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Feb. 15, 2021

For Grades K-4 , week of Mar. 15, 2021

1. ‘March Madness’

This week the “March Madness” of college basketball begins, and fans all over the country are trying to predict which teams will win the NCAA basketball championships for men and women. Last year the tournaments were canceled due to the coronavirus emergency, so there is extra excitement for the start of competition later this week. Much of the excitement comes from the fact that if a team loses just one game, it is out of the tournament. And there are always upsets, in which a lower ranked team defeats a higher ranked team. In the newspaper or online, closely read stories about NCAA tournament games this week. Were there upset winners in any of the games? Did any players have spectacular performances or make unusual plays? Use what you read to write a sports column highlighting two or three performances that were unusual, unexpected or especially exciting. Try to capture the excitement in your writing by using active verbs and colorful adjectives. Share with family, friends or classmates.

Common Core State Standards: Identifying multiple language conventions and using them; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

2. ‘They Get to Be Heroes’

Girl Scout troops provide support for members in many ways. In the city of Council Bluffs, Iowa, a special troop has given homeless girls a chance to shine, build self-confidence and develop business skills through the Girl Scouts’ famous cookie program. The girls of Troop 64224, which is based at the MICAH House emergency shelter for homeless families and women, have sold nearly 20,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies in all 50 states this year! The current troop has just six girls in it, which makes their achievement even more amazing, parents and Scout leaders said. “It unites girls and gives them a sense of pride,” the head of the Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa told the Washington Post newspaper. “Most people really love the cookie program, and the girls get to be at the heart of something. They get to be heroes.” People can get to be heroes in many ways. They can do things for others, overcome obstacles or respond to emergencies, for example. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone you would consider a hero for their actions. Use what you read to write a short editorial, telling what this person did and how it could be an inspiration for 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.

3. Disneyland Reopening

For more than 60 years, Disneyland has been one of the most popular theme parks in the state of California. The coronavirus emergency forced it to shut down last year, but this spring it is going to reopen. The state’s Department of Public Health has issued new safety guidelines that could allow Disneyland and other theme parks to re-open as soon as April 1. The number of visitors will be limited by the number of virus cases in their areas, and visitors will have to wear masks and practice social distancing, health officials said. Only residents of California will be allowed to visit the parks at this point, but officials are happy to get back to business. “We are encouraged that theme parks now have a path toward reopening this spring,” one Disney official said. Theme parks provide entertainment and fun for kids and families. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a theme park that is making plans to re-open. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend, inviting them to go the theme park with you. Include reasons you think you and your friend would have fun.

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.

4. A First for Women

March is Women’s History Month, and in all career fields women are breaking new ground. In the National Football League, for example, Maia Chaka this month became the first African American woman to be named a full-time game official. Chaka, 47, has been a football official since 2006, when she began her career at the high school level. Since then she has moved up to college games, and since 2014 she has worked NFL minicamp and pre-season games as part of the league’s Officiating Development Program. A health and physical education teacher in the Virginia Beach public school system in the state of Virginia, she also has officiated games in the XFL football league. Chaka was praised by league officials for her “years of hard work, dedication and perseverance” when they announced her appointment. “As we celebrate Women’s History Month, Maia is a trailblazer,” said Troy Vincent, the NFL’s director of football operations and a former star defensive back. Women’s History Month honors the achievements of women and girls across America. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a woman or girl whose actions deserve recognition. Write a paragraph explaining why she should be honored and draw a picture of a trophy or award you could give her.

Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.

5. Reach Out: Write!

The coronavirus emergency has left millions of people feeling cut off due to stay-at-home orders, closed businesses and computer learning at home. In the North American nation of Canada, the postal service is trying to help people deal with feeling cut off. The Canada Post service is sending out free, prepaid postcards to each of the country’s 13.5 million households to help people get in touch with those they love. The goal is to encourage people to write to someone they’ve been missing or who may need cheering up, the Washington Post newspaper reports. The postcards come in six styles, with messages such as “I’ve been meaning to write,” “Wishing I were there” and “Sending hugs.” “Meaningful connection is vital for our emotional health, sense of community and overall well-being,” the head of Canada Post, said in a prepared statement. “Canada Post wants everyone to stay safe, but also stay in touch with the people who matter to them.” In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone you think could need some cheering up. On a sheet of paper design a postcard. Postcards usually are 4 by 5.5 inches in size, with a picture on one side and spaces for a message and an address on the other. Write a short message to cheer up your person in the news. For extra fun, design a postcard for someone you know and write a cheerful message.

Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.

Step onto any school campus and you'll feel its energy. Each school is turbocharged with the power of young minds, bodies, hearts and spirits.

Here on the Western Slope, young citizens are honing and testing their skills to take on a rapidly changing world. Largely thanks to technology, they are in the midst of the most profound seismic shift the world has ever seen.

Perhaps no time in our history has it been more important to know what our youth are thinking, feeling and expressing.

The Sentinel is proud to spotlight some of their endeavors. Read on to see how some thoroughly modern students are helping learners of all ages connect with notable figures of the past.

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