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For Grades K-4 , week of Dec. 09, 2019

1. ‘Frozen’ Very Hot

Holiday movies are often the most popular of the year, and the new “Frozen 2” certainly proved that when it opened in theaters. The animated Disney movie set a new record for ticket sales for the five-day Thanksgiving weekend with a total of nearly $124-million in theaters around the country. That broke the record of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” which sold $109-million in tickets when it opened on Thanksgiving weekend in 2013. “Frozen 2,” which continues the adventures of Princess Anna, Queen Elsa and Olaf the snowman, sold a whopping $739-million in tickets around the world in just 12 days. The first “Frozen” also opened over Thanksgiving, selling $93-million in tickets in five days in 2013. Movies that come out during the December holidays are designed to appeal to families. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories and ads involving movies you would like to see with your family this month. Use what you read to write a letter to your family, telling why you would like to see one or more of the top movies coming out.

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.

2. ‘Spirit of America’

The White House is not just the home of the president in Washington, DC. It also is “America’s House” where the nation celebrates special occasions. That includes Christmas, and First Lady Melania Trump has decorated the White House this year to show off “The Spirit of America.” Wreaths and decorations feature stars, stripes and the American flag, and in the East Room there are four sparkling Christmas trees topped with gold-colored eagles. The official White House Christmas tree is decorated with ornaments featuring the state flower of every state and territory, and a huge gingerbread model of the White House is surrounded by American landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty. On top of that, the display was put together by volunteers from all 50 U.S. states. Holiday decorations brighten the streets, homes and public places in every community at this time of year. In the newspaper or online, find and study photos of decorations in your community or state. Use what you read to write a holiday song telling how the decorations make you feel. Use the tune of a familiar song and change the words to express your feelings. Share with the class.

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.

3. Holiday Adjectives

With the holiday season in full swing, communities across the nation are sharing their excitement. Among the ways people share excitement are the adjectives they use to describe things — “beautiful,” “sparkling,” “magical,” and more. To get in the holiday spirit, write out the alphabet on a sheet of paper. Then use the newspaper and Internet to search for holiday adjectives that start with each letter. You can list more than one for any letter, but try to find at least one for each letter. Share adjectives as a class. Then use five of your adjectives in complete sentences.

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.

4. Iguana Invasion

Green iguanas are reptiles that look like modern dinosaurs. In the city of Miami, Florida, they are acting like them too, over-running neighborhoods and communities in ways that remind people of the dinosaur movie “Jurassic Park.” Green iguanas are not native to Florida and were introduced to the state by people who purchased them as pets. Now hundreds of thousands of them are destroying power lines, plants, lawns, native species and even structures like sidewalks and sea walls, a local TV station reports. They also can spread the disease salmonella through their droppings. Male green iguanas can grow to be five feet long and weigh up to 17 pounds, and both males and females have a scary appearance. Green iguanas have a row of spikes that runs down the center of the neck, back and tail and a giant “throat fan” they can expand to scare predators. Because they are not native to Florida, they are considered an “invasive species.” Invasive species upset the balance of ecosystems because they do not have natural predators. With a partner, use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read a story about an invasive species. Use what you read to present a short oral report, telling how the invasive species was introduced to its area, what damage it is causing and what is being done to control it.

Common Core State Standards: Citing textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

5. Double Time

In Kansas City, Missouri, the staff at Saint Luke’s Hospital has been seeing double over the last month. And double, and double, and double some more. The reason for all this double vision is twins — a record 12 sets being cared for in the intensive care unit for newborn babies. The unit has had multiple births to care for before, “but not 12 sets at one time,” one nurse said. All of the twins required intensive care because they were born between five and 14 weeks early. Some will need to stay in the hospital longer than others, but hospital officials hope all will be home by Christmas or the end of December. “I had no idea that having twins right now was such the ‘in’ thing,” one mother told a local TV station. Numbers are often in the news, and they are a good way to practice math skills. For example, if each set of twins has two babies, how many total babies are there in the 12 sets of twins at St. Luke’s Hospital? In the newspaper or online, find and closely read two stories involving numbers. For each, create a math word problem from the numbers involved. Solve your problems so you know the right answers. Then exchange with classmates.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; representing and solving problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.