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For Grades K-4 , week of Oct. 31, 2022

1. World Series

The World Series of Major League Baseball is the most exciting competition of the year, because it determines the overall champion for the season. This year’s World Series opponents are the Houston Astros of the American League and the Philadelphia Phillies of the National League. The first two games of this year’s Series were held in the city of Houston in the Lone Star State of Texas, but on Monday the competition moves to the City of Brotherly Love in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Astros and the Phillies took wildly different paths to the World Series. The Astros had the best record in the American League, winning 106 games in the regular season and earning the top rank in the playoffs. The Phillies struggled to even make the playoffs, earning the sixth and final spot in the National League with an 87-75 record. The World Series is a best-of-seven series, so the first team win four games wins the championship. Games 1 and 2 were played last weekend with Game 3 scheduled for Monday night this week and Game 4 on Tuesday. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the outcome of games last weekend and how that will affect Games 3 and 4. Use what you read to write a prediction of what you think will happen in this week’s games.

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

2. Some Pig

In the children’s story “Charlotte’s Web,” a pig named Wilbur befriends Charlotte the Spider when she weaves a web in the barn where he lives. In the state of Connecticut, a real-life pig is making friends with senior adults living in nursing homes and bringing them smiles when she visits. The pig named Porkchop has become a therapy animal for seniors who have memory problems or have lost their memory entirely. Therapy animals are usually dogs or cats that have been trained to provide emotional or physical support. In the town of Woodbridge, Animal Control Officer Jessica Moffo has trained Porkchop to sit and stay and make special connections with residents. “She just loves to be with people,” Moffo told local TV station WFSB. Moffo decided to train Porkchop after seeing how animals helped her grandmother and others in her nursing home. Her reward is “Seeing their smiles and the joy. They remember Porkchop, so they know her and they wait for her.” The book “Charlotte’s Web” has been entertaining children and adults since it first came out 70 years ago in October 1952. It is a story of friendship between two very different species. In the newspaper or online, find and study stories or photos of two different species that live in your state or community. Use what you read to write a creative story about how these creatures could become friends — and what that would be like.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

3. Firefighter First

New York City was founded nearly 400 years ago and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. This month, Laura Kavanagh did something there that no one had ever done before. Kavanagh became the first woman to become commissioner of the New York City Fire Department. Kavanagh, who is 40, was appointed by New York Mayor Eric Adams after serving as acting commissioner since last February, when Commissioner Daniel Nigro retired. Kavanagh’s appointment comes 10 months after Adams appointed Keechant Sewell as the city’s first female police commissioner, and the third African American to hold the post. After her swearing in, Kavanagh embraced the historic nature of her role but noted “me being first only matters if I am not the last.” Before her appointment she directed a firefighter recruiting campaign that led to more women serving as New York firefighters than ever. Across the United States and the world, women and girls are making history by doing things that women and girls have never done before. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a woman who has done this. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor telling how this woman’s achievement could inspire other girls and women. Share with the class and discuss.

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. Splat! A Nature Alert

Scientists study wildlife in many ways, but it’s unlikely many have counted the splats of dead bugs on the windshields of cars and trucks. Yet that is what a team of researchers has done in the European nation of Denmark over the last few years, and their findings have caused concern for wildlife lovers. Their studies during the summer months have recorded a dramatic drop in the number of bug splats, which likely indicates that the number of insects is dropping too. That would be bad news for the environment, since insects provide food for birds, pollinate crops of fruits and vegetables, control pests that damage crops and even clean up natural areas by eating the remains of dead animals. Researchers led by Danish biologist Anders Pape Moller found that between 1996 and 2017, insect splatters fell by 80 percent on one of the routes Moller regularly travels, and on a longer stretch, they plunged 97 percent, the Washington Post newspaper reported. Other methods, including catching insects in nets and sticky traps, showed similar results, Moller said. Scientists study wildlife to gather information on how healthy the environment is. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about scientists doing this. Use what you read to write a paragraph explaining the scientists’ findings in your own words — and whether the findings show the environment is healthy or not.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing textual or visual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

5. Terrible Pollution

Air pollution is a problem that faces cities around the world. In the United States this month, one city earned the embarrassing honor of having the worst pollution on Earth. Seattle, Washington was recognized for record pollution when forest fires filled the air with so much smoke that residents couldn’t see the tops of skyscrapers or buildings just blocks away, the Washington Post reported. Residents also couldn’t see the horizon, surrounding mountains or the top of Seattle’s landmark Space Needle, which is taller than two football fields at more than 600 feet. The smoke came from forest fires raging in Washington’s Cascade Mountains, combined with fog over the Seattle waterway known as Puget Sound. The terrible pollution only lasted for a couple of days, but it pushed Seattle ahead of more famous pollution cities like Beijing, China; Los Angeles, California; and New York City. One weather expert said it was “shocking” that Seattle could ever have the worst air pollution in the world. Pollution of the air, water or earth affects communities in many ways. With a partner, use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read a story about pollution affecting a community. Prepare a report explaining the effects of the pollution, where it came from and what is being done about it. Present your report to the class or to another team.

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.