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Past lessons
for Grades K-4

July 28, 2014
July 21, 2014
July 14, 2014
July 07, 2014
June 23, 2014
June 16, 2014
June 09, 2014
June 02, 2014
May 26, 2014
May 19, 2014
May 12, 2014
May 05, 2014
Apr 28, 2014
Apr 21, 2014
Apr 14, 2014
Apr 07, 2014
Mar. 31, 2014
Mar. 24, 2014
Mar. 17, 2014
Mar. 10, 2014
Mar. 03, 2014
Feb. 24, 2014
Feb. 17, 2014
Feb. 10, 2014
Feb. 03, 2014
Jan. 27, 2014
Jan. 20, 2014
Jan. 13, 2014
Jan. 06, 2014
Dec. 16, 2013
Dec. 09, 2013
Dec. 02, 2013
Nov. 25, 2013
Nov. 18, 2013
Nov. 11, 2013
Nov. 04, 2013
Oct. 28, 2013
Oct. 21, 2013
Oct. 14, 2013
Oct. 07, 2013

For Grades K-4 , week of July 28, 2014

1. Coral Reefs Boost Fish

Coral reefs are often in the news because they are threatened around the world by pollution and climate change. Yet they are the reason there is a wide variety of fish species in many areas. A recent study of the islands and reefs of the Malay archipelago between Australia and Southeast Asia concludes that reefs have provided fish a safe home and the means to evolve into new species for 3 million years. The findings show “that the past shapes the present,” the study’s author notes in the journal Science. “The farther you go from … reef habitats … the fewer fish you find. … We need to manage and maintain lots of reefs.” Oceans provide habitats for a wide variety of fish and wildlife. They also help humans in many ways. With family or friends, talk about all the ways humans benefit from oceans. Then use photos, headlines and images from the newspaper to create an art collage highlighting how oceans benefit humans.

Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.

2. Welcome Back, LeBron

Four years after bolting to the Miami Heat, NBA superstar LeBron James is returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers. At age 29, after helping the Heat win two NBA titles, free agent James has rejoined the Cavaliers, for whom he played in his first seven professional seasons. The superstar said he made the move because of “my relationship with Northern Ohio,” apparently forgetting he was widely criticized in Cleveland and Ohio for leaving the Cavs in the first place to pursue NBA championships with the Heat. Now, apparently, all is forgiven. Cleveland has not won a major sports championship in 50 years, and there was wide celebrating when James announced his return. With James rejoining the Cavs, the team is expected to be a top NBA power. In the newspaper or online, closely read a story about what effect James’ move will have on the NBA. Then write a paragraph predicting which teams will battle for league championship.

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.

3. Kill Switch on Smart Phones

Most new smart phones will have a “kill switch” designed to make the devices unusable if they are lost or stolen. This has been promised by Microsoft and Google for their operating systems, including handsets produced by big names like Samsung, Nokia and Motorola. Law enforcement officials contend that a kill switch will make smart phones less appealing to thieves, especially those intending to resell them. As evidence, they note that there has been a drop in iPhone robberies since Apple released an anti-theft feature. Technology is used in new ways every year to make products safer or more effective. In the ads of the newspaper, find an ad for a technology product or device. Read what the ad says about the device closely. Then write a paragraph describing how technology makes the product better than what existed before.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

4. More Smoking Problems

Cigarette smoking has long been linked to lung cancer and heart disease, but a report this year by the U.S. surgeon general says it also can be a cause of many other health problems. The report notes, for example, that smoking can cause or contribute to liver cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, impaired immune function and pregnancy complications. On top of that, breathing second-hand smoke from the cigarettes of other people can cause stroke, the report adds. To deal with the problem, the researchers recommend expanding restrictions on the sale of tobacco products, more funding for prevention, increased taxes on tobacco products and cutting the amount of nicotine in cigarettes to make them less addictive. Smoking is a health issue that can affect people for years. With the newspaper or Internet, read stories about the effect smoking has on health. Then write a short editorial for the newspaper, detailing reasons young people should say no to 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. Auto Mechanic Is Blind

A man in the state of New Mexico recently earned an auto mechanics degree and is looking for a job. But he is not just any mechanic — he is blind. Born with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disease that led to his blindness, Clifford Anderson got on-the-job training at a small auto shop in Alamagordo, and plans to make auto mechanics his career. He earned his degree at New Mexico State University-Dona Ana Community College by listening closely to instructors and learning to feel his way around vehicles. People who are blind or have other physical limitations often become very successful in careers. With family or friends, find a story in the newspaper or online about a person who overcame a limitation to become a success. Write a letter to the editor of the newspaper explaining how this person could inspire others.

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

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