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for Grades K-4

Apr 25, 2016
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For Grades K-4 , week of Apr 25, 2016

1. Oldest Orangutan Dies at 48

North America’s oldest orangutan born in a zoo has died at age 48 in Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, after struggling with breathing problems. The orangutan named Towan had been trained to make art using paint, pens and chalk, and his works sold for up to $1,000. Towan and a twin sister, Chinta, were the first twin orangutans born in captivity — in 1968 at the Woodland zoo located in the city of Seattle in Washington State. Orangutans are one of the most advanced primates, which are the animals most closely related to humans. Primates like orangutans, gorillas, apes and monkeys are endangered in many parts of the world. As a class, find and closely read a story about an endangered primate in the newspaper or online. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, suggesting ways people could help protect this primate.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

2. Girl, 5, Rescues Mom

A 5-year-old Texas girl, who learned to swim when she was just 2 years old, saved her mother’s life after the woman had a seizure and collapsed face down in the family swimming pool. The child waded in, dragged her mother to the shallow end, turned her over so she could breathe and then ran for help. After the mother was released from a hospital in the city of Corpus Christi, she expressed amazement that her daughter knew what to do. No matter how young you are, it is important to know what to do when there is an emergency. As a class, discuss different emergency situations and what you should do in each. Then design a poster or newspaper ad, showing how someone your age should respond to different emergencies. Give your poster an eye-catching headline and share with the class.

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.

3. This Cat Was Mailed

A pet Siamese cat survived eight days cooped up in a box, after accidentally being sent through the mail in England. The cat Cupcake had curled up in a box with an order of DVDs sent from the town of Cornwall to West Sussex 260 miles away. When the box was received by the person who had ordered the DVDs, he contacted the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which traced the owners through a microchip placed under the cat’s skin. The owners said they had been “looking everywhere” for Cupcake after she disappeared. Cupcake was badly dehydrated from the eight-day journey but expected to recover. Animals sometimes have amazing experiences. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about such an experience. Then use what you read to draw a series of comic strips showing the animal responding to the experience. For added fun, make up a story about an animal having an unusual experience and tell the story in a comic strip.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

4. A Lake Invasion

A new plant pest has found its way into the waterways of the northern United States. It’s the starry stonewort, a kind of large algae that competes for resources with other water plants and pushes out native plant species. In the state of Minnesota, the Department of Natural Resources has confirmed that the starry stonewort has made its way into lakes in several counties for the first time as an invasive species. It is a concern to environmental leaders because it is stronger and bigger than related species and can grow up to two meters high. When invasive species invade natural areas, they can threaten native species and upset the balance of nature. As a class, find and closely read a story about an invasive species in your state, or a story about another environmental problem. Use what you read to write a paragraph explaining what has happened, what the effects have been and what can be done.

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.

5. Flying ‘Sardines’

Airlines transport a lot of people every day, and sometimes flights are crowded. Too crowded, according to one U.S. senator, who says airlines are forcing passengers to sit on planes “like sardines” closely packed in cans. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York State wants the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) top do something about the problem by setting larger seat-size standards. He said commercial airlines have been shrinking seats and reducing legroom, and the situation should be corrected. Air travel helps people move quickly from place, but it also helps businesses. In the newspaper or online, closely read a story about a business in your community or state. With the Internet or other resources, read more about how the business operates. Use what you read to write a paragraph describing how air travel or air shipments help this business. Then write a paragraph discussing things the business would have to do differently if airlines did not exist.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.