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For Grades K-4 , week of Mar. 26, 2012

1. Strike Up the Band

March is Music in Our Schools Month. In celebration of music, go through the newspaper and find three concerts that you could attend in your community this week. Write a short paragraph for each, explaining what kind of music will be featured and to whom it would appeal the most. Finish by writing a short paragraph on which concert you would most like to attend, and why.

Core/National Standard: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task, purpose and audience.

2. Look It Up!

When you want information today, you type a few letters into Google and the search engine finds it for you. It hasn’t always been that way. Hundreds of thousands of children grew up going to the library, finding the resource section and looking at the pages of the Encyclopaedia Britannica to find their topic in its alphabetized system. For more than 240 years, the Encyclopaedia Britannica has been featured on the bookshelves of libraries and homes, but now it will be printed no more. Instead, the company will focus on its online digital version. Though other online encyclopedias like Wikipedia are available, Britannica claims it has more experts writing for its pages than any other. Find a news story in your newspaper on a topic that interests you. Then see if you can find more information about the topic in an online encyclopedia.

Core/National Standard: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

3. Solve the Mystery!

You don’t have to look far to find a good who-done-it story. Just about every other show on television is a mystery show focusing either on the police or the scientific wizards who solve crimes. This fascination for finding a way to bring criminals to justice isn’t new. On March 27, 1905, fingerprint evidence was used for the first time to solve a murder case in the European country of Great Britain. Two shopkeepers in South London were attacked and beaten to death. The police found an empty cash box with an unknown fingerprint. When police got a tip on the identity of the attackers, they fingerprinted them and got a perfect match from one of the suspect’s thumbs. As a class, find a newspaper story of an unsolved crime. Or find one online. Then discuss ways police might solve it. Finish by brainstorming an idea for a mystery story of your own.

Core/National Standards: Posing questions that elicit elaboration and respond to others’ questions and comments.

4. Long Life, Great Health

The man crowned Mr. Universe in 1952 turned 100 recently and is still going strong. Manohar Aich of the Asian country of India is just 4 feet 11 inches tall and overcame many hurdles to earn the top bodybuilding prize in the world 60 years ago. According to an Associated Press article, he credits a diet of milk, fruits, vegetables, rice and fish for his long life. He also said he has never smoked, doesn’t drink and refuses to let himself get stressed out. Aich began his pursuit of bodybuilding when he joined the Royal Air Force in 1942. He was put in jail during India’s struggle for independence and said he used that time to get serious about weight training. Now he and his sons run a gym and fitness center. Search the newspaper for an article about a senior adult doing something remarkable. Write the person a letter of congratulations for the achievement. Then invite the person to visit your classroom and explain why your classmates would like to meet him or her.

Core/National Standard: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task, purpose and audience.

5. A Towering Landmark

Happy birthday, Eiffel Tower! The landmark in the European country of France turns 123 on March 31. The 984-foot-tall tower in the city of Paris was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. Gustave Eiffel’s design was one of more than 100 submitted in a competition to build a landmark on the Champ-de-Mars park. Though best known for the Eiffel Tower, the French engineer also designed the framework for the Statue of Liberty. Find an article about a famous landmark. In small groups, design and draw a landmark of your own to honor your city. Would your landmark be a tower, a building, a sculpture or something else?

Core/National Standards: Using illustrations and details to describe key ideas.