1. Finding Answers
With the world shut down by the coronavirus, kids have a lot of questions about how the virus works, what it can do and how it will affect communities now and in the future. Many of the answers to your questions can be found through online learning using the Internet and the electronic editions of newspapers. With online learning you can search with computers or smart phones for information you need using keywords and phrases. Keywords and phrases are words that are important to a topic and likely to be found in any story or website that addresses the topic. To find information on how the coronavirus will spread in the weeks ahead you might use the words and phrases “coronavirus,” “spread” and “in future.” For best results, put double quotation marks around any phrases. Practice online searching by reading a story about coronavirus or another topic in the newspaper or online. Write down two or three keywords or key phrases from the story. Then type those words into the search window of the Internet browser you are using. If you are using Google or other major browsers you can type these words into the window in the toolbar at the top of the page. Search windows in other browsers are marked with a magnifying glass that you click on. Follow up by searching for more information connected to homework sent home by your teacher. Discuss the advantages of searching on the Internet with family or friends.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.
2. Cheer Up! Decorate!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And Halloween. And Valentine’s Day. And even St. Patrick’s Day. To spread cheer and raise spirits of people confined to home during the coronavirus emergency, many neighborhoods and communities are putting their holiday decorations back up. The decorations not only make people feel better — they provide a safe family activity. Families can walk at safe distances around neighborhoods to enjoy the lights and decorations or get in the car and drive around without risking exposure to others. Other neighborhoods are putting up rainbows and conducting walking or driving “scavenger hunts” to find them with children. “It feels like an opportunity to bring them joy in a situation that may otherwise feel out of control,” said Ginny Dunn of Brookhaven, Georgia. “We need to have a way to kind of feel connected as a community and be entertained.” Have fun “decorating” in this way by using the newspaper or Internet. Find a picture of an outdoor scene of a neighborhood or community. Clip or print it out and draw decorations on it for a holiday you like. Then write a friendly letter to that neighborhood telling how you hope your decorations will cheer people up.
Common Core State Standards: 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.
3. Girl Scout Cookies
March and April are big months for Girl Scout cookies. But with the spread of the coronavirus, the Girl Scouts have stopped selling cookies door-to-door or at booths set up outside stores and supermarkets. There’s still hope for people who haven’t bought their cookies yet, however. Buyers can just go to the Girl Scout website www.girlscouts.org and click on the link to “Buy or Donate Cookies.” Cookies bought online with a credit card will be sent to your home or to places you choose if you want to donate them. Donations can go to hospitals, nurses, police, firefighters, first responders or other groups helping fight the coronavirus, the scouts say. The Girl Scout cookie program funds girl-led programs, experiences and learning opportunities for 1.7 million scouts across the nation. Internet shopping has become very important in a time when people are supposed to stay at home. Practice online shopping by searching ads in the newspaper or online for things your family needs or uses. Make a list of items and websites where you could buy them. Write a paragraph explaining the benefits of online shopping. For added online learning, ask a family adult to take you on a “shopping trip” to one of the websites.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
4. Around the Lakes
The Great Lakes are the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth. Located along the border between the United States and Canada, they cover a huge area in America’s Midwest. They also are presenting a huge challenge to a kayaker from Kansas City, Missouri this year. Tracy Lynn Martin is attempting to paddle around the shore of all five Great Lakes, a distance of about 4,200 miles. That’s more than the distance to cross the United States from New York City to San Francisco, California. Martin, who is 52 years old, is paddling a long kayak called a Surfski and is being followed by a backup boat for safety. She left from Buffalo, New York, on March 1 and hopes to complete her journey by Christmas in December. People often challenge themselves to do unusual or difficult things. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a person doing this. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor detailing the skills this person would need to succeed at the challenge and the personal qualities it would take to succeed.
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.
5. Toilet Paper Prizes
In entertainment arcades, some of the most popular challenges are “claw games” in which players use an electronic pair of claws to grab and remove stuffed animals from a cage. In the European nation of England, an arcade owner has changed the prizes due to the coronavirus. Instead of stuffed rabbits or teddy bears, players now compete to capture rolls of toilet paper and bottles of hand sanitizer. Those items are hard to get at local stores, and owner Rob Braddick said he switched to them to give people a little fun to get things they need. Visiting entertainment arcades is something kids like to do for fun. In the newspaper or online, find and list three other activities kids like to do for fun. For each one, write a complete sentence stating “This is fun because …” For added fun, draw a picture of you doing this activity.
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.