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For Grades K-4 , week of Feb. 11, 2019

1. Gifts from a Child

Sometimes simple things give people the most pleasure. A fifth grader in the state of Arkansas discovered that when she started visiting nursing homes where her mother worked. Ruby Kate Chitsey talked with the elderly residents she met and asked them to tell her “what three things in the world they wish they had right now.” She wrote down their answers and realized that many were inexpensive, everyday pleasures many people take for granted. Things like fresh fruit, food from outside the nursing home, new books or a professional haircut. Her mother helped her set up a GoFundMe account on the Internet to raise funds for the residents, and so far it has raised more than $30,000. That’s more than enough for Ruby Kate’s project. Most residents want “very simple things that you could just go in Walmart and get,” Ruby Kate says, “and that’s what we do.” There are many ways to help elderly people or elderly relatives. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an elderly person who could use some help. Use what you read to write a paragraph describing different ways people could help this person. Finish by writing a second paragraph describing a way you could help an elderly person you know. Share with the class.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

2. He Survived!

Seeing wild animals up close gives people an idea of what they are really like. Sometimes that can be terrifying. A man running alone in the state of Colorado was attacked by a mountain lion this month, and only survived by killing it with his bare hands! The attack occurred on a trail in the Horsetooth Mountain natural area near the city of Fort Collins, state wildlife officials said. An 80-pound mountain lion came up behind the runner and attacked him when he turned around. The man was bitten in the face and wrist, but managed to get his hands around the lion’s neck and strangle it to death. People should pay attention to safety when seeing wild animals up close. In the newspaper or online, find and study a story or photo involving a wild animal. Use what you read and your own knowledge to write five safety rules people should follow when meeting this animal up close. Turn your rules into a poster if you like. Share with the class.

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

3. Great Skier Retires

Lindsey Vonn is one of the greatest women’s skiers of all time. But this will be her last year of competition. Vonn has announced she will retire from skiing after the world championship races this week. The 34-year-old Vonn retires with 82 wins in World Cup competition, the most in women’s skiing history. She also won three Olympic medals in three different Olympic Games and seven World Championship medals. She has been battling injuries in recent years and had surgery last spring to repair cartilage damage. Vonn began skiing when she was 3 years old and was racing by the age of 7. As a women’s skier, Lindsey Vonn inspired many girls and women to compete in sports. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another successful women’s athlete. Use what you read to write a sports column, discussing the woman’s achievements and how they could inspire girls or other women.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

4. Beauty from Wildfires

It takes a special person to create beauty from death and destruction. But artist Shane Grammer is doing just that in the area hit by the deadly Paradise wildfire in the state of California. Grammer has been painting murals on the ruins of homes, cars, walls and more to give hope to the community that lost 80 percent of its homes to the November fire in northern California. Grammer, who lives in the southern California city of Los Angeles, painted his first mural for a friend who posted a picture online of a ruined fireplace of his home. Since then, Grammer has painted other murals for Paradise residents who have asked for them, according to the Washington Post newspaper. On one, he included a Bible verse stating that his goal was “to give unto them beauty for ashes.” Art can give people hope when they face problems or hard times. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone facing problems. Use what you read to create an artwork that could give people hope by showing a positive outcome to the situation. Give your artwork a title and discuss with the class.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

5. New Fish for Florida

In the state of Florida, thousands of fish and marine animals were killed when a deadly “red tide” of algae struck the area around the Gulf of Mexico last year. The fish and marine life were killed by chemical toxins released by the algae after the tiny plants died. Now Florida officials are taking steps to help the ocean ecosystem recover. More than 16,000 fish are being released into Florida waters to replace those that died as a result of the algae attack. The release of the fish known as redfish is being organized by the Coastal Conservation Association of Florida. Many people want to help wildlife, marine life or ecosystems when they are threatened, endangered or damaged. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about people taking steps to help wildlife or ecosystems in the environment. Use what you read to write a short editorial discussing how the effort will help and how it could be a model for other efforts to help.

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