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For Grades K-4 , week of Sep. 24, 2018

1. Help for the Animals

As any student knows, a school bus can hold a lot of people. It can also hold a lot of animals — and that’s a good thing for some of the animals affected by Hurricane Florence in North and South Carolina. A truck driver named Tony Alsup used a bus he had bought to rescue and evacuate 53 dogs and 11 cats from animal shelters when the hurricane hit with heavy rain and floods. “Animals — especially shelter pets — they always have to take the back seat of the bus,” Alsup told The Washington Post newspaper. “But I … give them their own bus.” The 51-year-old Alsup has been rescuing animals from disasters since last year when Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston, Texas. He wants to open his own animal shelter someday, but he already has taken the first step. The side of his bus tells the world it is an “Emergency Animal Rescue Shelter.” Every day people in the world do special things to help animals. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone offering such help. Pretend you are an animal that was helped and write a letter to the editor thanking the person.

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.

2. Score! Score! Score!

High school football is full of surprises every season, but it’s unlikely any will top this month’s game between Council Bluffs Jefferson and Sioux City North in the state of Iowa. In that one game, the two teams scored 180 points between them before Council Bluffs won, 99-81. The point total set a new Iowa state record, but that was just part of the story in the history-making contest. Council Bluffs scored 57 points in the first half to lead by 36 points. Sioux City came back to score 60 points in the second half, but still lost by 18, according to the Associated Press. Jefferson’s Cameron Baker ran for 358 yards and scored eight touchdowns. Sioux City quarterback Matt Hagan threw for 310 yards and nine touchdowns in the loss. In sports, players and teams often turn in amazing performances. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one amazing performance. Use what you read to create a poster putting a spotlight on the performance and why it was outstanding. Give your poster an eye-catching headline and illustrate it with images from the newspaper or Internet. Share with the class.

Common 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.

3. That’s Just Creepy

Nursery rhymes are supposed to be fun, but not when you hear them in a spooky child’s voice in the middle of the night. Yet that was what happened this summer to residents of a town in the European nation of England. They were waked up again and again hearing a young voice singing: “It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring. He went to bed and bumped his head, couldn’t get up in the morning.” Residents who heard the voice thought they were living in a horror movie, but it actually had a natural cause. The voice was triggered by spiders! The spiders had built webs across security cameras at a nearby business, and when they moved, they set off the song. The song was included in the alarm system to scare away burglars or other intruders. If you read the newspaper or Internet, you know that weird or unusual events are often in the news. Find one in the newspaper or online and brainstorm an idea for a creative story based on the weird news. Write a paragraph detailing the plot of your story. Then write the opening scene.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

4. New Sphinx Discovery

In ancient Egypt sphinxes were mythological creatures believed to have great or magical powers. They had the head of a human and the body of a lion and statues of them were often built to guard important places such as tombs, temples or pyramids. The most famous sphinx is the Great Sphinx built next to Egypt’s famous pyramids of Giza. There are many others, and one has just been rediscovered at the site of the Kom Ombo temple in the southern part of the north African nation. Just 15 inches tall, this sphinx is far smaller than the Great Sphinx, but officials say it is in excellent condition and more than 2,000 years old. It has the body of a lion, the head of a human and a snake crown and headdress. According to CNN News, Kom Ombo is an unusual Egyptian temple because it is dedicated to two separate deities — a crocodile god and a falcon god. Three-hundred mummies of crocodiles have been found at the site. In the stories and myths of ancient Egypt, Sphinxes were believed to have special powers because they had the head of a human and the body of a lion. If you were writing a myth today, what combination of animals would you choose to show a creature with special powers? Search the newspaper or Internet for pictures of animals. Combine the features of two or more to create a mythical creature with special powers. Draw a picture of your creature and write a paragraph giving your creature a name and telling what powers it would have.

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; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

5. Program That Pet!

Robots are changing the way people live and work. And now they may be changing how people think about pets. Meet Aibo, a robot dog just introduced by the Sony electronics company. Aibo (pronounced “eye-bo”) can fetch, play dead, bark, lie down and respond when you pat it. It is equipped with computer generated artificial intelligence and can show affection. It has realistic eyes, a tail that wags and the ability to recognize faces. With a $2,900 price tag, it’s not the pet for everyone, but it’s already getting a lot of attention for its lifelike qualities. Aibo uses technology in a groundbreaking way to give people a new experience. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read another story about technology giving people a new experience. Write a paragraph explaining why you think this new use of technology will be popular.

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