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for Grades K-4

Oct. 16, 2017
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For Grades K-4 , week of Sep. 05, 2016

1. Election Language

In an election like this year’s race for president, WHAT the candidates say is very important. So is HOW they say it. The adjectives and verbs they use to describe issues or each other reveal a lot about their character and attitudes. In the newspaper or online, scan or read stories about presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Make a list of verbs and adjectives they use to describe each other or the issues. Make one list of Trump words and a second list of Clinton words. Write a paragraph for each, explaining what message each candidate is trying to send about the other. Then write a second paragraph explaining what the choice of verbs and adjectives says about the character and attitude of the person using them.

Common Core State Standards: Identifying multiple language conventions and using them; recognizing nouns, verbs and modifiers; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.

2. Fewer Fireflies Out There

Fireflies are some of the most beautiful creatures of the insect world. Their lights brighten summer evenings and give back yards an almost magical feeling. Yet the number of fireflies in the world is dropping due to changes in their preferred habitats — especially in cities and suburbs. Fewer places have forest litter, fallen leaves and rotting wood — habitats that fireflies like for laying eggs and breeding. There also are fewer warm, dark and open areas that fireflies like as living space, and there is more use of pesticides. In addition, artificial light from street lights and headlights interferes with mating signals fireflies send through their lights. Researchers in Boston, Massachusetts say cutting outdoor lighting and reducing use of pesticides can help fireflies. So would letting wood waste accumulate or adding a pond, though that could increase the number of mosquitoes. Fireflies are insects that are beautiful to watch. In the newspaper or online, find and read about another wildlife creature that is beautiful to watch. Or find and study photos of the creature. Use what you find to write a poem “Nature’s Beauty,” describing why the creature is beautiful and how it makes you feel.

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

3. Black History Gift from MJ

Former basketball superstar Michael Jordan is donating $5 million — plus a jersey worn in the 1996 National Basketball Association finals — to the Smithsonian Institution’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. In appreciation, the Smithsonian will rename the Game Changers Hall in its Sports Gallery as the Michael Jordan Hall. Jordan — known as “MJ” throughout his career — is among the 17 athletes featured in the hall. Others include Olympics star Jesse Owens “whose talent, commitment and perseverance broke racial barriers,” Jordan said, “and laid the groundwork for the successful careers of so many African Americans in athletics and beyond.” The new Museum of African American History and Culture is putting a spotlight on the history and achievements of African Americans. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an African American who is achieving success. Write a letter to the editor, summarizing the person’s achievements and stating why they could inspire others.

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. Harry Potter Exhibition

The Harry Potter books have sold more than 450 million copies around the world, have been turned into a hit film series and recently inspired a new play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” Now the British Library in London, England, is planning an exhibition next year to mark the 20th anniversary of the first book in the Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” The exhibition will open on October 20, 2017 and run through the following February. It will feature archive materials of author J.K. Rowling and the Bloomsbury book company that published the books in England. The title of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” was changed to “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” when it was published in the United States. Harry Potter books use imagination to tell great stories. Use your imagination to write a creative story based on a person or event in the news. Closely read a story that interests you. Then ask “what if” something unusual happened. Use your story to tell what happened after the unusual thing happened.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

5. Free Travel Attractions

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where you would go? And what if you could see attractions for free or little cost? A new travel guidebook may have just the answers you are looking for. “The Best Things in Life Are Free” book lists free and bargain attractions in more than 60 places around the world. Published by the Lonely Planet company, the guidebook spotlights affordable safaris in Africa, cheap but high-end food in Asia and free spectator sports in the United States such as pond hockey in Minneapolis. Other recommendations include cherry blossoms in Tokyo, Japan, free museum days in Oslo, Norway, snorkeling beaches in Sydney, Australia and a bargain graffiti tour in Bogota, Colombia. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a place or attraction you would like to visit. Use what you read to design a travel ad for the newspaper, telling people why they would want to visit this place. Give your ad an eye-catching headline.

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.