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for Grades K-4

Feb. 20, 2017
Feb. 13, 2017
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For Grades K-4 , week of Feb. 20, 2017

1. Presidents Day

On Monday this week, the nation celebrated Presidents Day to honor the memory and achievements of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other presidents. Washington, who was the nation’s first president, was born on February 22 in 1732. Lincoln, who was the nation’s 16th president, was born on February 12 in 1809. Before becoming president, Washington led the American army in the nation’s War of Independence. Lincoln was president during the American Civil War, which led to the Emancipation Proclamation freeing African American slaves in southern states. As a class, discuss the many things the president of the United States is asked to do, and find examples in the newspaper or online. Use what you learn to write about the role of president in a poem titled “Being the President.” Your poems do not need to rhyme but should include active verbs and adjectives. Share poems as a class.

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic. 2. Animal Habitats Where wild animals live is their habitat. Some habitats are forests, some are fields, some are swamps. Some even are city parks. As a class, discuss different habitats for wild animals that can be found locally. Then find a photo of a possible habitat in the paper. Make a list of every animal that could live in the habitat. Then make a list of possible threats to the habitat. Finish by drawing a cartoon showing how animals might adapt to the threat. Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.

3. Airplanes Taxiing Longer

Airplanes are taking longer than ever taxiing between gates and runways, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. But the longer taxiing times aren’t making planes late. They’re now included in flight schedules, so planes are still arriving on time. While passengers are spending more time on planes, most flights are at the gate within 15 minutes of their scheduled time — the best performance since 2012. Air travel is important to people, businesses and other organizations. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a person, business or other organization. Use what you read to write a paragraph describing ways that air travel affects, or could affect, this person or organization. Stretch your thinking — some effects may indirect, not direct.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

4. Tobacco Pollution

Houses where smokers have lived remain polluted with tobacco smoke for months after the smokers stop or leave. A report in the science journal Tobacco Control found that small particles from burned tobacco penetrate surfaces and remain in homes long after the smoking has stopped. The particles travel through the air as part of tobacco smoke. Smoke “leaves [pollution] compounds in indoor environments that can do harm to our bodies … and sometimes we cannot see it or smell it,” a researcher explains. While the pollution can be reduced by washing surfaces, “no level of exposure to tobacco is safe,” the researcher says. Because smoking cigarettes can cause long term health problems, government and health leaders discourage children and teens from smoking. As a class, use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read a story giving reasons why kids and teens should not smoke. Use what you read to write a short editorial for the newspaper, giving your opinion on what you think would be the most effective way to discourage students your age from smoking.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

5. Signs of Change

It may still feel like winter, but spring is just a month away. The first day of spring this year is Monday, March 20, and on that day there will be an equal amount of darkness and daylight. The days will continue to get longer until the “longest day of the year” on the first day of summer June 21. If you look closely, there are many signs that spring is coming. Some can be seen in nature and some can be seen in the activities of people and businesses. In the newspaper or online, find and study stories, photos, ads and other materials that include different signs of spring. Print or clip images and stories and create an art collage titled “Spring Is Coming.” Share with the class and explain the images in your artwork.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.