Before the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s, African Americans were treated as second-class citizens in the United States. African Americans did not have the same basic rights as white Americans. In many states, African Americans and whites were legally segregated, or separated, in public places. Martin Luther King Jr. believed this inequality needed to be stopped. He worked to change the racist laws through nonviolent activism and profound public speeches.
What inequalities do you see today? Describe one inequality you wish you could change and how you would change it.
The extra scoop of ice cream made the dessert quite appealing, but my father resisted it because he’s trying to lose weight.
- attractive or interesting
- make an urgent serious request
- be attractive or interesting
What qualities in people or things do you find appealing? Use the words appeal or appealing in your answer.
Few flowers can withstand freezing temperatures, but the snowdrop can even grow in snow! It begins to bloom as early as February. As a bulbous plant, it has an underground stem in the shape of a bulb. This kind of stem allows plants to store food and survive in harsher climates. The snowdrop also has special leaves with hardened tips that can push through snow and frozen soil.
Can you think of other plants that survive in cold temperatures? Why do you think certain plants can only live in specific places around the world?
On January 16, 2006, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was sworn in as the president of Liberia. Sirleaf is the first female head of state elected in an African nation.
Expressions that use the word head:
head of state: chief public representative, head of government
head start: an advantage, an early start that gives someone an advantage
head on: with the head or front-end first, in direct conflict or open opposition with
head to toe: completely, from top to bottom
over one’s head: beyond one's ability or understanding
Write sentences using two of these expressions.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day occurs on the third Monday of every January to honor Dr. King’s birthday on January 15. Many people across the country celebrate by taking part in the MLK Day of Service, which is part of United We Serve, President Obama’s service initiative. Volunteers get involved in projects that improve their communities and the world. Although Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a national holiday, the MLK Day of Service’s motto is, "A Day On, Not a Day Off!"
What can you do on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to help the world or your neighborhood? Describe an effort you might undertake for the MLK Day of Service.
"I'm initiating a dress code policy change," said the principal. "Boys must wear ties, and girls must wear vests."
- introduce or start something new
- bring someone into a club or group, often with a ceremony
Which meaning of the word initiate is used in the sentence above?
On your own or with a partner, write a sentence using either meaning of initiate.
In the sentence above, initiate means introduce or start something new.
The Gregorian calendar, the internationally accepted calendar we use today, was first implemented in 1582. It replaced the Julian calendar with a slightly more accurate calculation of the number of days it takes Earth to orbit the sun. The Julian calendar had fallen 10 days behind Earth’s orbit. Pope Gregory XIII, who created the Gregorian calendar, jumped ahead 10 days in 1582. The day after October 4th, 1582, was October 15th, 1582.
Do you think we should follow calendars based on the moon’s rotation around Earth or based on the Earth’s rotation around the sun? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
Many different cultures have their own symbols for good health, good fortune, and good luck.
• a design or object that represents something else.
What symbols of good luck can you name? Answer the question using the word symbol.
Good luck symbols may include, but are not limited to, four-leaf clovers, rabbits' feet, pennies found face-up, horseshoes, and lady bugs.
According to the Guinness World Records, students at ASME Michigan Technological University made the biggest snowball in the world. In March of 2013, the students rolled a snowball until it was 9.28 feet high. The giant snowball had a circumference of 32.94 feet.
Would you like to break a world record? If yes, which one? If no, why not?
Some people believe that Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, was the most inventive person of the 20th century. Do you agree? Why or why not?
- good at thinking up new ideas or ways of doing things, creative
Answer the question using the word inventive. Conduct research to support your answer.
Martin Luther King Jr. organized peaceful demonstrations and delivered powerful speeches during the civil rights movement. Perhaps his most famous words are the “I Have a Dream” speech. He gave this speech at the March on Washington in 1963. In the speech, he said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Martin Luther King Jr. received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He was the youngest person to win the award at the time.
What dream do you have that would make the world a better place? Write your own speech about it.
In January, we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. What did Dr. King mean when he said, “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus”?
- an agreement or shared opinion among all the people in a discussion or meeting
- shape something
- influence the formation or development of something
Dr. King meant that good leaders do not simply identify areas where people agree, but instead, help to steer them toward agreement and shared opinions.
Many people use the words tsunami and tidal wave to mean the same thing, but they are two separate occurrences. A tsunami is a series of waves caused by a disturbance in the ocean, such as an underwater earthquake, an underwater landslide, or a volcanic eruption. A tsunami’s waves will vary in size. They can grow to more than 100 feet by the time they reach the shoreline. Tidal waves are never that large. They occur with low and high tides, which are caused by the gravitational forces of the moon and the sun. Tidal waves are produced by the movements of the ocean water.
Have you ever experienced extreme weather or a natural disaster? If yes, describe your experience. If no, research a natural disaster and describe what happened.
An idiom is a phrase or group of words with a meaning that is different than the literal meaning of the words. For example, the idiom raining cats and dogs means it is raining very hard. It does not mean that pets are falling from the sky.
The idiom a clean slate means a fresh start. It implies that old wrongdoings are forgotten.
After our argument, we decided to forgive each other and start the new year with a clean slate.
Work with a partner to write a sentence using the idiom a clean slate.
Strawberries are grown in every state in the United States, but California grows the most. California produces about eighty percent of all the strawberry crops in the country. Approximately 2 billion pounds of strawberries come from California every year. Most of these grow during the peak season, which runs from the beginning of April to the end of May.
Describe the taste, color, and texture of strawberries or another fruit you've eaten. Use plenty of adjectives and sensory words.
Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929, and Jackie Robinson was born on January 31, 1919. Both were inspirational African American heroes. Write a sentence about either man using the word significant.
• having, or likely to have, meaning or influence
Meteorology is the study of weather. Meteorologists study patterns, such as those of wind and temperature, to make weather predictions. They gather data using a range of tools, including thermometers, weather balloons, radar, and satellites. Then they make computer models that predict the weather based on information they've collected.
Do you think it is important to make weather predictions? Give at least two reasons explaining why or why not.
Read the sentences below, paying close attention to the words. How does the choice of words convey a precise meaning or change the tone?
1. “The meteorologist announced more snow for the weekend,” Alex beamed.
2. “The meteorologist announced more snow for the weekend,” James moaned.
Who wants it to snow? Who does not? How do you know? What does the choice of words tell you about each speaker?
Alex wants it to snow. James does not.
"Beamed" implies that Alex is happy and smiling when he finds out it will snow. “Moaned,” on the other hand, suggests that James is very unhappy about the incoming snow.
Construction of the Great Wall of China began in 700 B.C. A series of fortifications slowly formed a barrier to protect Chinese villages from invasion. The wall was maintained and expanded over hundreds of years. While about 5,500 miles of the wall still stand today, much of it has fallen apart due to age and human activity.
Imagine you went on vacation to China and visited the Great Wall. Describe your trip. What was it like to see such an ancient artifact?
• a friendly, welcoming way of treating people; making people feel comfortable and at home
Write a travel brochure for a hotel near the Great Wall of China hoping to attract tourists. Use the word hospitable at least once in your brochure.
Jackie Robinson was the first African American baseball player to leave the Negro Leagues and join an all-white major league team. He played for a team called the Brooklyn Dodgers. Fans booed him, opponents called him awful names, and even some of his own teammates turned against him. Jackie Robinson stayed strong and continued to play. He went on to help the Brooklyn Dodgers win the World Series in 1955. We remember him today as a great athlete and a hero.
Is there an athlete who is a hero to you? This hero can be someone who is famous or someone you know. What sport does the person play? What do you admire about him or her?
Vocabulary word: emerge
In the spring, many animals emerge from dens, caves, burrows, and other havens after months of hibernating.
What does the word emerge mean? What part of speech is emerge? Write your own sentence using the word emerge.
The word emerge means to come out into the open.
Emerge is a verb.
Students' sentences will vary.