Yak’s Corner

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Lessons for

Grades 1-4
Grades 9-12

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for Grades 5-8

Dec. 11, 2017
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For Grades 5-8 , week of June 05, 2017

1. Targeting Ocean Trash

Ocean trash has become a problem all over the world, but nowhere more than in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch located between California and Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean. Every year ocean currents bring more junk to the area, creating a bigger and bigger environmental problem. Enter the Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch project that has vowed to start gathering the trash in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch within the next 12 months. That would be two years ahead of the Cleanup’s original plan for tackling the Pacific’s biggest trash dump. The Ocean Cleanup will use free-floating plastic booms that will attract plastics and other trash driven by the currents. The materials then will be recovered and shipped back to land for recycling. The Ocean Cleanup is an example of an effort to deal with pollution. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another effort to deal with pollution. Use what you read to write a short editorial, assessing the effort and its prospects 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.

2.‘The President Is Missing’

Former President Bill Clinton is a man of many talents, and politics is only one of them. Last month he co-wrote the famous crossword puzzle in the Sunday New York Times newspaper, and now he’s teaming up with a best-selling author to write a novel. Clinton and the crime and mystery author James Patterson are writing a novel called “The President Is Missing,” which will be published in June 2018, according to a press release from the companies. “Working on a book about a sitting President — drawing on what I know about the job, life in the White House, and the way Washington works — has been a lot of fun,” Clinton said in the official announcement of the project. Former President Clinton is using his life experiences as a resource for writing a novel. What other famous people could use their experiences as the basis for a fictional book or movie? In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about a celebrity you like. Then brainstorm a way this celebrity could use his/her experiences as inspiration for a work of fiction. Write a plot summary detailing how the person’s real life experiences could inspire a book or movie.

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.

3. Back to the Office

In recent years, many companies allowed their employees to work from home as a way to improve productivity and cut commuting time. Technology giant IBM was one of them, with up to 40 percent of its 400,000 employees working outside a traditional office. But now IBM has changed direction, and many of its employees will have to get used to office life again. The company said the change in policy was driven by trends in software development and digital marketing that require employees to work together in teams, rather than completing work remotely. “The nature of work is changing,” the company said in a statement. “We are bringing small, self-directed, agile teams … together.” Most affected workers have agreed to come back to the office, but some who refuse could lose their jobs. In many industries, workers are facing changes in the way companies operate. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a company change that is affecting the way workers are expected to do their jobs. Write a summary of the changes and the biggest adjustments that workers will have to make.

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. Goodbye to the Circus

After 146 years, “The Greatest Show on Earth” is no more. With three shows last month in Uniondale, New York, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus brought an end to nearly a century and a half of entertainment for American audiences. The closing came after years of debate and legal challenges to Ringling’s treatment of exotic animals such as lions, tigers and, especially, elephants. Animal rights activists claimed Ringling mistreated the elephants, and while the claim was never upheld in court the circus retired its elephants last year. Ticket sales dropped significantly as a result, and the circus announced it would close for good this spring. In nations all over the world, there is growing interest in animal rights and the treatment of animals. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about people calling attention to animal rights or seeking changes to protect animal rights. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor giving your view on the issue you read about. Be sure to support your opinions with facts from the story or other resources.

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 Threat to the Vault

Its nickname is the “Doomsday Seed Vault,” and to keep it safe it was buried deep in the permafrost near the Earth’s North Pole. The Global Seed Vault was created to store seeds from around the world in case a natural or manmade disaster wiped out large areas and killed off plant life needed to feed the world’s people and animals. Now the Seed Vault itself may be at risk. Last fall, rain and unseasonably warm temperatures caused water to leak into the facility. The leak was contained quickly with no damage to seeds, but the incident raises questions about what other risks could occur if the landscape around the Seed Vault warms and melts due to climate change. To protect against future leaks, waterproof walls are being installed at the entrance to the Seed Vault. The Global Seed Vault is an example of an effort to plan for the future and prevent damage from future events. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about another effort to plan for the future. Use what you read to prepare a multi-media presentation detailing what is being planned and why the planning is important.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic;