Here are assignments you can use to engage your students with this week's news, events, and anniversaries. For many more activities, visit the student pages.
July 15-26, 2013

Language Arts
Explain to students that a fact is a statement that can be checked or proven. An opinion is a view or judgment and cannot be fact-checked. As a class, read an editorial from today's news. Have half the class identify and list the opinions, while the other half identifies and lists the facts.
Common Core Standard: select relevant facts

Wordle is a terrific online tool that makes a graphic representation of words. One way to integrate its use with the news is to have students choose a new story that interests them. They should read the story and pull out about 20 words that they think are important to the story. They can plug those words into the Wordle tool and they will create a graphic representation which will serve as a summary of the story. Have them share their Wordle creations with the class to see if the other students can guess which story they read. Below you will see a sample Wordle using the words from The Star-Spangled Banner.
Common Core Standard: Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting
details and ideas

Wordle: Untitled

Do you want to play a fun vocabulary-building game with your students? Invite them to play “Stump the Class.” Divide the class into two teams. Challenge each team to find a word in the news that no one knows the meaning of. If they can stump the other team with their word, they get a point. The team with the most points wins. Keep a list of the “stumpers” on the board along with the page and the story in which it was found. At the end of the game, choose a few of the stumper words and allow time for the students to try to define them in context and then to use a dictionary to find the meaning. They should use each in a sentence once they’ve found the definition.
Common Core Standard: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues

Explain to students that understanding “root” words can help them read and write better because they will know the meanings of more words. For example, if they see the word “endearing” and note that the root is the word “dear,” they'’ll be able to figure out that the word “endearing” means that the person or thing described is special because it is “dear.” Have students randomly choose ten words from the headlines for which they can detect the root word. They should define each word they chose, based on its root or origin.
Common Core Standard: Use combined knowledge of all letter-sound correspondences, syllabication patterns, and
morphology (e.g., roots and affixes) to read accurately unfamiliar multisyllabic words in context and out of context
This exercise in “chain math” can be lots of fun. Have students work in groups of 5. Each person will choose a number from the news and an operation. (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) The first student in each group gives his/her number to the second student who uses the operation he/she chose and his/her news number to compute. For example, if Student A chose the page number 8 and Student B chose the 78 degree temperature in Tallahassee (from the weather report) and the operation “addition,” then Student B would add 8 and 78. The action then passes to Student C who uses an operation and a number to compute and the number passes to Student D and Student E.
Common Core Standard: use properties of operations

Using the Classified Ad section of the news, have the students locate the Automobile ads. They should choose five new cars they would like to own and find the average price. Then they should do the same for the same five cars used. What is the price difference?
Common Core Standard: understanding quantification

Science Literacy
July 20, 1969. Write that date on the board and ask students if they know why it is important. You may want to give them the hint that it’s a famous “first.” After allowing time for guessing, share that it’s the anniversary of the first time man landed and walked on the moon. Do your students think it's important for humans to continue to explore space? Have them read an editorial to see how one is written and then have each student write an editorial about the importance of exploring space.

One scientific advance that changed virtually everyone’s life was the creation of the World Wide Web. It was “born” in 1990. Tim Berners-Lee created it on a server and he created a browser to explore it. At first it was used mostly by the military but as computers became more affordable for everyday people, consumers were able to utilize the World Wide Web, too. Invite students to skim five pages of the news and to take note of how many references are made to the Internet. It may be interesting to have students work in small cooperative groups to monitor the references in the whole newspaper.

As a follow up, challenge students to choose one article with an Internet reference and to diagram how the Internet is used to share information. For example, they should describe how one person puts in information and then how it is transmitted to another location to be used by another person. They can also show how the next person may respond to the information. Finally, have students write about how the whole transmission of information would be different without the Internet.

Social Studies
In Pamplona, Spain, every year from July 6-14, The San Fermin Festival is held. It includes a daily event called, “The Running of the Bulls.” That is when people are invited to run in front of a herd of bulls who have been let loose on groups of streets that have been penned off for this event. This type of event takes place elsewhere, too, but the run in Pamplona is most famous, party because Ernest Hemingway wrote about it in “The Sun Also Rises.” Have students locate a story in the Sports section that is about a sport most like this event. They should write an essay comparing and contrasting the two.
Common Core Standard: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience

A journalist is a person who reports the news. Journalists usually observe and then write about what they see. They don’t often present opinions but if they do they are supposed to make it clear that those thoughts are opinions and not facts. But, this definition does not apply to a newer form of journalism, often referred to as “gonzo journalism.” Hunter S. Thompson (born July 18, 1939) is the journalist who is credited with creating gonzo journalism. Gonzo journalism is that in which the reporter tells the story from his/her point of view, in a first-person account. Invite your students to temporarily be gonzo journalists and to rewrite a news story in a first person account as if they were on the scene. http://www.gonzojournals.com/
Common Core Standard: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience

Tell students that on July 18,1848, a women’s rights convention began in Seneca Falls, NY. The attendees wrote a “Declaration of Sentiments,” similar to the Declaration of Independence. It focused on women’s rights about voting, property rights and divorce. It began a movement toward equal rights for women that ultimately resulted in the 19th Amendment to the Constitution that gave voting rights to women in 1920. But, the struggle for equal rights continues today. Can your students think of ways in which men and women are treated differently? (For example, in the U.S. women can join the military but can’t be used in combat.) Can your students find examples in the news of others who are not being treated fairly? Allow time for them to write about and discuss what they find. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/Senecafalls.html
Common Core Standard: Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), reasons, and evidence.

Have your students heard the expression to “read the riot act?” What do they know about it? What would they like to know? It’s an interesting history. On July 20, 1715, the Riot Act became law in England. It said that if 12 or more people where gathered in a public place and disturbing the peace, an officer of the law would come out and, in a loud voice, read the law called the “Riot Act.” It said that the king commanded the people gathered to go home or to work immediately. Anyone who was still there an hour later would be arrested.Is there anyone in today’s news who might be at risk of being read the riot act?
Common Core Standard: drawing conclusions from text

News in Pictures is a feature of the BBC website that your students might really like. They can visit the site and then click on "Day in Pictures" to see the offering for today. After checking it out, invite students to clip pdf files of the photos in the newspaper to create their own representation of "Day in Pictures."
Common Core Standard: Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects

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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