Resources for Teachers and Students


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Lessons for

Grades 1-4
Grades 5-8

Past lessons
for Grades 9-12

Mar. 18, 2019
Mar. 11, 2019
Mar. 04, 2019
Feb. 25, 2019
Feb. 18, 2019
Feb. 11, 2019
Feb. 04, 2019
Jan. 28, 2019
Jan. 21, 2019
Jan. 14, 2019
Jan. 07, 2019
Dec. 17, 2018
Dec. 10, 2018
Dec. 03, 2018
Nov. 26, 2018
Nov. 19, 2018
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Oct. 15, 2018
Oct. 08, 2018
Oct. 01, 2018
Sep. 24, 2018
Sep. 17, 2018
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Sep. 03, 2018
Aug. 27, 2018
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Aug. 06, 2018
July 30, 2018
July 23, 2018
July 16, 2018
July 09, 2018
June 25, 2018
June 18, 2018
June 11, 2018
June 04, 2018
May 28, 2018
May 21, 2018

For Grades 9-12 , week of Mar. 18, 2019

1. College Cheaters

Getting into college is one of the toughest challenges many students face. It’s even tougher if you’re competing with families who cheat. In a move that has rocked America’s colleges and universities, the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department have charged wealthy parents with spending millions of dollars to bribe college officials, alter test scores and fake sports credentials to get their children into top colleges. More than 50 people, including Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, were charged in what officials called the “largest college admissions scam ever.” In one case, parents paid $1.2 million so that their daughter could be admitted as a soccer recruit at Yale — even though she did not play soccer. In another case, parents shelled out $200,000 to gain a spot for their daughter on the rowing team at the University of Southern California — though she had no rowing experience. The investigation found that coaches accepted bribes to win admission for the students — and many have since been fired. The college admissions scam has brought renewed attention to the advantages wealthy individuals have over people who do not have wealth. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about this and how it affects the opportunities of less wealthy families. Use what you read to write a commentary offering your views on how this affects families, communities and the nation.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

2. Maya Discovery

Thousands of years ago, the Maya people developed a highly advanced civilization in southern Mexico and Central America. The Mayans created cities, had great achievements in art and astronomy and developed the only known writing system of the ancient Americas. A new discovery in a mystery cave in Mexico may shed new light on the later years of this remarkable civilization. The discovery in the Yucatan Peninsula in southeastern Mexico contains more than 150 sacred artifacts that date back more than 1,000 years, archaeologists said. Many of the items found in the “Cave of the Jaguar God” (“Balamku”) have been untouched since they were put there as part of local rituals. Because the items have been so well preserved, archaeologists hope they will offer new information about the ancient city of Chichén Itzá nearby and the decline of the Mayan civilization, which occurred not long after the cave was active. The discovery of ancient artifacts can shed light on how people lived and worked in ancient times. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one of these discoveries. Use what you read to write a paragraph detailing what scientists learned about ancient life from these artifacts. Then write a paragraph detailing what future scientists could learn from the artifacts in your bedroom or home today. Share with the class and discuss.

Common 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. One Lucky Man!

Sometimes the kindness of strangers can make all the difference. It certainly did for a man in the state of New Jersey this month. Michael Weirsky bought tickets for the March 1 Mega Millions lottery drawing, but got distracted and left them the store where he purchased them. Lucky for him, a stranger picked up the tickets and turned them in to the cashier at the store. When Weirsky returned to the store seeking his tickets, the cashier had them and turned them over after asking several questions to prove Weirsky was the original buyer. It was the luckiest thing that ever happened to him. One of the tickets was the winner for the March 1 Mega Millions — and worth $273-million! Weirsky, who was unemployed before buying the tickets, said he would like to find the person who turned his tickets in and reward him or her. A stroke of good luck can change the life of a person. In the newspaper or online find and closely read a story about someone whose life changed with a lucky break. Use what you read to brainstorm ideas for creative stories based on this person’s lucky experience. Have one idea focus on something good that happened as a result of the experience, and one focus on something bad that could happen. 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.

4. Whale of a Tale

In the world of religion, one of the most famous stories of the Bible is that of Jonah being swallowed by a whale. In the nation of South Africa, a man almost suffered the same fate, but survived when the whale spit him out. Rainer Schimpf, 51, had been snorkeling and filming a sardine run, in which seals, dolphins and penguins herd fish into “balls” so that they can be caught. In the middle of the commotion, a 15-meter Bryde’s whale came to the surface, opened its mouth and took in Schimpf, head first. “Suddenly it got dark,” Schimpf told Sky News, and then he felt pressure around his body. From the size of the creature around him, Schimpf felt it had to be a whale, and was relieved to know he was too big to be swallowed. He feared the whale might dive with him, however, and was happy when that didn’t happen. “Obviously he realized I was not what he wanted to eat so he spat me out,” Schimpf said. People often have unusual encounters with wild animals. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one such encounter. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend, detailing “What I Leaned from This Encounter.”

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.

5. From Trash to Cash

Every library has thousands of books, and some are more valuable than others. Sometimes, in fact, libraries are shocked at how valuable they are. A public library in the city of Memphis, Tennessee found that out this month, thanks to the sharp eyes of a staff member. The staffer was looking through a pile of books that were being thrown out and found one that caught his interest. It was Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” and, more importantly, it was a first edition (first printing). Beyond the weird name, the book has a special place in literature: It was the basis of the popular sci-fi movie “Blade Runner.” Library staffers looked up the book online and discovered first editions were selling for as much as $3,000, UPI news reported. They listed the book for $1,250 and it sold in a matter of days — a record for the library. Books often can be the basis for movies — as were Oscar nominees “BlacKkKlansman” and “If Beale Street Could Talk” this year. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about movies that were made from books. Then think of a book you have read that you think would make a good movie. Write a “pitch” letter to a movie studio promoting this book as a movie. Then write an outline for the opening scene, including images you would show.

Common 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.