Engage students with this week's news, events, and anniversaries.

March 19-23, 2018

Language Arts
1. To continue Women’s History Month, invite students to learn more about Susan B. Anthony. In 1873, she gave a speech about women’s rights in which she said, “this oligarchy of sex, which makes father, brothers, husband, sons, the oligarchs over the mother and sisters, the wife and daughters, of every household—which ordains all men sovereigns, all women subjects, carries dissension, discord, and rebellion into every home of the nation." In other words, if men were to rule over women in every home, that structure could then lead to rebellion in every home.” Invite students to go online to visit the cybermuseum about Women’s History to learn more.
Finally, have students look through the news to find “proof” that men and women are equally capable of making important decisions.
Common Core Standard: draw evidence from text

2. O.K. first appeared in print on March 23, 1839 in the Boston Morning Post. It came from a misspelling of all correct as “oll korrect.” Share this with students and explain that during that decade, it was fashionable for younger, educated people to misspell words on purpose. Just as kids today use lots of abbreviations, especially in text messages, so did young people then. KY meant “no use” (Know yuse) and OW meant all right (oll wright) So, when O.K. was printed in the paper, it became popular. Challenge the students to skim the comics to identify and analyze slang used in the strips.
Common Core Standard: interpret words and phrases as used in text

3. Your students can make an animated movie and learn the fine art of summarizing at the same time. Using this website, they can sign up for a free account and if they can type, they can create an animated movie. Ask them to look at the news and to choose the top three stories. They should summarize each story in one sentence and then type a script for their movie.
Common Core Standard: produce writing appropriate to task and audience

4. March 20 is Fred Rogers’ birthday. He was the host of the popular children’s TV show, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. It entertained while teaching kids. Which children’s show listed in the newspaper would your students recommend for young kids to watch? Why? Have them write a review of a TV show telling why it is a good program for young children to watch.
Common Core Standard: cite evidence to support conclusions


1. Invite your students to “Get Ready, Get Set, Shop!” Give them a period of time and an assignment to “buy” 10 items for sale in the newspaper. They should use estimation to see how quickly they can add the prices and estimate the total. Once they’ve chosen 10, they should add the items and find the exact amount they “spent.”
Common Core Standard: assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation

2. Have students select 10 large capital letters shown in today’s headlines. They should determine the angles of each letter. How many 90° angles did they find, how many 45° angles, etc.?
Common Core Standard: understand concepts of angle and measure angles

3. The students can turn to the comics and count the number of panels in a comic strip. Are the panels of equal size? Have them color the number of panels that represent fractional parts (color halves in red, quarters in blue, etc.). Then they can label the panels with the fraction. They can also write word problems such as, "How many panels are in 1/2 of Sally Forth or 1/4 of Dennis the Menace?"

4. Students can skim the advertisements for banks or mortgage companies looking for interest rates that include fractional parts. These can also be found in the ads for cars. Students can convert the fractions to decimals.
Standard: Understand decimal notation for fractions, and compare decimal fractions.

Science Literacy

1. On March 24, 1989, twenty-six years ago, the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska and spilled 10.9 million gallons of oil into the water. The damage to the environment was severe. The area where the spill occurred was a beautiful place and the spill was truly an environmental disaster. Exxon was fined $150 million for the environmental crime. There were lessons learned, too, that proved helpful when other oil spills happened. Challenge students to find a story with an environmental impact in today’s news. They should write about it and determine whether it’s a positive or negative impact. Since it is the 25th anniversary, there may be stories about it in the news this week for students to check out.
Common Core Standard: Draw evidence from informational text

2. Share this fact about how the brain works with students. Most people can remember between 5 and 7 “chunks” of information for a short time. When you look up a phone number, for example, you “chunk” the 7-10 numbers in such a way that you can keep them in your brain to dial them but you’ll likely forget them a short while later. This activity will help your students understand the brain’s “chunking” process and may help them build better study skills. Have them choose a group of statistics from the Sports section and work with a partner to see how many they can remember a minute or two later. Have them pay attention to the way they “chunked” them in order to make a good brain connection.
Common Core Standard: draw evidence to support analysis

3. The students can turn to the weather forecast in today’s newspaper to answer these questions: Which US city had the warmest temperature and which had the coldest? Which city had the most rainfall? Are there cities where it snowed? Which international city had the warmest temperature? What is the weather outlook for the area?
Common Core Standard: Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively.

Social Studies

1. With all the recent attention to changes in our health-care laws, this might be the perfect time for an online experience that teaches students how laws are made. Begin by inviting students to use the archive tool of the digital news to find recent stories about it. Then, send them online to http://kids.clerk.house.gov/middle-school/lesson.html?intID=17

2. On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry gave a speech to rally the colonists to go to war for independence from England. The most often quoted line is “Give me liberty or give me death.” Later, Henry often spoke out against the Constitution, as he believed in stronger state governments and less power to the federal government. Introduce Henry to your students and ask them to look at the news and to determine what they think he’d think of the country today.
Common Core Standard: use appropriate transition to clarify concepts

2. Tell students that on March 25, 1911 the largest industrial disaster in New York took place in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory when a fire claimed the lives of 146 workers there. The factory lacked safety standards. Those who died did so because their workplace wasn’t safe. Most of the workers were immigrants and they didn’t belong to any sort of union that protects its workers. This news is relevant today, thanks to the Employee Free Choice Act. It’s a bill which was supported by some Democrats and Republicans in Congress that would have enabled working people to bargain together for better benefits, wages and working conditions by choosing to join a union. However each time the bill was brought up, it failed to pass so it is still not the law of the land. Have students look online for the latest status of this bill. After learning more, they can write editorials giving their opinion about unions and worker protection. They should also use the archive tool of the e-edition newspaper to see if there is any news of unions or collective bargaining.
Common Core Standard: conduct research and write informative text

3. On March 26, 1979 President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel signed a peace treaty. The countries agreed to recognize each other and to end the state of war that had existed since 1948. The treaty resulted from many meetings, including a trip that Sadat made to Israel in 1977 and meetings in the U.S. at Camp David, hosted by then President Jimmy Carter. The treaty made Egypt the first Arab country to officially recognize Israel. What can your students find in today’s news about relations in the Middle East? Have them summarize what they find and talk about what they know. How do they think the recent travel ban could affect Middle East relations?
Common Core Standard: develop a topic with relevant facts

Lessons written by Deborah Drezon Carroll. Carroll taught for ten years in Philadelphia, PA and is the author of two parenting books. She also coordinated the Newspaper in Education department of the Philadelphia Inquirer for 16 years.
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