Yak’s Corner

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Grades 5-8
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for Grades K-4

Dec. 11, 2017
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For Grades K-4 , week of May 08, 2017

1. Very Special Girl Scouts

Girl Scout troops bring girls together, but none has ever done it quite like Troop 6000 in New York City. Every girl in the troop is homeless. All the members live at the Sleep Inn in the Queens neighborhood, where a 10-floor building has been turned into a shelter that serves 100 homeless families. Troop 6000 has 25 members ages 5-14, from the Brownie level all the way to Cadettes. The girls in the troop do all the things Girl Scouts are known for. They go on trips together, draw, sing and dance and sell the Girl Scouts’ famous cookies. Costs for the girls are being covered by the Girl Scouts of Greater New York and by donations from the public. People benefit in many ways when they work or do things together. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about people doing something together. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend describing the benefits people in the story got by doing their activity together, instead of alone.

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.

2. When Did Humans Arrive?

Scientists who study the history of North America have long believed that humans first arrived about 25,000 years ago by crossing a land bridge from Asia to Alaska at the end of the last Ice Age. A new study, however, says human arrival could have been much earlier — as much as 130,000 years ago. The study came to that conclusion after analyzing the broken bones of a mastodon fossil found in Southern California. The bones appear to have been broken by humans using stones as tools, the researchers note in a paper published in the journal Nature. That conclusion was supported by an experiment in which scientists broke similar bones from a modern elephant using rocks as tools. The breaks in the experiment matched those found on the mastodon fossil. Still unknown is how the humans who broke the bones got to California, and what happened to them later. Scientists study fossils and artifacts from the past to learn how early humans or animals lived. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a fossil discovery. Write the word FOSSIL down the side of a sheet of paper. Use each letter to start a phrase or complete sentence describing what the new discovery has taught scientists.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; closely reading written or visual texts to make logical inferences from it.

3. Reward for a Good Deed

When a California woman lost a $676 money order, she thought she would never see it again. But a man who was down on his luck found and returned it to her — even though he could have used the money himself. Sergio Juarez found the money order under his car in a parking lot, and tracked down Yesenia Del Valle from an address on the back. When Del Valle asked about Juarez’s life, she discovered he and his wife had both lost their jobs and were living with their three children at a local motel. The next day, Del Valle created an online GoFundMe account to help the family, and it has raised more than $10,000. Juarez also has received many job offers. When people do good deeds for others, they benefit along with the person being helped. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone doing a good deed to help someone else. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a creative story focusing on what happened to everyone involved as a result of the good deed.

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.

4. Buyers for a Baseball Team

Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush have had great success in their careers — Jeter as a star with baseball’s New York Yankees and Bush as former governor of the state of Florida. Soon, Jeter and Bush may be teaming up in a new career — as owners of the Miami Marlins team in Major League Baseball. A group of buyers led by Jeter and Bush won an auction sale last month to purchase the Marlins, and the team is “moving forward” with a deal to finalize the sale for a reported $1.3 billion. What would it be like to own a professional sports team? In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about a team you like. Then pretend you are a sportswriter and write a personal opinion column, describing what you would do with the team if you owned it.

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. A Hero to Police

The red sneakers Devin Suau likes to wear aren’t part of the uniform of the Boston Police Department in the state of Massachusetts. Even so, the 6-year-old Suau has been made “honorary police commissioner” of the department in recognition of his courage fighting a life-threatening brain tumor. Devin was diagnosed in January after falling off a snowboard and hitting his head. The Police Department learned of his situation from Devin’s uncle, who is a police officer with the department. Devin has to get up at 6:30 in the morning to go in for radiation treatment, “and he doesn't complain,” said Devin's uncle. To recognize his courage, the Police Department picked Devin to represent officers in South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, and he rode in a police vehicle waving to the crowd. Devin “has always loved heroes,” his mom said — and now he is one himself. People can be heroes in many different ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone you would consider to be a hero. Write a short editorial for the newspaper, telling people why you consider this person a hero, and how he/she could inspire others.

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.