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For Grades K-4 , week of Mar. 25, 2019

1. ‘March Madness’

The NCAA college basketball tournaments are in full swing, and fans all over the country are trying to predict which teams will reach the Elite Eight, Final Four and, of course, the National Championship game. The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments are among the most exciting in sports, because if a team loses one game, it is out. As a result of this, every game is hard fought and hotly contested. And there are always “March Madness” upsets, in which a lower ranked team defeats a higher ranked team. In the newspaper or online, closely read stories about NCAA tournament games this week. Were there upset winners in any of the games? Did any players have spectacular performances or make unusual plays? Use what you read to write a sports column highlighting one or two performances that were unusual, unexpected or especially exciting. Try to capture the excitement in your writing by using active verbs and colorful adjectives. Share with the class.

Common Core State Standards: Identifying multiple language conventions and using them; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

2. What a Vet!

Veterinarians love animals and are devoted to providing good medical care for them. But few show as much devotion as a vet in the state of Colorado this winter. After the “Bomb Cyclone” blizzard left many roads blocked, veterinarian Dale Rice walked more than a mile through deep snow to provide care for two sick horses at the Terolyn Horse Rescue Farm. He originally planned to ride his own horse to the rescue farm, but he had too much equipment to carry. So he walked on foot, leading his horse carrying the equipment. His effort was really important for one of the horses, which was suffering from colic, a severe stomach and intestine problem that can kill a horse. “I absolutely feel like we saved that horse,” said one trainer at the farm. Instead of payment, Rice asked horse lovers to donate to rescue operations like Terolyn. In addition to horse rescue farms, many organizations work to help animals. In the newspaper or online, find and read a story about one of them. Use what you read to write a short letter to the editor, telling what the organization does and why people should support it.

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. Cartoon House

Cartoons make a lot of people laugh, but in a California town a cartoon house is causing a lot of frowns. The house in the town of Hillsborough is designed to look like something from “The Flintstones” cartoon set in the dinosaur era — and the neighbors are not happy with changes made by a new owner. In keeping with the “Flintstones” theme, the owner has decorated the yard with giant statues of dinosaurs, a woolly mammoth, a giraffe, a peacock and oversize mushrooms. The town says the changes were done without proper approval or permits, and it has gone to court to have them removed. Town officials and neighbors say the changes have made the house and its yard a “public nuisance” and an “eyesore.” The “Flintstones” house in California is designed to look like the old cartoon. In the newspaper or online, read comic strips or comic books that interest you. Pick one and design a house to look like the world of the comic strip or book. Share with the class and discuss.

Common Core State Standards: 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. Avalanche!

Avalanches are among the most dangerous events in mountain areas that get a lot of snow. They send tons of snow, rocks and debris down mountainsides, cause great damage to forests and risk the lives of people and wildlife. This has been a bad winter for avalanches in the state of Colorado. With more than 100 inches of snow falling, the month of March saw a “historic and unprecedented” number of avalanches, according to state officials. Officials said more than 550 avalanches had occurred across the state, burying highways and causing the deaths of at least eight people. Colorado is home to some of the nation’s highest mountains in the ranges of the southern Rocky Mountains, with 88 of the 200 tallest peaks in the United States. Avalanches and other natural disasters are often in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a natural disaster affecting people somewhere in the United States. Use what you read to write a short editorial suggesting ways people could help those affected by this disaster.

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.

5. Moving Day

Most bears like to live in the forest, but a family in the state of Massachusetts caused a problem for wildlife officials with the place they picked for home. They chose a wooded section of the median strip between the travel lanes of the busy Route 2 highway in the town of Templeton. Because the black bears could not get off the median without crossing the busy highway, officials decided they had to move them before they got hurt. So on March 14 officials closed the highway, tranquilized the mother with a sleep dart and moved them to a safe area in a state forest. It was an unusual rescue, but state police later reported that “everything went beary well.” Wild animals often do unusual things, and people who make movies sometimes tell their stories. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a wild animal doing something unusual. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a movie based on the animal’s actions. Write a summary of the plot. Then give your movie a title that would make students your age want to see it.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic. ike to