1. NFL Know, Wonder & Learn
This year’s Super Bowl will take place Sunday, February 7 in Tampa, Florida. In the game, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will compete for the championship of the National Football League. The Chiefs are led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, a superstar at age 25 and winner of last year’s Super Bowl. The Bucs are led by 43-year-old quarterback Tom Brady, who is making his 10th appearance in a Super Bowl and has already won six championships. Following news about the Super Bowl is a great way to build reading skills if you use the approach called Know, Wonder and Learn. With this approach, called KWL for short, you ask yourself questions every time you read something. First, you ask what you already KNOW about the subject. Then you ask what you WONDER or WANT TO KNOW about the subject. Then you read and ask what you have LEARNED about the subject by reading. Practice KWL by finding a short story in the newspaper or online about this year’s Super Bowl. Write out what you already KNOW about the subject of the story. Then write what you WONDER or WANT TO KNOW about the subject of the story. Then read the story and write what you LEARNED about the subject of the story by reading.
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. Best Books
In the world of children’s books, the two biggest awards given out each year are the John Newbery Medal and the Randolph Caldecott Medal. The Newbery award honors the top children’s book of the year and the Caldecott the best children’s picture book. This year’s winners have been announced by the American Library Association. The Newbery winner is “When You Trap a Tiger” by Tae Kellar, in which a magical tiger offers to help a young girl get her sick grandmother back to health. The Caldecott winner is “We Are Water Protectors,” illustrated by Michaela Goade and written by Carole Lindstrom. “Water Protectors” contains a strong message about protecting the Earth from pollution. The Newbery and Caldecott medals have been given out since the 1920s and 1930s and provide a guide to young readers looking for good books to read and enjoy. With family, friends or classmates, use the newspaper or Internet to find stories and photos about this year’s winners or winners from past years. Which look the most interesting to you? Then think like a judge for these awards and pick a book you have read that you think is worth a prize. Write a paragraph telling why you liked this book and why you think it deserves to be honored. Share and discuss.
Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; 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.
3. Cookie Monster Gem
Geodes are special gemstone rocks that contain beautiful colors and shapes when cut open. Many geodes (JEE-odes) contain beautiful crystals but one just discovered in the South American nation of Brazil had content well known to children. When the agate geode was cut open, it revealed a perfect likeness of Cookie Monster from the TV show “Sesame Street.” Geologists were surprised and delighted by the unusual find. The geode had a blue face of sapphire quartz, googly eyes and a goofy grin, just like the TV character. Gem collector Mike Bowers, who owns the Cookie Monster geode, is planning to keep it for himself for now. But if he ever wanted to sell it, he could get a lot of “cookies” in return. He’s already had offers of more than $10,000! To see the Cookie Monster geode and watch a video, click here. Geodes are natural wonders that people love. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another natural wonder people love or one you would like to see. Write a letter to a friend telling why you like or would like to see this natural wonder.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.
4. Dogs on the Move
Dogs are owned by more families than any other pet in America. So how did dogs get here? A new scientific study suggests that dogs migrated to the Americas with humans 15,000 years ago across a “land bridge” from East Asia to what is now the state of Alaska. Dogs had already been domesticated as family pets and workers 23,000 years ago on the continent of Asia and when people moved across the land bridge, they brought their dogs with them, researchers said. The land bridge no longer exists due to rising sea levels. The study was based on analysis of ancient dog remains in East Asia and the Americas, CNN News reported. The first domesticated dogs were likely wolves that people fed and eventually tamed, the researchers said. Dogs and cats are the most popular pets in the United States. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about people who love these pets. Then think about pets you have had or would like to have. Use what you read to write a poem, rap, or rhyme about “One Great Pet.” Read your poems aloud for family, friends or classmates.
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.
Talk about getting a “sweet” job! An online candy store in the nation of Canada is looking for “candyologists” who are willing to taste-test some of the 3,000 treats offered by the company. Tasters can work at home and get paid $47 an hour if hired by Candy Funhouse, UPI News reports. “Candidates should have enthusiasm and eagerness to try confectionary products,” according to a job posting from the company located in the province of Ontario. “We are looking for honest and objective opinions on the products that will be taste tested.” Being a “candyologist” is an unusual job in the work world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories or ads about other unusual jobs that exist. Use what you read to write a paragraph telling what kind of person would like this job, and why. Write a second paragraph telling whether you would like this job, and why.
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.