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

Oct. 24-28, 2016

Language Arts

1. Explain to students that being a good writer means knowing how to use words correctly. For example, adjectives are words that describe nouns. Your students should understand that using adjectives makes their writing more interesting. For example, which of these two sentences do your students think is more interesting? "The dog barked." or "The scruffy, mangy dog barked". Which sentence gives the reader a better image of what’s happening? Explain that in the second sentence, scruffy and mangy are adjectives describing the noun, dog. Have students look through today’s news and locate 10 nouns and 10 adjectives that describe the nouns. As a bonus, they should choose an ad from the news and see if they can replace any adjectives with new and more interesting ones.
Common Core Standard: Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings

2. Here’s a frightfully good writing and vocabulary lesson for Halloween if your school allows use of this theme. Invite students to write the alphabet, one letter on each line, leaving space after each one. They should fill in the blanks with a Halloween-related word for each letter of the alphabet. They should skim today’s newspaper for additional words to add to the list. Finally, using the vocabulary list they created, they should write a scary story or a story with a Halloween theme.
Common Core Standard: produce clear and coherent writing

3. Want a great way to get your students to interact with their vocabulary words? Invite them to use the Brainyflix website to create flashcards containing images that demonstrate the meaning of the vocabulary words provided on the site. To connect to the news, ask them to choose one of the vocabulary words on the site’s list that connects to the news in some way. Once on the site, they’ll have the opportunity to create a flashcard using an image that they’ve uploaded. They may even be able to use an image from your newspaper’s e-edition.
Common Core Standard: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases

4. On Oct. 28, George Eastman of the Kodak Company announced the invention of color photography. Do your students think the photos in the newspaper are vital? Have them look at and compare three news stories that have photos accompanying them. Students can write vivid descriptions of the photos and include a few sentences about how important the photo is to the story. What does the visual add to the text?
Common Core Standard: Choose words and phrases for effect

5. Visit this site where children's authors have been interviewed. Click on the video for Jeff Kinney.
Jeff Kinney’s first phase of writing is idea generation. After hearing how he does it, ask students to look through the newspaper to find ideas for stories they could write. And, if your students ever need a good prompt for writing, they can use the ones offered at this site.
Common Core Standard: produce clear and coherent writing


1. Using the classified section of the newspaper, students can search the used car ads to figure the following percentages: the percentage of cars that are four-door; the percentage of used cars with mileage above 60,000; the percentage of trucks; the percentage of used cars listed in “excellent
condition;” and so on.
Common Core Standard: find a percent of a quantity

2. Check out the latest baseball news leading to the World Series. Invite students to check the news for the latest stats and to write word problems based on those numbers. They should exchange problems with a partner and solve them.
Common Core Standard: solve real world mathematical problems

Science Literacy
1. Red Ribbon Week is Oct. 23-31. It is a week dedicated to teaching kids about substance abuse and how to stay safe. Have students skim the news to see if there are any stories related to drugs or alcohol. Allow time for a discussion about how the substance affected the events. Then ask students to brainstorm “Ten Ways to Say No.” Ask them to imagine that they are in a situation where drugs or alcohol is offered. What strategies can they use to muster the strength to resist? For more information about Red Ribbon Week, click here.
Invite students to choose some words and phrases from the news story they used for this assignment and to add others to make a poster encouraging people to stay away from drugs.
Common Core Standard: Use technology to produce writing

2. The anniversary of the invention of the Internet is considered October 29, 1969. Have students survey one section of the newspaper and count the number of mentions of the Internet. What conclusion can they draw?
Common Core Standard: support conclusions drawn from text

3. What do your students think is the perfect weather? Have them write a detailed description of their perfect weather day. Then they can go online and search for a place where that set of weather conditions is happening. They should look for a description of the geography of that location. What is it about the geographic characteristics that contribute to the weather?
Common Core Standard: use details to support a point of view

4. It may be interesting to have students check the Sports section for mention of athlete injuries. Have them describe the injury and write about ways it could have been avoided. What do your students do to stay safe when playing sports? Allow time for a discussion.
Common Core Standard: provide a conclusion and support it

Social Studies

1. The upcoming presidential election continues to be fascinating to watch. Last week saw the final presidential debate, every bit as interesting as the two that preceded it. But that was last week's news and with each week comes a slew of new election stories to watch. Choose two from today's news and summarize each. Which candidate are you hoping will win? Which one do you think will win?

Common Core Standard: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text

2. Discuss the idea of story “legs” with your students. News stories with “legs” are those that go on and on and are seen over a period of days or weeks. Can your students find an example of a story with legs in today’s news? They should read the story and see if they can find any decisions or choices that lead to the state of the story today. They can summarize what they think.
Common Core Standard: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text

3. Explain to students that there are five freedoms listed in the 1__st__ Amendment to the Constitution. They are freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. Can students find examples of at least two of those in today’s news? Have them write about the ones they found. Then, let them go online to play a great game called, “Do I Have the Right?”
Common Core Standard: Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning

4. On Oct. 27, 1975, rocker Bruce Springsteen appeared on the covers of both “TIME” and “Newsweek” magazines. It’s rare that the same person was on both covers the same week. Ask your students to skim the news to select someone they think is newsworthy enough for magazine covers. They should write a short article about the person and his/her accomplishments.
Common Core Standard: Introduce claim(s) and organize the reasons and evidence clearly.

5. The United Nations was founded on October 24, 1945. Ask students to skim the news to find a story in today’s news in which the U.N. might be involved. Why do your students think we need an organization like the U.N.? A brief history of the United Nations is here.
Common Core Standard: Provide a conclusion and support it

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.
Copyright Hot Topics Hot Serials. No portions may be distributed digitally without permission.