For Grades K-4 , week of June 20, 2022

1. Strength in Numbers

It’s often said that “there is strength in numbers.” What that means is that people working together can achieve things that would be difficult for one person alone. A woman in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota saw that in a wonderful way this summer, when her neighbors joined together to keep her from losing her home. At the age of 70, Linda Taylor was told by her landlord she would have to leave the home she had lived in for 20 years unless she could find more than $250,000 to buy it. Taylor had once owned the home but had sold when she fell behind on payments and had been renting for the last 15 years. When neighbors heard what was about to happen to “Miss Linda,” they stepped up to help their popular neighbor. They started a community fund-raising effort and with the help of a local church raised $275,000 to buy the house, the Washington Post newspaper reported. The money not only paid for the house but covered repairs that had been neglected by the owner. After her good fortune, Taylor wants to provide assistance to others. “I’m here to help the next person and the next person and the next person,” she said. People often work as teams to achieve goals. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about people working together. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, telling how people working together made it easier to achieve the goal than if one person worked alone.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing.

2. Hazards in Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park in the state of Wyoming is the nation’s oldest national park — and one of its most popular. Last year it attracted nearly 4.9-million visitors to rank ahead of the famous Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain and Yosemite National Parks in the states of Arizona, Colorado and California. This month, Yellowstone attendance is taking a hit after “unprecedented” rainfall and flooding forced park officials to close all entrances. The rainfall caused “extremely hazardous conditions,” including rockslides, mudslides and rising waters that washed away roads and damaged bridges. Areas and roads in the park could be closed for “a substantial amount of time” until flooding goes down and repairs are made, CNN News reported. The northern section of the park could be closed until this fall. Severe weather is often in the news during the summer months. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about a severe weather event. Use what you read to write a paragraph telling how people were affected by the weather event, what help they will need to recover and who could provide that help.

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.

3. ‘Microplastics’ Pollution

Plastics pollution is a problem all over the world. But it is not just plastic bottles and containers getting into waterways and natural landscapes. “Microplastics” are also causing problems. Microplastics are created when bottles and containers break down into tiny pieces, or are manufactured for use in products like clothing, rope or even fashion makeup. They can be harmful to wildlife, natural habitats or the air people breathe, and they are showing up in more and more places. Scientists have just announced that microplastics have been found for the first time in freshly fallen snow on the South Pole continent of Antarctica. Researchers reported they found an average of 29 microplastic particles per liter of melted snow — most of the type used to manufacture clothes and soda bottles. “It’s incredibly sad,” one researcher said, “but finding microplastics in fresh Antarctic snow highlights the extent of plastic pollution in … even the most remote regions of the world.” In the United States and other countries, communities are taking steps to reduce pollution from plastics, trash and other materials. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a community looking to reduce some kind of pollution. Use what you read to write an editorial offering your view on what would be the most effective way to reduce this pollution.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

4. Strolling to a Win

At 26.2 miles, the marathon distance race is the most challenging in running. At the Buffalo Marathon on May 29, 35-year-old Lucas McAneney made it even more difficult than most. The resident of Ontario, Canada ran the entire race pushing his 2-year-old son Sutton in a stroller — and he finished first! McAneney fell short of setting a new world record for running a marathon while pushing a stroller, but his time of 2 hours, 33 minutes and 32 seconds was still good enough to finish ahead of the more than 1,000 runners who entered the race in western New York State. His son Sutton did a lot of sight-seeing during the race, pointing out police cars, firetrucks and construction vehicles they saw along the way. But he missed the magic moment his dad crossed the finish line — he had fallen asleep. He quickly woke up when he heard “all the cheers and photos and excitement,” his dad told the Washington Post. “He was also super excited about us having matching medals.” Athletes often earn fame or success doing unusual things. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an athlete who has successfully done something unusual. Pretend you are a news photographer who has been assigned to tell the story of this athlete’s achievement using only photos. Make a list of photos you would take and write how each would tell part of the story. Draw sketches of your photo ideas if you like.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.

5. ‘Run Dawg’ Fun

Summer is a great time for families to get out and have fun in the sun. But too much sunshine can be dangerous for dogs and other pets. Not only can the sun warm up cars to unsafe levels for pets inside, but it can make pavement so hot it can burn a dog’s paws. In the city of Las Vegas, Nevada, which has been experiencing temperatures topping 100 degrees this month, a company has come up with a safe way for pets to exercise while avoiding the hot summer sun. The “Run Dawg” company has designed a mobile dog gym that lets dogs work out on non-motorized treadmills in a cool van. In the gym, trainers encourage dogs to run in place while protecting them from outdoor heat that can raise the temperature of pavement to 180 degrees on some days. A dog’s paws begin to burn at 120 degrees, the gym’s founder told KTNV-TV. Pet owners do many things to keep their animals safe during the summer months. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about different things people do to protect dogs, cats and other pets. Use what you read to write a “Pet Advice” column suggesting things pet owners can do — and how to do it.

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