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for Grades 5-8

Dec. 11, 2017
Dec. 04, 2017
Nov. 27, 2017
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For Grades 5-8 , week of Apr 17, 2017

1.Global Violence Increasing

The world is becoming increasingly violent, the 2016 Global Peace Index indicates, with deaths from conflict reaching a 25-year high, terrorist attacks at an all-time high and more people displaced than at any time since World War II. Intensifying conflict in the Middle East was mostly to blame, the survey notes. According to the survey, the least peaceful nation was Syria in the Middle East, followed by South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. Iceland was ranked the most peaceful by the Index, followed by Denmark, Austria, New Zealand and Portugal. Violence in Syria and other nations has been in the news a great deal this spring. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one situation. Use what you read to write a short editorial, outlining what you think the United States, the United Nations or other countries could do to reduce the violence.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

2.A Change for Manatees

Among sea creatures, manatees are hugely popular attractions for visitors to the state of Florida and the islands of the Caribbean Sea. Because they are slow moving and easily hit by boats, they were nearly killed off as a species before being put on the nation’s Endangered Species List in the 1970s. Today the manatee population has made a great comeback — so much so that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has upgraded them from “endangered” status to the less severe “threatened” category. “Manatee numbers are increasing,” the director of the Wildlife Service noted, but some animal groups protested the federal agency’s decision. While the numbers are up, the Center for Biological Diversity noted that the biggest threats to manatees — boat strikes and habitat loss — “persist today at virtually the same rates” as in the 1970s. Manatees have benefited from efforts to protect them. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another species people are working to protect. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, outlining different ways people could help this species.

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.Okinawans Protest U.S. Troops

Foreign troops are never popular with the local population, and American soldiers are no exception — not on the Japanese island of Okinawa. Residents have been protesting the relocation of a U.S. military base there and demanding review of the U.S.-Japanese security agreement under which the island hosts most of the U.S. troops in Japan. Last summer, more than 60,000 people attended a protest rally against the U.S. military presence, and this month demonstrators marked 1,000th consecutive day of protest against relocation of the U.S. Marine Air Station to a new site on the island. The United States military has bases around the world and is a presence in many countries. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about activities of the U.S. military elsewhere in the world. Use what you read to write a “mission statement” summarizing what the military hopes to achieve in one set of activities.

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; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

4.Tom Brady’s Jersey

After quarterback Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to a comeback victory in this year’s Super Bowl, his jersey from the historic game went missing from the locker room. It was recovered last month in the possession of a Mexican journalist who was at the game, and it turns out a 19-year-old fan played a key part. Dylan Wagner, who collects sports memorabilia, tipped off investigators that journalist Martin Mauricio Ortega had another missing Super Bowl jersey from Brady in his possession. Wagner knew about that because Ortega shared photos of his sports collection after buying another piece from Wagner on eBay. “Front and center was Tom Brady's Super Bowl 49 jersey” from two years ago, Wagner said. The 19-year-old turned the photos over to investigators and authorities got a search warrant for Ortega’s house. The jerseys were returned to the Patriots, who chose not to file charges. Tom Brady’s comeback, overtime victory in the Super Bowl was one of the great achievements in sports. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another top achievement in sports. Think like a sportswriter and write an opinion column detailing how you think the achievement will be remembered by fans in the future.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

5.ADHD Linked to Obesity

Girls suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to become obese later than those who don’t have the condition, new research has found. Researchers reporting in the science journal called Mayo Clinic Proceedings say ADHD girls are twice as likely to be obese than non-ADHD girls. To combat the trend, the researchers recommend that families encourage healthy eating and a more active lifestyle for girls with ADHD. The National Institute of Mental Health defines ADHD as a disorder that often prevents children from being able to focus or pay attention to certain tasks, and because of hyperactivity makes it hard for them to control their behavior. ADHD is an issue that is often in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about ADHD and new research about the condition. Use what you read to create a multi-media presentation highlighting key points. Illustrate your presentation with photos or images from the newspaper or internet.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic.