Quarter 1 Week 2 September 8 – 11, 2020

TeacherDanielle Suhr
Subject AreaELA/Reading
Grade Level8th
Week #2
Unit of InstructionCharacter motivation, vocabulary, note-taking, finding key details in nonfiction and fiction
Standard(s) Taught
Learning Targets and Learning Criteria

Tuesday – Check books for book report, due September 28. You will give a short oral presentation about your book: name and author, general description of the plot, don’t tell the ending. Today we will read Aaron, He Sang, and look for key details and reasons. Students will silently read the passage and then we will discuss. Dr. Forney will read the passage aloud after our discussion. We will also look for metaphors, similes, alliteration, and other writer’s skills. If time allows, we will review vocabulary.

Wednesday – Independent Reading Day in the Morning. In the afternoon we will read “Awesome Planet.” We will review vocabulary.

Thursday – We will finish reading “Awesome Planet.” We will discuss how nonfiction authors teach many important facts and how our brains can remember more when we sometimes read the material as a reader’s theater play. We will review vocabulary.

Friday – Vocabulary Test and Kahoot.

Classroom Activities

Awesome Planet: A Reader’s Theater
Announcer _________________________________
Mercury _________________________________
Venus _________________________________
Mars _________________________________
Jupiter _________________________________
Saturn _________________________________
Uranus _________________________________
Neptune _________________________________
Cindy Koffnauer _________________________________
Michael Funk _________________________________
Elroy Davis _________________________________
Syd Cramer _________________________________

Setting: A television contest

Vocabulary: mercurial, oblate, rapt attention, equatorial, density

Announcer: Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, it’s time once again for the
most captivating 30 minutes of television entertainment, Awesome Planet.
Please welcome our host, (dramatic voice) Syd Cramer.

Audience: (applause)

Syd: Thank you and good evening. A special welcome to our studio audience and to those of you watching at home. And as always, an enormous welcome to our three Awesome Planet judges, Cindy Koffnauer, Michael Funk, and Elroy Davis.

Audience: (applause, whistles, shouts, etc.)

Syd: Judges, we hope you are well-rested and ready to put your astronomically brilliant judging skills to good use. As you know, for the past nine weeks we’ve featured one planet each week. Contestants have done their best to convince us that they are the most awesome planet. In tonight’s live show, we’ll hear once more from each of the planets as they recap their most impressive features.

Michael: Sounds fascinating.

Cindy: I’m ready! Bring ‘em on.

Elroy: Let’s rock and roll!

Syd: Moving right along…It’s time for a recap from our planets. Help me give a warm, Awesome Planet welcome to the planet known as “little speedy,” named after the Roman messenger to the gods…Mercury!

Audience: (applause)

Mercury: Ta-da! I might be the second smallest planet, but I’m fast! Not only do I spin at top speed, but……I travel around the sun faster than any of the other planets. Did you know that I have less gravity than here on Earth? You would weigh much less on Mercury than you do here.

Cindy: Mercury, here I come!

Mercury: You could say I’m an extreme kind of planet, temperature-wise, that is. The temperature on Mercury can be fiery hot, much too hot for humans. In my atmosphere you’d become an unidentified frying object (pause) Get it, frying object? (laughs at his joke) hahahaha!

Cindy: Is it always hot on Mercury?

Mercury: Just during my long day. At night, you could freeze to death in my
intense cold. Some might call me mercurial, a word which means “rapid and
Elroy: You’re close to the sun, aren’t you?

Mercury: The sun and I are….(puts two fingers together)…like that! As a matter of fact, because I’m so much closer to it than the other planets are, the sun appears two-three times larger than here on earth.

Michael: Didn’t you mention before that you have no moons?

Mercury: That’s right, Michael. Although I have no moons, I look much like the moon you see each night from Earth because my surface is covered with craters and gouges.

Michael: Why the bad complexion?

Mercury: When meteors enter my atmosphere they don’t burn up, so they blast away at my surface and leave huge dents and basins.

Cindy: Speaking of atmosphere, do you have air on Mercury?

Mercury: My air is so thin that it is barely detectable.

Elroy: Did you hear the one about the guy who opened a restaurant on Mercury? It went out of business for “lack of atmosphere.” (laughs at his own joke) hahahaha.

Mercury: Here’s another amazing fact about me. There is virtually no water on Mercury. As a matter of fact, I’m thirsty! Does anyone have a bottle
of water?

Syd: Anything else you’d like to share, Mercury? What makes you think you you could be this year’s Amazing Planet winner?

Mercury: I’ve saved the most stupendous fact until last. One of my days is equal to 176 Earth days. Because my days and nights are so long, I have less than two days per year!

Cindy: Wow! That is impressive.

Syd: You heard it here, ladies and gentlemen…The planet Mercury!!!

Audience: (applause)

Syd: Next, we welcome that hostile beauty, planet Venus!

Audience: (applause)

Venus: Hello again, everyone. I’m Venus, named for the Roman goddess of love
and beauty. I’m gorgeous, just like my name, but I seldom let you peek at
my surface because I’m covered with a thick misty vapor.

Elroy: Too bad we can’t see you more often. Jeepers creepers!

Cindy: Isn’t it true that like Mercury, you don’t have any moons?

Venus: That’s true I have no moons, but I hope you won’t compare me to Mercury. Where he is fast, I’m slow. Where he has almost no atmosphere, I have a thick, concentrated cloud cover which traps sunlight and heat. I have the hottest average temperature of all the planets. In other words, I sizzle. I’m a hot mama!

Elroy: You shine, Baby!

Venus: Yes, I do. As a matter of fact, I’m the brightest object in the sky because the sun reflects off my dense atmosphere. If you want to compare me to someone, try comparing me to your own planet. Like Earth, I have volcanoes, mountains, and valleys. But some consider me a hostile planet because I’m too hot for plants and animals to exist. (sigh) I just hate being alone all the time…

Michael: Why do you think you should become the next Awesome Planet?

Venus: I was hoping you’d ask. Not only do I sizzle, not only am I bright, but
I’m a star! Not a real star, of course. I’m a planet, alright, but ancient
civilizations called me the Morning Star and the Evening Star because
I appear to rise and set with the sun.

Syd: What more can we say, ladies and gentlemen? The planet Venus!!!

Audience: (applause)

Syd: Moving right along, help me give an Awesome Planet greeting to the
“red planet” himself, planet Mars.

Audience: (applause)

Mars: That’s me! My reddish color reminded early civilizations of blood, so I
was named after the Roman god of war, Mars. I’m easy to spot with just
the naked eye, so ancient sky gazers could see me long before the invention of the telescope.

Cindy: Why are you red?

Mars: Well, it’s not because I’m blushing. My surface is covered with oxidized iron, which you humans call rust. That’s right. I’m rusty!

Elroy: Tell us a little more about yourself.

Mars: Well, Elroy, my temperment is more like the planet Earth than any of the other planets. I have cold, howling winds, dust storms, and tornadoes. There is evidence that I once had rivers, streams, lakes, and possibly an ocean.

Cindy: Amazing. That’s incredibly interesting.

Michael: Earth has a moon. Do you have any moons?

Mars: Bingo! Not just one, but two moons, Michael. My moons, Phobos and Deimos, were named for the mythical horses that pulled the chariot of the Roman god of war, Mars. My moons are small and are shaped like baked potatoes.

Elroy: Sour cream, anyone?

Syd: Anything else you’d like to share, Mars?

Mars: I’m just getting warmed up, Syd. I have a giant canyon, much like your own
Grand Canyon, except mine would stretch all the way from your New York
City to Los Angeles: about 4,000 miles.

Cindy: Astonishing!

Elroy: Let’s rock and roll again!

Mars: I also have the tallest mountain on any planet in the solar system. It’s
actually a former volcano called Olympus Mons, and it would tower over your
Mt. Everest.

Elroy: You’re on a roll. What else can you tell us?

Mars: You Earthlings are fascinated with Mars. The two mobile robots you sent
here in 2004, Spirit and Opportunity, have been sending back pictures of my
surface and rocks ever since.

Michael: What about Martians? You know…little green men?

Elroy: Guess where Martians go when they get married—on their honeyearth.
Get it? Honeyearth? hahahahaha

Mars: Martians are a figment of your own creative imaginations, I’m afraid.
There’s no life on Mars, and it gets kind of lonely, if you ask me.

Elroy: You should get together with Venus!

Syd: Well, thank you for sharing. Let’s show our appreciation for Mars!

Audience: (applause)

Syd: And now we’ve come to the big boy himself, Jupiter.

Audience: (applause)

Jupiter: Yo! The gigantic planetary wonderchild has arrived. I’m Jupiter, more
than twice as big as all of the other planets put together. I’m so big I could
play basketball with the Earth.

Elroy: Now that’s big!

Jupiter: That’s me–an awesome ball of hydrogen and helium.

Cindy: Aren’t they gases?

Jupiter: That’s right. If you want gas, you’ve come to the right place. I have no
solid surface. Just a ball of gas. Jupiter’s my name, gas is my game.

Michael: (laughing) This gets better all the time.

Jupiter: Not only am I a big, but I’m quick, too. I spin so fast that I have an
equatorial bulge.

Elroy: Say what?

Jupiter: I spin so fast my middle bulges out, making me look slightly flatter on
top and bottom. So there you have it: I’m big, I’m gassy, I’m fast, and did I
mention that my powerful magnetic field is much, much stronger than
Earth’s? You might say I have a “magnetic” personality. A king among planets, if you will.

Cindy: A king?

Jupiter: When the ancient Romans named the brightest objects in the sky they
chose my name to be Jupiter, the king of their mythical gods. And like a
king with a court of people who revolves around him, I have 38 moons in my atmosphere.
The biggest one is called Ganymeade.

Michael: What makes you think you qualify as the most awesome planet of all?

Jupiter: Just check out my surface, Dude! I give off more than twice the heat I
receive from the sun. My clouds change color daily. And most intriguing of
all, I have what is called the great red spot, which is actually an enormous,
hurricane-like storm.

Syd: You heard it here, ladies and gentlemen. That big hot gas-ball with his
swirling clouds and orbiting moons, Jupiter!

Audience: (applause)

Syd: And now, bring on that spectacular showman, Saturn.

Audience: (applause)

Saturn: (dramatic voice) Behold Saturn! Feast your eyes on my yellow beauty.
Note my silvery bands. Gaze upon my dazzling outer rings. I am Saturn,
named for the mythical Roman god of agriculture!!!

Michael: That’s what I call an entrance!

Saturn: I’ve always been able to be seen with the naked eye, but no one had ever
seen my stunningly beautiful rings. That is, until Galileo used his telescope
in 1610.

Cindy: That must have been a shock, to suddenly find out you have rings!

Saturn: Galileo was amazed and…puzzled…by my rings. Scientists have been
trying to count them ever since.

Elroy: Are they diamond rings? (laughs)

Saturn: (scoffs) Diamonds? Mere fossil fuel! There’s not a diamond on Earth
that shines so exquisitely. My rings are made up of icy particles of rocks
and dust.

Michael: Aren’t you the second largest planet?

Saturn: When it comes to size only Jupiter is bigger than I am. I’m made of
gases similar to Jupiter’s, and I spin quickly, also like Jupiter.

Cindy: Do you have an equatorial bulge?

Elroy: That’s rather personal, isn’t it?

Saturn: I prefer to use the term oblate. Yes, I’m shaped rather like a slightly
flattened ball.

Syd: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us while you have our rapt attention?

Saturn: Yes. Just because I’m big doesn’t mean I’m heavy. I have the least density
of any planet. As a matter of fact, if there was a swimming pool big enough
to hold me, I would actually float on water because I’m so light.

Syd: What a legacy. While we’ve been entertained by Planet Saturn, I’m afraid
it’s time to move on to the planet Uranus (yer-A-nus). Or is it Uranus

Uranus: Thanks, Syd. Either pronunciation of my name is okay, but for practical
purposes I prefer to be called Uranus (YER-u-nus).

Syd: Right. Uranus. Remind our judges and studio audience just why you should be
considered our most awesome planet.

Uranus: Unusual name, unusual planet. I do things differently. I’m blue-green in
color. That’s from my methane gas. Unlike any other planet, I spin on my
side. Some scientists think that a planet-size object smashed into me long
ago and completely changed the direction of my spin.

Cindy: You’ve got our attention. Tell us more.

Uranus: I was the first planet discovered in modern times. William Herschel was
searching the sky with his telescope in 1781, and…there I was!

Elroy: Did he give you your name?

Uranus: Herschel wanted to name me after his British king, George, but other
scientists felt that they had a good thing going with the mythological gods
and chose Uranus as my name. Kids have been having a field day with it ever
since. I’m named after the Greek god of the sky, Ouranos.

Michael: What else can you tell us?

Uranus: For a long time scientists thought I was bland and boring, that I was just
a large ball of gas. But some think that under my cloud cover I might
possibly have a large ocean. Others think it’s possible that I might be the
host of large beds of enormous diamonds.

Michael: Diamonds? Did you say diamonds?

Cindy: Think of a ring made with one of those diamonds!

Uranus: Speaking of rings, Saturn isn’t the only planet with rings. I have rings, too,
only mine are fainter. They weren’t discovered until I was visited by the
Voyager spacecraft, sent by you Earthlings.

Syd: Well thank you for sharing such a wealth of information. Let’s show our
appreciation for Uranus!

Audience: (applause)

Syd: Help me welcome our next planet in line, Neptune.

Audience: (applause)

Syd: Welcome, Neptune. What do you have to say for yourself?
Neptune: I guess I should really say, “Long time no see,” because I’m so far away
in the solar system it was ages before I showed up in anyone’s telescope.
Hello, everyone. I’m Neptune, the blue, gaseous planet named for the ancient
mythological god of water and sea. You Earthlings didn’t even know I existed
for thousands of years.

Cindy: How was that possible?

Neptune: I’m much too far away to be easily seen. When Uranus was discovered,
astronomers were mystified. Some unknown force was changing Uranus’
gravitational pull. They figured it must be another planet farther out.
Using mathematics, they calculated where the planet should be, and they
were right. They published their calculations in 1843, and in 1846 a German
astronomer by the name of Johann Galle found me for the first time.

Elroy: Fascinating. Man o’ man! Can you belive that?

Neptune: Just like your Earthly ocean, my surface is always changing. I’m hot on
the inside and cold on the outside. My atmosphere is known for its freezing
cold winds that blow over 1,000 miles per hour. As a matter of fact, one of
the giant storms on my surface is as large as your planet Earth. It’s known as

the “great dark spot,” and can be seen with a powerful telescope.

Cindy: Now, that’s what I call a storm.

Michael: Do you have any moons?

Neptune: I have 8 moons, but my most famous moon, Triton, is known because it
has geysers of nitrogen that leave dark marks on it. I also have a couple of
rings that aren’t really visible from Earth. You wouldn’t know any of this if
you hadn’t sent Voyager 2 to take pictures of me. Boy, did I ever send you
guys some surprises.

Syd: Well, we’re sure glad you did. Let’s show our appreciation for…Neptune!

Audience: (applause)

Michael: Where’s Pluto?

Syd: Oh, I’m afraid he’s been disqualified.

Elroy: Say what?

Syd: On August 24, 2006, the International Astronomical Union, an organization
of professional astronomers, passed two resolutions that collectively
revoked Pluto’s planetary status.

Michael: That’s right. Pluto was too small and doesn’t generate enough

Cindy: Too bad. I guess now that makes Mercury our smallest planet!

Syd: Ladies and gentlemen, that leaves Planet Earth, our home planet, but I’m
afraid we’re out of time for tonight.

Elroy: That makes me sad. I was lookin’ forward to hearing all about Earth.

Syd: The show’s not over, folks. Next week, before our judges vote, we’ll hear
from our most familiar planet, Earth. Until then, keep your telescopes
pointed our way. See you soon for the conclusion of: Awesome Planet!

Cindy: Ta ta for now!

Michael: Bye-bye, folks!

Elroy: See ya! Later, Gater! Hey, how do aliens get their baby to
sleep? They ROCKET. hahahahaha

The End

Assignments Due

Aaron, He Sang

One thunderous, stormy night, while the wind howled and screamed outside, all the babies howled and screamed inside the newborn baby nursery.
Except Aaron. He sang. He opened his tiny mouth, filled his lungs with air, and let loose. The nursery was flooded with the sweetest lullaby, soothing and soft, lilting and lulling. All the other babies stopped howling and started to listen.
Aaron’s parents were watching from the big window outside the nursery. “It’s Aaron,” they said.
“He sang!”
When Aaron was learning to take his first running steps, he went on a picnic with his parents.
They brought stale bread to feed the birds down by the lake.
The ducks opened their yellow bills and quacked for crackers.
“Quackety-yack, Quackety-yack!”
The geese strutted in circles and honked for hamburger buns.
“Honk-a, Honk-a, Hoodley-Honk!“
The swans stretched their necks and hissed for sandwich rolls.
“Hisseldy-hiss, Hisseldy-hiss!“
But not Aaron. He sang. He sang all ten verses of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.”
His e-i-e-i-o’s were particularly pleasing. The birds stopped pecking and turned to see the
When Aaron was a little boy, able to dress all by himself, he went to a family reunion with his aunts and uncles and grandparents and cousins. The men threw horseshoes and argued about the price of new cars. The women rested under canopies and traded recipes. The big boys played catch on the ball field. The girls waved to each other from the tops of trees.
A breeze whistled across the field and up through the branches, over the women and through
the men. Everyone laughed.
But not Aaron. He sang. He threw his head back into the wind, closed his eyes, and sang for all he was worth. His song took flight and sailed to the skies. His family searched with their eyes to see which child had made such a wonder.
When Aaron lost his baby fat and grew a little older, he went to school with all the other boys and girls. He learned how to find Australia and Costa Rica on the globe. He learned to spell aardvark and onomatopoeia. He painted pictures at the easel and ate corndogs in the cafeteria.
But out on the playground, where kids should have all the fun in the world, a bully made life
miserable for everyone. He snatched the ball and hogged the slide and kicked sand on anyone who came near. The boys and girls whispered and worried and kept their distance.
But not Aaron. When the bully pushed Aaron in the chest, pushed him so hard he had to step backwards, Aaron stared him right in the eyes. He opened his mouth and hit a high C so loud that all other noise on the playground stopped. The bully backed up, covering his ears. “That kid has some lungs,” he said.
When Aaron lost his two front baby teeth and grew in new ones that looked like butter beans, he went to the river to swim and play with his best friend, Jake. They dived and jumped and swung from vines, making gigantic splashes in the water. Aaron and Jake decided to jump from the low bridge that crossed over the river. They leaped at exactly the same time, and on the way down Jake screamed like a banshee.
But not Aaron. He belted out the last line of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
“O’er the land of the free————————”
He finished the song on the bottom, blowing bubbles that grew bigger and bigger as they rose to the surface. A single, solitary voice rose from the bottom of the river.
When Aaron started growing by leaps and bounds, so fast his mother couldn’t keep him in shoes, he wanted to get a job so he’d have some spending money. Since he wasn’t old enough for a real job, a nice lady who ran a rundown bait shop hired him to sort crabs. “Watch out now,” she warned. “They’ll pinch you proper.” The huge blue crabs stared at Aaron with beady eyes and blew bubbles from strange-looking mouths.
One fat crab reached around when Aaron wasn’t looking and pinched him on the thumb. The crab hung on for dear life, refusing to let go. The nice lady might have screamed if this had happened to her, but not Aaron. He jumped up on a wooden crate and sang the entire scale of D major at the top of his lungs. He swung his arm round and round, over his head, and when he got to the last note of the scale, the crab let go and went flying through the air, never to be seen again.
When Aaron was a bigger boy, about the time when serious mischief sets in, he did naughty things that big boys sometimes do. One bright, sunny afternoon, when no one was looking, he climbed
the water tower with the name of the town painted on its side. This was forbidden, incredibly
dangerous even, and Aaron knew better. But, he climbed anyway, all the way to the top
“Come down,” his friends shouted. Their voices sounded like mice.
Aaron was so high he could see the entire town, and it was a beautiful sight, indeed. The orange groves and sailboats and fields of red, ripe tomatoes filled him with awe. He gripped the railing, took a deep breath, and sang an arpeggio that rang and rang. His singing echoed out across the rooftops, over trickling streams and through the sandy dunes, only stopping when it reached the horizon.
Later, when his mother found out Aaron had done such a dangerous thing as climb the water tower, she did not sing. She cried.
When Aaron grew tall, tall, tall, he saw a crowd of boys in the hall at school. They were
surrounding Peony Hirschberg, the new girl, who had braids the color of butternut squash.
“I can run faster than any boy at school,” Kevin said.
“You should see me lift weights,” said Justin.
“Don’t bother with them,” said Matt. “I’m class valedictorian.”
Aaron stood outside of the crowd and began to sing his favorite Italian aria, Una Furtiva Lagrima. Each note sounded as if it had been crafted from a lifetime of love and longing. When he finished the final embellishment, the crowd parted, and there stood Peony, dabbing at her eyes with a tissue.
“Excuse me,” she said, taking Aaron’s hand. “Would you sit by me at lunch today?”
When Aaron finally quit growing, except for the peach fuzz on his face, he and his friends walked across their college campus, debating and discussing the great questions of life.
Aaron walked away, down the path, far from the others. What do I have to offer, he thought. Which way shall I turn? Can I make the world a better place?
Aaron’s wanderings took him into a large brick building with many rooms. His ears
immediately began to tingle. From somewhere, a tuba blatted low, squatty tones.
A piano pounded a chromatic cacophony.
The thunder of a kettledrum echoed Aaron’s footsteps.
“Thong-Thong-Thong, Bibbidy-Thong-Thong-Thong.”
At the end of the hall, Aaron opened a door, and the sound of a magnificent choir surged and swirled, rippled and rose, lifting him where he stood. He had never seen such a choir, heard such harmonies.
The conductor tapped his baton, and the choir stopped singing. The room was silent. The choir stared at Aaron. Aaron stared back.
“May I help you?” the conductor asked. His voice was a lightning bolt.
Aaron smiled. “I’m Aaron,” he said. “I sing.”
“Oh?” asked the conductor. His eyebrows rose. He waited.
Aaron put his hands in his pockets and closed his eyes. He licked his lips and cleared his throat. Swaying slightly, he sang the beginning lines of Langston Hughes’s “Lonely House,” and it’s haunting heartache resounded throughout the room.
When Aaron finished, silence rang. There was a clap, then another. Then ten, then a thousand, then a zillion.The clapping went on and on and on and on and ON.
The conductor tapped his baton for quiet. Again, his eyebrows rose. He looked at Aaron. “Yes,”
the conductor said. “You sing. Welcome.”
Aaron took his place in the tender nucleus of the tenors. He felt the humble embrace of the altos and the hovering superiority of the sopranos. The basses loomed like gods.
The conductor raised his baton. The choir breathed as one. The baton came down. And then…
Music swirled and swelled, lifted and lulled, throbbed and trembled. It rose to the rafters and
sailed free through the open windows. Music roosted in treetops and soaked into the grass like rain.
It tucked itself into the wings of birds and rippled the hair of small children.
And Aaron knew the world would be a better place.


Additional Resources