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

Feb. 8-12, 2016

Language Arts
1. For Black History Month, this week we highlight the work of writer Eloise Greenfield. And, as a bonus, this week’s selection is about another heroine of Black History, Harriet Tubman. Invite your students to read this poem aloud, perhaps alternating lines among students. Allow time for a discussion of what the poem is about. Ms. Greenfield said that as a poet, she took license with the style of writing and the ability to “break the rules” of formal writing. She feels that the poem has a stronger impact with the opening lines, ‘“Harriet Tubman didn’t take no stuff

Wasn’t scared of nothing neither,”’

rather than if she had written “Harriet Tubman didn’t accept any abuse. She wasn’t afraid of anything either.”
Talk about that with students. Then invite them to choose and rewrite several newspaper headlines in a less formal way to give the words a stronger impact.

“Harriet Tubman” a poem by Eloise Greenfield

Harriet Tubman didn’t take no stuff

Wasn’t scared of nothing neither

Didn’t come in this world to be no slave

And wasn’t going to stay one either

“Farewell!” she sang to her friends one night

She was mighty sad to leave ‘em

But she ran away that dark, hot night

Ran looking for her freedom

She ran to the woods and she ran through the woods

With that slave catchers right behind her

And she kept on going till she got to the North

Where those mean men couldn’t find her

Nineteen times she went back South

To get three hundred others

She ran for her freedom nineteen times

To save Black sisters and brothers

Harriet Tubman didn’t take no stuff

Wasn’t scared of nothing neither

Didn’t come into this world to be no slave

And didn’t stay one either

And didn’t stay one either

Common Core Standard: read and comprehend poetry

2. This lesson teaches students argument mapping. This activity is terrific for helping students build an “argument” with supporting details. Assign them to choose an issue from today’s news to debate. They should draw facts and details from the news to support their side. If students have computer access, you may want them to go online to use this fantastic free tool for creating an “amap,” or argument map. The tool enables students to take a position and to fill in supporting details to create the map. It’s very cool and easy to use. You can choose a simple topic like which is the funniest comic strip or a more weighty one like whether President Obama is doing a good job.
Common Core Standard: determine the main idea of informative text

3. Invite students to “put your pet on a jet.” Have them choose any pet, it could be their real pet or one they’d like to have. They can look though the newspaper for a place the pet could visit. It can be a local place or one far away. They should take facts about the place from the newspaper story and write a journal entry that the pet might write after visiting that place. You can have them create the journal, complete with pictures of the pet. Check out http://www.pics4learning.com for copyright-free (for education) pictures of animals that your students can use.
Common Core Standard: using diverse media

Google Art Project is a fantastic online virtual tour of 17 art museums around the world. It allows your students to explore thousands of art treasures and they can even zoom in to see more detail. They don’t have to have an account or sign in to use it unless they want to create their own “collection” and then a sign in will be required. Here is an activity they can do connecting the newspaper with art. Have them visit the Museum Kampa and scroll down through the titles of the works until they come to the word titled “Revolution.” Allow time for a discussion of what this painting may be about. Ask them which of our First Amendment rights is being portrayed here. Then, send them to the newspaper to find an article that relates in some way to this work. Can they find a news photo that resembles this work? Allow time for a discussion.
Students can read more about the artist of that painting here.

Common Core Standard: integrate diverse media


1. Working with Roman Numerals? Here’s a good practice activity, based on data your students can find in the newspaper. Begin by explaining or reminding students that the numbers we use are called Arabic numerals. They were likely created by Indian mathematicians and later used by Arab mathematicians and then by those in Europe. Romans used what we call Roman numerals. Have students use the weather information to find a list of temperatures across the country. They can pick ten cities and put them in order from coldest to warmest. Then, have them rewrite each temperature in Roman Numerals. There’s a cool online tool they can use to check their work, too. Click here for a site that converts Arabic to Roman numerals.
Common Core Standard: using numerals to represent amounts

2. Here’s a great way to have students practice estimation. The mission is to estimate how many words are in the lead story on the front page. Before they begin, have them brainstorm methods they could use to get the most accurate estimation. Utilizing one of the methods discussed, have them estimate. You may want to create a graph showing the guesses of everyone in the class. Then assign several students to do an exact count of the words to see which estimation method worked best.
Common Core Standard: use mental estimation strategies

Science Literacy

1. It may be interesting to have students look through the Business section of related stories to find an example of a business development that could have an impact on the environment. Have them write an essay for or against the development based on its environmental impact.
Common Core Standard: draw conclusions in light of information and knowledge

2. These days your students might hear the word “organic” quite a bit. They might not be as familiar with its antonym, “synthetic.” Although the differences are complex, put simply, organic means something that is derived from nature while synthetic means something that is human-made. Assign students to find five examples of each in the newspaper. Which is easier to find? Why?
Common Core Standard: evaluating and interpreting source text
Social Studies

1.Valentine’s Day has a rich and interesting history. Invite students to click here to learn more about it. Then, send them into the newspaper to identify a story about love. They should summarize the story and write a definition of love based on the main ideas of the article they chose.
Common Core Standard: synthesize evidence

2. Explain to students that on February 9, 1861, Jefferson Davis was chosen to be president of the Confederate States of America. That was a group of seven states-- Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas-- that had seceded or separated from the United States of America. As your students know, that Confederacy ceased to exist with the end of the Civil War in 1865. Ask students to think about how today’s newspaper might be different if the Confederacy still existed. Which stories do they think they wouldn’t see? They should choose two and write about why they wouldn’t exist if America had split in two permanently.
Common Core Standard: Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant

3. On February 10, 1897, The New York Times newspaper began using a slogan, “All the News That’s Fit to Print.” What do your students think that means? Is there any news in the newspaper that they don’t think is “fit to print?” Have them find out if your local newspaper has a slogan and compare and contrast the two.
Common Core Standard: Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media

3. In honor of Lincoln’s birthday this week on February 12, invite students to listen to the words of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. They should take note of the last sentence where he speaks about the government we should have. Do your students think we have that type of government? Challenge them to look through the newspaper for proof that the government Lincoln described did or did not “perish from the Earth.” They should write an essay giving their opinion and their proof.
Common core standard: form reasoned judgment

Some of what's coming up for next week, Feb. 15-19, 2016
Lesson Plans
LA: Each week during Black History month, focus on an African American writer. This week, Gwendolyn Brooks
LA: Understanding writing styles
M: Computing with sports statistics
SC: Characteristics of organisms
SS/LA: Print vs. online news
SS: The attributes of a president

Web 2.0 Tools Utilized, LInks to Resources
Read about Gwendolyn Brooks, the Constitutional description of the President, use an online tool to detect plagiarism

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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