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Hi Teachers!

Welcome to your January issue. Scroll down to get a summary of each article and its support materials. Just click on the article to get the videos, quizzes, lesson plans, and activity sheets that go with it. Enjoy!


Narrative Nonfiction

Fighting Invisible Killers

This article tells the harrowing story of 11-year-old Addie’s struggle with the superbug MRSA and provides a look into the world of superbugs.

Featured Skills: Reading for information; critical thinking

Video: Behind the Scenes

Audio: Hear the article read aloud

Activity Sheets:

  • What Can We Do?

  • Video Discussion Questions

  • Close-Reading and Critical-Thinking Questions

  • Vocabulary: Definitions and Practice

  • Quiz

  • Read, Think, Explain: Identifying Nonfiction Elements (two levels)

  • Contest Entry Form

Paired Texts

Off With Her Hair!


Hey Kids, Get a Haircut!

These two entertaining informational texts explore the connection between our values and our hairstyles. The first provides a history of hair, and the second tells the story of a group of high school boys in the 1960s whose hairstyles got them suspended.

Featured Skills: Integrating knowledge and
ideas; inference

Activity Sheets:

  • Integrating Knowledge and Ideas

  • Close-Reading and Critical-Thinking Questions

  • Vocabulary: Definitions and Practice

  • Quiz

  • Contest Entry Form

Debate/Essay Kit

Should Your School Get
Rid of Sports?

One Texas school chose to save money and improve learning by suspending its sports program. Should more schools do the same? We present two articles that argue opposite points of view.

Key Skills: Tracing and evaluating an author’s argument; writing an argument essay

Activity Sheets:

  • Tracing an Author’s Argument (two levels)

  • Guided Writing: The Argument Essay

  • Vocabulary: Definitions and Practice

You Write It

Is Facebook Dead?

Recent survey data suggest that Facebook is losing popularity with teens. Is it on its way out? Students use our challenging infographic to decide and write a response.

Key Skills: Understanding visual text; central idea and details

Activity Sheets:

  • Analyzing the Infographic

  • Guide to “You Write It” Activity

  • Model Text for “You Write It” Activity

  • Contest Entry Form

Drama & Informational Text 

“I Would Rather Die”and
The Horror of Slavery 

Our biographical play tells the incredible story of young Frederick Douglass’s journey to freedom. We introduce the play with an informational text about slavery.

Featured Skill: Theme

Activity Sheets:

  • What Is the Theme? (two levels)

  • Excerpt from Frederick Douglass’s Autobiography

  • Close-Reading and Critical-Thinking Questions

  • Vocabulary: Definitions and Practice

  • Quiz

  • Literary Elements and Devices

  • Contest Entry Form

The Lazy Editor

Monster of Doom?

Students correct grammatical errors and revise sloppy writing in a short nonfiction article about the oarfish—a real-life sea monster (sort of).

Key Skills: Conventions of standard English; revision

Activity Sheets:

  • Dashes

  • Varying Sentence Structure

  • Commas to Set Off Nonessential Elements of a Sentence

  • Subject-Verb Agreement


Animal Distress Calls

When Julia finds herself alone in a zoo’s clinic, she meets a sick ostrich named Josie, and the two form an unexpected bond. We’ve paired this moving story with an interview with its author, Eliot Schrefer.

Featured Skills: Analyzing character; text connections

Activity Sheets:

  • Text Connections: “Humans and Animals”

  • Close-Reading and Critical-Thinking Questions

  • DIY Vocabulary

  • Quiz

  • Literary Elements and Devices

  • Contest Entry Form


Grammar Gets to Work

Students practice the correct usage of imply and infer while learning about the surprising jobs three major stars had before they were famous.

Key Skill: Conventions of standard English

Activity Sheet:

  • Imply vs. Infer


Download All Activities

Get all the activity sheets for this issue in one click. Note: These activities are print-only and do not include lesson plans, videos,
or interactive activities.

Teacher’s Guide

Misplaced your T.G.? Click here to download a PDF. Note that the URL for the answer-key page has been removed.

Crossword Puzzle

A fun way to test comprehension of the entire issue.