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for Grades K-4

Jan. 23, 2017
Jan. 16, 2017
Jan. 09, 2017
Jan. 02, 2017
Dec. 12, 2016
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Nov. 28, 2016
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For Grades K-4 , week of Jan. 09, 2017

1. Born to Move

Thousands of years ago people were hunters and gatherers, and they moved around a lot to find food to eat. Today, however, people sit in front of screens and computers for work or fun, and most have easy access to their food supply. That is a problem, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Human Biology. Researchers have concluded that humans are born to be in motion, and when they are not, it increases the risk of health problems. In addition, the easy availability of food makes it easy to gain weight, which can make health problems worse. Inactive lifestyles increase the risk of a wide variety of health issues, the researchers conclude. There are many ways to get exercise and increase physical activity. In the newspaper or online, find examples in stories, photos, listings or other features. Pick one or two that you find interesting. Then write a poem, song, rap or rhyme telling of the benefits of these ways to get exercise and be active. Call your poem “Get Moving!”

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. Visit to Antarctica

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has become the highest-ranking American official to visit Antarctica near the Earth’s South Pole. Kerry earned that place in history with a two-day trip on which he met with scientists to talk about the impact of climate change on the frozen continent. Warming temperatures have caused ice shelves to melt or break up in Antarctica, disrupting habitats and threatening wildlife. Photos and videos are used by newspapers and websites to help explain news events or situations. In the newspaper or online, find and study photos of Antarctica or another place outside the United States. Use what you find to write a paragraph explaining how photos help tell stories in ways that words alone cannot. Then write a second paragraph telling what things you would show in photos or videos to tell the story of the situation you selected.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

3. Florida Deer Endangered

A parasite that scientists believed had been eliminated has reappeared in the Florida Keys and is threatening the local deer population. Deer infested by the larva of an insect known as the New World screw-worm fly suffer pain and disfigurement and many die. So far, the infestation has been restricted to wild deer in the southernmost county in the state of Florida, but scientists say it has the potential to also cause damage to livestock raised by humans. The parasite had not been seen in the United States since the 1970s. Disease, parasites or hardship often threaten wildlife species. In the newspaper or online find and closely read a story about a wildlife species that is being threatened by such causes. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor giving your view on how the habitat of the species would be changed if the species died out or moved away.

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.

4. Cat Atop a Pole — 9 Days!

A cat that got stuck for nine days atop a 45-foot-high utility pole was finally rescued by linemen working for the Pacific Gas and Electric Company in Fresno, California. But to do it, they had to cut off power to homes in the area. The cat — a big-boned, black-and-white pet named Fat Boy — was hungry but unharmed by the ordeal. The cat is believed to have climbed the pole when chased by dogs in the residential neighborhood. The cat’s 14-year-old owner called around for help, but couldn’t arrange it until non-profit group called Paw Lives Matter got involved. Odd or unusual events often are in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about such an event. Use what you read as the starting point for a short, creative story. Imagine what might happen next from the events described in the story.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

5. Hockey ‘Bookends’

When the Pittsburgh Penguins visited President Obama this fall to be congratulated for winning the 2016 National Hockey League championship, it provided a “nice bookend” for the president’s time in office. That’s because the last time the Penguins came to the White House to be honored was in 2009 — the first year Obama was in office. Now at the end of his presidency, Obama noted that “no one thought [the 2016 Penguins] could pull it off. … They said the same thing about me.” Some of the most interesting stories in sports tell how teams or players succeed. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a player or sports team achieving success. Use what you read to write a fan letter telling the player or team why their success could inspire people.

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.