For Grades K-4 , week of Oct. 24, 2022

1. What’s Your Costume?

Halloween is a week away, and in communities all over the nation people are planning their costumes. Some will dress up in spooky, scary or funny costumes. Others will pretend to be superheroes, sports stars or characters from books or movies. Still others will dress as celebrities or people in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and study stories, ads and photos involving Halloween costumes. Then talk as a class about costumes you or your classmates will be wearing. Finish by drawing a picture of a costume you would like to wear, and writing a paragraph explaining why.

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; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

2. The Queen’s Bears

When England’s Queen Elizabeth II celebrated 70 years as queen last June, she charmed her nation and the world by filming a comedy skit with the beloved children’s book character Paddington Bear. After the Queen died this fall at the age of 96, hundreds of people left stuffed Paddington Bears and teddy bears outside her royal residences as gestures of love and respect. Now the Queen’s royal family has announced that those bears will be put to good use. More than 1,000 of them have been collected and will be donated to a charity serving children. The bears will be professionally cleaned and donated to Barnardo’s, a charity that provides support and protection services for children in need. Founded in 1866, Barnardo’s is England’s largest children’s charity. “Those involved in the project hope the … bears will be much loved for many years to come by children supported by Barnardo’s, whilst understanding the story behind the bears,” Queen Elizabeth’s family said. Many groups and people do special things to help children and families in need. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about groups or people doing this. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor telling what help these groups or people are providing, and why it is important to children and families.

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.

3. Seeing Double

In Europe’s ancient Roman Empire, Janus was the god of beginnings and endings and was represented as having two heads — one looking backward and one looking forward. In a nation that was once part of the Roman Empire, a rare and unusual tortoise could also look forward and backward at the same time if it chose to. The tortoise, also named Janus, has two heads! It also has two hearts, two pairs of lungs and two distinct personalities, according to officials at the Natural History Museum in the city of Geneva, Switzerland. Janus just turned 25 this fall, and museum officials are celebrating his unusual life. Janus hatched at the museum in 1997 and likely would have died in the wild, because he cannot retract his heads inside his shell for protection. Museum officials, who believe Janus is the oldest two-headed tortoise in the world, take care of his every need, Reuters News reports. They feed him organic salad, give him daily massages and provide daily baths in green and chamomile teas. They also treat his heads with Vaseline gel to keep them getting sore when they rub together. Odd or unusual animals are often in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an animal that is unusual in some way. Use what you read to write a TV news report telling the story of this unusual animal and how it deals with its unusual qualities. Choose photos from the Internet or newspaper to go with your story.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

4. Green Skyscraper

Large cities have a hard time providing green space for residents and people who work there because their buildings are so close together. In the Asian city-state of Singapore, a new skyscraper is providing green space by opening up floors to plants and trees hundreds of feet off the ground. The unusual design uses the 17th to 20th floors of the 51-story tower to provide a “green oasis” for residents and workers along with the public, CNN News reports. The “oasis” contains more than 80,000 plants and trees, most of them native to the hot weather of Singapore. On top of that the CapitaSpring tower features a tree-shaded plaza on the ground floor and a 4,500-square-foot farm on its roof, where visitors can see workers growing fruits, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers for the building’s three restaurants. With a height of 919 feet, the CapitaSpring tower is one of Singapore’s tallest skyscrapers. Cities all over the world are trying to provide more green space for residents and workers. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one such effort. Use what you read to write an editorial giving your view on the value of green space to communities, and suggesting green spaces that your community might build or provide.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

5. Pizza Hut Slice

In pizza restaurants around the nation, hungry people have long been able to walk in, order a single slice, have it heated up and walk out with a satisfying snack. Pizza Hut has not been one of those restaurants — until now. The pizza chain has just introduced a new menu item called Pizza Hut Melts, which offers customers a variation on the single slice. The Melts are actually two slices of Thin ‘N’ Crispy pizza folded together and filled with toppings and cheese. The “slices,” which cost $6.99, come in four different versions, including pepperoni, buffalo chicken, chicken bacon with parmesan cheese, and a “meat lover” special, CNN News reported. All are served with a marinara or ranch dressing sauce for dipping. “Melts were designed for a pizza party of one, giving guests the option to enjoy the delicious taste of pizza without having to order a whole pie,” the company said. Restaurants and other businesses are always offering new items to appeal to customers. In the newspaper or online, find a story or ad of a restaurant or business offering something new. Think like a consumer reporter and write a paragraph or personal column telling how you think people will respond to this new item.

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