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Teacher Guide

Environmental Concerns in the Community

By Mary Howland, Beth Fensterwald, Steven Caringella
Meet the Authors

"How do we become aware of local environmental concerns and what can we do to make a difference?"

and Standards



 Student Guide

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Writing Articles for the Water Resources Gazette

Instructional Time: 45 minutes a day for 2 days each week for 3 weeks.

In this activity the class is divided into teams of about five students. Each team of students is going to produce a mini-newspaper that can be shared with the other students in the class and with students in other classrooms. Each team can choose a specific geographic area on which to focus. The articles to be included in the newspaper that each team will write are:
1. Article #1 – What is a watershed and how does it relate to the water cycle?
2. Article #2 – Watersheds and water resources in the geographic area that each team has chosen.
3. Article #3 – Sources of water pollution in each team’s geographic area and what can the people living in that area do to improve the water quality.
4. Article #4 – City government and wastewater management in each team’s area. What are the issues and concerns?
5. Article #5 – Water conservation – What is being done in each team’s area and what more can be done?

The steps to writing the mini-newspapers are as follows:
1. Each team decides which team member is going to be responsible for each part of the mini-newspaper.
2. Spend one period exploring the Internet resources included in the resource section of this activity. Team members should take notes on information that relates to their articles.
3. Each team member needs to write a business letter to one of the people listed on the business letter handout listed in the resource section. The business letter should request information that can be used in that team member’s article.
4. Each team member should write a rough draft of his or her article. It should then be reviewed by at least one other member of the team. Feedback should include positive comments, observations on what more information is needed, and what parts are unclear.
5. Each team member will then rewrite his or her article, type it on the computer, and submit it to the teacher for review. The teacher will correct it, making suggestions as needed to improve the content.
6. Students will print a final corrected copy of the article to be included in the mini-newspaper.
7. When all the team members are finished with their articles, they should put them together into a folder with a cover page and a table of contents. Notes and a list of references used should be turned into the teacher.

California Content Standards
English and Language Arts
Grade Five
ELA.5.2.0. Reading Comprehension (Focus on Informational Materials)
Structural Features of Informational Materials
ELA.5.2.1. Understand how text features (e.g., format, graphics, sequence, diagrams, illustrations, charts, maps) make information accessible and usable.
Comprehension and Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text
ELA.5.2.3. Discern main ideas and concepts presented in texts, identifying and assessing evidence that supports those ideas.
Expository Critique
ELA.5.2.5. Distinguish facts, supported inferences, and opinions in text.
Grade Eight
ELA.8.1.0. Word Analysis, Fluency, and Systematic Vocabulary Development
Vocabulary and Concept Development
ELA.8.1.3. Use word meanings within the appropriate context and show ability to verify those meanings by definition, restatement, example, comparison, or contrast.
ELA.8.2.0. Reading Comprehension (Focus on Informational Materials)
Comprehension and Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text
ELA.8.2.6. Use information from a variety of consumer, workplace, and public documents to explain a situation or decision and to solve a problem.
ELA.8.1.0. Writing Strategies
Organization and Focus
ELA.8.1.1. Create compositions that establish a controlling impression, have a coherent thesis, and end with a clear and well-supported conclusion.
ELA.8.1.2. Establish coherence within and among paragraphs through effective transitions, parallel structures, and similar writing techniques.
ELA.8.1.3. Support theses or conclusions with analogies, paraphrases, quotations, opinions from authorities, comparisons, and similar devices.
Research and Technology
ELA.8.1.4. Plan and conduct multiple-step information searches by using computer networks and modems.
ELA.8.1.5. Achieve an effective balance between researched information and original ideas.
Evaluation and Revision
ELA.8.1.6. Revise writing for word choice; appropriate organization; consistent point of view; and transitions between paragraphs, passages, and ideas.
ELA.8.2.0. Writing Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics)
ELA.8.2.3. Write research reports:
a. Define a thesis.
b. Record important ideas, concepts, and direct quotations from significant information sources and paraphrase and summarize all perspectives on the topic, as appropriate.
c. Use a variety of primary and secondary sources and distinguish the nature and value of each.
d. Organize and display information on charts, maps, and graphs.
ELA.8.2.5. Write documents related to career development, including simple business letters and job applications:
a. Present information purposefully and succinctly and meet the needs of the intended audience.
b. Follow the conventional format for the type of document (e.g., letter of inquiry, memorandum).
Written and Oral English Language Conventions
ELA.8.1.0. Written and Oral English Language Conventions
ELA.8.1.4. Edit written manuscripts to ensure that correct grammar is used.
ELA.8.1.5. Use correct punctuation and capitalization.
ELA.8.1.6. Use correct spelling conventions.

1.The Water CycleWeb SiteHardware:
Internet Access
2.Give Water a HandWeb SiteHardware:
Internet Access
3.U.S. Geological SurveyWeb SiteHardware:
Internet Access
4.Stream MonitoringWeb SiteHardware:
Internet Access
5.Environmental Kids ClubWeb SiteHardware:
Internet Access
6.Drinking Water and Ground WaterWeb SiteHardware:
Internet Access
7.WaterwatchWeb SiteHardware:
Internet Access
8.15 Things to Help Your WatershedWeb SiteHardware:
Internet Access
9.Map Our WatershedWeb SiteHardware:
Internet Access
10.San Jose City Environmental ServicesWeb SiteHardware:
Internet Access
11.Watershed WatchWeb SiteHardware:
Internet Access
12.Milpitas Public Works DepartmentWeb SiteHardware:
Internet Access
13.Rubric for evaluation of activityHandoutHardware:

Microsoft Office
14.Organization Addresses for LettersHandoutHardware:

Microsoft Office
15.Writing a Business LetterHandoutHardware:

Microsoft Office

Method of Checking for Understanding:
Observations, Student Work, Written Reflection, Evidence of Learning