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Here are assignments you can use to engage your students with this week's news, events, and anniversaries.
April 22-26, 2013
1. Earth Day is April 22. Have students find a news story about a local Earth Day event. They should locate the five Ws – who, what, where, when and why about the event and write about them.
Then, ask your students to think about how “green” they are. Do they think they are or are not environmentally friendly? Have them read a few letters to the editor to see how they are constructed. Then invite them to write similar letters encouraging people to be as “green” as they are or even “greener.”
Common Core Standard: produce clear and coherent writing
2. Share this bit of history with students -- on April 24, 1800, the Library of Congress was established as a legislative institution but now it is quite multi-purpose. Its fascinating history can be found
. The library’s site is
. Invite students to work in small groups and skim today’s local news and to develop a list of categories into which most will fit, just as library books are categorized. What percentage of the stories is in each category?
Common Core Standard: become proficient with research
3. Introduce your students to a giant of journalism. Legendary reporter
Edward R. Murrow
was born April 26, 1908. His broadcast career started in 1935, continued through the birth of television news and then he eventually joined the Kennedy administration as director of the U.S. Information Agency. Murrow was known for his courage, integrity, social responsibility, and journalistic excellence. Invite students to find a story in today’s news that illustrates one of those attributes and to write about the one they chose and explain their reasons.
Common Core Standard: compare and contrast
was born in April 1564. His exact birth date isn’t known, but his baptismal date was April 26, 1564. In those days, most babies were baptized three days after birth so it is likely, but not certain, that he was born on April 23. What is known is that he died on that date, April 23, 1616. What is also known is that his written words lived on long after he died. What story in today’s news do your students think will live on for a long time?
Common Core Standard: drawing conclusions
5. Now that a week has passed since the Boston Marathon, after you consider the news stories in today's news, show this photo and quote to your students and allow them to react in writing.
1. Have students select three apartments for rent listed in the classified ads. They should do the following: 1) Compute the total annual rent for each of the three. Determine the average monthly rent based on the three apartments you have chosen. Determine which of the apartments appears to be the better choice and explain why.
Common Core Standard: generate equations
2. 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
1. Since Earth Day is April 22, ask your students to think about how “green” they think local businesses are. Can they find ads in the newspaper which show that a local company is trying to advertise how environmentally friendly they are? They should write about what they find. Finally, they should choose a local business that they think should be "greener" and write the owner a letter explaining what they'd like that company to do.
Common Core Standard: writing to persuade
2. With Earth Day this week, it’s a great time to inspire students to read and write about the environment. Begin by posing a question: What can each of us do to reduce the trash we produce each day? Have students look through the news to identify items people might throw away and to think of other ways to handle that waste.
3. Have students create a vocabulary list of science words found in the news. They should record the spelling, meaning and the use of each word. Some examples might be: exploration, narcotics, energy, pollution, preventative, analysis, comet, weather,
Common Core Standard: understand informational text
1. Last week's bombings at the race known as The Boston Marathon were horrific. The week that followed was one of grief, but also of pride in people's reactions. There was much talk about how many people ran toward the blast instead of away in order to help others. There were many news stories about heroic efforts to help the injured and comfort the grieving. Stories about this event continue to abound. Invite your students to discuss how they felt about this event last week and how their feelings have evolved since then. Begin the lesson by asking what they know about the event, then allow time for them to skim the stories about it in today's news and end the lesson with a discussion about how students feel.
Common Core Standard: understand informational text
2. April 22 is
Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day
. This annual event is designed to show young people what a parent or mentor in their lives does to make a living. The idea is to motivate young people to think about their futures and envision the possibilities. If your students could “shadow” anyone working at any of the jobs listed in the Help Wanted ads today, which job would they want to observe and why?
3. Since Earth Day is this week, based on your local news, what do your students consider the most important local environmental issue? Invite a discussion and debate.
Invite students to go online to find out about the first Earth Day in 1970.
4. Share this with students -- on April 26, 1986, workers at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant ran a test that went far wrong and resulted in an explosion that released massive amounts of radiation into the air. The radioactivity was 400 times more than that of the atomic bomb drop on Hiroshima during World War II. The number of deaths from that day is controversial. Perhaps fewer than 100 died immediately estimates of deaths that could ultimately result from the disaster are as high as 90,000. Nuclear power remains controversial and it still makes news with the recent earthquake in Japan and its effect on the nuclear power plant and potential for disaster. Ask students to go online to learn more about nuclear power. Then, ask them to find a story in the news about energy and to see if there are any connections.
Common Core Standard: make logical inferences from text
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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