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for Grades 5-8

Dec. 11, 2017
Dec. 04, 2017
Nov. 27, 2017
Nov. 20, 2017
Nov. 13, 2017
Nov. 06, 2017
Oct. 30, 2017
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Sep. 25, 2017
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Apr 24, 2017
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Mar. 27, 2017
Mar. 20, 2017
Mar. 13, 2017
Mar. 06, 2017

For Grades 5-8 , week of Apr 24, 2017

1. Big Changes for MTV Awards

From the time they were launched 25 years ago, the MTV Awards have tried to present a different kind of awards show. This year the show on May 7 will be getting a major revamping. For starters, male and female talents will compete against each other in all categories, and in other categories movie and TV performers will be up against each other. Of the 16 categories for awards, five will be new — Best Tearjerker, Best Host, Best Reality Competition, Best American Story and Best Fight Against the System. The last is a change from the longtime MTV favorite Best Fight category, which honored movie brawls year after year. The switch to “Fight Against the System” was made to reflect that “Young audience members are reviving an activism voice that we haven’t seen in years,” MTV president Chris McCarthy said. “We want to celebrate that and encourage it.” Awards shows are popular on TV. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about awards shows that aired recently or shows that are coming up. Think like a TV critic and use what you read to write an opinion column describing things that make awards shows the most interesting for viewers.

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.

2. Hot Car Dangers

Warm weather is on the way, and that means the risks are rising for young children in hot cars. An average of 37 U.S. children a year have died when locked in hot cars since 1998, and last year the total was above average with 39 deaths. Most children die when parents or caregivers accidentally leave them in the car too long, or forget they are there, according to KidsAndCars.org, a nonprofit child safety organization. KidsAndCars urges parents and siblings to develop habits that will remind them when a small child is inside, such as always opening the back door to check the back seat when leaving the vehicle. The temperature inside a parked car on a 90-degree day can reach 119 degrees in 20 minutes, 132 in an hour. Children trapped inside can die of heat stroke. The danger of hot cars to small children is a public safety issue important to families. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another public safety issue that is important to children and families. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a short public service ad for television detailing important things people need to know. Write the opening scene in the style of a movie screenplay. Include both the dialog to be spoken and images to be shown.

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.

3. 63 Feet of Snow!

For years the state of California has been suffering from a rain and water shortage. But after receiving 63 feet of snow this winter, Northern California mountains have broken the record for wettest water year. An astounding 751 inches of snow fell in the Sugar Bowl ski area near Lake Tahoe this winter, bringing a dramatic end to a historic drought and water shortage in the area. It’s emblematic of a record season for precipitation in California’s northern Sierra Nevada mountain range. The precipitation has come practically nonstop since October, with every month but November producing above-average amounts. A meteorologist for WeatherBell Analytics calculated that the state of California has received the equivalent of 90-trillion gallons of water since October, the greatest volume on record. Unusual weather is always making news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an unusual or severe weather event. Use what you read to write a short news story, offering tips on how people can stay safe during such an event.

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. Antibiotics & Allergies

Use of antibiotics during the first two years of life increases the risk that a child will have allergies in adult years, including hay fever, eczema or other conditions. That was the conclusion of a pooled analysis of 32 observational studies reported at the European Respiratory Society International Congress last fall. Antibiotics are believed to have properties that modulate immune responses, researchers note. In addition, they add, disruption of microorganisms in the digestive system due to antibiotic use may be connected to the possible link between early antibiotic use and increased allergy risk. Medical and scientific studies are often in the news because they can affect many people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about a medical or scientific study important to families. Use what you read to write a paragraph summarizing the findings or goal of the study, why that would be happen and whom it would affect most.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

5. Maestros Passing the Baton

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s exciting young music director, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, will replace celebrated long-time maestro James Levine as music director of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. But Nezet-Seguin is not leaving Philadelphia. On the same day the Met announced his selection to start in the 2020-2021 season, the Philadelphia Orchestra announced extension of his contract with that organization through 2025-2026. For at least five years, Nezet-Seguin, now 41, will balance both positions. The Met, the nation’s largest performing arts institution, has been struggling financially, filling an average of only 72 percent of its seats as the health of the 73-year-old Levine declined. Levine stepped down in May 2016. In entertainment, sports, business or government, it’s always news when someone replaces another person in a position. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone taking over for another person. Use what you read to write an opinion column detailing what will be the biggest effects of the change — and how that will affect the organization.

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.