April 22 is Earth Day! The holiday was first observed in the United States on April 22, 1970. Now millions of people all over the world celebrate the holiday. Some honor the day by cleaning up public spaces, planting trees, or holding parades. The most important way to celebrate is to help keep the environment clean every day of the year.
Brainstorm ways you can help the environment, both at home and at school. Can you put any of your ideas into action today?
A metaphor is a figure of speech that compares things without using the words like or as.
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
What is life compared to in this metaphor?
What does the metaphor imply about a person's power to control his or her life?
The metaphor compares life to theater and people to the actors playing their parts.
The metaphor implies that a person's role or actions in a person's life are decided by fate or a higher being.
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
–Excerpt from "Introduction to Poetry" by Billy Collins
Billy Collins is a popular American poet. His poetry can be funny and also serious. Billy Collins was the United States Poet Laureate from 2001 to 2003. He has won many awards for his writing. The Trouble With Poetry and Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems are just two of his many published poetry collections.
Are you familiar with Billy Collin's poems? Research his poetry and pick one of his poems that you enjoy. Then write about how the poem makes you feel and why you like it.
This is an excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr.'s celebrated "I Have a Dream" speech:
I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four 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.
I have a dream today.
Describe Dr. King's state of mind. Identify specific words and phrases from his speech to support your inferences.
Accept answers that describe Dr. King as hopeful, determined, faithful, persistent, courageous, bold, and unwavering in the face of difficulty.
Daffodils bloom in the spring. The scientific name for daffodils is Narcissus. The name Narcissus comes from a Greek myth about a hunter who was known for his beauty. The hunter fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. He became obsessed with his image and died at the edge of the pool. A flower grew where Narcissus died. The downward-tilting head of the daffodil is said to mimic Narcissus gazing at his reflection in the water.
A myth is a story told to explain a practice, belief, or natural occurrence. Many well-known myths were created by ancient cultures and explain things like the creation of the world and the existence of stars. What does the myth of Narcissus explain?
The myth of Narcissus explains the origin of daffodils.
The word narcissism comes from the Greek myth about Narcissus.
Can you define this word? Look it up in the dictionary.
vanity, self-centeredness, extreme love of one's self
Schools started using chalkboards in the early 1800s. Before that, many students used slates, or small chalkboards meant for one person. Teachers would write a problem or prompt on each student's slate. The teachers had to copy the same information again and again. Then teachers began mounting large chalkboards on their classroom walls. All of the students in a class could see the large chalkboard at the same time.
Have you ever written on a chalkboard? If so, do you prefer writing on a chalkboard or a whiteboard? If not, do you think you would prefer a chalkboard to a whiteboard? Explain your answer.
Look at these Latin root words related to family members.
List at least one English word based on each Latin root. Then select two of your English words to use in sentences.
frater: fraternal, fraternity, fraternize
soror: sorority, sororal, sororial
mater: maternal, maternity, matriarch
pater: paternal, paternity, patriarch
Kindergarten was invented in Europe in the early 1800s. The idea developed from the practices of four teachers: Robert Owen, J.H. Pestalozzi, Friedrich Froebel, and Maria Montessori. These teachers believed that young children should learn through play and focus on self-understanding. Friedrich Froebel was German, and he came up with the name. In German, "kindergarten" means "children's garden."
Did you go to kindergarten? Do you think the German word "kindergarten" is a good name for this kind of school? What does the phrase "children's garden" make you picture?
The zinnias bloomed quickly this year because they thrive in sunshine.
- to grow or develop; to gain wealth or value; to advance towards a goal due to circumstances
Find two synonyms for the word thrive. Use one of them in a sentence.
Synonyms may include: flourish, prosper, burgeon, proliferate, etc.
A geyser is a hole in the earth where hot water and steam erupt. Geysers form where there is hot water under the ground. Pressure builds up because the water cannot move freely near the geyser. The pressure forces water and steam out of the hole in the ground. Old Faithful is a famous geyser in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Old Faithful erupts regularly every 35 to 120 minutes.
Have you ever seen a geyser? Research geysers around the world. Where can they be found?
Select one of the expressions below and use it in one or two sentences. Your sentences should make clear the meaning of the expression.
too many cooks in the kitchen: too many people working on one thing
add fuel to the fire: make something worse
out of the frying pan into the fire: get out of one situation only to find yourself in a worse one
May 1 is May Day. This ancient European holiday celebrates the return of spring. Many cultures celebrate May Day with a maypole. First, they tie ribbons to the top of a pole. Then they wrap the ribbons around the maypole through a traditional dance. Some celebrations also include gathering flowers, weaving garlands, or crowning a May king and queen.
Do you have a traditional way of celebrating spring? Where does your tradition come from? Is it a family tradition or a cultural one?
Reading guidebooks before touring a new city will significantly enhance the experience.
- make something better or greater
How can you enhance your chances of doing well on a test? How can you enhance your summer vacation? Use the word enhance in a sentence.
The draisienne was an early version of a bicycle. The two-wheeled machine was made of wood and had a seat and a board to support the rider's arms. The rider propelled the draisienne with his feet. He moved his feet along the ground to push the machine forward. The draisienne was invented by the German Baron Karl von Drais de Sauerbrun around 1817.
If you could travel around the world on or in any vehicle, which would you choose? Why? Describe what you think it would be like.
Her view from the top of the mountain was fantastic. She could see entire towns below her!
- too strange to be believable
- terrific or wonderful
Use one of the meanings of the word fantastic in a sentence of your own.
Domesticated animals are bred or trained to live with humans. These animals are no longer wild animals and have become dependent on humans for survival. Some of these animals include dogs, cats, and farm animals such as cows and sheep. Dogs were probably the first domesticated animals. They have been living with humans for more than 10,000 years. At first, humans used dogs for protection and assistance while hunting. Today, some dogs are considered working dogs, while others live as pets in people's homes.
What kind of animal would you like to own? What do you imagine your relationship with this animal would be like?
- give a lot of time, energy, and focus to something
- identify someone or something in the inscription written in a book
- celebrate the opening of a new bridge, hospital, building, etc.
Which meaning of the word dedicate is used in the paragraph below?
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that 'all men are created equal.'"
—Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address
Use one of the meanings of dedicate in a sentence of your own.
In the paragraph above, dedicate means to give a lot of time, energy, and focus to something.
Music is a vibrant part of Mexican culture and tradition. There are several popular styles of music that have been part of Mexican culture for many years. The mariachi style, and its importance to Mexican culture, developed in the 1800s. The style combines stringed instruments and trumpets. Son music, which predates mariachi, uses mainly string instruments, specifically the guitar.
What do you know about Mexico? If you have never been there, have you seen pictures? Do you think you would like to visit this country? Why or why not?
The word unimaginable has a prefix and a suffix attached to the base word imagine.
The prefix un- means not.
The suffix -able means able to; having the power or ability to.
Unimaginable means impossible to comprehend or beyond understanding.
Write definitions for the following words without using the base words in your definitions. Then select one of the words and write a sentence using it.
Unbearable means something can't be endured or tolerated.
Unbelievable means something is not likely to be true.
Unattainable means something is not able to be achieved or owned.
Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday. In Spanish, Cinco de Mayo means "fifth of May." On May 5, 1862, Mexican armies defeated the French in the Battle of Puebla. Cinco de Mayo is a day to celebrate Mexican history. In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is also a celebration of Mexican heritage and culture.
Do you play sports? Describe what you like about sports. If you don't like sports, what are some physical activities that you enjoy? How do you feel after you have been physically active?
Can you determine what these idioms mean?
- James didn't push Joel; he wouldn't hurt a fly.
- My dad will let me have a television in my room when pigs fly.
- Grace passed the math test with flying colors.
Write your own sentences using each of the expressions.
Wouldn't hurt a fly means gentle or someone who would never injure or hurt someone else.
When pigs fly means something impossible. The phrase is a hyperbole, or an exaggeration, to describe an impossibility.
With flying colors means to be especially successful or victorious.