For Grades K-4 , week of Mar. 06, 2023

1. Women Storytellers

March is National Women’s History Month, a time when America honors the achievements, successes and contributions of women. This year creative women are getting special attention, because the theme for the month is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” Throughout history, women have been great storytellers, and they have written some of the most popular children’s books. Famous female children’s authors include Judy Blume, who wrote books like “Superfudge” and “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing,” Madeleine L'Engle, who wrote “A Wrinkle in Time,” actress Lupita Nyong’o, who wrote “Sulwe,” Pam Muñoz Ryan, who wrote “Esperanza Rising” and LaTashia M. Perry, who wrote “Hair Like Mine.” Not to mention early children’s writers Margaret Wise Brown, who wrote “Goodnight Moon,” and Marguerite Henry, who wrote the “Misty” horse stories. As a class discuss books you have read and liked that were written by women authors. Then use the newspaper and Internet to find reviews and stories about books being written by women for students your age today. Use what you read as a model to write a review of a book by a woman that you have read and liked. Tell what you liked about the book and how it made you feel. Be sure to include details to support your opinions.

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. Toys for Support

When natural disasters occur, people from around the world look for ways to help children, families and other victims. That has been happening in the Middle East nations of Turkey and Syria after two deadly earthquakes struck last month. One of the most unusual displays of support took place at a soccer match in the Turkish city of Istanbul. In the first period of the match, fans threw thousands and thousands of colorful stuffed animals onto the field to be given to children affected by the quakes, the Washington Post newspaper reported. The show of support came 4 minutes 17 seconds into the match — marking the exact time the first earthquake hit at 4:17 a.m. Among the stuffed animals donated for the children were sparkly unicorns, teddy bears, fluffy rabbits, monkeys, elephants and fish, plus scarves and hats to keep kids warm in the cold winter weather. Many of the plush toys carried a message in the Turkish language meaning “This toy is for you, my friend.” With a partner, find and closely read a story about the Turkish earthquake or another natural disaster. Use what you read to brainstorm a way your school, class or community could raise money to help children and families affected by the disaster. Think creatively in planning your fund-raising event, and write a paragraph explaining how it would work.

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 to support conclusions.

3. Daylight Saving Time

It’s time to “spring forward” again. On Sunday most of the nation will switch over to Daylight Saving Time, which gives kids and families longer hours of daylight in the evening. Daylight Saving Time requires that everyone set their clocks forward by one hour, so that what used to be 6 o’clock is now 7, and what used to be 7 is now 8. As a result, it is as light at 8 o’clock as it was at 7 before the change. Daylight Saving Time was first used in the United States in 1918 to allow people — especially farmers — to make “better use of daylight.” Today it makes outdoor activities like riding bikes or playing sports possible into the evening hours. Some people would like to make Daylight Saving Time permanent year round, and last year the U.S. Senate approved a measure to do that. It was never passed by the U.S. House, however, or signed by President Biden. It has been re-introduced in the Senate this year, but its fate is not known. As a class, discuss ways you and your family take advantage of evening daylight. Then brainstorm an idea for an animated movie showing you and your friends enjoying some of these activities. Write an outline for your movie and draw the opening scene in cartoon style. Share and discuss with the class.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

4. What a Disney Fan

Since Disneyland opened in California in 1955, it has had millions and millions of visitors. But no visitor in nearly 70 years has been quite like Jeff Reitz, a 50-year-old man who grew up in nearby Huntington Beach and still lives near the theme park. For more than eight years he visited Disneyland every day, amassing an amazing 2,995 consecutive visits. He had to stop when Disneyland closed due to the coronavirus in March 2020, leaving him five visits short of his goal of 3,000. Even though he didn’t reach that mark, however, he has gained a measure of fame for all those visits. The Guinness World Records organization has recognized him as the world record holder for consecutive visits to the park. Reitz started his streak when he was out of work and friends gave him a gift pass in January 2012. He liked having a place to go for fun while looking for a new job. When he got one, he continued visiting after work at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He usually stayed between three and five hours and said he never “did a toe-tap in the gate” and turn around and leave. “I was doing it because I was having fun, and I enjoyed being there,” he told the Washington Post. “… It was kind of like going to the gym or going to happy hour after work.” Jeff Reitz loved Disneyland so much he wanted to go there over and over. In the newspaper or online, find and study stories and photos of a place you would like to visit over and over if you could. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend telling what appeals to you about this place and why you would like to visit multiple times. Include the benefits you get by seeing something more than once.

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.

5. Bloody Ice Treats

In hot weather, people love to eat frozen treats to cool off and have fun. So do the animals at a zoo in the city or Rio de Janeiro in the South American nation of Brazil. But they are nothing like the ice creams, Popsicles and frozen yogurts found in a supermarket. The goodies served at Rio’s city zoo are flavored with blood, and chicken, and other chopped up meats. The exotic treats are for the carnivores like lions, tigers and jaguars, which feed on meat in their regular diet, the Associated Press reports. Zoo animals that eat plants as part of their diet get frozen ices flavored with local fruits. Because Rio is in the southern hemisphere near the South Pole, it is summer there when it is winter in the United States. The difference in seasons is caused by the tilt of the Earth’s axis as our planet travels around the sun. People often do nice things to help wild or tame animals. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone doing this. Write a letter to the editor telling how this person’s actions could inspire other people to help animals.

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