May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. During this time, we celebrate the cultures and peoples of Asia and the Pacific Islands. Asian Pacific Americans are a diverse group. Their ancestors came from Hawaii, Polynesia, and many Asian countries, including China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and India. More than eighteen million Americans are of Asian descent, and more than one million Americans are of Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander descent. These Americans have made outstanding contributions to many fields in the United States, including education, the arts, science, and sports.
Do you think it's important to have designated months to celebrate different cultures? Why or why not? Support your opinion.
Heteronyms are spelled the same way, but have different meanings and pronunciations.
• to hurt
• past tense of to wind
• moving air
• to wrap something around something else, to twist and turn
• happy and satisfied
• something that is contained
Select a pair of heteronyms and write a sentence using each meaning.
Traditions and ideas from Asia and the Pacific Islands have influenced American culture. The game of chess, for example, comes from India. Surfing has its roots in Polynesia and Hawaii. Fireworks, like those many people watch on the Fourth of July, originated in China around 900 A.D.
Can you think of other traditions, ideas, or games that have their roots in Asia or the Pacific Islands? Research one of these things that has influenced American culture.
I am interested in becoming a marine biologist, so I found the book about dolphins to be quite engaging.
We engaged the new student in conversation.
- to attract or involve someone's interest or attention
- to participate or become involved with or in something.
Use each meaning of the verb engage in a sentence.
Ants are social insects that live in colonies. Each colony has male ants, worker ants, and one queen ant. Despite her title, the queen ant does not command the colony. The male ants mate with her, and she lays eggs. Worker ants forage for food, build and repair the nest, protect the colony, and complete other tasks. There are more than 10,000 different species of ants around the world.
Imagine that you are a worker ant. Write about a day in your life, describing your daily responsibilities and your experience in the colony.
- grow; develop; do well
Synonyms: flourish, prosper, bloom, blossom, mushroom, advance, succeed, boom
Antonyms: decline, wither
Use thrive or one of its synonyms in a sentence of your own. Then write a sentence for one of the antonyms of the word thrive.
The patterns and colors of flowers have evolved over time to attract certain birds and insects. Birds, bees, butterflies, and moths are pollinators. They carry pollen from flower to flower. Birds and butterflies are attracted to bright red and orange flowers. Bees cannot see red colors well. They prefer blue, purple, yellow, and white flowers. Moths are better able to see light colors, like white and yellow, when they are active at night.
What type of flowers do you like? What do you like about these flowers? Describe the coloring and patterns of the flowers in your answer.
- salvage from trash or discarded materials
- feed on (carrion or refuse)
- an animal that feeds on refuse or carrion
- a person who scavenges
Use the verb or noun form of the word scavenge in a sentence.
Memorial Day is an American holiday that honors the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who have died in war. Memorial Day began after the Civil War. It was originally called Decoration Day because Americans decorated soldiers' graves with flowers. The name changed after World War I to include all Americans killed in war. Memorial Day is celebrated annually on the last Monday in May.
Do you think it is important to honor the men and women who have served our country? Explain your opinion and try to persuade others to share it.
The phoenix is a mythological bird that can be found in Persian, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythologies, among others. The phoenix was said to live for at least 500 years. As it approached the end of its life, the phoenix would build itself a nest and burst into flames. When the flames were gone, a new phoenix would rise from the ashes.
The phoenix is popularly used as a symbol. What do you think the phoenix would represent? What would you have the phoenix, as a symbol, represent in a story? Explain your answer.
The phoenix often represents rebirth or renewal.
At certain times, American flags are flown at half-staff. Flying flags halfway down the flag pole signals a period of mourning. On Memorial Day, flags are flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon. The first half of the day honors Americans who have died for their country. At noon, the flags are raised to the top of their flag poles. The second half of the day honors all other American war heroes.
What traditions do you have for Memorial Day? If you don’t have any, what is one that you would like to start and why would you start it?
"And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer."
—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
- a belief; a strongly held opinion
What convictions do you have? Why are they convictions? Use the word conviction in your answer.
Even though we use the terms as synonyms, bugs and insects are distinct from each other when it comes to biology. A bug is a specific type of insect. The distinction results from the way bugs eat. All bugs feed through a long, pointed mouthpiece. The mouthpieces are shaped almost like long, skinny beaks. Bugs use their mouthpieces like straws to suck up liquid food.
Describe an insect or bug that you like. Describe what it looks like and why you like it. Or describe your least favorite bug or insect and why you dislike it.
People and places can acquire nicknames that might describe something about them. Do you have a nickname?
Invent a nickname for your state, city, or town. Why did you choose this nickname? What does it mean?
Fly away home.
Your house is on fire,
And your children all gone;
All except one,
And that's little Ann,
And she has crept under
The warming pan.
This popular English nursery rhyme is about ladybugs. Ladybugs live in many countries in North America and Europe, and they have many different names. In England, they are called ladybirds. In the United States, they are called ladybugs. The German name, Marienkafer, translates to lady beetle. All of these names are related to the original name for the beetle: "beetle of Our Lady." The beetles were named for the Virgin Mary after they saved English crops by eating plant-destroying aphids.
Do you know any nursery rhymes that are from another country? If so, write one down. If not, research nursery rhymes around the world and share one with the class.
Wordsmiths are people who are skilled at using words. Journalists write for newspapers, websites, and other news publications. They also prepare the news for radio or television.
How are the following types of wordsmiths different from journalists? Write a definition for each, comparing them to journalists.
Playwright: a person who writes plays (Plays may be based on the news, but they need not be nonfiction.)
Novelist: a person who writes fictional books (These long narratives may be based on real events.)
Poet: a person who writes poetry on any topic
Speechwriter: a person who writes the speeches that others deliver
The honeybee, common in the United States, is a social bee that lives in colonies. Honeybees collect nectar and make large amounts of honey. The honeybee is just one kind of bee. In fact, more than 20,000 different kinds of bees exist. Many species of bees are solitary. They do not live together in large hives, and they do not make honey.
What do you know about bees? Divide your paper in half and make a list of "pros" and "cons." On the "pros" list, include all of the good things that bees do. On the "cons" list, include the bad things about bees. Which list has more items? Compare your answers with the class and discuss.
The scientist's story inspired Jonah to work harder in school.
- fill someone with emotion, an idea, or an attitude
Where do you find inspiration? What inspires you? Use a form of the word inspire in your answer.
The frequency of a cricket's chirps is affected by the temperature. The greater the temperature, the more frequently a cricket will chirp. In fact, the Old Farmer's Almanac, a farming reference book, created a formula to determine the outdoor temperature based on the frequency of cricket chirps. Count the number of cricket chirps in 14 seconds and add 40. The sum is the approximate temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.
Do you know any ways of predicting the weather that don't rely on technology or the forecast? Describe any methods you know and how well they work.
Consider the following saying:
Children should be seen and not heard.
What does the saying mean? Do you agree or disagree with it? If you disagree, rewrite the saying to reflect what you do believe.
Mermaids and mermen are fabled sea creatures. They have the upper bodies of humans, but instead of legs, they have tails covered in scales. Folktales about mermaids and mermen have been around for thousands of years. Scientists have never found any concrete evidence to prove the existence of mermaids. Some believe that stories about merpeople came from sightings of real aquatic mammals like manatees and dugongs.
What is your favorite mythological creature? Describe it and explain what you find interesting or appealing about it.
- the phenomenon of finding something good or fortunate without looking for it
- unexpected and pleasant or fortunate; obtained by serendipity
Use serendipity or serendipitous in a sentence.