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For Grades K-4 , week of Aug. 06, 2018

1. A LeBron James School

LeBron James is known all over the world as a great basketball player. Now he is taking steps to show he is a great supporter of education as well. In his hometown of Akron, Ohio, his LeBron James Family Foundation has partnered with the Akron Public Schools to create a new school to help elementary students who need the most support to succeed. Called the I Promise School, the school will provide programs designed to help “at risk” students build the skills they need to read or do math at their grade level. And it will provide support for their parents, too, with food pantries, counselors and more. The school opened this month with 240 students in Grades 3 and 4, and will add more grades each year until it serves Grades 1-8. On Twitter, James said the opening was “one of the greatest moments” of his life — “if not the greatest!” The I Promise School seeks to help poor and “at risk” students succeed in school. With family or friends, talk about challenges such students face, and how schools could help them. Then use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read a story about a school providing special help for such students. Write a paragraph telling how this school seeks to help its students, and how other schools could learn from its program.

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

2. Tanks for the Reef

Ocean reefs are great friends to wildlife, providing homes for fish, seaweeds, plants and other marine life. Sometimes, when an area doesn’t have reefs, people create them. That is happening this summer off the coast of the Middle East country of Lebanon. In an unusual project, military tanks and other old military equipment have been sunk to create an artificial reef that environmentalists hope will revive marine life in the area. Ten pieces of equipment were donated by the Lebanese Armed Forces, and they were put in place by a marine support group called the Friends of the Coast of Sidon. “It aims to contribute in reviving, renewing and enriching marine life and to provide the city [of Sidon] a new attraction for environmental and marine tourism,” the group told the CNN news network. People often take action to improve the natural environment. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about people working to improve the environment. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor telling what people are doing, how it is helping the environment and how it could inspire communities or other people to take action.

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.

3. Big Mac Celebration

Happy birthday, Big Mac. Fifty years ago this summer, the famous McDonald’s burger was invented and offered to customers for the first time. To mark the big birthday, McDonald’s is giving specially designed MacCoins to customers every time they order a Big Mac. Each coin can be used to buy another Big Mac at any McDonald’s restaurant in the United States from now until the end of the year. The special MacCoins come in five different designs and are being given out at 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. Businesses often celebrate milestones or important events in special ways. In the newspaper or online, find and study an ad for a business celebrating something in a special way. Write a paragraph examining what things attract your attention in the ad, how they make you feel and what action you think the business wants you to take. For added fun, find other ads that seek to get your attention and discuss them with family and friends.

Common Core State Standards: Closely reading written and visual texts and making logical inferences from them; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

4.‘Roos on the Move

When kangaroos get together, their groups are known as mobs. For the last two months in the Australian city of Canberra, kangaroos have been mobbing all over the place in search of food. Because Australia is located in the Earth’s Southern Hemisphere, it is winter there at this time of year. And it has been a hard winter for kangaroos, with cold temperatures and little rain to grow plants that kangaroos eat. As a result, the ‘roos are invading city greenspaces ranging from playing fields to parks to schoolyards. One kangaroo even interrupted a soccer match, lying down on the grass and refusing to leave. Canberra is Australia’s capital city. Wildlife often have to deal with hardships or extreme conditions in the wild. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a wildlife species facing hardships or challenges somewhere in the world. Use what you read to create a billboard or newspaper ad, calling attention to the problem and suggesting ways people could help. Give your billboard/ad an eye-catching headline that will get people’s attention.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

5. Tom & Brady

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has a lot of fans around the world, but none may be bigger than Brian Caffyn. He named his twin sons Tom and Brady after the Patriots star led the team to a Super Bowl victory over the Seattle Seahawks in 2015. This summer, at the Patriots training camp, twins Tom and Brady met the real Tom Brady. “You’re Tom, but I’m Tom too,” said the original Tom Brady. “We got the same name.” Caffyn, who lives in the Asian city of Hong Kong, said he named the twins after the Patriots superstar because he’s a huge fan and was “pretty charged up” after the Super Bowl win, WBZ television reported. Parents often give their children names for special reasons. Creative writers also do this, because names can suggest what personality or skills a character has. In the newspaper or online, find an interesting or unusual name of someone in the news. Pretend you are a creative writer who is giving this name to a character. Write a paragraph telling what personality or skills this name would suggest for the character. For added fun, find other unusual names in the newspaper or online. Make up characters to go with the names as if you were a writer.

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