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

April 14-18, 2014

Language Arts

1. Write the definition of “adjective” on the board. Adjectives are words used to describe nouns or pronouns. Have students find five of those in today’s newspaper and to write the adjective and the word it describes. Then they can go online here to learn more about using descriptive language by playing the Adjective Detective game. You may also want to have students identify adjectives in the news and replace them with antonyms and synonyms.
Common Core Standard: produce clear and coherent writing
2. Since April is Poetry Month and also has Earth Day coming up next week, why not invite students to write a poem about the Earth using words they find in the news? You can also invite students online to use the Poetry Machine which will help them write poems using words they find in the news. You may want to begin the lesson by reading them some poems aloud. Click here for an eclectic collection of poems for young adults. Or visit poetryfoundation.org for a wide variety of poems for all ages.
Common Core Standard: produce clear and coherent writing

3. Challenge students to write a poem using words they find in the headlines. If they'd like to play with "magnetic" poetry online, they can click here. To create an acrostic online they can use this tool.
Common Core Standard: describe how words supply rhythm and meaning to poems

1. How about a math hunt for students? Give students some time to use the newspaper to:
Find a number with a decimal point. Write it out in words.
Find a three-digit number and multiply it by two.
Find a two-digit number and add your age to it.
Find a prime number.

2.Have students look for the weather information in today’s news. Can they find out how much rain has fallen in your area this year? Is it more or less than average? Then have them find out what the average temperature is forecast to be locally. Have them compare that to the warmest and coolest places in the country.

3. Baseball season is now officially open. Assign students to check the Sports section for some statistics of a recent game and write three word problems using those numbers. They should exchange problems with a partner and solve them. They should also look over the recent statistics and predict which teams will most likely play in the World Series next fall.

If students would like to play on online game about probability, they can click here.

Science Literacy
1. Explain to students that science is often used as a marketing tool. Products are advertised as being healthy or energy efficient. Do students think that science is a good seller? Do they believe all the claims they see? Have them skim the news to find examples of ads that are using science to sell and to discuss whether the claims are authentic and convincing. Then, have them practice their media literacy at this site where they can learn more about advertising “tricks.” How many of those “tricks” seem to be science-based?
Common Core Standard: analyze text development

2. April 18,1906 is the date of a huge earthquake that hit San Francisco, CA. Earthquakes makes news each year. Are there any natural disasters in today’s news? Where are they and what is happening? Have students skim the news to find out.
Common Core Standard: comprehend informational text

3. Explain to students that objects that humans use come from four main natural resource groups: forests/plants, animal, mineral and fossil fuel. What people do with things after they’re done with them can have an impact on our environment. For example, you may want to bring an egg carton or milk carton or any other common waste item into your classroom. Hold it up and ask students to brainstorm where it came from. Then put these four terms on the board:
Each is a waste management strategy. “Recover” is a newer term. It means to use energy from the waste as power. Ask students to think about how each of those strategies could pertain to the item you brought in.
Then send students into the news to select an item and to analyze each of the waste management strategies as it could pertain to that item.
If you or your students have ever wondered about recycling, you may want to click here to see videos about recycling.

Social Studies
1. The Jewish holiday of Passover begins just after sunset on Monday, April 14. It commemorates the time in history that the Jewish people were freed from slavery in Egypt. Also this week is the Christian holy day of Good Friday on April 22. It commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus and always falls on the last Friday before Easter. April 8 is The Buddha’s Birthday, an important holiday in the Buddhist religion. Have students discuss what they know about any of these commemorations. Then send them into the newspaper to find stories about the holidays and to identify two facts about each. Can your students find a story about religion in today’s news? What is it about?

2. Explain to students that during the World War II period known as the Holocaust, the Nazis who had the power in Germany killed six million Jews and several million other people including Gypsies, Poles, homosexuals, Soviets and others. That doesn’t mean, however, that some of those people didn’t fight back. On April 19, 1943, Jews living in Warsaw, Poland started fighting back in a rebellion that lasted for several weeks and was the largest act of resistance of the Holocaust. When the German soldiers came into the area known as the Warsaw Ghetto (an area of the city where Jews were essentially held prisoner), some people attacked them with explosives and hand grenades. The fight ended with 13,000 Jews dead so the battle was lost but history views the event as a victory of a sort because the fight made a statement and lasted for a few weeks. Invite students to choose a story from today’s news that they think will have a lasting impact on history. They should write about what people could learn and pass down from reading the story.
Common Core Standard: draw evidence from informational text

3. Chances are that your students are familiar with this famous Longfellow poem, an excerpt of which is:
Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend, "If the British march

By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

In fact, many Americans learned what they believe is history from that poem. But, is it history or is it fiction? Facts reveal that the poem is considerably more fiction than history. Briefly, Revere did not ride alone, he did not hang any lanterns and he did not reach Concord as the poem says. Revere's own account contradicts the poem as well. (Available here from the Library of Congress)

How do students think that Revere’s ride story got so distorted? Have them choose an interesting news story and rewrite it with an exaggerated point of view.
Common Core Standard: develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting

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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