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For Grades K-4 , week of Apr 11, 2016

1. Sing to Support Girls

Sing out for girls! That’s what First Lady Michelle Obama wants people to do, and she recruited some top talent to lead the way. The First Lady lined up Grammy winners Missy Elliott, Kelly Rowland and Kelly Clarkson, former Disney star Zendaya, Grammy nominee Janelle Monáe and other top singers to record a song to support her Let Girls Learn program. In partnership with the #62milliongirls social media campaign, the singers joined up to record “This Is for My Girls,” a song written by eight-time Oscar nominee Diane Warren. Proceeds from the song will go to the Let Girls Learn program, which is pushing to give girls around the world access to education. About 62 million girls worldwide are not allowed or able to attend school due to poverty, tradition or other issues. “This Is for My Girls” is an example of entertainers and celebrities using their talents to support a cause. With a partner, use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read a story about a cause or issue you would like to support. Pick two or three celebrities you would like to get involved to support your cause. Write a letter to each, asking them for their support and explaining why their support would be important to calling attention to the cause.

Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

2. 500-Year-Old Shipwreck

A shipwreck discovered in the Arabian Sea in the Middle East appears to be the wreckage of the sailing ship “Esmeralda,” which sank in a storm in 1503. The “Esmeralda” was part of a fleet led by Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama that was headed to the Asian nation of India. The armada was heavily armed for war as well as equipped for trade. The wreckage was found off the coast of the Middle East nation of Oman and is the oldest ship from the Age of Exploration to be discovered, according to the history journal called Nautical Archaeology. Among artifacts recovered from the wreck are a 1498 bronze ship’s bell bearing the Portuguese royal coat of arms, and a tiny silver medallion minted by King Dom Manuel I in 1499. Vasco da Gama’s first successful voyage — from Europe to India around the Cape of Good Hope at the tip of Africa — was a turning point in world history. It opened a new route to India from Europe and made exploration, trade and conquest possible for European nations. Sailing ships were once an important form of transportation. In the newspaper or online, find examples of important forms of transportation today. Clip or print out images and words and use them to create a poster showing examples of “Transportation Today.” For each example, write a short paragraph explaining why it is important, and what life would be like if it did not exist.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; 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.

3. Hottest February Ever

February 2016 was the hottest February ever recorded, America’s NASA space agency reports. Average temperatures around the world were 1.35 degrees Celsius above normal, NASA says. Global warming and El Nino weather events in the Pacific Ocean caused the February rise, according to the climate researchers. It is “yet another reminder of the … long-term rise in global temperature,” they note, and every rise in temperatures is important when tracking the warming of the planet. A United Nations weather expert called the news “startling,” adding that “it makes us nervous about the long-term impact.” Global warming is affecting habitats, wildlife and people all over the world. As a class, find and closely read a story about one effect. Then use what you read to write a letter to the editor, calling attention to the situation and offering a suggestion on what could be done to deal with it.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

4. Wolves and Hyenas

Human beings aren’t getting along very well in the Middle East, but perhaps they could learn a lesson from an unlikely source — wild animals. A study in a science journal called Zoology in the Middle East reports that grey wolves and striped hyenas — which usually are rivals — are working together to survive in Negev desert in the nation of Israel. Both large animals have the same diet — plants and animals, plus insects and scavenged garbage. Because of a scarcity of prey, however, they’ve found it mutually helpful to hunt together in packs. “When necessary, animals can abandon their usual strategies,” a researcher notes. “It’s a very useful skill for people, too.” The cooperation of wolves and hyenas in Israel is a remarkable development in animal behavior. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another animal behavior that researchers are studying. Use what you read to write a paragraph explaining what scientists are studying, what they have learned or hope to learn, and why it would be important.

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 to support conclusions.

5. The Most Barbies

Barbie Expo, a new museum in the Canadian city of Montreal, claims to have the world’s largest permanent exhibit of Barbie dolls. The museum says it has about 1,000, and each is a one-of-a-kind creation. Some of the dolls at the museum have been dressed by famous fashion designers such as Christian Dior and Giorgio Armani, while others are modeled after movie characters or real-life personalities like Beyonce. Barbie dolls were first introduced in March 1959 and have been around for 57 years. In that time, they have featured different styles and clothes and possessions that reflected what was popular in different years. As a class, talk about some things that Barbie dolls from different years might own that would reflect the time they came out. Then discuss what things a Barbie doll might have owned in the different years of your life, and what they might own today. Use points from the discussion to draw a series of comic strips showing how Barbie dolls may have changed through the years — or could change in the future.

Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.