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

May 21-25, 2018

Language Arts
1. It’s likely that your students have heard of Sherlock Holmes, likely the most famous literary detective. The creator of that character is Scottish author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, born on May 22, 1859. Invite your students to choose the story in today’s news that would make the best background for a mystery story. They should write about their choice and explain which story elements make for a good mystery.
Common Core Standard: compare and contrast different genres

2. Singer Songwriter Bob Dylan’s birthday is on May 24. Some say that his songs and lyrical poems were the voice of a generation. He often wrote about current events like wars and the fight for civil rights in his more than 50 albums and 500 songs. He was even awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his “extraordinary poetic power” in 2008. In honor of his birthday, you may want to share these poetic lyrics with your students from his song, “Forever Young.” Have them analyze it. Is it a good poem? What do they think it means?
Common Core Standard: explain poems

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand up right and be strong
And may you stay
Forever young

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
And may you stay
Forever young

To honor Dylan’s birthday with a fabulous writing activity, invite students to find 10 interesting words in the headlines. They will use those words to write a rhyming poem and this website can help. On this site, students can write their poems and any time they’re stuck for a rhyme, they can click on the word and a rhyming word will pop up.
Common Core Standard: produce clear and coherent writing

3. Visuwords is a terrific website which will create a visual/graphical representation of the connections between words. Challenge your students to create a similar web of word connections. Have them choose one word from the headlines and then skim the article it’s in to create a web of words connected to the headline word. Can they find a noun, a verb, an adverb and an adjective connected to the chosen word? Then have them click on this link, input their word and see what Visuwords does with the same word. Also check out Lexipedia.com for a similar program with audio pronunciation of words.

4. It’s fun for students to read the comic strips. After they read some, they can write a headline for one of the strips they read. Have students read their headlines aloud to the class to see if others can guess which strip they are talking about.
Common Core Standard: summarizing text


1. Cal Ripken Jr. holds the record for most consecutive Major League Baseball games played. The streak spanned over seventeen seasons, from May 30, 1982 to September 20, 1998. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. Using the current statistics in the Sports section, which player do your students think is headed for a record of some kind? Have them analyze the numbers and write a report telling which player they choose and how the numbers back up their prediction.
Common Core Standard: link statistics to everyday life

2. One sport that your students might enjoy during the summer is bicycle riding. Have them brainstorm and list all of the ways they stay safe when they ride a bike. Then, invite them to go shopping for bikes in the Classified ads. Tell them to imagine they have $1000 to spend and need to buy two bicycles. Which bikes will they buy? Why? How much money will they have left over?
Common Core Standard: using authentic data

Science Literacy

1. On May 28, 1959, two monkeys became “monkeynauts” when they traveled into space for 16 minutes. The story was big news with the monkeys appearing on the cover of Life magazine and in the New York Times. They were the first living beings to launch into space and return alive. Can your students find any animals in today’s newspaper? Why are they in the news? Students can read and listen to more about this story here.
Common Core Standard: write informative text to examine a topic

2. Have students find items in today’s news that prove the truth in at least three of these statements:
Sometimes there is good news about disease.
Most injuries are caused by carelessness.
Eating can be unhealthy.
Stress is a common problem.
Your attitude can make you sick.

Common Core Standard: apply reading standards to support reflection and response to literature and nonfiction texts

Social Studies

1. It may be an interesting study of news to have students discuss the difference between “hard” and “soft” news. Which can they find more examples of in today’s newspaper? Do they think a good newspaper offers both? Overall, what do your students see as the role of a newspaper in a democratic society like ours?
Common Core Standard: analyzing language in a newspaper

2. Share this with students. On May 28, 1892 The Sierra Club was founded in San Francisco. This club was founded to work for the safe keeping of nature. Have students skim today's paper for an issue or problem they think would benefit from a club formed. They should write a newspaper ad looking for members for their club. Tell what the club will do and what problem or issue it will work to solve.
Common Core Standard: write informative text to examine a topic

3. Share this important bit of history with students. The Constitutional Convention opened in Philadelphia on May 25, 1787. It took place in what was then called The State House, now Independence Hall. In all, 55 delegates attended and the meeting was presided over by George Washington. Their mission, overall was to write a plan for forming a new government, free from British rule. The delegates, later called the “Founding Fathers” or “Framers of the Constitution,” had much to decide. How would each state get power? Who would have more power – the states or the federal government? Who would lead each? Ultimately, the framers chose to design a government with three branches – the executive (the president), the legislative (the lawmakers) and the judicial (judges.) Have students find one story in the news about each of these branches.

The fact that the 55 framers were able to agree is quite remarkable. In order to illustrate just how hard it might be for a group to come to a unanimous decision, have students try this activity. Turn to the movie listings in the newspaper. Take a class vote of 1 movie to see tonight. Can everyone agree on the same movie? Why do your students think that is so? Take the vote again, but this time, let a majority of the class choose the movie. Without a unanimous agreement, one where every person has to agree, is it easier to make a choice? Students should understand that the need for unanimous agreement was one of the problems that America had with the rules before they wrote the Constitution. Under the first set of rules, called the Articles of Confederation, no rule could be changed unless all of the politicians agreed.
Have your students think about that -- all politicians agreeing!
Common Core Standard: Analyze documents or events of historical significance

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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