For Grades K-4 , week of Aug. 01, 2022

1. New School Supplies

In communities across the nation, kids are getting ready to go back to school — some as early as this week. One thing parents and students always need to do at this time is to get school supplies that students will need. To help parents out, unusual programs in two cities in the state of Kansas are collecting supplies from people who owe money from traffic tickets and other minor offenses. The School Supplies for Fines programs in the cities of Shawnee and Olathe allow offenders to get fines and fees reduced by donating up to $30 in such supplies as pencils, pens, rulers, erasers, highlighters, scissors, glue sticks and even disinfectant wipes. For $15 in supplies, $50 can be taken off fines; for $30, fines can be reduced by $100. Shawnee officials say the program is a “win-win” for residents who owe the city money and for families of school children who might be challenged to buy new supplies each year. “We’re collecting all of these new school supplies, and we’ll then turn them over to the Shawnee Lions Club,” a Shawnee official told KCTV News. “They will get those out and distribute them to children who might need [their] school supply lists filled.” The School Supplies for Fines programs are designed to help students and families. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another program that helps students and families. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, telling what the program does and why that is important.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.

2. Smart, Loyal Hero

Border collie dogs are known for being smart, alert, loyal and faithful. In the state of California, a border collie is being hailed as a hero for combining all those traits to help rescue his owner, who had been badly injured by a fall on a hiking trail. The collie named Saul led rescuers to his 53-year-old owner after his master had fallen 70 feet on a hike and broken his hip and ribs. The owner had been missing for a day before he was able to reach a spot with cell phone service and call for help. When rescuers arrived at the area, Saul ran up to them jumping up and down and spinning in circles. Saul then led the rescuers to his injured owner. “At first we didn’t believe it, because it sounded like a movie,” said a spokesman for the Nevada County Search and Rescue Unit, according to TV station KCRA. “When they came back and actually described it to us, the reality was that they had followed the dog directly to the victim.” Animals help people in many ways. In the newspaper or online, find and study a story or photo of an animal helping someone. Use what you learn to draw a series of comic strips showing how the animal helped and how the person responded. Give your animal a special comic strip name, if you like.

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.

3. Volcano Erupts

Volcanoes form when hot, liquid rock called magma forces its way through the outer layer of the Earth’s crust. This usually happens when pressure builds up on the magma due to earthquakes, shifts in the rock beneath the Earth’s surface or other changes. The Asian nation of Japan got a first-hand look at how earthquakes can disrupt life this month when a volcano erupted and forced wide evacuations of people. The eruption of the Sakurajima volcano on the island of Kyushu sent rocks and ash flying from its crater and released clouds of smoke, fumes and gases that rose more than 7,000 feet in the air. Because Sakurajima is one of Japan’s most active volcanoes, officials issued a Level 5 alert — the highest level — for just the second time in history. Officials said electronic monitoring devices had detected movements in the Earth’s crust before the eruption. Volcano eruptions are a natural event that can have great impact on the surrounding area. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another natural event that is affecting people and the environment. Use what you read to write a paragraph or short paper on the cause and impact of this natural event. Print or clip photos from the newspaper or Internet to illustrate your paper.

Common Core State Standards: Integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

4. Musical Pedaling

The Newport Folk Festival in the state of Rhode Island has given a stage to all kinds of folk music since it was founded more than 60 years ago. In its early days, organizers wouldn’t allow electric instruments to be used, but this year the festival came up with an unusual way to power electric performances. One of the stages was powered by bicycles ridden by fans attending the shows! At the Bike Stage fans took turns riding five stationary bicycles, and their pedaling generated electricity, the Associated Press news service reported. The electricity was then fed through wires to an electrical box on the stage and combined with solar energy to power the sound system. The idea for the Bike Stage came from a band called Illiterate Light, an environmentally conscious duo from Virginia that wants to get people “thinking differently and trying out new ways of creating electricity.” Bicycle power and solar power are “alternative” sources of electricity for people who don’t want to burn fossil fuels such as oil, coal or gas. Other alternative energy sources are wind power and hydroelectric water power. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an alternative energy source. Use what you read to create a chart or poster showing the advantages and disadvantages of this kind of alternative energy. Share with family and friends and discuss.

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.

5. Hitching Up for Fries

In western states like California, people love to get out and ride their horses on trails and wide open spaces. Like many other Americans, they also like going to McDonald’s for burgers and fries. In the California community of Rio Linda, a local McDonald’s has come up with a way to please people who like to do both things The McDonald’s has installed a hitching post so that horseback riders can tie up their horses while they go in to order or eat a meal. Riders used to try to go through the drive through lane, but it was awkward reaching down to pay and receive their orders. “It’s so much more convenient to not have to reach over your horse and worry about dropping the food or drink,” rider Justice Scott told CBS13 TV News. Since the hitching post went in, the horses have become minor celebrities. “We have people stop and take pictures,” Scott said. And the McDonald’s post may have started a trend. The Rite Aid Pharmacy across the street has now put in a hitching post as well. Businesses often do things to make shopping more convenient or fun for customers. In the newspaper or online, find and read a story about a business that has done something like this. Or find a photo of something a business has done. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend, telling what the business has done and how it helps customers.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.