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For Grades K-4 , week of May 18, 2020

1. Mickey Is Back

All over the world Disneyland theme parks have had to shut down due to health concerns over crowds and the spread of the coronavirus. So there was great celebration in the Asian nation of China last week when the Disneyland park in the city of Shanghai reopened to visitors. Mickey Mouse, Snow White and other Disney characters greeted visitors who streamed to the park wearing medical masks and keeping safe distances from each other. The reopening signaled a belief by Chinese officials that attractions like Disneyland can resume operations safety, even as clusters of the disease are still being reported in some cities. “We hope that today’s reopening serves as a beacon of light across the globe,” the president of Shanghai Disney Resort said. Popular attractions have had to close during the coronavirus emergency. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an attraction in your area that has closed. Use what you read to write a personal column telling what people will miss most about the attraction. Discuss with family and friends. 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.

2. Bringing Up Baby

In every corner of the country, people are performing incredible acts of kindness during the coronavirus emergency. But none may be more incredible than the one performed by a teacher in the state of Connecticut. Teacher Luciana Lira took in the newborn son of the mother of one of her students when the mother and the rest of the family came down with coronavirus. The mother delivered the baby boy Neysel just before becoming seriously ill with the virus and falling unconscious into a coma for more than three weeks. Communicating with the baby’s father, Lira offered to take care of the baby boy while the family recovered. The father sobbed, she said, and agreed to her proposal. “I’m exhausted, but it’s very rewarding,” Lira told the Washington Post newspaper. “I am honored that the family wanted me to help.” Teacher Luciana Lira did something amazing to help another family that was affected by the coronavirus. With family or friends, use the newspaper or Internet to find and read stories about other people doing things to help families. Use what you read, and photos you find, to design a poster titled “Amazing Helpers.” Write a paragraph for each person featured to explain what they have done.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

3. Cuckoo for Speed

Wind can have a huge influence on birds when they are flying. It can slow them down, toss them around or give them more speed than they would ordinarily have. A cuckoo bird flying from central Africa to the European nation of England got a huge boost from winds this year and set a new record for the yearly migration of cuckoos on the route. With strong winds from the south, the cuckoo known as Carlton II covered the last 4,677 miles of the trip in just seven days — a journey that usually takes a cuckoo two to three weeks! Carlton was equipped with a satellite tracking device so that bird scientists could follow every step of the journey. Scientists often study wildlife to learn more about their behavior and activities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about scientists doing this. Use what you read to prepare an oral report for family or friends about what scientists are learning and why that is important.

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

4. Weathercat Star

During the coronavirus emergency, many TV news hosts and reporters have had to work from home. That has given viewers a look at their private lives, and even their pets. In the state of Indiana, a fluffy gray and white cat has become a TV and Internet star as “Betty the Weathercat.” Betty is the pet of longtime weatherman Jeff Lyons, and one day when he was giving his report from home, she wandered into the room. He picked her up and started patting her, and his news director suggested that he put her on the air. Viewers loved how she lazily looked into the camera, twitched her tail, or washed herself on top of a platform he set up for her. And a star was born. She now has her own Instagram page, generates hundreds of comments and is featured on most of Lyons’s weather reports. His station even drew up Betty graphics showing her with an umbrella or other weather related items. “There was no going back once Betty was on the air,” Lyons said. During the coronavirus emergency, many people are sharing videos of their pets on the Internet. In the newspaper or online, find stories about some videos and watch them. Then brainstorm an idea for a video of a pet you own or would like to own. Write a paragraph telling whether your video would be funny or serious and what it would show.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.

5. Doing the Right Thing

There are many temptations in the world, and one of the biggest has to be finding a big pile of money. A teenager in Albuquerque, New Mexico, however, knew exactly what to do. Jose Nuñez Romaniz, 19, is a criminal justice student at a local community college and he knew he had to contact police when he found a bag containing $135,000 in fresh $20 and $50 bills next to an ATM cash machine. “I was very shocked,” he said later. “I’ve never seen so much money.” He took a picture of the bag, showing the tag that said there was $60,000 in $20 bills inside. Police said later there was also $75,000 in $50 bills. At first, officers responding to the call thought it was a prank. But when they saw the bag, they knew it was real. Nuñez Romaniz was later honored by city officials, who called his actions “refreshing.” When they learned he wanted a career in law enforcement, they also invited him to apply for a job with the police department. It all came from doing the right thing. “It never passed through my mind to keep any of it,” Nuñez Romaniz said of the money. People often make news by “doing the right thing.” In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one person doing this. Write a short editorial for the newspaper telling why this person’s actions could be a role model for others. Then talk with family or friends about a time you or someone you know did the right thing.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.