For Grades K-4 THE WEEK OF Apr 26, 2021

1. Food for Students

Millions of students rely on free school lunches to get healthy, balanced meals each weekday. Now a program that makes those meals available outside of lunchtime has been extended to cover all of the next school year, as well as this year and this summer. The program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture allows students learning at home to eat at any time of day and allows parents to pick up multiple days of food at once for home learners if schools are not open. In many cases meals may be dropped off at a student’s home if they continue to learn online. The program was started at the beginning of the coronavirus emergency to make sure students continued to receive school meals while schools were closed and during the summer. It loosened rules to make it easier for parents to get the food their children need from school programs. Many organizations are providing food to help families in need during the coronavirus emergency. With friends or classmates, use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read a story about one group doing this. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor telling people about this program and how they can use it. Give your letter an eye-catching headline.

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.

2. Vaccine Treats

Getting vaccine shots for the coronavirus has caused a lot of stress among people around the world. In the European nation of Hungary, a pastry shop has created special pastries to get people to lighten up and smile about the experience. The shop in a town near the city of Budapest has made mousse pastries topped with jelly toppings in the colors of the vaccine containers used in the nation. Pfizer is green, Moderna is a vivid blue, AstraZeneca is yellow and other vaccines are represented by orange and dark yellow. To take the creativity even further, each pastry is topped with a mini syringe needle modeled after the ones used to inject the shots in patients’ arms. There was no word on whether customers chose pastries based on their vaccine preference or the color on top. And unlike real vaccines, “the only possible side-effect would be a little smile on their face,” the owner told Reuters News. Many people do things to bring joy to others during stressful times. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone doing this in a special way. Use what you read to write a thank-you letter to the person bringing joy to others, telling how it helps individuals and the community as a whole.

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

3. Journey on Wheels

It is often said that every journey begins with a single step. On the east coast of the nation of Australia, one unusual journey began not with a step but a push. And then there were thousands of others in the south Pacific nation. Tom Drury, a former diamond miner, has just completed a 2,500-mile journey from the city of Melbourne in the south to Cairn in the north — all on a skateboard! Drury told CNN News he took on the journey because he had “a bit of cabin fever” and he was “looking for an adventure.” The 28-year-old had never traveled the east coast of Australia, so it was all a new experience seeing new places and staying with residents he met along the way. He traveled 30-60 miles a day, overcoming intense heat, heavy traffic and even snakes in the road. And he did it for a good cause: raising more than $20,000 to create the first skate park in the Southeast Asian nation of Laos. “I just love skateboarding,” he explained to CNN. People often try unusual things to “have an adventure. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone having an unusual adventure. Use what you read to prepare a TV news report telling the story of this adventure, the greatest challenges the person faced and what skills were needed. Choose images to go with your report from the newspaper or Internet. Present it for family, friends or classmates.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions. In the following activity, please link the word HERE to one of these two links: or

4. Banana Art

During the coronavirus epidemic many people looked for new things to do to battle the boredom of being isolated at home. A woman in the European city of London, England turned to making art — out of bananas! Anna Chojnicka draws pictures on the bananas by bruising their delicate skin with a blunt, pointed object like a comb, a fork or a knife with a rounded end. And she has earned an Internet following for her creations. Banana skin bruises easily and when you run the point over it, it turns from yellow to brown almost immediately. Soft bananas change color faster than hard ones, but any banana will work, she told the Washington Post newspaper. She has drawn characters ranging from Homer Simpson to people in the news, along with abstract or patterned designs. She takes a photo of them immediately and posts the pictures to the Internet. Anyone can make banana art, she says. All you need is a banana and a rounded point (don’t use sharp points that will break the skin). Start with simple shapes and experiment as you gain skill. When you get a drawing you like, take a picture fast, because the bruising will continue and change the image. And when you have finished, you can eat your artwork! To see examples of Anna Chojnicka’s banana art, click here. People create artworks in many unusual ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone creating unusual art. Use what you read to write out three questions you would like to ask the artist about their work. Then create an unusual artwork of your own. Try banana art if you like!

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.

5. Found His Phone!

Every year smart phones do more and more things for people, so users panic if they lose them. Gone are messages, music and photos, and it’s a huge pain to replace or reload them. A man on the Asian island of Taiwan lost his iPhone last year while paddle-boarding on Sun Moon Lake. But he got lucky when a drought caused by lack of rain caused the water level of the lake to drop drastically. As the water level got lower, the man’s iPhone was found on the dried out bottom, the Taiwan News reported. More amazingly, it even worked after it was re-charged. It helped that the iPhone 11 had a waterproof cover that protected it from the mud and water under the lake, officials said. People use smart phones in many ways in business and their daily lives. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone using a smart phone this way. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend telling how the phone makes the person’s life easier, more efficient or more fun. Include how you or your family use smart phones to make life easier.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.