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

May 1-5, 2017
Language Arts
1. Explain to students that reading a newspaper may be easier than ever. The non-fiction text found in a newspaper has lots of “visual aides” to help readers understand the content Those include headlines, text breakers, captions, illustrations, maps or even summaries or notes. These features may be displayed in boxes or in different fonts from the main text. If readers check those features first, they can get a good sense of what the story is about. Challenge students to learn how to best use these aides by locating a story that has a photo, graph, summary, chart, or illustration. They should check those carefully and without reading the actual article, write a prediction of what the story is about. Then they can read the story and compare what it was about to their prediction. Did the “visual aides” accurately depict what the story was about?
Common Core Standard: understanding components of text that develop main ideas or themes

2. Bugs Bunny first appeared in 1938 on April 30. Which of the newspaper’s comic characters do your students think is most like Bugs? Why? Have them set up T charts of their attributes and then write character sketches of each to compare.
Common Core Standard: compare and contrast

3. On April 30, 1789, George Washington was inaugurated as America’s first president. One hundred and forty two years later, on that same day, the George Washington Bridge, linking New York City and New Jersey, opened. Can your students find a story involving the president in today’s news? Have them summarize the story and then write an essay about what if anything might be named for this president some day.
Common Core Standard: create a fictional portrayal

4. Learning to identify and analyze inferences may be challenging for students. To walk them through the process, try this lesson. Choose a news article and ask students to identify the conclusion and then, the supporting statements. That will help them organize their thoughts. Then identifying inferences will be easier. Continue with this activity. Pick an article out of the news about an issue like the environment or any story likely to have follow up stories. Have your students read the article aloud together. Discuss the article with your students and ask them to formulate a conclusion. Ask what statements in the article led to this conclusion. Was it the expert quote? The supporting chart? The in-depth analysis? Students can create a web chart or map to display their ideas. They should write the conclusion in the center of the chart and then write the statements that support the conclusion in ovals surrounding the conclusion.

Next, tell students that an inference is an idea that is suggested, but not stated as a fact. Ask students to draw a couple of inferences from the article. Then have them write those on the chart. They can draw a box around each inference and link it to the conclusion.

Students can conclude the activity by preparing an oral presentation about the article using the web chart, and explaining how the conclusion was reached using inferences.
Common Core Standard: read closely to make logical inferences


1. The three most famous horse races are known, altogether, as the Triple Crown. They are the Kentucky Derby May 6, 2017, the Preakness, coming up on May 20 in Maryland, and the Belmont Stakes, this year on June 10 in New York. Here is some interesting horse race math to assign your students. (answers in parenthesis)

Distance: A furlong, as distance is measured in horse races, is 1/8 mile. The Preakness is 9.5 furlongs. How far is that in miles? (1 3/16 miles)
Time: A horse is going pretty fast when it runs a furlong in 12 seconds (that’s 37.5 miles per hour). If a horse runs the entire Preakness at that speed, how fast will it run the race? (1.54 minutes) By the way, this speed has been equaled or beaten during the history of this race.

Finally, allow students time to check the news for other statistics about the races. They can write word problems for a partner to solve, using those numbers.
Common Core Standard: using authentic data

2. In honor of the Mexican holiday, Cinco de Mayo, (May 5, it commemorates a military victory), challenge students to spend five minutes finding five numbers in the news that include:

A multiple of five
A prime number other than five
A car price that has a five in the tens place
An apartment that rents for an amount that can be evenly divided by five
A sports score of 5

3. To get an overall picture of temperatures across the nation, have students choose 20 cities whose high temperatures are listed and then find the mean, median and mode.

Common Core Standard: computing mean, median and mode

Science Literacy
1. May is National Fitness Month. Encourage students to skim the news to find five activities that are healthy that they would consider doing. Have them write a “note to self” encouraging themselves to find ways to integrate healthy habits into their lives. Check www.fitness.gov for health tips for young people.
Common Core Standard: delineate and evaluate an argument presented in text

2. On May 3, 1999, Kansas and Oklahoma were hit with a series of more than 55 tornadoes. This time of year, tornados, unfortunately could happen quite a bit. Have students use the weather information in today’s newspaper to see if extreme weather is happening anywhere
Common Core Standard: understanding components of text that develop main ideas

3. On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American in space. Just after that on May 25, President John F. Kennedy addressed Congress with a proposal to put a man on the moon within ten years and the U.S. did just that in 1969. What do your students think is the most pressing science-related goal that the next president should pledge to achieve? Write a speech a president could give citing reasons for this pledge.
Common Core Standard: cite textual evidence to support an argument

4. Explain to students that sometimes science and politics overlap. Can your students find an example of this in the news? Have them summarize what they find.
Common Core Standard: cite textual evidence to support analysis of text

Social Studies
1. May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Explain to students that Asian Americans are any people of Asian descent who live in the United States. Asians may come from a variety of countries or they may have been born in America. They come from varied ethnic groups including Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Filipinos, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Lao, Hmong, Thai, Samoans, Tongans and Asian Indians as well as a few others. You may want to list those on the board and ask students to talk about what they know about these groups. According to the Census Bureau, there were about 17 million Asian Americans in 2010. It’s one of the fastest growing minorities in the country. Can your students find any of the countries of origin in today’s news? What can they deduce about the culture from that news item?
Common Core Standard: gather information from print sources

2. Have students identify places in the news and then go to the Library of Congress website to see if they are included and identified in this week’s edition of “Places in the News.”
Common Core Standard: using diverse media

3. Law Day is May 1. It was proclaimed by President Eisenhower in 1958 as a “day of national dedication to the principle of government under law.” When the Constitution was written, it only described the government, not peoples’ individual rights. So, they added the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments, or additions, to the Constitution. Look for articles in the news that refer to a right protected by the Bill of Rights. Do you think the Bill of Rights still makes sense today?

4. Explain to students that on May 4, 1970, college students at Kent State University in Ohio were protesting the Vietnam War.
The gathering was supposed to be peaceful and was one of many such events across the country during that time. But, the National Guard began shooting into the crowd and four students were killed. It was a national tragedy. Americans were divided about that war. Ask students if they think Americans are divided about the current situation in Afghanistan. Can they find stories about the fighting in today’s news? Have them summarize what they find and write essays sharing their opinions about what should be done in Afghanistan.
Common Core Standard: cite textual evidence to support an argument

5. Another interesting discussion point could be about protest and specifically student protest. Such assemblies are a right guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Why is this right important? Do your students think protesting is a good way to express opinions? They may be interested in knowing more about the Kent State shootings. Introduce them to the song, “Ohio” that was written by rocker Neil Young just after the shootings. Click here for information about the song and its lyrics.
Common Core Standard: analyze literary non-fiction

6. Have students skim the news to choose the top five stories. They should write a two- or three-sentence summary of each one. Then they can click on this link to record their voice reading their “newscast.”

Some of what's coming up for May 8-12, 2017
Lesson Plans
LA: Explore what May 8 means to women in history
LA: Examining what it means to be a "Good Samaritan."
M: Costs of real like math
SC: May is Fitness Month
SS/LA: A look at editorial cartoons past and present
SS: Datelines in the News

Web 2.0 Tools Utilized, LInks to Resources
Read about the Constitutional Convention, Ben Franklin, play an online geography game, use an online essay writing tool

Write the News Lesson
Who or Whom?

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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