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For Grades K-4 , week of May 02, 2016

1. McDonald’s in Asia

McDonald’s will add more than 1,000 restaurants in the Asian nation of China in the next five years, as well as about 250 in the Chinese territory of Hong Kong and the nearby nation of South Korea. The company is seeking partners to run franchises in all three markets, where it now has more than 2,800 restaurants. With this expansion, China will become the nation with the second-largest number of McDonald’s restaurants after the United States, the company said. Businesses are important to communities, and when they expand it’s big news. As a class, use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read a story about a business in your community. Use what you read to write a paragraph describing ways the community would benefit if the business expanded. Write a second paragraph describing risks the business should consider before expanding.

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.

2. Hot Electric Car

A new, lower-priced electric car from Tesla Motors won’t go on sale until late next year, but almost 200,000 people around the world have already paid $1,000 deposits to reserve one. The Tesla Model 3 will sell for $35,000 and will be able to travel 215 miles with each electric charge. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the Model 3 will be able to speed up from zero to 60 mph in less than six seconds. The Model 3 will cost less than half the price of earlier Tesla models. Tesla and the Panasonic company are building a $5 billion factory in the state of Nevada to make rechargeable electric batteries for the car. Electric cars use technology in new ways to provide transportation that is cleaner for the environment than cars that burn gasoline. In the newspaper or online, find an ad for another product that uses technology in a new way. Study the ad to learn about the product and do added research online. Then write a paragraph describing how this product is an improvement over earlier products.

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. No Canadian Teams

Ice hockey is Canada’s national game, but for the first time in 46 years, no Canadian team made the National Hockey League playoffs. There are seven Canadian teams in the 30-team NHL, but none were among the 16 that qualified for the playoffs, which began April 13. Canadian teams used to dominate pro hockey, but no Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup since 1993, and most of the Canadian teams in the NHL had fewer than 40 wins this season. It’s not that Canadians don’t still excel at the game. Canada has won the gold medal for hockey in the last two Winter Olympics, and many of the players on “American” teams in the NHL are from the United States’ neighbor North of the Border. The playoffs are under way in the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association (NBA). In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a player who is playing well in the hockey or basketball playoffs. Pretend you are going to interview this player for a story for the newspaper. Use what you read to write out five questions you would like to ask the player — and why.

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

4. Squirrel Hunt Lockdown

An elementary school in the state of Arkansas was put into a safety “lockdown” not long ago when three armed men were reported outside. There really wasn’t any danger, however. The men turned out to be pest-control workers who had been hired to chase squirrels at a neighboring apartment complex. A teacher reported the men outside the Hot Springs school when she saw them toting what appeared to be rifles. Police later determined the “rifles” were pellet guns being used to get rid of squirrels that had been bothering residents at the apartment complex. During the lockdown students were asked to stay in place and teachers locked school doors for safety. The lockdown lasted about an hour. School safety is important in every community. As a class, talk about the most important things schools can do to keep students safe — and things students need to know to stay safe. Use ideas from the discussion to design a public service ad for the newspaper, listing important things schools and students should do to stay safe.

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.

5. Insects Killing Trees

In the state of California, drought and lack of rain have put millions of trees at risk to attacks by native bark beetles. Governor Jerry Brown has declared an emergency and has warned that California faces “the worst epidemic of tree [deaths] in its modern history.” Healthy trees can defend themselves against bark beetles, but drought weakens their defenses, according to the U.S. Forest Service. An estimated 22 million California trees have died already, the Forest Service says. Governor Brown is asking the federal government for money and help to remove dead and dying trees. Weather, heat, drought and global warming can have a big effect on the environment. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one effect on the environment from one of these causes. Use what you read to draw a series of comic strips for the newspaper, showing how people might respond to the situation.

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.