For Grades K-4 , week of Jan. 16, 2017

1. Coyote Saved

A coyote tamely roaming around Middletown, Rhode Island, was spared death and given a second chance recently, after neighborhood residents urged officials not to kill him. Nicknamed “Cliff” by residents, the coyote had been targeted by local officials who feared he could pose a safety threat to children, pets and residents. Thanks to a public outcry, however, Cliff was captured and relocated to a zoo. Digging into dumpsters and sunbathing on lawns, Cliff had become “too comfortable” around people, a police official said. He had caused special concern when he approached a group of children waiting for their school bus. People often want to get close looks at wild animals, but that can be dangerous for both the people and the animals. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a wild animal that people might want to get a close look at. Use what you read and other knowledge to write a list of safety tips to keep people and the wild animal safe when they have a close meeting.

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

2. A Medal for Spies

Spies usually keep their names and identities secret, but after more than 70 years pass there is no longer any need for secrecy. So the U.S. Congress has passed legislation to recognize men and women who served as spies behind enemy lines in World War II and President Obama has signed it. Spies who worked for the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS), forerunner to today’s CIA spy agency, will receive the Congressional Gold Medal in honor of their service as a result. These spies served in Nazi Germany in Europe and in the Pacific Ocean war zone in the battle against Japan. They are now “all in our mid-90s,” as one ex-spy noted, so time is running out to honor them. In the military and in other fields, people often are honored for serving the nation. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone who has served the nation and deserves an honor. Write a letter to the editor, telling why this person deserves to be honored, and what kind of honor would be best.

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. Early to Bed, Less Obesity

Pre-school children who are in bed by 8 p.m. are far less likely to be overweight or obese as teenagers than kids who stay up late, a new study concludes. Researchers for the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development reported in the Journal of Pediatrics that early bedtime reduces the risk of teenage obesity by one half. “There is a great deal of evidence linking poor sleep, and particularly short sleep duration, to obesity,” notes the lead researcher in the study. Health, fitness and medicine are often in the news because they are issues that affect almost everyone. As a class, find and closely read a story in the newspaper or online involving one of these subjects and talk about it as a class. Use what you read and discuss to design a poster highlighting the most important things families should know about the story you read.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

4. How Cops Can Be Safer

The U.S. Justice Department is urging local police departments to take steps to make police officers safer. Among the things being suggested are using body armor, waiting for backups on dangerous calls and correcting “dangerous behaviors” by officers that might put them at risk. These moves have been prompted by a nationwide study of recent police officer deaths in the line of duty. The study was undertaken last year after ambush attacks in which five officers were killed in Dallas, Texas, and three in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The study found that the most dangerous type of call is the domestic dispute, in which officers walk into dangerous family or household situations with only limited information. Police officers risk their lives every day to protect their communities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a police officer doing something for the community. Use what you read to create a series of comic strips showing how this officer helps the community.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events.

5. NFL Know, Wonder & Learn

The NFL playoffs are under way, and fans are closely watching to see which teams will make it to the Super Bowl on February 5. Following the NFL in the newspaper or online is a great way to build reading skills if you use the approach called Know, Wonder and Learn. With this approach, called KWL for short, you ask yourself questions every time you read something. First, you ask what you already KNOW about the subject. Then you ask what you WONDER or WANT TO KNOW about the subject. Then you read and ask what you have LEARNED about the subject by reading. Practice KWL by finding a short story in the newspaper about the NFL playoffs. Write out what you already KNOW about the subject of the story. Then write what you WONDER or WANT TO KNOW about the subject of the story. Then read the story and write what you LEARNED about the subject of the story by reading.

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.

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