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For Grades K-4 , week of Aug. 29, 2011

1. Cool at School

Going back to school for the fall is big news for students everywhere. Get excited about the new school year by cutting or printing out pictures and words in the newspaper that represent things you would like to learn about this year. Make an art collage out of the pictures and use it to inspire you. Put your collage artworks up on a bulletin board to inspire the whole class! Give each one an eye-catching title.

Learning Standard: Reading and writing fluently, speaking confidently, listening and interacting appropriately, viewing knowledgeably and representing creatively.

2. A Storm's a-Comin'!

Hurricane season began with a bang as Hurricane Irene made itself felt in the Caribbean Sea region last week. The storm started as a tropical storm, but rapidly grew into a full-fledged hurricane. It struck Puerto Rico, tearing up trees and knocking out power to more than 1 million people, according to an Associated Press article. In the Dominican Republic, more than 1,000 people were forced out of their homes, while others gathered in churches and other public buildings to ride out the storm, the article said. As a class, search the newspaper for stories about natural disasters such as hurricanes. Or find stories online. Discuss as a class some of the things people living in one affected area had to do to survive.

Learning Standards: Knowing the causes and effects of different types of severe weather; responding to a variety of texts by making connections to students' personal lives and the lives of others.

3. Amazing Rescue

Dale Ostrander headed down to the beach for a day of fun with his church youth group. The 12-year-old was playing in the ocean when a giant wave and strong undertow sucked him and a friend into the surf. Nicole Kissel was also at the beach that day with her dad Shanon. When 12-year-old Nicole saw what had happened to the boys, she paddled out toward them on her boogie board. She helped Ostrander get up on her board, and they started heading in when a second huge wave hit them and sent them flying off the board. Her dad was able to reach her, but they couldn't see Ostrander. Fifteen minutes later, emergency rescuers found him, and were able to revive him on the way to the hospital. Ostrander is now talking and getting better. With family or friends, search your newspaper for someone doing something heroic. Or find an example online. Fold a paper in three and draw pictures showing what the person did first, next and last.

Learning Standards: Identifying the main points of a story including the introduction, supporting details and conclusion; using the craft of the illustrator to express ideas artistically.

4. Super Statisticians

Football season is under way. Professional teams are working out the kinks of their games in training camp, and college teams are back on campus practicing for their September kickoffs. Even high school, middle school and peewee players are getting back on the gridiron. As with any sport, football is big on statistics. Coaches, players and fans follow the numbers on how their team and its individual players are doing. They want to know how many yards a player has gained, how many sacks a defensive player has made and, most importantly, how many touchdowns have been made and by whom. Following football is a great way to practice your graphing skills. Choose a team to follow and create a graph for specific statistics, such as touchdowns, complete passes or sacks of the quarterback. Use your newspaper and sports team websites to find key stats each week and chart them.

Learning Standards: Using charts, graphs and tables to organize and display information; reading and interpret bar graphs in both horizontal and vertical formats.

5. Find Those Phrases

Knowing which words do what is an important skill to have to be a great reader and writer. Words can name things as nouns do, show action as verbs do, describe nouns as adjectives do, or tell when and where something happens as prepositional phrases do. Prepositions are words like "on," "in" "before" or "after." Prepositional phrases can be part of a sentence such as "on his bike" or "in the store." Find a story in your newspaper that looks interesting to you. Cut or print out the story. Using a highlighter, find and highlight all the prepositional phrases you can find.

Learning Standard: Identifying parts of speech including compound sentences, direct and indirect objects, common and proper nouns and prepositional phrases.


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