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For Grades K-4 , week of Oct. 15, 2018

1.What a Discovery!

People often ask kids “what did you do on summer vacation?” For a girl in the European nation of Sweden, the answer is: “I found a 1,500-year-old sword!” Eight-year-old Saga Vanecek made the discovery while playing in a lake near her family’s vacation home. At first she thought it was a stick, but then she noticed it had a handle and a pointed end. She held it over her head and announced “Daddy, I found a sword,” CNN news reported. The sword was about 33 inches long and still had portions of its wooden handle. Experts from a Swedish museum called the find “spectacular” and said it could shed light on customs and weapons from its time. Scientists and history experts study items from the past to learn how people lived or worked in earlier times.

What items do people use today that could teach future scientists about our lives? Search photos and ads in the newspaper or online and pick three items that people use a lot today. Write a sentence for each, telling what it would tell a future scientist about our work or lives.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

2.He’s Talking

Sometimes an unexpected discovery can make all the difference. For a six-year-old Texas boy, it made the difference between being able to talk and not. From the time he first tried to form words, Mason Motz had had difficulty speaking. His parents took him to speech experts but none of their treatments made a difference. Then a year ago, he went to the dentist. During his exam his dentist noticed there was unusual tissue under his tongue that kept it from moving freely. She asked Mason’s parents if she could correct it with a 10-second laser treatment. They said yes and noticed an almost immediate difference, the New York Times newspaper reported. When they got home, Mason announced: “I’m hungry. I’m thirsty. Can we watch a movie?” Medical treatments can make a great difference in people’s lives. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a medical treatment helping a person your age or older. Write a paragraph stating what the treatment has done and how that has benefited the person who got it.

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


Floods caused by Hurricane Florence caused enormous damage in the state of North Carolina this fall. And the problems just keep on coming. As a result of the flooding, there has been an outbreak of enormous mosquitoes. Mosquitoes breed in water, and the rains of Florence have produced mosquitoes two or three times bigger than most mosquitoes. The mosquitoes are a species known to insect experts as “gallinippers.” They like to breed in flooded grassy areas, so conditions were ideal in the flooding after Florence. The good news is they don’t carry diseases that can harm humans. But because they are so big, they produce “a painful bite,” experts say. Hurricanes Florence and Michael caused a lot of damage to areas they hit. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about damage caused by one of these big storms. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, describing the damage and what needs to be done to recover. Share with the class and discuss ways other people could help these communities.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

4.History Maker

To fans of the National Football League, the name George Taliaferro isn’t widely known. But he holds a significant place in NFL history. Taliaferro, who died this month at age 91, was the first African American to be drafted by an NFL team. Taliaferro was drafted by the NFL’s Chicago Bears in 1949, though he chose to play in a rival league instead. He later saw NFL action as a member of the Baltimore Colts and Philadelphia Eagles. In his career, Taliaferro saw action at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, defensive back, punter, kick returner and punt returner. “I’m the one person in the history of the NFL to play seven positions,” he said in a 2017 interview. George Taliaferro was a groundbreaker for African Americans in professional football. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone who is a groundbreaker doing new things today. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a short video or film telling about this person’s achievements. Write an outline for the opening scene, including images you would use. Give your video a title that would make students your age want to see it.

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

5.Kids These Days!

Children today are learning to do things at earlier and earlier ages. A family in the state of Utah now wishes their son hadn’t learned to use the paper shredder. After helping his mother shred junk mail, two-year-old Leo Belnap shredded an envelope containing $1,060 in cash! Parents Ben and Jackee Belnap had been saving up the money to pay back Ben’s parents for a loan, and went crazy when they couldn’t find it. They told a local TV station they turned the house upside down, searching in drawers, couches, chairs, and even the garbage. Finally, Jackee looked in the shredder. She was shocked to see the money in little pieces. But after recovering, she said “This was one of those moments where you just have to laugh.” The Belnaps plan to send the shredded money to the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which has a program for replacing damaged money. Children often do amazing, unusual or funny things. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a child doing something like this. Use what you read to write a rhyming, funny poem telling what the child did. Use colorful verbs and adjectives in your poem. Then read it for the class.

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.