The planet Earth has four layers. The first layer is the hot, liquid center of molten rock, called the inner core. The second layer, called the core, is also liquid rock, though it is cooler in temperature than the inner core. The core is surrounded by a thick, firmer layer of rocks and minerals called the mantle. Earth’s final layer is called the crust. It is made of three types of solid rocks: metamorphic, sedimentary, and igneous.
Write a simile or metaphor that compares Earth and its layers to another object. Explain your simile or metaphor.
Our trip to the beach was completely spontaneous; we didn’t even pack our bathing suits!
- happening without apparent cause
- done without being planned
- the state or quality of being spontaneous
Describe something you did spontaneously that was fun or surprisingly successful.
Sand forms when waves, water, wind, and ice break down minerals. Rocks, shells, and other materials are broken into tiny particles. Some particles become ocean sediment. They may eventually wash up on beaches. Other particles are blown into sand dunes on land. The composition of sand depends on the materials in the area. For example, certain beaches in Bermuda have pink and reddish sand due to tiny creatures with pink and reddish shells called foraminifera. Hawaii is famous for having black sand, which is made of tiny pieces of volcanic rock.
Have you ever built a sand castle or sculpture? If so, describe your creation and how you built it. If not, imagine building a sand sculpture and describe the process.
- a narrative written from personal experience
Have you read a memoir? What made you want to read the memoir? If you haven’t read someone’s memoir, whose life story would you choose to read? Use the word memoir in your answer.
Turtles have been on Earth for millions of years. The oldest turtle fossil dates from 220 million years ago. Ancient turtles and today’s turtles are very similar. One large difference between them is the shape of their shells. Some ancient turtle species had partial shells that covered only part of their softer bodies. Today, all turtles have bony shells that cover the top and bottom of the turtles’ bodies. Turtle shells are part of the turtles’ bodies. Turtles cannot leave their shells like snails and crabs can.
Imagine having a turtle for a pet. Describe your pet and any defining physical characteristics or particular personality traits your pet would have.
Explain the expression below.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
How important is play in your life? Why?
The phrase is often used to encourage someone to stop working or take a break from work. It means that without time off from work, a person becomes both bored and boring.
You should always treat the American flag carefully. The proper way to fold an American flag involves 13 steps. The flag ends up in the shape of a triangle with only the stars visible. The flag should never be flown upside down except to signal dire trouble. The flag should also never touch the ground. Properly caring for the American flag demonstrates honor and respect for the United States.
Why do you think there are so many rules for how to handle the American flag? Do you think it’s important to follow them? Defend your answer.
A portmanteau is a word formed by blending parts of two or more words together. The meaning of a portmanteau is usually the combination of its blended words. Brunch, for example, is a portmanteau. The term combines the words breakfast and lunch. Brunch is a meal that offers both breakfast and lunch options.
Match the following portmanteau words to the sentences below. Then pick two portmanteau words to use in sentences.
smog email dramedy twirl cheeseburger
1. The city was covered in a type of air pollution that looks like a combination of smoke and fog.
2. I ate a hamburger with cheese on top!
3. Try twisting and whirling at the same time.
4. He loves a play or work of literature that is part drama and part comedy.
5. Some mail is sent electronically.
Father’s Day is the third Sunday in June. Father's Day celebrates and honors fatherhood and paternal bonds. The first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910. Sonora Smart Dodd started a petition to recognize fathers’ hard work. Her own father raised her and her five siblings by himself. Dodd knew about Mother’s Day, a new holiday at the time, and thought there should be a Father’s Day, too.
Do you celebrate Father’s Day? If so, what do you do? If not, what traditions do you think would honor fathers?
- strange or funny because it seems to be the opposite from what is expected
- using words that mean the opposite of the intended meaning
Think of an example of irony. Why is your example ironic? Use the words irony or ironic in your answer.
Daily Starters are on hiatus for the summer. Please come back on August 8, 2016, when they will begin again.
If you'd like to plan ahead, the Daily Starters Grades 6–8 Teacher's Guide describes how these quick grade-level-appropriate prompts can be used in your classroom.
For fun grade-specific activities you can download, see the Summer Stay-on-Track Packs from Scholastic Printables.
August is National Back-to-School Month! Long ago, many children learned at home or with private tutors. It wasn’t until the 1840s that an organized school system existed in the United States. At that time, educational reformers began to build schools that all children could attend. They were called “common schools.”
What do you think your life would be like if you lived in a time before children went to school? Describe what you think the experience would be, including your reasoning.
The Panama Canal, an artificial waterway across the Isthmus of Panama in Central America, connects the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. It is regarded as the greatest engineering feat of the 20th century. The Panama Canal shortens the trip from the Atlantic to the Pacific by 7,000 miles (11,270 km). The canal, operated by the United States since its opening, was ceremonially turned over to the government of Panama on December 14, 1999.
• an achievement that requires great courage, skill, or strength
What feat of the 20th or 21st century do you admire most? Explain. Use feat in your answer.
Today, most schools have a bell system that marks the beginning and the end of the school day, as well as individual class periods. In the 1800s, some schools had a bell tower. But teachers who worked in a school without a tower had to simply stand at the front door and ring their own small bell. If you didn’t hear it, you might be punished for tardiness.
Imagine you were a teacher in the 1800s. What would your job be like? What do you think would be different from today, and what would stay the same?
Baseball is a closed compound word. Home run is an open compound word. With a partner, look around the room and list the compound words you see in the classroom. The first one is done for you.
1. classroom 7.
Accept all reasonable answers: desktop, bookcase, bookshelf, textbook, backpack, notebook, whiteboard/chalkboard, windowsill, tee shirt, necktie, shoelaces, necklace, earrings, fingernails, toenails, knee socks, high tops, kneecaps, eyelashes, ponytail, etc.
The first American textbook was called the New England Primer. Later in the 1800s, McGuffey Readers became the most popular textbooks. They taught world literature as well as good values and character traits, such as honesty. Today, students learn from textbooks on many subjects — and also do a lot of learning online.
What is your favorite school subject, and why? Explain what you like about it, including a few things you have learned.
The U.S. Civil War, or the war between the southern states of the Confederacy and the northern states of the Union, ended in 1865.
civil (siv-il) adjective
- having to do with government or people of a country, rather than its army or religion
- courteous, polite
civilian (si-vil-yuhn) noun
- someone who is not a member of the armed services
civilize (siv-i-lize) verb
- to improve someone’s manners and education
civilization (siv-i-luh-zay-shuhn) noun
- an advanced stage of human organization, technology and culture
- a highly developed and organized society
Use the adjective civil and a verb or noun form of the word in sentences of your own.
The first blackboard in a school was used in Philadelphia in 1809. It was made from pinewood and covered with an interesting mixture: egg whites and carbon from charred potatoes! Today, many schools use whiteboards with markers or boards that work with computers, like SMART boards.
What kind of board do you and your teacher use at school? What kinds of things are written on it, and how does it help you learn? Explain.
On August 13, 1992, the Left-Handers Club launched International Left-Handers' Day, an annual event to celebrate those with a dominant left hand and increase public awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of being left-handed.
• most important, powerful, or influential
Synonyms: ruling, governing, controlling, commanding, supreme, authoritative
Which is your dominant hand? Use the word dominant or a synonym in a sentence.
Most students in the early American schools of the 1800s brought their lunch with them in a metal bucket. Typical lunches included bread and jam, hard-boiled eggs, and dill pickles. While some students still bring their own lunch to school, many eat a hot lunch served in the cafeteria. The school holds responsibility for ensuring the meals are nutritious.
What foods does your cafeteria serve for lunch? Is the food nutritious? Why or why not?
In 1999, the United Nations (UN) declared August 12 International Youth Day. The annual holiday celebrates the contributions of young people and helps bring attention to issues facing youth around the world.
- occurring once a year
Synonyms: yearly, once-a-year, every twelve months
Use the word annual in a sentence.