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For Grades K-4 , week of Jan. 22, 2024


Last week, the Primetime Emmy Awards honoring top television shows finally took place. The ceremony, which covers TV shows and specials that aired from June 1, 2022, to May 31, 2023, was supposed to take place in November. It was delayed for four months because of the Hollywood actors’ and writers’ strikes that were going on at the time. Among the well-known awards like those for top actors in comedy or drama series, there are some that people don’t always think of. One is the award for “outstanding variety special,” which included nominees of Rhianna’s performance at the 2022 Super Bowl halftime show and last year’s Academy Awards show. (The winner was a live stream of Elton John’s farewell concert tour.) Create your own Emmy’s category to honor a TV show, program, actor, or character you love. Then, write a “nomination” explaining what your category is and who you’d want to win it.


California has gone through serious droughts, or periods without rain, in the past few years. In 2022, farmers turned to a nearby river, the Merced, to help water their crops. The Merced River starts in Yosemite National Park and moves through California’s Central Valley before meeting the San Joaquin River. But after months of use by farmers, the Merced River was no longer feeding into the San Joaquin—sections of the river were all dried up. This is a problem not only for the people who use the river’s water, but for all the animals that live in the river, like Chinook salmon, which are endangered in that area. Now, government officials in charge of protecting water are trying to come up with better ways to address both the bodies of water in the state and the people who depend on them. Think about how important water is to the planet. It waters the crops of food that we eat, provides a habitat for many animals, and more. Write your own reasons why bodies of water are important and why you think they should be protected from being dried up.


A soccer fan at a match for his favorite team in England wasn’t able to cheer when his team scored because he was pulled from the crowd to be a referee in the game! He volunteered to fill in as an official after one of the assistant referees was injured. He had experience as a referee for youth teams before and was given quick instructions about what he needed to know. The game ended with a dramatic win for his team, the Wolverhampton Wolves, and he wanted to cheer and celebrate, but he had to stay neutral as a game official. Do you have a favorite sports team? What would it be like to help out during a game? What would the hardest parts be? The most fun parts? Write a story from that perspective, helping out or being a part of a team or match for any sport you choose.


Farmers in Hawaii protected the special coffee that only grows there by taking on big retail stores in court. Kona coffee is some of the most expensive in the world and can only be grown in the Kona region of Hawaii. The farmers’ legal case tested the chemical makeup of their coffee beans and others from around the world and proved that some stores were labeling other coffee as Kona beans when they weren’t. As a result, the companies had to pay large fines for tricking customers and many now include the percentage of authentic Kona beans on their labels. Write a summary of this story, including the facts that you learned.


Scientists now think that bottlenose dolphins, which are known for being very smart animals, change their voices when “talking” to their babies, which are called calves. They use a different version of their normal whistle sounds, sometimes higher pitched and sometimes lower, when they’re communicating with their calves. They think that it may be to help the bond between the mother and calf, because the change in pitch could help calves know that a sound is directed at them instead of another dolphin. In humans, using higher pitched “baby talk” is thought to hold an infant’s attention better than your normal speaking voice. Dolphins are very smart and do a lot of things similar to humans. Write a story with a dolphin as the main character and incorporate at least one human behavior that your dolphin does. Draw a picture to go along with your story—or turn it into a comic strip!