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for Grades K-4

Nov. 23, 2020
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For Grades K-4 , week of Nov. 16, 2020

1. Presidential Pups

When elected by the American people, presidents have often brought their pets with them when they moved into the White House. Or they have gotten new pets while living there. President Barack Obama and his family had Portuguese water dogs named Bo and Sunny. President George W. Bush had Scottish terriers Barney and Miss Beazley (nicknamed “Beazley Weazley”). Bill Clinton had a cat named Socks and a Labrador retriever named Buddy. President Trump has not had a pet while living in the White House for the last four years. But President-Elect Joe Biden plans to revive the pet tradition when he moves in next January. Biden says he plans to bring his family’s two German shepherds, Champ and Major, to the presidential residence in Washington, DC. The Bidens purchased Champ in 2008 and gave him his name because Biden’s father always told him to “Get up, Champ” when things weren’t going well. Major was a rescue dog from the Delaware Humane Association. Pets play an important role in many families. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about families and their pets. Use what you read to create a greeting card showing and telling what pets provide people. Use the headline “When You Have a Pet” on the cover and write an original message inside. Draw a picture for the cover or use a photo from the newspaper or Internet. Send or share your card with someone who owns a pet. For added fun, create pet cards for other pet owners you know.

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.

2. Record on El Capitan

El Capitan is one of the most famous rock formations in America, a flat-faced cliff rising from the floor of Yosemite National Park in the state of California. The El Capitan cliff is a favorite challenge for rock climbers, and one of them made history this fall. Emily Harrington became the first woman ever to free-climb the El Capitan cliff in less than a day. Just three others — all men — had achieved the feat of climbing the cliff in less than 24 hours. Harrington, who is 34, had to overcome several obstacles, including a slip that caused a bloody gash in her forehead, to complete the climb in 21 hours and 13 minutes. “I never believed I could actually free climb El Cap in a day,” she said in a post to the Instagram website. “ … Impossible dreams challenge us to rise above who we are now to see if we can become better versions of ourselves.” In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a person challenging himself or herself to do something extraordinary. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor discussing how this person’s actions created a “better version” of himself/herself. Discuss with family, friends and classmates how a “better version” of a person could be in skills, character or personality.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.

3. A Gift of Baseball

California’s deadly wildfires have caused wide destruction and loss all over the state. Families have lost their homes, and individuals have lost things important or meaningful to them. Outside the city of Fresno, a 9-year-old girl was heartbroken when she lost her collection of baseball cards when the Creek Fire burned her family’s home. Then a stranger came to the rescue for Reese Osterberg. A San Jose man named Kevin Ashford heard of Reese’s loss and decided to give her a replacement set of cards that is hundreds of times bigger than the one Reese lost. Ashford said he had been planning to sell his collection of about 25,000 cards, but when he heard about Reese he decided to give her his cards as a gift. “When I thought about the smile I could put on that little girl’s face, it was an easy decision,” Ashford told CNN News. Though the cards could be worth up to $50,000, Reese and her mother say they will not keep them all. They want to “pay forward” Ashford’s kind gesture by giving cards to her friends and sports teammates and sending some to patients at the Children's Hospital of Central California. “When someone does something nice for you, it’s important to do nice things for other people,” Reese said. People often do nice or amazing things for others. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone doing this. Use what you read as the beginning of a creative story telling what could happen as a result of this person’s kindness, how it affected the person helped and how that could encourage a whole community to do more nice things.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusion.

4. Hall of Fame Toys

Do you have a favorite toy? Do you like stuffed animals, video games, dolls or Transformers? Or is your favorite something else? If you have a favorite toy, the National Toy Hall of Fame has likely heard of it. And it may even have honored it as a toy that has changed children’s lives or been popular for many years. Every year the Hall of Fame run by the Strong Museum of Play honors toys that have had lasting impact. This year the judges and toy experts who make the selection have chosen three classics: the Black doll Baby Nancy, the block game Jenga and sidewalk chalk. Baby Nancy made history in 1969 as the first doll with an African American hairstyle. Jenga is a block stacking game popular since the 1980s that gets its name from the Swahili language word for “to build.” Sidewalk chalk dates back as an entertainment to street artists who drew on streets and public squares 500 years ago. Many new toys are introduced at the end of the year for the winter holiday season. In the newspaper or online, find stories, photos or ads showing new toys coming out for the holidays this year. Pick one you think could be a Hall of Fame toy some day. Write a letter to a friend explaining why you think kids will like this toy and why it could end up in the Hall of Fame. Discuss choices with family, friends or classmates.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.

5. Christmas Tree Potholes

In many communities, potholes are a big problem on roads, streets and highways. And getting someone to fix them is an even bigger problem. In the town of North Attleborough, Massachusetts, a man wanted to call attention to local potholes — and found a creative way to do it. Kevin Martin filled the holes with dirt and planted Christmas trees in them! Martin said he decided to take action after getting four flat tires and a $600 repair bill after hitting a group of potholes on a local road. He tried calling town officials but had no luck getting the holes fixed. “I kind of was fed up," he told TV station WJAR. “I needed to make sure that it got fixed one way or another.” His Christmas Tree Plan got results — and quickly. After newspapers and TV stations took note of Martin’s pothole trees, the holes were quickly filled. No word on what happened to the trees. People often do unusual things to call attention to problems. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a person doing this, and what happened as a result. Use what you read to draw a series of comic strips showing what the person did, what happened, and how he, she or the community felt afterward.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.