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Speaking of News

Teaching News is Elementary

 

Program Content for January 23, 2015

Each week, this lesson will share some classroom activity ideas that use the newspaper or other NIE resources.  You are encouraged to modify this lesson to fit the needs of your students.  For example, some classrooms may be able to use this as a worksheet and others might need to ask and answer the questions in a class discussion. 

Please be sure to preview all NIE content before using it in your classroom to ensure it is appropriate for all of your students.

Materials you will need for this lesson: The Seattle Times e-Edition

Article: “Come on, folks, this planet is our home”

Pages: NWThursday B1 and B10

Date: Thursday, January 22, 2015

 

Pre- Reading Discussion Questions: 

 

Look at the title on page B1. Why is it important to think of the planet as our home? What do you do to treat it as your home? Look at the writer and the location of this article in the paper. How does it differ from other articles in The Seattle Times?

 

Vocabulary: 

 

Read the following quotes and determine the meaning of the word based on how it’s used in the sentence:

 

The reasoning is something like this: An organism that can shape and control the environment gets greedy and thoughtless, or maybe just prospers to the point where the conditions it needs to survive are degraded, and then the species suffers the consequences.

 

(organism: an individual living thing)

(prospers: to become very active, healthy, or strong)

 

 The human pursuit of resources at all costs is a potential trigger of undesirable consequences, so I’m usually reminded of that scenario when I think about the impact people are having on Earth.

 

(something that causes something else to happen)

A recent story in Science-Daily said an international team of scientists reports that nearly half the natural systems crucial to the stability of the planet have been compromised by human activity.”

 

(changed that makes something worse and that is not done for a good reason)

 

Journal Writing Prompts: 

 

“Sometimes we care about the fate of other species. Some species get help, as in efforts to restore salmon runs or reintroduce wolves to areas where they used to be common. But often, when we really want the resources, we don’t care how devastating our behavior is.”

 

Have you or has someone you know helped a species by donating money or their time? How so? What type of help to what species would you like to offer? What are examples of when people really wanted a particular resource and didn’t care how devastating their behavior was?

 

Discussion Questions:

 

Review the excerpt and discuss the following questions:

 

“It’s been widely reported that 2014 was the hottest year since people started keeping records, and there have been many stories about species dying off in the oceans. We’re speeding up climate change and altering the planet in other ways that put other species, and us, at risk.”

 

Did you know that 2014 was the hottest year on record? What is your reaction to that fact? What types of species are dying off in the oceans? What is climate change and how are people speeding it up? How else do people alter the planet and put humans and other species at risk? What can we do locally and globally to stop this trend?

 

Small group discussion and activity: 

 

“Researchers aren’t sure whether human activities are causing the deaths, but that is a possibility. Crabs off Alaska, oysters, trees have been dying off. What species hasn’t shown up in a study of ocean acidification or pollution?”

 

Find a story of ocean acidification or pollution in The Seattle Times archives. How is this story an example of human activities causing deaths, or, at a minimum, affecting the lives of other organisms and our planet? How does the article you found compare to topics discussed in this editorial? What can we do in our schools, cities, states and countries to make positive changes?

Copyright © 2015 The Seattle Times Company

 

Program Content for January 16, 2015

 

Each week, this lesson will share some classroom activity ideas that use the newspaper or other NIE resources.  You are encouraged to modify this lesson to fit the needs of your students.  For example, some classrooms may be able to use this as a worksheet and others might need to ask and answer the questions in a class discussion. 

Please be sure to preview all NIE content before using it in your classroom to ensure it is appropriate for all of your students.

Materials you will need for this lesson: The Seattle Times e-Edition

Article: “World’s most difficult rock climb: Free-climbers achieve ascent of El Capitan”

Pages: Main A1 and A8

Date: Thursday, January 15, 2015

 

Pre- Reading Discussion Questions: 

 

Look at the title and photograph on page A1. What and where do you think El Capitan is? What are the men doing in the photograph? How high up do you think they are?

 

Vocabulary: 

 

Read the following quotes and determine the meaning of the word based on how it’s used in the sentence:

 

Two Americans completed what had long been considered the world’s most difficult rock climb Wednesday, using only their hands and feet to scale a 3,000-foot vertical wall on El Capitan, the forbidding granite pedestal in Yosemite National Park that has beckoned adventurers for more than half a century..

 

(forbidding: not friendly or appealing: having a frightening or threatening appearance)

(beckoned: attracted (someone or something))

 

 They used ropes and safety harnesses to catch themselves in case of a fall, but relied entirely on their own strength and dexterity to ascend by grasping cracks as thin as razor blades and as small as dimes.

 

(the ability to use your hands skillfully)

 

’That’s a deep, abiding, lifelong friendship, built over suffering on the wall together over six years,’ she said.”

 

(continuing for a long time: not changing)

 

Journal Writing Prompts: 

 

“The effort took 19 days as the two dealt with constant falls and injuries. But their success completes a yearslong dream that bordered on obsession for the men.”

 

What dreams do you have? How do these compare to the men’s dreams? Why do you think the men’s dreams bordered on obsessions? How were the men supported in their dream? What kind of support can you seek for your dream?

 

Discussion Questions:

 

Review the excerpt and discuss the following questions:

 

“Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson became the first to freeclimb the rock formation’s Dawn Wall, a feat many had considered impossible. They used ropes and safety harnesses to catch themselves in case of a fall, but relied entirely on their own strength and dexterity to ascend by grasping cracks as thin as razor blades and as small as dimes.”

 

How is a freeclimb different from other kinds of climbs? Why do many people consider it impossible? What do you think were the most challenging aspects of the climb? How do you think the men prepared for the climb? How do you think they built their strength?

 

Small group discussion and activity: 

 

“The climb up the world’s largest granite monolith began Dec. 27, and was divided into 32 pitches, or sections, like way points on a dot-to-dot drawing. When one pitch was successfully navigated, the climbers stopped and prepared for the next. Caldwell and Jorgeson lived on the wall, eating and sleeping in tents fastened to the rock thousands of feet above the ground and battling painful cuts to their fingertips much of the way.”

 

Draw a sketch of how you picture El Capitan based on the article description. Then, confirm your drawing by researching the mountain. Where do you think the men stopped and prepared for the next pitch? Add where you think the “dot-to-dot” stops were on your sketch.

Copyright © 2015 The Seattle Times Company


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