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for Grades K-4

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For Grades K-4 , week of Sep. 07, 2020

1. Whale of a Rescue

Ocean pollution is a great threat to wildlife, and in the waters off New York City this summer a young humpback whale is lucky to be alive after an amazing rescue. The humpback had become tangled in 4,000 pounds of fishing gear and couldn’t swim and search for food. Rescuers from as far away as the state of Massachusetts had to work for three days to remove a huge tangle of ropes, netting, buoys and steel cables that was wrapped around the whale’s tail. The steel cables had to be sawed off by hand to free the whale, the New York Times newspaper reported. The humpback had deep cuts in its tail, but experts felt it would make a full recovery. It was later seen swimming farther north in Long Island Sound. Whales are making a comeback in the waters off New York Harbor. Nine years ago the Gotham Whale group counted just five during the summer but last year the number jumped to 377. People often step in to help or rescue wildlife that face problems. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about people helping wildlife in a special way. Use what you read to rewrite the story from the point of view of the wildlife being helped. Share with family or friends.

Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

2. More Meals for Kids

With many schools moving to at-home learning due to the coronavirus emergency, many students will be missing out on lunches and breakfasts served at school. Now the federal government has announced it will meet that need by extending and expanding a program that provides free meals to millions of children. The program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture usually provides the meals during summer months, but it now will run through the end of the year, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced. In addition to running through December, the program will make it easier for families to take part. Meals will now be available at any time during the day, and parents will be allowed to pick up meals for their children. The changes will ensure that “meals are reaching all children — whether they are learning in the classroom or virtually [at home] — so they are fed and ready to learn,” Purdue said. Many organizations are providing food to help families in need during the coronavirus emergency. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one group doing this. Use what you read to design a poster telling people about one program and how they can use it. Use pictures from the newspaper or Internet to illustrate your poster and write a paragraph describing the benefits of the program. Give your poster an eye-catching headline.

Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.

3. Great Reading for Fall

There’s nothing like a good book to break up the boredom of a summer’s day. So what have kids been reading this summer during the coronavirus shutdown? And what would they recommend for the fall months, when many schools will be closed and going to online learning? National Public Radio surveyed families to see what kids have been reading and consulted with authors and librarians to build a reading list that kids and families can use this fall. The choices cover all ages and types of books — from beautiful picture books to animal and monster stories to chapter books for older readers. The list includes old favorites like “Where the Wild Things Are,” newer choices like “Jabari Jumps,” and a wide range of stories from different ethnic groups and traditions. “We want this list to be a tool for discovery,” NPR wrote in its introduction to parents. “… We hope you and the kids in your life will have as much fun poring through this list as we had putting it together!” The complete NPR list can be viewed online at Many libraries have re-opened or offer curbside pickup outside, and school libraries that have opened full- or part-time allow students to check out books as in the past. Use the Internet to read about the books on the NPR list and pick one that sounds interesting. Write a letter to a librarian telling why you would like to check out this book and read it.

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.

4. Very Scary Kite Ride

For lots of families around the world, flying a kite is a fun way to spend a summer’s day. For a family on the Asian island of Taiwan last month, it proved no fun at all. In fact it was downright terrifying. A 3-year-old girl attending an International Kite Flying Festival became entangled in the tail of a giant kite and was swept more than 100 feet into the air by high winds. Horrified spectators screamed in panic as the girl was spun round and round in the wind before people in the crowd were able to pull the kite back to the ground. Fortunately, she only suffered minor injuries during her terrifying ride, Reuters news reported. The remainder of the festival was canceled after the near-disaster. People often have close calls in which they barely escape injury, damage or disaster. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one close call. Write a paragraph explaining how the people involved escaped the close call and what that might teach others about staying safe.

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.

5. Sing and Sing Some More

A lot of people like to have fun singing popular songs on karaoke machines. A couple in the nation of South Africa really like karaoke (KEH-ree-OH-kee). Jacqueline Brits and Rhinus Lotz just set a new world record for the number of hours they could sing karaoke songs in a row. Brits and Lotz sang for 35 consecutive hours, breaking the previous record for duet karaoke singing by 10 hours, UPI News reported. Brits and Lotz had initially planned to sing for 48 hours straight, but they decided to stop at 35 due to exhaustion. Their effort raised money to rebuild a local church. Karaoke machines give people a chance to sing their favorite songs. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about people having fun doing this. Then brainstorm a karaoke playlist of songs you would like to sing with friends or family. For each song, write a complete sentence stating why you like the song. Share with friends and ask them to make playlists of songs they like.

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; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

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