Resources for Teachers and Students

For Grades K-4 , week of Apr 01, 2019

1. Great at 8

Greatness comes in many forms, and if you need proof, look to New York City. There, a homeless 8-year-old has become a state chess champion — after learning to play just a year ago. Tanitoluwa (Tani) Adewumi, a third grader at a local public school, won the New York State Scholastic Primary Championship in his age bracket earlier this month. His victory led to great support for his family, who had fled the African nation of Nigeria in 2017 to escape the violence of the Boko Haram terrorist group. When word got out that the family was living in a homeless shelter, an online GoFundMe program was launched and raised more than $200,000 to support them. Best of all, an anonymous donor paid the rent for an apartment for the family so they could leave the homeless shelter. The family plans to use the GoFundMe money to help other African immigrants. Young children achieve success in many ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about the success of a young child. Use what you read to write a personal letter to a friend or family member, telling how this child’s success could inspire others.

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. Back to the Moon

Fifty years ago, the United States became the first nation to land astronauts on the Earth’s moon. Now, the U.S. wants to re-create that achievement — and the five manned American landings that followed — within the next five years. This month Vice President Mike Pence announced at a meeting of the National Space Council that “It is the stated policy of this administration … to return American astronauts to the moon” and to establish a “permanent presence” there. “It’s time for the next giant leap,” the Vice President said. The moon mission would lay the groundwork for a manned mission to Mars, the next planet out from Earth in the solar system. In the history of space exploration, the U.S. is the only nation to have landed astronauts on the moon. Exploring the moon or other parts of space requires much planning. In the newspaper or online find and closely read stories about the new moon plans or another mission. Use what you read to write a paragraph describing challenges that will require careful planning.

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. Harry Potter Record

Ever since the first Harry Potter book, readers around the world have fallen in love with his wizard world. But no one has shown that love the way a 39-year-old European woman has. Victoria Maclean of the nation of Wales has broken the Guinness World Record for having the largest collection of Potter materials anywhere. In 18 years as a fan, Maclean has amassed an amazing 3,686 pieces celebrating Potter and his Wizarding World. Maclean started her collection when she was 21 and read her first Potter book. Her collection includes pins, postcards, books, wands, snow globes and — her prized possession — a 24-carat, gold-plated snitch puzzle from the Asian nation of Japan. A mother of three, Maclean keeps her entire collection in her home in South Wales. People often go to great lengths to show how they support people or things that they like. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone doing this. Then choose a person or thing you like a lot. Make a list of things you could do or collect to show your support as a fan. Give a reason for each item on your list and share with the class.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; organizing data using concrete objects, pictures, tallies, tables, charts, diagrams and graphs.

4. Toad-ally Gross

Toads may be friendly in children’s books, but they haven’t been friendly to a community in the state of Florida this spring. It’s been more like a horror movie for residents of the Palm Beach Gardens community in South Florida. Thousands of poisonous toads have climbed out of a nearby lake and flooded gardens, swimming pools, sidewalks and driveways in the Mirabella neighborhood. The toads pose dangers to children and pets, and officials are warning people to stay away from them. The toads are bufo toads, also known as cane toads, and they give off a poisonous, milky substance from their heads when they are handled or threatened. The substance can burn the eyes and irritate the skin of children and poses a serious threat to cats and dogs if the toads are eaten. Wildlife experts said the invasion of toads was caused by heavy rains and a warm winter, which provided ideal conditions for toad eggs to hatch. People love to get close to wild animals, but sometimes they need to be careful. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone getting close to a wild animal. Use what you read to design a poster offering tips for staying safe when getting close to this wild animal. Share with the class.

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.

5. What a Birthday!

When it comes to birthday gifts, it’s often said it’s the thought that counts. And then there’s the birthday gift a man got from his wife in the state of Massachusetts. Gjergji Prifti got a $5 State Lottery scratch ticket from his wife for his special day. Given the odds of winning a lottery, he wasn’t feeling especially lucky. But when he scratched the spaces on the back, he discovered he had won $1,000,000! All over the world, people of dream of winning lotteries and becoming wealthy. They often have to face big decisions about what to do with the money they win. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a lottery winner. Write a personal column for the newspaper, telling about decisions this person now has to make. Then write about decisions you would have to make if you won a lottery prize. Include things you would like to do with the money.

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