, week of
Nov. 30, 2020
1. Amazing Puppy Rescue
It’s often said that a dog is a man’s best friend. In the town of Estero, Florida a puppy named Gunner can claim just the opposite. His owner is his best friend — and his hero. Without owner Richard Wilbanks, Gunner might not be alive. Wilbanks rescued Gunner from the jaws of an alligator that jumped out of a pond “like a missile” and dragged the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel under the water. Wilbanks, who is 74, didn’t hesitate and jumped into the water to rescue his dog. He pried the alligator’s mouth open with his bare hands, setting Gunner free. Then he had to pry his own hands out of the four-foot alligator’s mouth. Both Wilbanks and Gunner were bloodied by the encounter but suffered no serious injuries. Animals do many things to help people. And sometimes people do amazing things to help animals. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone doing something amazing or unusual to help an animal. Pretend you are a reporter for the Animal News and write three to five questions you would ask the animal about the help it got. Then write answers as if you were the animal. Share with family or friends and talk about people you know who have helped animals.
Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
2. Helping with Bats
When people step up to help others, it’s often said they “go to bat” for them. In the state of Iowa, a 12-year-old boy is going to bat for storm victims — by making baseball bats! Tommy Rhomberg is selling the bats to raise money for people near the city of Mount Vernon whose homes were damaged by a fierce windstorm that hit this summer. He makes the bats out of tree limbs downed by the storm, called a derecho (deh-RAY-cho). Using whittling tools and a woodworking machine called a lathe, he shapes the limbs into the form of bats and sands them smooth with sandpaper, CNN News reports. He made his first bat for a friend’s birthday, and since then he has carved and sold more than 200 bats for others. The bats sell for $100 each, and he donates $20 from each bat to a local disaster relief fund. A derecho is a wide line of powerful storms that feature high winds of up to 100 miles per hour. To be a derecho, the storm line has to be at least 250 miles long. People often use special skills they have to help others. With a partner, use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read stories about people who have skills that could help others. Then find stories about people who could use help. Match people who have skills with people who need help. Write a sentence for each match explaining how the skill could be used. (Remember that the help might be indirect, not direct.)
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
3. Double-Record Day
Setting a world record is one of the hardest things to do in sports. So how hard would it be to set TWO records in less than ONE hour? U.S. swimmer Caeleb Dressel could give you the answer after setting a pair of records last week at the International Swimming League final in the European city of Budapest, Hungary. First Dressel smashed the record in the 100-meter butterfly swim, while becoming the first man ever to complete the race in less than 48 seconds. His time of 47.78 seconds was 3/10 of a second lower than the previous record of 48.08. About 40 minutes later, the 24-year-old Dressel hit the water again to lower his own 50-meter freestyle record from 20.24 seconds to 20.16. How did he feel about his double-record performance? “It was a really exciting day, and I’m so pleased with the times,” he told BBC Sports afterwards. Athletes often set records or do amazing things in sports. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an athlete who has set a record or done something amazing. Use what you read to write a sports column telling whether you think the achievement will be remembered for a long time — and why.
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.
4. Salt Lickers
It may be one of the weirdest highway signs ever. In a town in the Canadian province of Alberta, officials have put up signs that read: “Do not let moose lick your car.” At first glance, it would look like a joke message, but there’s a scientific reason for it. Moose like salt, and when road salt gets splashed on cars from icy highways, they come looking for it, CNN News reports. That creates a danger for moose and for people, because it makes moose too comfortable around people and cars, officials in the town of Jasper say. That can lead to accidents in which moose and people can be injured. And if people try to touch or engage the moose they can be injured if the animals charge at them. Road salt is applied to highways to melt snow and ice in the winter months. Road signs are designed to keep people safe. In the newspaper or online, find and study a photo of a street, highway or outdoor scene that drivers could encounter. Use what you see to create one or two safety road signs for the scene. Write a complete sentence for each telling why it might be needed.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
Being in the hospital can be a sad or stressful experience for children — especially during the holiday season. But kids at Children’s of Mississippi Hospital got a little unexpected joy this month, thanks to a pair of window washers. The window washers dressed up like Superman and Spider-Man as they hung from ropes lowered from the roof to wash the hospital’s windows in the city of Jackson. The kids thought it was great fun to see live superheroes outside, and that was the whole point. “My guys … wanted to do something for the kids and asked if they could dress up in costume,” said an official for the window washing company. “I thought it was a great opportunity to put a smile on a child’s face.” During the holiday season people often dress up in costumes to “put a smile” on people’s faces. In the newspaper or online, find and study stories and photos of holiday costumes that bring joy or happiness to people. Pick a holiday costume that you would like to wear to bring joy to someone. Write a paragraph telling why you picked the costume and for whom you would like to wear it to bring them happiness. Explain why the person would like to see the costume.
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.