For Grades K-4 , week of Jan. 11, 2021

1. Who’s Number 1?

Who will be the top team in college football this year? The University of Alabama and the Ohio State University will answer that question Monday night (January 11) when they face off in the College Football Playoff Championship Game in Miami, Florida. Alabama and Ohio State are two of the most powerful and successful football programs, and both went undefeated this season. Alabama went 12-0 and Ohio State 7-0 in a season shortened by coronavirus restrictions that canceled some games. Number 1 ranked Alabama advanced to the championship game by defeating the Notre Dame 31-14, and Ohio State earned its spot by upsetting Number 2 ranked Clemson 49-28. Alabama is making its fifth trip to the playoff title game in six years, while Ohio State won the championship in 2014. Sports fans from all over the country will be tuning in to watch Monday night’s football championship game. In the newspaper or online, read stories about the contest. Then think like a sports reporter and plan a “follow-up” story to the game. Write a paragraph telling what your story would focus on and why people would find it interesting. Share ideas with friends and classmates and discuss.

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. Treasure!

Everyone dreams of finding treasure, but for the people in a South American village, the dream has become reality over the last few months. Residents of the poor village of Guaca have been thrilled to find gold and silver jewelry washed up on their beach bordering the Caribbean Sea in the nation of Venezuela. No one knows where the jewelry came from, but it has provided a both hope and income for people in an area that once was prosperous as part of Venezuela’s fishing industry. Almost everyone in the village of 2,000 people turned out to search for treasure, and dozens found pieces worth more than any of their possessions. “It was the first time something special has happened to me,” villager Yolman Lares told the New York Times newspaper. Because the area is gripped in severe poverty, most villagers sold their finds to buy food and other necessities. But not everyone. Lares kept a pair of gold earrings decorated with a star. “It is the only pretty thing that I have,” he said. Creative stories often are based on real life events such as people experiencing good fortune. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone experiencing good fortune or good luck. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a creative story telling what could happen to the person in the future. Write an outline for your story and then write the opening paragraph.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

3. Climate Awareness Walk

Climate change is affecting communities and environments all over the world. It is causing ice caps to melt at the Earth’s North and South Poles, ocean levels to rise, and droughts and wildfires to increase. In the next 80 to 100 years, scientists say, it will affect farming and other human activities as well as wildlife and natural habitats. It is happening faster than scientists had predicted, and it has prompted a 27-year-old woman from New York to walk across the country to call attention to it. Hannah Bacon started in California at the end of November and is expected to end her journey in Virginia Beach, Virginia this spring. In addition to raising awareness, Bacon is raising money for the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led organization calling attention to environmental issues. “If climate change hasn’t affected us personally yet, it will,” she says. “… There is so much more we can be doing.” With a partner, use the newspaper and Internet to find and read stories about the effects of climate change and global warming around the world. Use what you read to create a chart or graphic organizer showing how climate change will be felt by Habitats, Wildlife and Humans. Present your findings to family or friends.

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; writing informative/explanatory texts.

4. Don’t Recycle Art

Everyone agrees recycling is good for the Earth, but not everything should be recycled. Especially an artwork worth more than $300,000! In the European city of Düsseldorf, Germany, a painting by famed artist Yves Tanguy wound up in an airport recycling bin, apparently because it was packed in a cardboard container. The painting first went missing when an unnamed businessman accidentally left it at a check-in counter at the airport in western Germany. The artwork was packaged in a flat cardboard box measuring 16 x 24 inches, CNN News reported. When the owner realized his costly mistake, he contacted airport officials and police. A search of waste containers at the airport discovered the painting at the bottom of a recycling bin. It is not known how it got there. Police and law enforcement agencies often have to solve mysteries. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about police doing this. Think like a police detective and write out a list of people you would ask for information about the mystery and what questions you would ask.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

5. Tracking Crime

Criminals often do dumb things, making it easier for police to catch them. The latest example comes from the city of South Bend, Indiana, were a burglar decided to rob a local business right after a snowstorm. Police were called to the Volcano Restaurant when the burglar alarm went off. When they got there, they found a window broken in the front door, the cash register thrown on the floor and a cash box containing fake $100 bills missing. They also saw footprints in the snow, leading away from the restaurant, the local ABC News channel reported. They followed the footprints, which eventually led to the front door of a nearby Quality Inn. On the second floor they found a 25-year-old man sitting against a wall. When they searched him, his pockets were stuffed with the fake $100 bills from the restaurant. He was arrested and charged with burglary. People often make news for doing dumb or odd things. In the newspaper or online, search for stories involving this kind of “odd news” and read one closely. Use what you read to write a letter to the person who did the odd or dumb thing, asking “Why Did You Do That?” Suggest things the person could have done differently for a better outcome.

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.