• Some schools are offering breakfast in class, but not everyone is happy about it!

    Posted by April Stokes on 5/13/2015 8:00:00 AM

     *Read the article below and answer the following question: Do you think schools should serve breakfast to students?  Be sure to give reasons to support your response.

    Schools hand out many things to students during the day, such as grades and tests.Now, more and more schools are serving something else: breakfast. The number of breakfasts served in schools across the country has doubled in the last 20 years.

    For many years, some schools have given poorer students free or cheaper breakfasts.The meals would be served in the cafeteria. Schools are now starting to servebreakfast in the classroom instead. 

    The breakfasts are given to all students. It does not matter if they are rich or poor.  Some people say these programs help students. However, others believe that servingfood in the classroom takes up time that should be spent on learning. They also say that it wastes food since not all kids want or need to eat. 

    Big Plans For Breakfast

    The Los Angeles Unified School District is the second-biggest in the United States. It has about 650,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The district has a bigbreakfast program. It has been growing fast. By the end of the school year, it will beserving breakfast in class at almost every LA school. Across the nation, more districtsare doing the same.

    People who support serving breakfast in the classroom believe the meals are a goodway to help children learn. Students who come to school hungry may struggle. It is harder to learn when you have not eaten.

    At Stanley Mosk Elementary in Los Angeles, breakfast is served each morning.Teachers help pass out the food. They check off which students are eating. Then, theyshow a video that talks about eating healthy. It all takes about 10 minutes. Studentsare given apples, cereal and a breakfast sandwich. By the end of the meal, sometimesthere are leftovers that students do not want.

    Missing Learning Time

    In Los Angeles, not everyone thinks classroom breakfasts are a good idea. Recently,some parents have begun to protest the free food programs. The parents come fromricher areas and schools. They got the district to let some schools stay out of theprogram.

    Some parents do not like the classroom breakfast programs. They believe serving foodduring the school day takes away learning time. When you spend time eating, you arenot learning. They also worry that serving food in classrooms is not clean.

    About 10 years ago, experts began to study school food programs across the country.There were many differences in the types of programs in districts and states. Somedistricts did not offer breakfast at all. Others served it before class. Students had tocome to school early for breakfast since it was not served during class.

    The Cafeteria Is For Eating

    Leaders in government are even thinking about school breakfasts. In New York City,the last mayor, Michael Bloomberg, did not agree with serving breakfast in class. Hewas worried that children might eat twice. The current mayor is Bill de Blasio. Hesupports meals in class.

    At one school in Los Angeles, parents plan to continue to fight against classroombreakfasts. The school is called the UCLA Community School.

    "We want them to serve it in the cafeteria," Raquel Martinez said. She has threechildren. "That's what the cafeteria is for."

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  • An Ocean of Plastic

    Posted by April Stokes on 5/6/2015 7:00:00 AM

    Read the article and respond to the following question: How does plastic put marine life at risk?  Cite two examples from the selection. (Your response should be at least 1 paragraph.)

    An Ocean of Plastic

    Plastic trash is causing big problems for the world's oceans. You can help.

    APRIL 10, 2015
    By Suzanne Zimbler

    We are used to seeing plastic all around us. From bags and bottles to toys and toothbrushes, plastic items fill our homes, schools, and offices. But what happens to these items when we are done with them?

    In the U.S., recycling centers and landfills get tons of plastic every day. Experts say that does not stop plastic trash from polluting the sea. Plastic can end up in the ocean if the wind blows it there or if people litter.

    "The ocean is downhill from everywhere," says Charles Moore, founder of the Algalita Marine Research and Education Institute, in Long Beach, California.

    In 1997, while sailing from Hawaii to California, Moore found an island of mostly plastic trash floating in the Pacific Ocean. It was twice the size of Texas. It became known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

    Moore has been keeping an eye on the patch ever since he found it. "It's 100 times worse now than it was then," he told TFK.

    Stop the Waste!

    Each year, more and more plastic ends up in all of Earth's oceans. To figure out just how much plastic flows into the sea, Jenna Jambeck, an engineer at the University of Georgia, looked at how 192 countries handle their trash. Her report says about 8 million metric tons of plastic are added to ocean waters each year.

    All this plastic swirling in the ocean puts marine creatures at risk. Animals can become tangled in plastic. They can also mistake pieces of plastic for food. "The plastic makes them feel full, but they're not getting any nutrients," says Jambeck. "They typically starve to death."

    If we continue with business as usual, says Jambeck, the amount of plastic spreading to the sea will double by the year 2025. But there are things we can do to stop the flow of trash.

    Jambeck recommends choosing reusable items instead of single-use items. She says buyers should pick products that have less packaging.

    "It's everybody's problem," Moore says. And it's one we can all help eliminate.


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  • Time for Kids: Vanishing Act

    Posted by April Stokes on 4/20/2015 8:00:00 AM

    Vanishing Act

    *Read the article below from Time for Kids and respond to the following: Do you think we can save animals from extinction?  Explain your answer.  (Your response must be at least 1 paragraph.) 

    Scientists say there have been five major extinction events on Earth—and a sixth has begun. They also say we can stop it.
    By Jeffrey Kluger for TIME with reporting by Glenn Greenberg

    The last major extinction event on Earth took place 65 million years ago. The dinosaurs died out after a giant asteroid hit the planet. Earth has had five major extinction events over the past 450 million years. Each time, up to 90% of life was wiped out. And each time, Earth bounced back.

    Experts say a sixth extinction has begun. This time, humans are the cause. But there is time for us to change our ways.

    Species in Trouble

    Recent studies show that up to one-third of all types of vertebrates are threatened. They include rhinoceroses, elephants, and polar bears. Amphibians are also affected, with 41% of species in trouble. The number of invertebrates has dropped by 45%. They include species of butterflies, worms, and spiders. "Species are going extinct 1,000 times faster than they should," Stuart Pimm told TFK. He is an expert on present-day extinctions.

    What are we doing to cause animals to disappear? Killing them for food, clothing, and sport plays a role. Elephants are hunted for their tusks. Rhinos are killed for their horns. Tigers are shot for their fur. Sharks end up in soup.

    Humans also destroy habitats, such as rain forests. Trees are cut to build roads. People move in, cutting animals off from sources of food and water. And climate change has also put species at risk. Habitats become too hot, too dry, or too stormy for creatures that are used to different conditions. Finally, invasive species, often brought by people, take over ecosystems. That puts native species in danger.

    It's Not Too Late

    Experts say we can stop a sixth extinction. "We have choices," Pimm says. For example, "we can be careful to eat fish that are not being overharvested."

    Pimm helps raise money to buy up land in rain forests so trees can be replanted. "There are things all of us—including kids—can do," he says.


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  • Time for Kids: A Healthier World

    Posted by April Stokes on 3/17/2015 8:00:00 AM
    *Read the Time for Kids issue (A Healthier World).  Choose your favorite article from the magazine.  Why was this article your favorite?  What details from the article interested you the most and why?  (Your response must be at least 1 paragraph.)
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  • Heads Up

    Posted by April Stokes on 2/2/2015 8:00:00 AM

    Heads Up

    *Read the following article from Time for Kids and respond to the following questions.  Football head injuries are a big concern.   New devices identify when players get hit hard. Is that enough protection? Would you play tackle football?  Why or why not?  Be sure to use evidence from the text to support your response.

    January 22, 2015
    By TFK Staff

    Max Stracher, 11, loves to play sports. But his parents do not want him to play football. “I’m upset, because football is really fun,” the fifth grader from Merrick, New York, told TFK.

    “I’m afraid he’ll get a head injury that could cause permanent damage,” says Max’s mother, Karenlynn.

    She is not the only parent who feels that way. In a recent poll, 50% of Americans said they  don’t want their sons to play football. They are concerned about safety. Recent studies show a link between concussions and long-term brain damage. Fewer kids are playing the sport. The Sports & Fitness Industry Association reports that from 2007 to 2013, the number of kids ages 6 to 12 playing tackle football dropped 26.5%.

    High-Tech Tools

    Tackle football is a tough game. Players get hit—and hurt. But new technology may make playing football less dangerous.

    The Reebok Checklight is a cap with an electronic strip. It is worn under a helmet. The strip measures the force of an impact. A yellow light flashes if the blow is moderate. If a red light flashes, the impact is severe, or very strong.

    The Brain Sentry Impact Counter attaches to a helmet. It flashes a red light to identify major blows. It also tracks the number of hits a player receives in a day, a week, and a year.

    Neither device detects, prevents, or treats concussions. Both only help identify when a player may be at risk for a serious injury.

    A Safer Game

    Concussion expert Robert Cantu says devices might track the number of times the head is hit. But they are not the answer to a serious problem. He says kids’ brains are more easily injured by hard hits. “We don’t know how accurate the devices are in measuring how hard the hits are,” he says.

    Kids under 14, says Cantu, should play flag football. In that game, hard hits are not allowed. That’s something Max’s mom can root for. 

    A Safer Soccer Ball?

    After football, no other sport causes more concussions than girls’ soccer. Danish soccer coach Majken Gilmartin created the Eir (air) ball. Her goal was to make soccer less tiring for younger players. The ball may also prevent head injuries. It weighs 13 ounces, which is three ounces less than a full-size ball. And Eir is made with softer materials, including foam. “If it’s lighter and less hard, it could be a slightly safer ball,” says concussion expert Robert Cantu.

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  • State of the Union

    Posted by April Stokes on 2/9/2015 8:00:00 AM

    The State of the Union

    *President Barack Obama addresses the nation in a televised speech.  Read the article below and respond to the following question.  Why does the president have to report to the Congress?

    January 30, 2015
    By TFK Staff

    "It has been, and still is, a hard time for many," President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union speech on January 20. "But tonight, we turn the page."

    The U.S. Constitution says the president must report regularly to Congress. In his hour-long speech, Obama said the nation's economy is getting stronger and jobs are being created. He also set his goals for the final two years of his presidency. The president called for higher taxes on the wealthy and lower taxes on middle-class Americans. He wants to provide free community college and pass new laws to protect the U.S. from cyber-attacks. Obama, a Democrat, promised to work with the new Republican-controlled Congress. But he said he would veto bills he opposed.

    After the president's speech, Senator Joni Ernst, of Iowa, spoke for Republicans. "The new Republican Congress understands how difficult these past six years have been," she said. "You'll see a lot of serious work in this new Congress."

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  • At 14, Bol Bol is already 6-foot-10, reminding people of his NBA star dad

    Posted by April Stokes on 1/16/2015 2:00:00 PM

     *Please read the article below and answer the following question: What challenges does Bol face due to his height?  How does he feel about them?  How does his height help him in the game of basketball?
    Bol Bol stands out in high school. The 14-year-old looks very different than the other students. That's because Bol is already 6 feet 10 inches tall. He is already taller than the vast majority of American adults and even most professional basketball players.

    Bol is tall enough to be a professional basketball player in the National Basketball Association (NBA). For now, he plays on the junior varsity team at his school.

    Bol goes to Bishop Miege High School in Kansas. One day he complained that his school uniform did not fit. He is so tall that the sleeves of his shirt only went past his armpits. The bottom of his shirt did not even reach his belt. He had to order extra long pants made just for his body. They cost nearly $100.

    Dad Was Even Taller

    Bol's father was a famous basketball player named Manute Bol. Manute was almost 7 feet 7 inches tall. He played 10 seasons in the NBA as a professional athlete. That's who Bol gets his tall body from. Manute was also famous for giving his time and money to help people in Sudan, the country in Africa where he was born. He spent all the money he made playing basketball to build schools and hospitals there. Manute died in 2010 from an illness he caught while helping people in Sudan.

    Bol is similar to his father in many ways, besides being tall and thin. They have the same cheek bones, brown eyes and long hands. Bol's mother and Manute's former wife, Ajok Kuag, said the men even act the same.

    "I know he’s my son, but he has nothing from me," Kuag said. "He’s all Manute.”

    Shooting Baskets With Dad

    Manute still plays a big role in Bol's life. He was the one who taught Bol about basketball. Bol and Manute used to visit the gym together. Strangers would stare at the very tall men as they took shots on the court. Bol did not like the sport right away. Through his father and older brothers, he learned to enjoy playing.

    Bol is very good for a 14-year-old player. He even looks like his dad when he plays.

    “The sky is the limit,” says L.J. Goolsby, one of Bol's old coaches. “He’s got natural abilities a lot of kids his age don’t have."

    Still Lots Of Work To Do

    The coaches at Miege, Bol's high school, are helping train him to become a better player and young adult. At school, they remind him to tuck in his shirt or take off the sweatshirt that isn’t part of the school uniform. In practice, they remind him to focus on different skills, like getting closer to the basket, keeping up his hands, and his concentration through the game.

    “He likes to shoot around and play basketball,” Rick Zych, the boys basketball coach at Miege said. “But does he like to play competitive basketball? That’s what we’ve got to figure out.”

    If Bol wants to become as good as his dad, he still has a lot of work to do. He spends time practicing and learning to play smart so he can become a better player on the court.

    “I’m trying to go to the NBA,” he said. “To help my family.”

    Bol smiles. “Like my dad.”

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  • All the Right Moves

    Posted by April Stokes on 12/16/2014 8:00:00 AM

    *Please read the article below and respond to the question at the end of the article. 

    All the Right Moves

    Ashritha Eswaran has gone head-to-head with the best adult chess players in the nation.

    DECEMBER 05, 2014
    By TFK Staff

    Last May, Ashritha Eswaran, 14, battled it out against chess competitors more than twice her age at the U.S. Women's Chess Championship, in Saint Louis, Missouri. She was the youngest competitor at the yearly tournament, which determines the nation's top chess players. Ashritha finished in eighth place. But she scored big with her winning attitude. "I was excited to play older people," she told TFK. "I have so much respect for them."

    The teen from San Jose, California, learned the game when she was 8, playing with her family. Then she joined her school's chess club. Ashritha quickly moved up in the rankings in the U.S. for her age group. She took home first-place trophies for the all-girls national championships in 2012 and 2013. Her secret to success? "Play without fear," she says.

    Master Class

    Ashritha has traveled all over the globe to face challengers and become a master of the game. She has competed in tournaments in Paraguay, Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, and South Africa. In May, she finished in fifth place at the Panamerican Junior Championship, in Asunción, Paraguay.

    She took seventh place at the World Youth Chess Championship, in Durban, South Africa, in September. Win or lose, Ashritha feels lucky to be able to travel the world. "It's always fun to get to know other people and their culture," she says.

    *Question: Ashritha Eswaran says she plays without fear.  What does she mean by that?  How do you know?
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  • All About the Lenape

    Posted by April Stokes on 12/4/2014 8:00:00 AM
    *Please explore www.lenapelifeways.org to learn more about the Lenape.  What was the most interesting thing you learned about the Lenape from this website?  Why was this information interesting to you?
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  • Sugar Shock

    Posted by April Stokes on 11/13/2014 8:00:00 AM

    Sugar Shock

    Too much added sugar is not good for your health. Find out why eating sugary treats may make you want more of them.

    November 14, 2014
    By TFK Staff

    Before you reach for that cupcake, breakfast cereal, or juice box, here's some food for thought: You may want more than just one serving. Eating sugary foods kicks off a chemical reaction in the brain that makes us want more sweets. "That can affect our decisions about what foods to eat," scientist Nicole Avena told TFK.

    Learning about the science of sugar can help people make better food choices, Avena says. Sugar is not just in obvious places like candy and juice. It is in many foods, from peanut butter and pasta sauce to yogurt and crackers.

    Sweet Rewards

    There is much scientists don't know about how different forms of sugar work in the body. But they do know that sucrose, or table sugar, is made up of glucose and fructose. Once in the body, the two split up and go separate ways.

    Glucose is the body's main form of energy. It is immediately used or stored as fuel for later. But fructose can only be processed by the liver. There, it acts like fat. It is not used by the body for energy.

    The brain also reacts to sugar. When you eat a sugary food, taste buds on the tongue send signals to a part of the brain (see "Sugar Rush"). Then, when sugar travels into the stomach and intestines, they also send signals to the brain.

    These signals jump-start the body's reward system. It is made up of chemicals that send more signals to many parts of the brain. An important chemical in the reward system is called dopamine (doe-pa-meen).

    Eating sugary foods causes dopamine to be released. That makes you feel good. It also makes you want to keep eating that sugary food. Most foods don't cause dopamine to be released. And the chemical is released more in people who eat high amounts of sugar. "The more sugar we eat, the more we want," Avena says.

    Be Sugar-Smart

    Too much added sugar can cause serious health problems and cavities. Doctors say kids should only have four teaspoons of sugar each day. If you start the day with a bowl of Froot Loops and a glass of orange juice, that is 11 teaspoons of sugar.

    Learn how to spot sugar on packages. It goes by many names. Ingredients that end in ose are sugars. So are those that have the word syrup.

    It's fine to enjoy treats occasionally. "But just because you are offered a sweet treat doesn't mean that you have to take it," Avena says. "Making good health decisions from a young age is important."

    *Please respond to the following: How do you balance wanting sweet treats with making smart food choices? 
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Last Modified on August 25, 2015