Yak’s Corner
A print and online children’s news magazine published on 30 Thursdays from September through May for Michigan kids ages 6-13. Each eight-page issue is filled with educational and entertaining stories about places, people and events in Michigan and around the world. The Yak’s Corner online page also includes “Yaktivities” for each issue, a Yak Art Gallery, student writing and more.
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For Grades K-4 , week of May 22, 2011

1. Facing Disaster

Every November much is made about the Pilgrims, their voyage on the Mayflower and their attempts to settle "The New World" in 1620. But the first settlers actually arrived in America from England in 1607. Captain Christopher Newport led a group of settlers from England to America and chose the site for Jamestown in what is now the state of Virginia in May of 1607. The colonists struggled to survive against attacks from the Algonquian tribe, bouts of famine, severe weather and epidemics of deadly diseases. After a bad winter, only 60 of the original 214 settlers remained alive. As a class, search the newspaper for people who are surviving natural disasters today. Or find an example online. Compare what they are experiencing today to what the Jamestown survivors experienced.

Learning Standards: Engaging peers in constructive conversations about topics of interest or importance; explaining the aims, obstacles and accomplishments of the explorers of America.

2. Get in Shape

Shapes often make news: New buildings, new products, new sports fields. Look at the pictures, ads and drawings in the newspaper. Find a circle, a square, an oval, a rectangle, a ball, a cube and a triangle in the photos. Then cut out each of the shapes and paste them on a separate piece of paper as an art collage. Give your artwork a creative title and share it with the class. Explain why you chose your title.

Learning Standard: Comparing, sorting and classifying familiar shapes; representing creatively.

3. Your Best Pet

There aren't many things sadder than seeing your pet sick. They look up at you with their big eyes, and you know there is one place you can go to get them help. It's off to the veterinarian's office. The very first school of veterinary medicine was founded on May 23, 1879 at Iowa State University. Now, there are more than 40 universities that offer studies in veterinary medicine and science. Getting into veterinary school is very competitive. It requires excellent math and science skills, as well as outstanding grades. For a really great look at the life of a country veterinarian, check out the "All Creatures Great and Small" book collection by James Herriot. Then search the newspaper for stories, photos or ads involving pets. Talk about what would be the ideal pet for you. Then draw a picture of your ideal pet and write two or three sentences about why this pet would be the best.

Learning Standards: Writing complete sentences using descriptive words; using the craft of the illustrator to express ideas artistically.

4. Space News

With the help of the NASA space agency, the Hubble Telescope and amazing technology, we now can prove that the planets of our solar system revolve around the sun. People living in 1500s didn't know this until a man named Nicolaus Copernicus published a theory that states we live in a "sun-centered solar system" on May 24, 1543. Before Copernicus, people thought the Earth was the center of the universe. Copernicus was afraid of what people would say about his theory, so he didn't allow anyone to print it until he was on his death bed. As a class, search the newspaper this week for any news about space. Or find some news on the NASA website, www.nasa.gov. Talk about one space mission. Then draw or make a model of the solar system showing how planets revolve around the sun.

Learning Standards: Knowing that Earth is one of several planets that orbit the sun; acquiring information from written, visual and electronic sources; representing creatively.

5. Seeking NBA Role Models

LeBron James. Kobe Bryant. Michael Jordan. These men are and were masters of the game of basketball. The world never would have known them or their talent if it weren't for people like Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton, the first African American player signed to play in the NBA. Clifton played for the Harlem Globetrotters before signing with the NBA's New York Knicks on May 24, 1950. Search the newspaper for an NBA player you like as a role model both on and off the court. Write a letter to that player and tell him why you admire him.

Learning Standards: Writing friendly letters; identifying and explaining how individuals in history demonstrate good character and personal virtue.