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For Grades K-4 , week of Nov. 14, 2011

1. The Proud. The Few.

Being an African American in the United States in the 1940s wasn't easy. African Americans faced discrimination based entirely on their skin color despite their accomplishments. Now, a group of brave black men who served in the Marine Corps during World War II are about to be honored with America's highest civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal, according to a Detroit Free Press article. A group called the Montford Point Marines survived boot camp and war, but never received the recognition other black units received. The U.S. Congress recently passed a resolution to honor these men, who served in the Pacific Ocean conflict during World War II. As a class, find a newspaper article about someone who deserves to be recognized for what he/she has done. Together, come up with an idea to honor that person.

Core/National Standard: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly

2. Recycling

November 15 is America Recycles Day. Listen as your teacher explains what items can be recycled in your area. Go through the newspaper and cut out pictures of items you could recycle. Paste the items onto a sheet of paper in the form of an art collage. Bring your art home to help remind your family about which items can be recycled. When you're done with the newspaper, don't throw it out -- recycle it!

Core/National Standards: Describing how materials cycle through an ecosystem and get reused in the environment; analyzing how humans and the environment interact.

3. A Whale of a Tale

It was just another sunny day in paradise. Water lovers took to the Monterey Bay to kayak, swim and surf along the shores of Santa Cruz, California. However, one surfer nearly ended up like Pinocchio in the stomach of a whale. Two humpback whales the size of school buses jumped up out of the ocean to grab a mouthful of anchovies right next to where a woman was sitting on her surfboard talking to two people in a kayak. Luckily, the woman was able to escape the mouth of the whale - an unforgettable event that a fellow surfer captured on video. Search your newspaper for stories about people who experience unlikely or unbelievable events. Write a sentence describing what happened to one person. Then draw a series of pictures showing what the person experienced, in order.

Core/National Standards: Determining the main idea of a text; recounting the key details and how they support the main idea; adding drawings or other visual displays when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts and feelings.

4. Harry, Oh Harry!

On November 16, 2001, an orphaned boy with a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead leapt from the pages of a book to the movie screen when the first Harry Potter movie hit the theaters. Based on the book by best-selling author J.K. Rowling, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" followed the adventures of Harry and his friends during their first year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Rowling went on to write six more Harry Potter novels, all of which were made into movies. Many successful movies are based on popular books or stories, including "Cinderella," "Shrek" and "Aladdin." Many grown-up movies have been based on things that happen in the news. Find an interesting story in the newspaper, and work with your friends to write a movie idea based on that story. Pitch your movie idea to your teacher in two sentences or less.

Core/National Standard: With guidance and support from adults and peers, focusing on a topic and strengthen writing as needed.

5. Factoring Fractions

If you've ever wondered how much of a difference there could be between 1/4 and 3/4, put away your pencil and paper and take up measuring spoons and cups. Cooking is one of the most fun ways to learn about fractions, and as the holidays approach, it's a fun way to help your family prepare for company. You'll find as you cook that half a teaspoon can make the difference between your muffins rising and being flat or something tasting too bland or too spicy. Find a recipe in the newspaper to try with your classmates or parents. Or find one online. Add up all the fractions in the recipe. What is the total?

Core/National Standard: Extending understanding of fraction equivalence and ordering.