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For Grades K-4 , week of Jan. 16, 2023

1. Mother and Son

It’s not unusual for a parent to encourage a child to go to college and get a degree. It IS unusual for a child to encourage a parent to go to college — when the child is in kindergarten! Yet that is what Immanuel Patton did when he was 5 years old riding to school with his mother Carolyn Patton in Linthicum, Maryland. “My mom was always talking about other people getting college degrees, and I told her that I’d make sure she got a degree at the same time I got mine,” Immanuel recalled in an interview with the Washington Post newspaper. Nearly 20 years later, the Pattons, mother and son, achieved that unusual goal. Last month they received degrees from the University of Maryland Global Campus and walked down the aisle together at their graduation ceremony. Immanuel, who is 23, and his mom, who is 63, earned their bachelor’s degrees in an online program and helped each other step by step. “My son encouraged me the entire way and wouldn’t let me give up on days when it seemed like too much and I wanted to stop,” she said. “It was such a huge reward to see the smile on my mother’s face,” Immanuel said. “I always knew that she could do it.” Family members support each other in many ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about family members doing this. Use what you read to write a letter to a member of your family telling how support is more valuable when it comes from a family member.

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.

2. Day of Service

This week the nation honors the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with the Martin Luther King Day holiday and day of service. Dr. King, who would have turned 94 on January 15, was America’s most respected civil rights leader. He spent his life serving others and working for equal treatment and justice for people of all races. After his death in 1968, the nation created a national holiday to honor his life and years of service. On this day, school children, families and adults of all ages volunteer to help improve their communities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about ways people joined together to help their neighborhoods and community in honor of the holiday celebrated on Monday this week. Use what you read to brainstorm a way you, your class or your family could do things to help your community. Share with the class and discuss.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.

3. Sleep Tight, Black Bear

Black bears are the most common bear in the United States and North America, but they are not seen as much in the winter months when they hibernate to conserve energy in cold weather. They like to build “nests” in caves or cozy places where they can sleep and keep warm. In a town in the state of Connecticut, a black bear found a cozy place that has made him a furry neighbor to one family. A male black bear curled up in a crawl space under a deck of a home in the town of Plainville, and the family has decided to let him stay. The bear, which could be as big as 600 pounds, was discovered by the Dashukewich family when their dog started barking next to the deck. Wildlife officials said the family could either make a lot of noise to force the bear to move out, or let him sleep until spring. “He hasn’t bothered us at all,” said Tyler Dashukewich, 28. “So we feel like there’s no reason to move him.” People often have to deal with wildlife living nearby. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about people doing this. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor outlining the benefits of having wildlife living nearby and risks or problems that could occur.

Common Core State Standards: Citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

4. NFL Playoffs

The NFL playoffs are under way, and fans all over the country are watching to see which teams will advance to pro football’s Super Bowl. In many years there are surprises — teams that do better than expected, players who become unexpected heroes or just plain odd or wacky events. This year, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs are the top-ranked teams in the playoffs, having each won 14 games in the regular season while losing just 3. Yet top teams have often been upset by lower-ranked teams in the playoffs, and the Eagles and Chiefs coaches are sure to be reminding their players that they have to guard against surprises from opponents. Under the NFL format, a single loss knocks a team out of the playoff picture, and last year both top-ranked teams failed to reach the Super Bowl. In the newspaper or online, find and read stories about the NFL playoffs this week. Keep a log or journal of interesting, unexpected or wacky things that happen in games or practices. Think like a sportswriter and use your journal to write a column titled “Playoff Surprises.” Your column may be serious or humorous.

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

5. Speed Travel

Many people dream of traveling around the world. Two men from the Asian nation India have actually done it‚ and in just over three days! In the process, Dr. Ali Irani and Sujoy Kumar Mitra set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest time traveling to all seven of the world’s continents with the exact time of 3 days, 1 hour, 5 minutes, and 4 seconds. Traveling by plane, the duo started their journey on the continent of Antarctica near the Earth’s South Pole and touched down in South America, North America, Europe, Asia and Africa, before finishing their 73-hour journey in Australia, NDTV News reported. The previous speed record traveling to all seven continents was 3 days, 14 hours, 46 minutes and 48 seconds and was set in 2020. “Today we might be successful in breaking a record, but tomorrow someone else will break our record,” the duo said. The United States is located in North America, but many Americans would like to travel to another continent. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another continent you might like to visit. Find this continent on a world map and design a poster showing things or countries you would like to visit. Use pictures from the newspaper or Internet for your poster and write a complete sentence explaining each picture you use.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.