Shorter School Week
In most of the United States， students attend class for five days each week—Monday through Friday. Schools are required to hold classes for about 180 days a year. Recently， schools in some areas of the country have begun discussing the idea of holding classes for four days a week. Classes would meet either Monday through Thursday， or Tuesday through Friday. Some schools in twelve American states are now using that plan.
The students still have the same number of total hours in class as before. But they attend school for a longer time on each of the four days. In the western state of Colorado， schools on the four-day plan hold classes for 7.5 hours a day for 144 days. Traditional schools meet for 6 hours a day for 180 days.
Many schools on the four-day plan offer special programs for students or teachers， trips or sports competitions on the fifth day. Officials say this gives students even more time in class than the traditional schools. Students do not have to miss school to go to the activities. Students can also go to doctors or other appointments on the fifth day.
The main reason for shortening the school week is an economic one. Small school systems say they can save money by not giving meals or transportation for students on the fifth day. And they say research shows that students are not harmed by the shorter week.
Opponents （反對者） of the four-day plan say the research is not clear on this. They say the four-day plan has not been shown to improve students learning. And they say that three days off from school each week is a long time away from class.
1. Each year most of the American schools hold classes for ___ .
A. 20 weeks B. 36 weeks
C. 40 weeks D. 45 weeks
2. What is the benefit of the four-day plan to the students according to the text？
A. They are friendlier.
B. They become healthier.
C. They are more active in class.
D. They have more time for other activities.
3. Whats the main purpose of the four-day plan？
A. To save money.
B. To ease city traffic.
C. To improve school learning.
D. To make the kids work harder.
4. How do the opponents feel about the four-day plan according to the last paragraph？
A. Worried. B. Disappointed.
C. Interested. D. Satisfied.
When you were a kid， did you ever draw pictures in the dirt with sticks？ There is a man named Stan Herd who is very skilled at playing in dirt！
Stan Herd was born into a family of farmers in 1950 and grew up in a very small town in Southwest Kansas. He was a talented painter. When he started doing murals （壁畫） he realized he enjoyed doing a huge work of art. Then， while flying over a field once， he got the idea of using the earth as his canvas （画布）. In 1976， he returned to farming roots and invented a new form of artwork called “crop art” or “Earthworks”. Herd is the first known American to use the earth as canvas.
To create these giant designs， Herd usually starts by making an outline （轮廓） with bricks. After that， he begins filling in the area with materials. These can range from different colors of dirt， sand， and rocks to different types of plants and flowers. Herd often uses local volunteers to help with his projects because his projects are too big for just one person. While he is creating his pieces， he sometimes looks at them by going up in a hot air balloon， but usually he just creates his work based on his previous experience.
Herds personal artwork frequently focuses on the theme of farm life. Herd comes from a family of farmers. His art aims to show respect for their hard work. He has also devoted his time to creating an earthen medicine wheel at Haskell Indian Nations University—a big project that he is very proud of. Through years of practice， he created his own art form by combining his farm upbringing （教养） with his love of art.
5. Herd thought of using crop fields as his canvas when ___ .
A. he was working in a field
B. he was creating a large mural
C. he was drawing pictures in the dirt
D. he was flying over a field by plane
6. What is Paragraph 3 mainly about？
A. How Herd creates his works.
B. How Herd helps local volunteers.
C. How Herd gets the ideas for his designs.
D. How Herd has a birds-eye view of his works.
7. Why did Herd use farm life as the theme of his works？
A. He had lived on a farm for a long time.
B. He had deep feelings about it.
C. He thought it would make him popular.
D. He was influenced by local painting traditions.
8. According to the last paragraph， which of the following can best describe Herd？
A. Popular but serious.
B. Friendly and honest.
C. Talented and hard-working.
D. Talented but narrow-minded.