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for Grades K-4

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For Grades K-4 , week of Apr 08, 2019

1. Kindness Counts

Autism and ADHD are conditions that affect how children interact with others. But sometimes all it takes is a little kindness to make interaction easy. That’s what a 5-year-old boy in the state of New Jersey learned when his mom took him to a local skate park for his fifth birthday. Carter Braconi was riding his scooter at the South Brunswick park when a group of middle schoolers showed up to skate. Instead of ignoring the little boy, they offered to teach him how to skateboard. They didn’t know he had autism and didn’t care, offering encouragement and even helping him up when he fell. “The kids went above and beyond,” Carter’s mom Kristen said when she posted videos on Facebook of the older students making her son’s birthday extra special. “It was amazing.” The local police department agreed, calling the middle schoolers “superheroes” for their kindness. The police later threw them a pizza party to say “thanks” from the community. People show kindness in many ways. Some are big, some are small, and many are in between. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a person showing kindness to others. Use what you read to write a poem about the effects of kindness. Title your poem “When People Are Kind” and have each line give an example of what happens as a result of kindness. Your poems do not need to rhyme. Read them aloud as a class.

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.

2. ‘20-20-20’

Russell Westbrook is one of the great stars of pro basketball. And last week the Oklahoma City Thunder guard did something that just one other NBA player in history has done. He recorded a “triple double” against the Los Angeles Lakers that included 20 points, 21 assists and 20 rebounds. Most players struggle to get just half those totals for a triple double, so Westbrook was twice as impressive. And he was in great company, since the only other player to record a “20-20-20” was Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain. Chamberlain once had 22 points, 25 rebounds and 21 assists in a game against the Detroit Pistons in 1968. Athletes often achieve amazing things. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an athlete doing something extra special. Then write the alphabet down the side of a sheet of paper. See if you can come up with an adjective for each letter that would describe the athlete’s special effort. Share lists as a class.

Common Core State Standards: Identifying multiple language conventions and using them; recognizing nouns, verbs and modifiers; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.

3. New Disney Rules

Every year millions of people visit Disney theme parks in the United States. Even more will be coming this summer with the opening of the “Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge” attractions in the states of California and Florida. To ease the crush of those crowds, Disney has announced new rules limiting the size of strollers. Strollers wider than 31 inches and longer than 52 inches will no longer be allowed inside Disney parks and wagon strollers will be banned altogether. The new rules seek to ease overcrowding on walkways and in lines, a Disney spokesperson said, and “to make it more enjoyable for everyone who visits.” Disney parks will rent strollers that are the right size for $15 a day. Many families make plans to visit Disney parks on summer vacation. Where would you like to go on summer vacation this year? In the newspaper or online, find stories and ads about places to go on vacation. Pick one and write a personal letter to other members of your family, telling them why this place would be great for vacation.

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.

4. Ban on Bags

Single-use plastic bags are widely used by stores and restaurants because they are inexpensive and convenient. They also cause a great deal of litter in neighborhoods, clog waterways and pose a threat to wildlife. In New York State, lawmakers have decided to take a stand against plastic bags, approving a measure that would prohibit stores from using them. The goal is to reduce litter and pollution from bags that blow around parks and streets and get caught in the branches of trees high above the ground. “These bags have blighted our environment and clogged our waterways,” Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said after legislators agreed to the proposal. The ban, which will take effect next March, will “protect our natural resources for future generations,” Cuomo said. In approving the measure, New York becomes the second state after California to ban single-use bags. New York’s ban on plastic bags is an attempt to clean up the environment. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another effort to clean the environment. Use what you read to write a short editorial, giving your opinion on why the effort is important and how people could support it. Back up your opinion with facts from the story.

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.

5. Veggie Burger

All over the world, families and restaurants are looking for alternatives to meat in recipes. Now Burger King has taken the effort to a whole new level. The fast-food hamburger chain has announced it is introducing an all-vegetable alternative to its famous Whopper sandwich. The non-meat hamburger was introduced last week at restaurants in the area surrounding the Midwest city of St. Louis, Missouri. Developed for Burger King by a California company called Impossible Foods, the all-vegetable burger is called the Impossible Whopper. A Burger King spokesman told the New York Times newspaper that if the Impossible Whopper succeeds in Missouri, the company will offer it at all 7,200 of its restaurants nationwide. Companies often try new things to attract customers or respond to what they want. In the newspaper or online, find and study ads and stories about a company trying something new. Write a paragraph explaining why the company is trying this new thing and what will make it a success.

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.