For Grades K-4 , week of Mar. 18, 2019

1. LeBron Passes Michael

Since joining the NBA at age 19, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers has been one of the greatest players in professional basketball. Now 34, James continues to set new records and reach new milestones. This month, in a game against the Denver Nuggets, James scored the 32,293rd point of his career to pass the great Michael Jordan for fourth place among the NBA’s all-time scorers. James still has a way to go to become the top scorer in NBA history, however. Laker great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds the league scoring record with 38,387 points in his career. In 16 years in the league, James has played for three teams, won three NBA championships and earned four Most Valuable Player Awards. In his 15-year career Jordan won six NBA championships and five Most Valuable Player awards. LeBron James and Michael Jordan achieved success in their careers over many, many years. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone else who has been successful over many years. Use what you read to write a paragraph telling what things made this person successful for a long period of time. Share and discuss with the class.

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. ‘Captain Marvel’

Movies based on the characters from Marvel Comics books have been some of the most popular in history. But the new “Captain Marvel” movie is making history in another way. It is the first Marvel movie to feature a female superhero, and it was a smash hit in its opening weekend. “Captain Marvel” sold more theater tickets in its first weekend than any movie so far this year — more than $153 million in the United States and $455 million around the world. Made by Disney, “Captain Marvel” topped the opening of Warner Bros.’ “Wonder Woman” by more than $50-million in ticket sales for its first weekend. Movies featuring superheroes are extremely popular with American audiences. As a class, discuss superhero movies you have liked, and why. Then use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read stories about “Captain Marvel” or other superhero movies. Use what you read and personal knowledge to write a movie column telling why you think superhero movies are so popular.

Common Core State Standards: Responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

3. Dino Footprints

Dinosaur fossils can teach scientists a great deal about life in ancient times on Earth. A discovery in the southern Pacific nation of Australia could shed new light on dinosaurs that may have lived there 95-million years ago. The discovery was a trail of dinosaur footprints that included tracks of a giant sauropod, plus at least two smaller dinosaur species. But first the footprints had to be rescued from the threat of floods that have overwhelmed the Queensland area in recent months. Almost as soon as they were discovered, the footprint fossils were dug up and moved to a dinosaur museum that was not threatened by flood waters. Sauropods, which had a long neck, long tail and large, thick legs, included species like Diplodocus, Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus. Dinosaur discoveries help scientists tell the stories of species that lived long ago. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read an article about a dinosaur discovery. Use what you read to tell a story about the species, based on the facts you have read. Or tell a story about Australia dinosaurs based on the recent footprint discovery.

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.

4. Great National Parks

America’s National Parks are among the most popular natural attractions in the world. So which attracted the most visitors last year? According to the National Park Service, the 2018 champion was the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the border of the states of North Carolina and Tennessee. The Great Smoky park had more than 11-million visitors, to top the second-place Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona by more than 5-million people. Other Top 10 national parks included Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone National Park and Yosemite National Park. Visiting national parks is a great bargain for families that include a fourth grader. Under a program begun by former President Barack Obama, families of fourth graders can get a free one-year pass to visit national parks around the country. Which would you like to visit? In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one of America’s national parks. Use what you read to design an ad for the newspaper, giving reasons that families would want to visit this park. Give your ad an eye-catching headline that would get people’s attention.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.

5. Barbie Changes

Barbie dolls have been popular toys ever since they were first invented. But as Barbie turns 60 this spring, the world-famous doll is changing. To reflect population changes in the United States and other nations, more Barbies today are girls of color, and they have a variety of body types and hair textures. They also promote the opportunities available to smart girls who work hard to succeed. In the past, Barbie dolls were criticized for presenting an image of girls that was tall, white and thin. Today, Barbie’s “Fashionista” line of dolls offers “tall,” “curvy” and “petite” body types and a wide range of skin tones and hair textures. Changes to Barbie dolls have been made because the populations of the United States and other countries have changed and become more diverse. In the newspaper or online, find and study ads or stories that show how stores and companies are responding to more diversity in the nation and the world. Write a letter to the editor describing how having more diverse products and services benefits people and communities.

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