s surface and recorded the pattern of echoes that resulted. Space missions are constantly making new discoveries about the moon, planets, star systems and galaxies. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a recent space discovery. Use what you read to prepare an oral report for the class explaining what has been discovered and why it is important to scientists. Use images from the Internet or newspaper to illustrate your report, if you like.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.