Tuesday Teaser

This September, you and your students are in for a treat. Scope's very own Senior Editor Jennifer Dignan has written a truly beautiful poem for the You Write It activity. "What My Name Means" addresses the oh-so-huge middle school theme of identity as the poem's speaker reflects on how others see her and how she sees herself.

We've provided a lesson plan and activity sheet to help you guide your students' analysis of Jennifer's poem, as well as a guided writing activity to help your students write their own "What My Name Means" poems. We hope this You Write It will serve as a creative and fulfilling step in your students' process of figuring out who they are and how they fit into the world—which is what middle school is about, right?

Here are a few of our favorite lines from the poem:


My dad thinks my name means
“weirdly obsessed with that band Imagine Dragons” and
“loves corny jokes, like me.”
My cat thinks my name means “always good for a snuggle.”
My best friend thinks my name means
“tells me the truth no matter what; best giggle in the world.”


This fall, your students will practice using two commonly confused words—their and there—while reading about gassy cows. That's right, cow flatulence—which is actually a serious environmental issue—is the subject of our September grammar activity. As your students will learn, there are more than 90 million cows in America, and their emission of methane is contributing to climate change. Your students will also learn about one rather creative solution to this problem.


Prepared to be thrilled and terrified this fall. Medusa the snake-headed monster and the mythic hero Perseus are coming to the pages of Scope! Our drama based on this classic ancient Greek myth features a villainous king, three sisters who share a single eye, an imperfect hero, and a shrieking monster who turns all who gaze upon her to stone. We’re envisioning lots of props (rubber snakes! a glass eyeball!) and lots of VERY excited students.

The September issue will be hitting classrooms in August. In the meantime, heres one our favorite moments from the play:


We can't wait for this incredible article to arrive in your classroom. It's called "Our World Turned to Water," and it's the featured narrative nonfiction in our October 2017 issue. In this powerful article, author Lauren Tarshis recounts the events of the devastating Louisiana Flood of 2016 as experienced by one school community. It is a beautiful story about coming together to overcome tragedy.


In the introduction to her article, Lauren explains what prompted her to tell this story:


We've packaged this article with important safety tips that your students can use if they find themselves in a flash flood along with an original poem by one of our favorite poets, Rebecca Kai Dotlich.


In the September issue of Scope, you and your students will meet two remarkable brothers: Francois and Cedric Jacob. In a lot of ways, they are just ordinary teens—they like hanging out, playing video games, going to school. But Francois and Cedric are also refugees. "From War to America" tells the incredible true story of their journey from war-torn Syria to Nutley, New Jersey.

Here's a preview:

"Wake up! Wake up!” Fifteen-year-old Francois Jacob was jolted awake by his mother’s urgent voice. It was a hot September night in 2012, and a war plane had just dropped a bomb near their home in Aleppo, Syria. The sound of gunfire echoed through the apartment where Francois lived with his parents and younger brother, Cedric. A fierce battle was raging in the streets below. And now they were trapped.

This September, you and your students will read a short fiction story in Scope that is one of our absolute favorites: "Into the Storm" by Eleanora E. Tate. It's about a boy who becomes an unlikely hero and it explores ideas that will resonate with your students: feeling like an outsider, being teased, and above all, learning to be proud of who you are. 

We’ve paired the story with an informational text about the real-life historical figure on whom one of the characters is based. Prepare to be delighted!

Once upon a time, there was a boy in Wilmington, North Carolina, who dearly loved basketball. Sure he had talent, but he wasn’t a star. In 10th grade, he didn’t even make the varsity team. But this boy was not about to hang up his jersey. Day after grueling day, he kept shooting, dribbling, practicing. That boy’s name? Michael Jordan.


That's how our fascinating Short Read begins. This bite-sized nonfiction text is all about the benefits of failure. (There are many!) We can't wait for you and your students to dive in. We think it will be a great way to start the school year.

Keep an eye out for this text in the upcoming September issue of Scope, which will be hitting classrooms in August. In the meantime, have a very happy summer!


Get ready to discover everything you and your students ever wanted to know about dogs! In our September paired texts, we explore how the relationship between dogs and humans has changed over many thousands of years and how dogs came to look like this guy:


These fascinating articles have great content-area connections to science and social studies.

In the meantime, here are a few of our favorite historical pups:




You might think that flip phones are so 2002, but this technology is actually enjoying a comeback! Today, more and more people are ditching their smartphones and getting flip phones instead. In our upcoming September debate, your students will read about the debate over smartphones versus flip phones, then write an argument essay using our guided writing essay kit.

We are so excited about our Hercules play in the September 2017 issue of Scope. In our telling of this famous Greek myth, Hercules finds out what his true origin is, battles a nine-headed monster, and discovers what it really takes to be a hero. We present Hercules not only as a courageous hero known for his great strength, but also as a human being who is searching to find the courage to be himself. Prepare to be amused, delighted, and moved!

The September issue will be hitting classrooms in August. In the meantime, here's a sneak peek:



Reading this play was one of the highlights of putting together the September issue. We hope you and your students will enjoy reading it as much as we did!


Team Scope reading an early draft of the play Hercules the Mighty