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For Grades K-4 , week of May 15, 2023

1. Move That Jet!

In strength competitions for men and women, contestants often do outrageous things like carrying giant logs, pushing boulders or pulling buses or tractor-trailer trucks. In Atlanta, Georgia this month, Delta Airlines employees and their families did something even more amazing. They dragged a 255,000-pound Boeing 757 jet across an airport tarmac with a rope to raise money for charity, UPI News reported. Delta employees from all over the country flew in for the Delta Jet Drag event, which raised more than $1-million for the American Cancer Society. Teams of 25 attempted to drag the giant jet 25 feet each to earn pledges and donations from supporters. This year’s Jet Drag was the 12th in the history of the partnership between Delta and the Cancer Society. The event has raised millions of dollars and involved thousands of employees who love the challenge of using muscle power to move a 155-foot jet with a 125-foot wingspan. “When you're out there, the adrenaline is so crazy,” said the president of Delta’s cancer support group. “It’s crazy to think you can pull a 757 jet, but it is exhilarating to do that.” People often do unusual things to raise money for charity or special causes. With a partner, use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read a story about people doing something unusual for charity. Use what you read and personal knowledge to brainstorm an unusual event you or other people could do to raise money for a charity or cause. Write a letter to classmates and the community describing your event, how it would raise money and how it would be fun and rewarding for participants.

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.

2. ‘Next 50’ Rapper

At just 11 years old, Zyah Brown has already earned a following as a rapper in the music world of Washington, DC. Now she is getting national attention as well. Zyah, who performs as “Fly Zyah” onstage, has been named one the “Next 50” national cultural leaders by the world famous Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The Next 50 program was created as part of the Kennedy Center’s 50th anniversary celebration to honor individuals whom the Center believes will “help shape culture and society through the arts” in the next 50 years. Fly Zyah — the Fly in her stage name stands for “First Love Yourself” — already is seeking to shape society with raps that tackle serious issues like homelessness, racism and police violence but also with songs about Black joy and Black girlhood. Even with painful subjects, she tries to bring a positive, caring outlook to her songs, the Washington Post newspaper reported. And she has attracted some famous fans. Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis recently shared a video of Zyah rapping on her Instagram page with the caption: “This made me cry!!! Conquer the world, lil sis'. YOU are our hope.” Rap, hip-hop and other forms of music give students and young adults a way to let their voices be heard on subjects that are important to them. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an issue that is important to you. Use what you read to try your hand at writing a rap, rhyme or song about the issue. Write the opening verse to tell why the issue is important and who needs to know about it. Then use colorful adjectives and active verbs to write additional verses. Perform your rap for the class — with feeling.

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.

3. A Record for Friendship

Friendship bracelets are handmade wristbands that are exchanged to show a strong friendship between people. They usually are woven or braided from thread known as embroidery floss and can be created in a variety of colors and patterns. Friendship bracelets can be traced back to Native Americans in North, South and Central America and are now popular throughout the world. Friendship bracelets are meant to be long-lasting, like friendship. At an elementary school in the state of Texas, a very special friendship bracelet is simply long — really, really long. The students at Valley Creek Elementary School in the city of McKinney have set a new world record by creating the longest friendship bracelet ever. The bracelet took the students four months to make and measures a record 2,795 feet and 9 inches in length, UPI News reported. That is more than a half mile in length and more than 600 feet longer than the previous record of 2,166 feet and 11 inches. The bracelet was made of ribbon not thread and was so big it had to be laid out on a football field to be measured. Friendship bracelets are one way students, teens and young adults show friendship for each other. In the newspaper or online, find stories, photos and ads showing other ways people show friendship for others. Study what you find for ideas on ways you could show a good friend how much their friendship means to you. Write a description of what you think would be the most meaningful effort for your special friend.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific visual or textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

4. Mother’s Day

On Sunday, the United States and other nations celebrated Mother’s Day to recognize all the things that moms do to help their children, their families and their communities. Mother’s Day is celebrated on a different date each year, but it always takes place on the second Sunday in May. It has been a national holiday in the United States since 1914, and now is celebrated in more than 40 countries around the world. The holiday was established by President Woodrow Wilson who set aside “the second Sunday in May as a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.” Today Mother’s Day celebrates all that today’s mothers do while juggling jobs, careers and family responsibilities. As a class, discuss some of the things that mothers in your life do. Then use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read a story about a mother who is doing one or more of these things. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor publicly thanking this mother for her special qualities and efforts.

Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

5. And Now … Flock-Sitters

When people go away on vacation, they often hire cat-sitters or dog-sitters to take care of their pets. But what if you have chickens or ducks or other feathered friends? In the state of Minnesota, a married couple has come up with an answer. Dana and Craig Heinen have launched a chicken-sitting and duck-sitting business to take care of backyard birds while people are away. The Heinens started the service after raising ducks in their own yard and realizing that vacations are always a problem for flock owners. “I think a lot of people are excited for the idea of having us in their back pocket," Dana told CBS News. “It kind of allows us to start having some conversations and learn from each other," Craig added. The Heinens usually visit flocks in their care every two or three days and report back to the owners. They even send photos to show how the birds are doing and what “adventures” they are having. To keep the birds healthy, they closely watch the flocks and carefully follow safety rules to prevent diseases. Dana and Craig Heinen started a business to provide a service that people needed. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another business being started to provide a new service. Use what you read to write a paragraph telling what would be offered by the service, how the service would be provided, what people need it and how much.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.