Yak’s Corner

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Lessons for

Grades 1-4
Grades 5-8

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for Grades 9-12

Dec. 11, 2017
Dec. 04, 2017
Nov. 27, 2017
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Oct. 30, 2017
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Sep. 25, 2017
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Apr 24, 2017
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Mar. 27, 2017
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For Grades 9-12 , week of Mar. 27, 2017

1.Twitter in Trouble

Losing money and apparently unable to find a buyer, Twitter has cut about 8 percent of its employees worldwide — more than 315 of a total of 3,898 workers at year’s end. It’s also killing off Vine, a mobile video app through which people could share short video clips. In its struggle to survive, Twitter is placing a big bet on sports video, after landing a high-profile deal to stream National Football League games on Thursday nights. Still, revenues in the United States dropped 5% last year, and earnings were disappointing in the last quarter. On top of that, a large number of executives have left, including the head of entertainment talent, the chief technical officer and six vice presidents. Twitter got a lot of attention in the 2016 election, but its problems have grown steadily. More and more people are using social media to stay connected or to entertain themselves. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one type of social media or platform. Use what you read to write a consumer column, detailing why people like this type of social media, its advantages and its disadvantages.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; 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. Why Do We Sigh?

A song in a famous movie once declared that “a sigh is just a sigh.” But is it? According to new research, it’s a lot more complicated than that. It’s not just a reaction to stress or to romance, but a vital part of our lives. We do it more often than we realize — as much as every five minutes — and it helps preserve the health and functioning of our lungs. In the science journal Nature, researchers report that neurons in the brain stem are responsible for the deep exhalations of sighs. Scientists are always studying the human body to learn more about how it functions. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a study or research focusing on the human body. Use what you read to write a paragraph or short essay, outlining what the goal of the research is, what it has discovered, why the results are important and who will benefit most from the information.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events.

3. Sports Report

This week the “March Madness” of college basketball heads into its final games to determine which teams will win the NCAA basketball championships for men and women. The “Final Four” games for the Division I men’s and women’s teams will be held next weekend, with the championship games taking place April 2 (for women) and April 3 (for men). In the newspaper or online, closely read stories about NCAA Final Four teams this week. Use what you read to prepare a two-minute sports broadcast for a TV news show focusing on a player who plays a key role for his/her team. Write a script for your report and choose colorful, vivid language to interest viewers. Also write out what kind of video clips you would want to include in your report. Time your report by presenting it aloud on your own. Then present it to the class.

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

4. Sleep & Heart Ills

Sleeping too little or too much can be bad for your health. A new study links “insufficient duration … or poor quality of sleep” to hardening of the arteries, an early sign of heart disease. Researchers report in the medical journal Arterioclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology that “short sleepers” have 50 percent more calcium in their coronary arteries than those sleeping seven hours a night, and “long sleepers” have 70 percent more. “Good sleep hygiene, including avoiding electronic media at bedtime, should be part of a healthy lifestyle,” the study suggests. Getting a sufficient amount of sleep is important to the health and fitness of children and teens. Use the newspaper and Internet to read stories about the sleep habits of teens your age and how they can affect health, fitness, success and emotional wellbeing. Use what you read to design a poster examining teen sleep habits and detailing how they affect people. Give your poster an eye-catching title.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

5. Budget Debate

In the first budget prepared by the team of President Trump, the president has proposed large cuts in many programs. The proposal now goes before the U.S. House and Senate, which will decide whether to follow the president’s spending blueprint, or make changes to it. Citizens and citizens groups, meanwhile, are lobbying members of Congress to support programs targeted for reduction or elimination. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about debate and discussion over President Trump’s budget proposal. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, giving your view on one part of the budget plan, or an alternative plan someone in Congress is proposing. Share letters 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; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.