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For Grades K-4 , week of Feb. 27, 2012

1. You Can Write About Zeroes or Movie-Star Heroes

Dr. Seuss was born at this time of year. His popularity is still very clear. You remember the book "The Cat in the Hat"? And "Green Eggs and Ham" — he also wrote that. So put on your thinking caps, go on and try To write a short poem like this talented guy. Take a story you find from the news of the day And retell it for others in a Seuss kind of way. No pressure, be creative, be sure to have fun, Then give yourself A for effort when done!

Core/National Standard: Writing fluently for multiple purposes to produce compositions, such as personal narratives, persuasive essays, lab reports and poetry.

2. Marian Anderson

Marian Anderson was born on February 27 in 1897. She was such a good opera singer that people said a voice like hers only comes along once in a century. As a class, read a story in today's newspaper about another talented person. Then, on your own, write two sentences that describe that person.

Core/National Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to convey ideas and information clearly; demonstrating the ability to write clear and grammatically correct sentences, paragraphs and compositions.

3. Toys Galore!

Talk about a fun job! Recently, Good Housekeeping magazine sent reporters to New York City’s annual Toy Fair to check out the hottest new toys for 2012. One of the top toys is Playmobil’s Future Planet play sets. They include futuristic scenery, action figures and remote control vehicles. For those of you who like art, there is the Gelarti Designer Studio, which allows kids to create their own stickers using paint, fuzzy surfaces and glitter. Like all great toys, some instructions are required this year’s new items. Knowing how to read and even write step-by-step instructions are important skills. Search your newspaper for stories or advertisements for new games or toys. Using them as examples, work in small groups to create a new game of your own. Then write step-by-step instructions on how to play it.

Core/National Standard: Writing informative/explanatory texts to convey ideas and information clearly.

4. Helping Others Help Themselves

During his campaign for president, John F. Kennedy told voters he wanted to start a new “army” of volunteers, who would give their time and talents to help people living in poor countries around the world. So on March 1, 1961, President Kennedy issued an executive order establishing the Peace Corps. His idea was that by helping struggling countries develop things like clean drinking water, better farming practices, education systems and a strong economy, their people would be less likely to start violent revolutions and be more likely to start governments that were democracies. Find a newspaper article about someone making a difference in another country. Draw a comic strip showing how the person is helping. Then draw a second comic strip showing a way you would like to see someone help a community in this country. Share ideas and comic strips with the class.

Core/National Standard: Using illustrations and details to describe key ideas.

5. It’s Just Not Regular

As if learning to read isn’t hard enough, the English language does tricky things with some of its verbs. One of the first things you learn is that a verb is a word that shows some action – “walk,” “talk” or “smile,” for example. Then you learn that by putting the letters “ed” at the end of a verb means it happened in the past – “walked,” “talked” and “smiled.” But the language gets tricky with some verbs, such as “run,” “throw” or “swim,” because the past tense of “run” is “ran,” “throw” becomes “threw” and “swim” becomes “swam.” These verbs are called “irregular” verbs, because they do not follow the regular rules of most verbs. Alone or with a partner, cut or print out a newspaper article and highlight all irregular verbs. For each, write out the present tense form of the verb and the past tense. Then write a paragraph correctly using irregular verbs you have found.

Core/National Standard: Forming, using and identifying regular and irregular verbs.