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Will She Make the
Big Leagues?



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Grades 2-up

News Content

A Japanese teen has become the first female drafted by a professional baseball team.

Anticipation Guide

Baseball season is upon us. Before reading, ask students to identify the nine positions on a baseball team (pitcher, catcher, first base, second base, shortstop, third base, left field, center field, and right field). Then focus on the pitcher for a moment. Ask: What are the names of some of the different pitches that a pitcher might throw? (Write the names of the pitches student share on a black/whiteboard or chart paper. Students will likely offer pitches such as a fastball, curveball, slider If no one suggests a knuckleball, be sure to add that one to the list.)

Next, have students identify on a world map the location of Japan. This weeks News for Kids story takes place in Japan. The Japanese city of Kobe (pronounced KOH-bee) plays a key role in this weeks news story. Kobe is about 275 miles southwest of Tokyo. It is not far from Osaka and Kyoto. [see map]

News Words

Next, introduce these words that appear in the News Word Box on the students printable page: drafted, impressed, effective, weapon, professional, and achieve. Discuss the meanings of any of those words that might be unfamiliar. Then ask students to use one of those words to complete each of these sentences:

  • City Council members think they have come up with an _____ solution to the budget crisis. (effective)
  • My Uncle Bobs dream is to someday be a _____ golfer. (professional)
  • Everyone was _____ by the campaign that Sara Slater ran to become senator. (impressed)
  • You will have to work hard if you want to _____ success. (achieve)
  • An old Chinese proverb says When angry, never use words as a _____." (weapon)
  • Since he is the most outspoken member of the team, we ____ Sal to make the big presentation. (drafted)

    Read the News

    Click for a printable version of this weeks news story Will She Make the Big Leagues?.

    Reading the News

    You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:

    Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.

    Students might first read the news story to themselves; then you might call on individual students to read sections of the news aloud for the class.

    Photocopy the news story onto a transparency and project it onto a screen. (Or use your classroom computer's projector to project the story.) Read the story aloud as a class, or ask students to take turns reading it.

    Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write notes in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.

    More Facts to Share

    You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this weeks news story.

  • Eri Yoshida is a 16-year-old high school girl. Even so, the 5-foot-tall, 114 pounder has broken new ground in Japanese baseball. She was the first woman drafted to play alongside professional male players.
  • Yoshida was a seventh-round draft pick by the Kobe 9 Cruise, a new independent league team that plays its first games this spring. The team is the equivalent to an American minor league team. If Yoshida has success with the Cruise, she might move up to an upper-level farm team, then to the major leagues.
  • While some think Yoshidas drafting by the Cruise was a publicity stunt, many others hope Yoshidas pick will encourage other women ball players. Girls were first allowed to play on Japanese little league teams about 10 years ago.
  • Yoshidas right-handed underhand/side-armed delivery is similar to that of Tim Wakefield, a Boston Red Sox pitcher whose knuckleball pitch has fooled many major leaguers.
  • Japan is crazy about baseball. Many Japanese players have made their way to American teams. Among the Japanese players who currently play in America are Hideki Matsui (New York Yankees); Ichiro Suzuki (Seattle Mariners); and Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima (Boston Red Sox).

    Comprehension Check

    Recalling Detail

  • What makes Eri Yoshida special? (She is the first female to be drafted by a professional baseball team.)
  • How old is Eri? (16 years old)
  • What is her best pitch? (the knuckleball)
  • When did she start playing baseball? (when she was in second grade)
  • What made her decide that she might want to be a pitcher? (her father showed her a video of Tim Wakefield throwing his knuckleball)
  • Why did Yoshida decline to show reporters how she holds the ball when she throws her knuckleball? (She told them it was a secret.")

    Think About the News
    Discuss the Think About the News question that appears on the students news page. You might use the think-pair-share strategy with students to discuss this question. If you use this strategy

  • First, arrange students into pairs to discuss and list responses to the question.
  • Then merge two pairs of students together to create groups of four students. Have them discuss and add to the ideas they generated in their pairs.
  • Next, merge two groups of four students to form groups of eight students. Have students create a new combined list of ideas.
  • Finally, bring all students together for a class discussion about Eri Yoshidas chances for success. Some students might point out that making it in the big leagues is very difficult; most of the players who are drafted into the minors never make it to the big leagues. Others might say that she could have great success if her knuckleball is good; the knuckleball is more of a finesse pitch" than it is a strength pitch."

    Follow-Up Activities

    Geography location. You might display this map of Japan and have students identify on it the locations of Japans seven largest cities:

  • Tokyo - population 8.0 million
  • Yokohama - 3.4 million
  • Osaka - 2.5 million
  • Nagoya - 2.1 million
  • Sapporo - 1.8 million
  • Kobe - 1.5 million
  • Kyoto - 1.4 million

  • As an alternate activity, provide a blank outline map of Japan (alternate map) and have students mark the locations of those seven cities.

    Math measurement. In Japan, people use the metric system of measurement. Eri Yoshida is 155 centimeters tall (which is equivalent to 5 feet tall) and she weighs 52 kilograms (which is equivalent to 114 pounds). Challenge students to use an online metric converter/calculator to learn what these weight and length metric measurements equate to in our (English) measurement system. Students can round all their answers to the nearest whole number.

  • 12 kilograms = _____ pounds (Answer: 26 pounds)
  • 19 kilometers = _____ miles (Answer: 12 miles)
  • 465 centimeters = _____ feet (Answer: 15 feet)
  • 300 millimeters = _____ inches (Answer: 12 inches)
  • 9000 kilograms = _____ tons (Answer: 10 pounds)
  • 65 centimeters = _____ feet (Answer: 2 feet)
  • 26 kilometers = _____ miles (Answer: 16 miles)

    Life skills read a schedule. Share with students the schedule for a professional baseball team near you (for example, this Minnesota Twins April schedule). Ask questions that require students to use information on the schedule.

    Foreign language Japanese. Learn to count from one to ten in Japanese. You can teach your students to count from one to ten in Japanese using

  • this written explanation;
  • this sound file (scroll to Lesson 8); or
  • this video.

    History famous firsts by women. Eri Yoshida is the first woman to play professional baseball. Challenge students to use library resources or an online encyclopedia (for example, Wikipedia) resources to learn the famous firsts" with which we associate the following women:

  • Ann Bancroft (first woman to walk to North Pole, 1986)
  • Elizabeth Blackwell (first woman to receive a medical degree, 1849)
  • Amelia Earhart (first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, 1932)
  • Mary Katherine Goddard (first woman postmaster, 1775)
  • Suzanna Madora Salter (first woman mayor [Argonia, Kansas], 1887)
  • Hattie McDaniel (first African-American to win an Academy Award, 1939)
  • Sandra Day O'Connor (first woman justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, 1981)
  • Jeannette Rankin (first woman in Congress [Montana], 1917)
  • Blanche Scott (first woman to fly an airplane, 1910)
  • Lucy Hobbs Taylor (first woman to graduate from dental school, 1866)
  • Valentina Tereshkova (first woman to fly in space, 1963)


    Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News question on the news story page.

    Lesson Plan Source

    Education World

    National Standards

    LANGUAGE ARTS: English
    GRADES K - 12
    NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.8 Developing Research Skills
    NL-ENG.K-12.9 Multicultural Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

    LANGUAGE ARTS: Foreign Language
    GRADES K - 12
    NL-FL.K-12.3 Connections

    MATHEMATICS: Measurement
    GRADES Pre-K - 2
    NM-MEA.PK-2.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
    NM-MEA.PK-2.2 Apply Appropriate Techniques, Tools, and Formulas to Determine Measurements
    GRADES 3 - 5
    NM-MEA.3-5.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
    NM-MEA.3-5.2 Apply Appropriate Techniques, Tools, and Formulas to Determine Measurements
    GRADES 6 - 8
    NM-MEA.6-8.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
    NM-MEA.6-8.2 Apply Appropriate Techniques, Tools, and Formulas to Determine Measurements
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NM-MEA.9-12.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
    NM-MEA.9-12.2 Apply Appropriate Techniques, Tools, and Formulas to Determine Measurements

    SOCIAL SCIENCES: Geography
    GRADES K - 12
    NSS-G.K-12.1 The World in Spatial Terms

    GRADES K - 12
    NT.K-12.5 Technology Research Tools

    See recent news stories in Education Worlds News Story of the Week Archive.

    Article by Ellen Delisio and Gary Hopkins
    Education World®
    Copyright © 2009 Education World