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For Grades K-4 , week of Oct. 10, 2022

1. Record Home Run

In sports it’s often said that records are made to be broken. Sometimes it just takes a few years. In baseball’s American League this month, New York Yankees star Aaron Judge broke a record that had stood for more than 60 years when he hit his 62nd home run in the next-to-last game of the regular season. Judge’s blast against Jesus Tinoco of the Texas Rangers broke the American League single-season home run record of 61 set 61 years ago in 1961 by Roger Maris, also of the Yankees. Maris hit home run Number 61 on the last game of the season that year to top the previous single-season record of 60 held by the legendary Babe Ruth, yet another Yankee. “Getting the chance to have my name next to someone as great as Roger Maris [and] Babe Ruth, it’s incredible,” Judge said after the game. In every sport, athletes achieve amazing things. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an athlete who has done something amazing this year or in the past. Use what you read to write a sports column telling how you think this achievement will be remembered 50 years from now.

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.

2. Fat Bear Week!

Attention, fat bears! This is your time, so you’d better eat up! Fat Bear Week ends on Tuesday, October 11, and people are voting to see which Alaskan brown bear will be crowned the fattest bear in Alaska’s Katmai National Park. The end of the competition is called Fat Bear Tuesday, but voters have been watching for weeks online to see the bears chow down on sockeye salmon fish to bulk up for their winter hibernation. And there are a lot of voters! Last year 800,000 votes were cast by bear fans who had watched the bears feast on salmon in the Brooks River. The winner was a bear called 480 Otis, who is trying to defend his title this year against 11 other big eaters. The bears all have been given identification numbers by park rangers, but some also have nicknames, including 32 Chunk, 435 Holly, 128 Grazer and 909 Yearling. To see this year’s contenders, click here. The Fat Bear Week competition is a fun way to learn more about the behavior of bears in Alaska. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about another wild animal you like. Use what you read to write a paragraph explaining why you like this animal. Then brainstorm an idea for a fun event or contest that would help people learn more about this animal. Share ideas as a class.

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. One Great Pumpkin

In a famous “Peanuts” cartoon movie, one of the characters desperately wants to see “the Great Pumpkin” arrive in time for Halloween. If that movie were to be made today, the character would just have to travel to the village of Williamsville in western New York State to have his wish come true. A man who lives there has grown a gigantic pumpkin that is great in every way. The pumpkin grown by Scott Andrusz has weighed in at a massive 2,554 pounds to set a new record for the United States. That weight was 26 pounds more than the previous U.S. record of 2,528 pounds. To get an idea of how big Andrusz’s pumpkin is, it weighs 554 pounds more than a ton and is heavier than a Ford Fiesta or Toyota Prius automobile. It is not a world record, however. That honor goes to a grower in the European nation of Italy, who grew a 2,702-pound pumpkin in 2021. A seed from that giant pumpkin has been used by a grower in the state of Minnesota to grow a huge pumpkin that could challenge Andrusz for the U.S. record in a weighing this week. Giant pumpkin contests are a popular way that people celebrate Halloween. In the newspaper or online, find and study stories, photos and ads that show other ways people celebrate Halloween. Use what you find to write a song about Halloween, using the tune of a song you like. Change the words to tell about your favorite Halloween things or activities. Perform your song for friends or family.

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts; reading prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate and expression on successive readings.

4. War of Chocolate Bunnies

The European nation of Switzerland is loved around the world for the delicious chocolate candies it makes. But there is no love lost between two makers of a favorite Swiss chocolate. They have been battling for years over chocolate bunnies, and now the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland has gotten involved. At issue was whether the Lidl company from the neighboring nation of Germany could make and sell chocolate bunnies in Switzerland that look like those made by the Swiss chocolate maker Lindt and Sprüngli, the New York Times newspaper reported. Both come wrapped in gold foil, but the Lindt bunnies are protected by Swiss trademark law. Lindt argued in court that the Lidl bunnies could be mistaken for Lindt bunnies and damage the Lindt business. The Supreme Court agreed and ruled that Lidl could no longer sell its bunnies in Switzerland. Lidl said it would continue to sell bunnies outside Switzerland but with a different design. People and businesses often have conflicts. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one conflict. Use what you read to write a paragraph telling how you think the conflict could be resolved.

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. What a Doodler

Do you like to doodle? An artist in the European nation of England does, and he has turned his house into an “absolute masterpiece” of doodling. Sam Cox, who is professionally known as Mr. Doodle, bought his home in 2019, and in three years he has covered every inch of his house with doodles. That includes walls, floors, appliances, bathtubs and even blankets and bedspreads, the NDTV and BBC news groups report. In an Instagram Internet post, Cox said that he used 238 gallons of white paint, 401 cans of black spray paint, 286 bottles of black drawing paint and 2,296 pens to complete his project. “This is sort of paradise for me,” he told the BBC. Artists often are in the news for doing unusual things. In the newspaper or online, find and study stories and photos of an artist who has done something unusual. Study the photos and write a “review” of the artist’s work, telling what you like or dislike about it, and how it makes you feel. Share with the class. For added fun, create an artwork from something in the news and share.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.