Tylan Bailey served as a school custodian for more than 20 years, cleaning every part of Hightower Elementary School in the city of Doraville, Georgia. Now the 43-year-old Bailey is starting a new phase of his life and is being recognized for inspiring students for all those years. He has become the first in his family to earn a college degree, plans to become a teacher and was honored to be the fifth-grade graduation speaker at his long-time school. Bailey earned his teaching degree from Georgia State University and wants to become a physical education teacher so he can encourage kids to unplug from technology, phones and social media. He already has proved he can inspire students, mentoring boys and girls who did not have a father figure in their lives, the Washington Post newspaper reports. And what did he tell the fifth graders at their graduation? “I told the kids to be more than what people think they are and to meet their blessings halfway,” Bailey said. People often make news by changing careers in inspiring ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a person doing this. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor stating how this person’s change of careers could help and inspire others. With friends and classmates, discuss people you know who have changed careers and how that could inspire others.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
2. Young Hero
It’s often said that you’re never too young to make a difference. In the state of Florida, a 7-year-old boy made a huge difference recently, and his father and sister were saved as a result. Chase Poust is being hailed as a hero after swimming for an hour to get to shore and get help for his dad and sister who had been swept away in a river near the city of Jacksonville. Chase’s dad, Steven Poust, had anchored his boat in the St. Johns River to let Chase and his 4-year-old sister Abigail swim, CNN News reported. Then things got out of hand. Abigail, who was wearing a life jacket, got separated from the boat and Chase swam after her. Then their dad swam after both of them. All three of them were being pushed farther and farther from the boat by the fast-moving water of the river current. Chase’s dad asked him to try to swim to shore for help, while he stayed with Abigail. It took Chase an hour to get there, taking breaks to float on his back so he wouldn’t get overtired. When he reached shore, he ran to the nearest house and rescue crews were called. Steven Poust and Abigail were rescued in the water, more than a mile and a half downstream from their boat. Children, teens and pre-teens often make news by helping others. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a situation like this. Use what you read to create a comic book telling the story of the helper as if he/she were a super hero. Give your helper a super hero name that reflects what kind of help was given. Write and draw the first page of your comic book telling his/her story.
Common 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.
3. Bobcat Day
Students often get time off from school for snow days, weather days or in-service days for teachers. At a high school in the state of Pennsylvania this month, students got time off for a reason never experienced before: a bobcat-sighting day. School officials at West Scranton High School sent students home early last week when school security cameras sighted a “bobcat” inside the building. Bobcats are forest animals that can be dangerous to people and other wildlife due to their sharp teeth and claws, so school officials took no chances and ordered an early dismissal. Wildlife officials were called in and trapped the cat, but announced it was not a real bobcat but just a house cat or wild cat that had an “eerie” resemblance to a bobcat due to its short tail. Wild bobcats have a short tail, a spotted coat and can grow to be 20 to 40 inches long and weigh more than 20 pounds. Animals often make news in unusual ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an animal that has done this. Use what you read to write a letter the animal might write to an animal friend, explaining what it has done and why it did it. Use evidence from the story to write how you think the animal might have felt during its unusual activity. Share with friends and discuss.
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. Second Tallest Building
The tallest building in the world now stands in the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East, but the second tallest will soon be going up in the European nation of Russia. The architecture firm that will design the new skyscraper has announced that it will stand 2,306 feet tall, second only to the Burj Khalifa building in the United Emirates, which has a height of 2,717 feet. The new building will be able to claim a first for the world, however — it will have the highest occupied floor and viewing gallery at 1,936 feet. The new building will be located outside the city of St. Petersburg and be called the Lakhta Center II, the Kettle?Collective architecture firm said. It will be constructed next to the original Lakhta Center, which is currently the tallest building in Europe at 1,516 feet. The Lakhta Center II will be built to be environmentally sustainable and have an outer layer created from spiraling columns. The Lakhta Center II will draw lots of attention when it is completed. In the newspaper or online, find and study a story or photo of another building that is drawing attention. Pretend you are an art and architecture writer and write a column pointing out what features of this building make it stand out.
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.
5. Help for Butterflies
Black-and-orange monarch butterflies are famous for their yearly migration from Canada and the northern United States to Mexico and southern California, where they spend the winter. It is a dangerous journey, full of risks and challenges. One of the biggest obstacles is finding food, because plants the monarchs eat have died out or disappeared. The most important food plant is milkweed, a wildflower that feeds monarchs in every stage of their lives. Milkweed used to be common all over the United States, but in recent years there have been fewer and fewer milkweed plants due to farming and the use of plant-killing herbicides. Now the state of California is making an effort to restore milkweed in natural areas and help the monarchs survive. The New York Times newspaper reports that environmental groups and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife have begun an effort to add 30,000 milkweed plants across the state to provide the butterflies places to feed. Wildlife often can benefit from help provided by people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a wildlife species that could use help to survive. Use what you read to write a short editorial outlining things people could do to help this wildlife species.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.