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for Grades K-4

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For Grades K-4 , week of Feb. 20, 2012

1. What’s an Eye-Witness Account?

An eye-witness account is an explanation of an event from someone who was at the event. Listen as your teacher reads an article about an interesting event in today's newspaper. Then read the article on your own. Find an example of an eye-witness account in the article. Based on what the eye-witness said, write a short explanation of what the person might have been feeling as he or she watched the event.

Core/National Standard: Describing past events using the information of those who were there, as revealed through their records.

2. Catching Some ZZZZZs

Sleep. Beautiful, wonderful sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep makes you a better learner, gives you more energy and puts you in a better mood. But parents often worry that their kids don’t get enough — and that’s not a new concern. A recent scientific and historical study in the children’s health journal Pediatrics found that parents have been worried about the amount of sleep their kids get for more than 100 years! The study found that the amount of sleep kids need has changed since the late 1800s, but even with changes, kids are not getting enough sleep. Scientists blame the shortage of sleep today on electricity, which allows people to have light all night, and on modern technologies like television, video games and computers that provide entertainment late into the evening. As a class, talk about how late you stay up, and what you do during the evening before you go to bed. Discuss what electronic items you use for entertainment at night. Then draw a comic strip for the newspaper showing how staying up late affects kids your age, for good or bad.

Core/National Standards: Effectively engaging in a range of collaborative discussions; adding visual displays to presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; understanding that families serve basic health needs, especially for young children.

3. Give Credit Where It’s Due

Your grandparents may have served in the Army or other military forces during the Korean or Vietnam Wars, and your great-grandparents in World War II. But you would have to look a long way back in your family tree to find a veteran of World War I. That war lasted from 1914 to 1918. The very last known World War I veteran died recently at 110 years old, according to an Associated Press news story. Florence Green served with the Women’s Royal Air Force in England during WWI. When asked once what it was like to be 110, she answered, “It’s not much different to being 109.” Quotations are things people said in their own words. In a news story, they are set off by quotation marks (“ ”). When using information from a story, it is effective to use direct quotations and identify the source of the information. Find a newspaper article and practice writing down quotes and crediting sources. Share quotes as a class.

Core/National Standard: Quoting accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences.

4. The Root of the Matter

Barry Landau, a historian who studies presidents, pleaded guilty recently to conspiring to steal historical documents signed by leaders throughout U.S. history, including papers signed by Presidents Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John Adams and many othrs. Did you will notice that three words in the first sentence are all based on the word “history,” which comes from the ancient Greek word “historein” meaning “learning by inquiry”? Knowing word origins and root words will help you understand unknown words. In teams or pairs, find a newspaper article about a topic that interests you. Clip or print out the article and using a root word list, see if you can figure out the meaning of words you don’t know in the article. Use three words you find in complete sentences.

Core/National Standard: Using known root words as a clue to the meaning of an unknown word.

5. Say It Better!

Synonyms (SIN-o-nims) are words that mean the same thing. Antonyms (ANT-o-nims) are words that have opposite meanings. Synonyms are especially important to writers who don’t want to get stuck in a rut using the same words over and over again. Finding a good synonym for a boring, everyday word can really spice up your writing. Find a newspaper article that interests you. Write down 10 words from that story that are new to you. Use a thesaurus to look up synonyms and antonyms for the words. Then use two synonyms and two antonyms in a short poem, rap or rhyme. Share your rhyme with the class.

Core/National Standards: Demonstrating an understanding of words by relating them to their opposites and to words that are similar, but not identical in meaning