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for Grades K-4

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For Grades K-4 , week of Mar. 16, 2020

1. ‘Self-Quarantine’

If you follow the news, you can learn many new words and phrases. “Coronavirus” is one new word Americans have learned in recent weeks. “Self-quarantine” (KWAR-en-teen) is another. What does that mean? To self-quarantine means to stay away from other people. People who self-quarantine should stay at home except to get medical care and not go to jobs, school or public places like supermarkets or movie theaters. They should try to stay six feet apart from other people and wear medical masks to prevent the spread of the virus if they have to meet others. They should cover coughs and sneezes (or sneeze into an elbow) and wash their hands often. They should avoid sharing personal household items, including towels or washcloths. Most of all, they should watch for symptoms of the virus, which include high fever, cough and trouble breathing. In cases involving coronavirus, self-quarantine should last two weeks, which is the amount of time it takes for the virus to make someone sick. Fortunately for children, they are being affected less severely than adults by the coronavirus outbreak. News stories can help you learn new words and phrases. In the newspaper or online, find and read stories about coronavirus or anther topic. Pick out five words that are new to you. Look them up in a dictionary or online. Use each one in a complete sentence of your own.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

2. Write a New Ending

Great children’s books engage the imagination of readers and get them to think about the world in new ways. A writer in the Asian nation of Sri Lanka has done that in an unusual way with her latest book, and she set a Guinness World Record in the process. Sri Lankan author Sybil Wettasinghe enlisted the help of students from across her country to write 1,250 different endings to her new book “Wonder Crystal.” The number is a new record for alternative endings for a book, according to the Guinness World Records organization. Wettasinghe, the author and illustrator of popular children’s books like “The Umbrella Thief,” asked children to send in writings, drawings and poetry to complete the story of “Wonder Crystal.” She received about 20,000 submissions before settling on 1,250 for the final book. Sybil Wettasinghe’s challenge to young readers to help finish her book encouraged them to use their imagination. You can use your imagination — and build writing skills — by using the newspaper or Internet. In the newspaper or online find and closely read a story that interests you. Think about how the story ends. Then use your imagination to write a different ending for the people or community in the story. Share with the class.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

3. The Best Mars Photo

Ever since it landed on the planet Mars in 2012, the American space rover Curiosity has been sending back photos showing scientists what the surface of the so-called Red Planet is like. This winter, Curiosity outdid itself, capturing a wide-angle panorama shot that is the sharpest and highest resolution in history. The photo actually is more than 1,000 photos stitched together by computer to show the landscape of the Glen Torridon region next to Mount Sharp, a 3.4-mile-high peak that the rover has been exploring recently. The pictures were taken over several days between November 24 and December 1. Curiosity took all the pictures between noon and 2 p.m. Mars time to make sure the lighting was the same in every one. Photos often tell more about people and situations than words alone. In the newspaper or online, find and study a photo that interests you. Write out three things the photo tells you about the person or situation shown in the picture that words alone could not. Share ideas and photos as a class and discuss.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; citing textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

4. Youngest Olympian

In sports and other fields, Kid Power is a force that gets harder and harder to ignore. The latest example is a table tennis player from the Middle East nation of Syria. She has qualified for this year’s Summer Olympic Games — at 11 years old! Hend Zaza qualified to play in the Olympics after defeating an opponent nearly four times her age in the West Asia Olympic qualification tournament. She will be the youngest competitor at this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, and one of the youngest in history. Born on January 1, 2009, she is currently ranked 155th in the world, according to the International Table Tennis Federation. Hend will not be the only pre-teen at this year’s Summer Olympics. Sky Brown, a skateboarder from the European nation of Great Britain, will turn 12 two weeks before the start of the Olympics in July. Young children often make news by doing amazing or unusual things. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a young child doing something like this. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, telling what the child did and why adults should not undervalue the talents of children.

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

5. Red Hot Feat

For nearly 100 years, the Wallenda family has been thrilling audiences with high-wire and daredevil feats around the world. This month Nik Wallenda did something none of his relatives had ever tried. He walked a tightrope across the crater of an active volcano. It took Wallenda half an hour to cross the crater of the Masaya Volcano in the Central American nation of Nicaragua. In the process, he had to pass over boiling hot lava, deal with dangerous gases and fight through strong winds. For the crossing he wore goggles and a respirator for protection from the gases. He also wore a safety harness because the crossing was broadcast on ABC-TV's "Volcano Live!" special. Wallenda previously has walked tightropes over Niagara Falls, New York’s Times Square and the Little Colorado River Gorge near the Grand Canyon. People often challenge themselves to do dangerous things. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone who has done this. Pretend you are going to interview this person for the newspaper. Write out five questions you would ask him or her.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.