, week of
Apr 23, 2018
1. Help for Toys R Us
Toys R Us has long been one of the most popular stores for kids and their families, but in recent years it has had severe money problems. They’ve become so severe that last month the company announced that it would have to close or sell all its stores in the United States. Now a billionaire toymaker is hoping to come to the rescue. Isaac Larian, whose company makes Bratz dolls and Little Tykes toys, has made an offer to buy 200 Toys R Us stores in the United States and more than 80 in Canada. Larian said he was making the move because the loss of Toys R Us would cause the toy industry to “truly suffer.” He said he wants to make stores into places “my new grandson’s generation” would want to go with their families. “Imagine a mini-Disneyland in each neighborhood,” he said. Online shopping has taken business away from stores in malls and shopping centers. As a result, stores are trying new ideas to attract shoppers. In the newspaper or online, find and study ads in which stores are trying new things to attract shoppers. Then pair off with a classmate and brainstorm ideas for Toys R Us to try to make kids and families want to visit. Design a newspaper ad that would feature your idea and share it with the class.
Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
2. Too Tall Players
When people think of basketball players, the word “tall” usually comes to mind. But in the Asian nation of South Korea some players are too tall. At least according to new rules for next season that apply to foreign players in the Korean Basketball League. To speed up the game, the league will ban foreign players taller than 2 meters, or about 6 feet 6 inches. That means 6 foot, 7 inch American David Simon won’t be able to play, even though he has played in the league several years and is leading the league in scoring this season. Under the new rules, each team in the league can only have two foreign players. One can’t be taller than 6 foot 6 and the other no taller than 6 foot 1. There is no height limit for Korean players. League officials say the rule change is designed to promote a style that features smaller, faster and more skilled players. “We believe this new height restriction will revive the popularity of pro basketball in the country,” said one. In the United States, talented players come in all sizes in the National Basketball Association. In the newspaper or online, read stories about the NBA playoffs and the players who are doing well. Use what you read to write a sports column, describing the skills of one tall player and one shorter player and why they are successful in the playoffs. Share and discuss columns.
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.
3. Standing Up Straight
Gorillas and other great apes are the closest relatives of humans in the animal world. And now a western lowland gorilla at the Philadelphia Zoo is walking like one. Louis, an 18-year-old male, became an Internet star when he started walking upright on his two back legs. He started doing it when he was carrying fruit and tomato treats and now he does it when the ground is muddy, too. Zoo officials say many gorillas walk on two legs from time to time, but Louis does it frequently — especially when carrying food. The Philadelphia Zoo is the nation’s oldest zoo, opening in the state of Pennsylvania in 1874. Zoos give people a chance to see wild and endangered animals up close and learn about their habits. In the newspaper or online, closely read a story about a wild animal you would like to see up close and learn about. Write a paragraph describing why you would like to learn about this animal and what you could learn by seeing it up close in a zoo.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing.
4. Hurricane Ban
The 2017 hurricane season was one of the most destructive and dangerous in history. So dangerous, in fact, that the names of the four worst hurricanes will never be used again. The names Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate have been retired, according to the international organization that names hurricanes. They caused so much damage from Texas to Puerto Rico that they will be dropped from the hurricane “names list,” the U.N. World Meteorological Organization announced. Ordinarily, the names of hurricanes can be re-used after six years. The 2017 hurricane season was the most expensive in history, causing more than $200 billion in damage. This year’s hurricane season begins June 1. Hurricanes are powerful storms that affect many people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another powerful storm making news. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, describing ways people can stay safe in such a storm.
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.
5. Pet Chips
Technology can help people find lost pets, if they have implanted microchips under the skin of their cats and dogs. Now the city of Fort Worth, Texas is considering making it a rule that all pets must be microchipped. The city council is expected to vote next month on a plan from the city’s Animal Services Department to require microchipping in addition to pet licenses. Supporters say this would encourage owners to be more “responsible” taking care of their pets and reduce the number of lost pets that end up in shelters. People do many things to make sure their pets stay safe, healthy and happy. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one pet owner taking special steps for a pet. Use what you read to draw a picture or cartoon, showing what this owner is doing and how the pet might respond. Give your drawing a title that describes the pet’s reaction.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.