Resources for Teachers and Students


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Grades 1-4
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for Grades 5-8

Apr 23, 2018
Apr 16, 2018
Apr 09, 2018
Apr 02, 2018
Mar. 26, 2018
Mar. 19, 2018
Mar. 12, 2018
Mar. 05, 2018
Feb. 26, 2018
Feb. 19, 2018
Feb. 12, 2018
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Jan. 29, 2018
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Jan. 08, 2018
Jan. 01, 2018
Dec. 11, 2017
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Nov. 27, 2017
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Oct. 30, 2017
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Sep. 25, 2017
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Aug. 28, 2017
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July 31, 2017
July 24, 2017
July 17, 2017
July 10, 2017

For Grades 5-8 , week of Apr 23, 2018

1. What About Apu?

For 29 years, “The Simpsons” has been one of the most popular comedy shows on television. And right from the start, the character Apu has been part of the humor as the owner of Springfield’s Kwik-E-Mart store. Now Apu has generated controversy among viewers who say his Indian/South Asian character is based on an offensive racial stereotype that is out of touch with today’s attitudes about tolerance and inclusion. The stereotype was called out in a documentary movie “The Problem with Apu,” and an attempt by the show to address it in an episode this month drew even more criticism. “Simpsons” characters need to “upgrade and evolve,” critic Wajahat Ali wrote in a Washington Post newspaper commentary. “Tokenized stereotypes won’t cut it.” All over America, communities are re-examining attitudes and actions that once seemed acceptable but now appear insensitive or biased to some people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about communities taking a new look at attitudes, art, statues, buildings or other honors in light of changing public opinion. Use what you read to write an editorial or opinion column about one case and what you think should be done, if anything. Or write about the Apu controversy. Share views as a class and discuss.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.

2. Recall Those Eggs!

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can cause serious illness, and even death in elderly people and children. Now it has caused a massive recall of 200 million eggs produced by chickens at an egg farm in the state of North Carolina. The eggs produced at Rose Acre Farms were recalled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after 22 people were sickened by salmonella after eating Rose Acre eggs. Eggs from the farm were distributed to stores and restaurants in Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the Carolinas. Salmonella can cause fever, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain and can lead to fatal infections among children younger than 5 and the elderly. Food safety is a health issue that is important to all children and families. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another health issue important to children or families. Use what you read to brainstorm a public service TV ad calling attention to the issue. Pick images for your ad, and the text you would include. Give your ad a title.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

3. Flying High

School leaders will do just about anything to inspire students to meet their goals. Just ask Principal Shannon Butler of York High School in the state of Virginia. Butler told students she’d jump out of an airplane if they raised $15,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The students did, and then some, raising more than $20,000 for the charity in a school fundraiser. True to her word, Butler kept her end of the bargain, jumping out of a skydiving plane with an instructor while students, parents, teachers, city leaders and staff from the Hampton Roads chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society watched. School leaders do many things to inspire students in their schools. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one school leader’s efforts. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, examining why this leader’s actions were effective and how they could inspire others.

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. Lego Titanic

After it struck an iceberg and sank on its first voyage in 1912, the Titanic became one of the most famous passenger ships ever to sail the seas. Now the ship that inspired countless books and movies is getting new attention — thanks to shy boy with autism from the European nation of Iceland. Brynjar Karl Bigisson has built the world’s largest Titanic replica completely out of Legos! Bigisson’s Titanic used 56,000 Lego bricks, is 26 feet long and 5 feet tall. He started it when he was 10 (he’s now 15), and it took him 700 hours to construct over an 11-month period. Best of all, his Lego Titanic is getting its public debut this month at the Titanic Museum Attraction in the U.S. state of Tennessee. Students and young adults have many talents to contribute to their communities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about young people sharing their talents. Then use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a short documentary film or video, examining skills you or other students in your school could use to benefit the community.

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. Mexican Drugs

The United States and Mexico have been at odds for months over President Trump’s desire to build a wall on the border between them to block illegal immigration. At the same time, the two North American nations have been cooperating quietly to battle the production of opium and heroin in Mexico. The U.S. has stepped up efforts to help Mexico get a handle on its illegal opium trade, which grows the poppy plants used to produce heroin. The U.S. now is providing drones and other technology to help Mexico determine how many acres are being planted with poppies and how much heroin is being produced from them. U.S. drug officials said last year that Mexico supplies 93 percent of all heroin consumed in the United States. Efforts to control abuse of heroin and opioid drugs involve all levels of government in the U.S. In the newspaper or online find and closely read stories about drug-fighting efforts at the national, state and local levels of government. Use what you read to write a summary of how these efforts work and ways to coordinate them effectively.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing.