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For Grades 5-8 , week of Aug. 07, 2017

1. Immigration Curb

When he was campaigning for president, Republican Donald Trump vowed he would crack down on illegal immigration if elected. Now, apparently, he wants to crack down on LEGAL immigration as well. Last week the President announced he would back legislation that seeks to curb the level of legal immigration into the United States by setting up a skills-based system. The goal of the bill proposed by Republican U.S. Senators David Perdue and Tom Cotton is to reduce legal immigration to the United States by 50%. Trump said the measure would protect American workers by reducing unskilled immigration and creating a merit-based system that would grade possible immigrants based on their ability to do work needed by businesses in the United States. The legislation to curb legal immigration is causing debate across the United States. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about the immigration debate, what political and government leaders are saying, and its prospects for passage by the U.S. Congress. Write a summary of key points and positions of leaders on both sides of the debate.

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.

2. She Delivers!

In the state of Kentucky, obstetrician Amanda Hess knows a lot about delivering good medical care. Even when she was about to deliver her own baby! Hess had checked in to Frankford Regional Medical Center to have a baby with an induced birth procedure, but she put her plans on hold when she discovered another woman was having trouble. She jumped up, put clothes on over her hospital gown and went to aid Leah Halliday Johnson, whose baby had its umbilical cord wrapped around its neck. Hess unsnarled the cord and then helped Halliday Johnson deliver a baby girl. Later, after things quieted down, she had her own baby — also a girl. People often do more than expected to help others. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a person doing something “above and beyond” what was expected. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, detailing how this person’s actions could inspire others, and how that would make the community better. Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

3. Ancient Roman Discovery

In the European nation of France, archaeologists exploring a site targeted for new construction have unearthed a well-preserved neighborhood dating back 1,800 years to the Roman Empire. The discovery includes homes, mosaic artworks and furniture on the banks of the Rhone River near the city of Vienne in southeastern France. “This is an incredible discovery because it’s the biggest excavation of a Roman site in almost 50 years,” Benjamin Clement, the scientific manager of the operation, told CNN News. Excavation of the site will continue until December, after which artifacts and mosaics will be displayed in museum exhibitions planned for 2019 and 2020. Buried cities or buildings often contain clues on how people from earlier times lived and worked. What would future archaeologists be able to tell about the way people live today? In the newspaper or online, find a photo of an indoor or outdoor scene where people live or work. Pretend the place in the photo was discovered by future archaeologists. Write an analysis of what the future archaeologists could learn about the way people live and work by studying the scene.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; closely reading written or visual texts to make logical inferences from it.

4. Walking Away from Football

A new study about the brain risks of playing football has prompted Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel to retire early from the NFL at age 26. But he won’t have a shortage of things to do. Urschel, who is a mathematician as well as a football player, will pursue an advanced doctorate degree at the world-famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After a 2015 concussion, Urschel said he felt the head trauma had “hurt my ability to think well mathematically.” Researchers studying the link between football and brain injuries reported this summer that all but one of 111 brains donated by families of ex-NFL players after their deaths were diagnosed with the brain injury known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). The risk of brain injuries from football has gotten more and more attention. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about brain injuries and football. Use what you read to write an editorial outlining further steps football teams, programs and leagues should take to ensure player safety.

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.

5. An Eagle Rescued

A bald eagle struggling in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean got an unexpected rescue from the crew of a lobster boat that came across it a quarter mile from shore in the state of Maine. It’s not known whether the eagle dived into the ocean while fishing or was knocked into the water in a fight with another eagle, but it was struggling and “flopping around” when lobsterman John Chipman and his crew came across it. The crew created a makeshift raft from a life preserver and plywood, and the weakened eagle was able to pull itself up out of the water. The crew then pulled the bird to the boat, where it dried off, Chipman said. The crew planned to turn the eagle over to wildlife officials, but after drying off, it spread its wings and flew away. In teams or pairs, use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read a story about people helping wildlife in some way. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a 30-second public service TV ad encouraging people to help wildlife. Write the script for your ad, including images that would go with it. Read your script aloud, to make sure it doesn’t last more than 30 seconds. Share with the class.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.