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For Grades K-4 , week of Jan. 24, 2022

1. A Hero Barbie

Ida B. Wells was a crusader for African American and women’s rights, a Black journalist and an inspiring leader in the Civil Rights Movement. Now, 91 years after her death, she has been honored in a way that will bring the story of her life to modern girls and young women. A Barbie doll has been created in her image to call attention to her historic achievements. The doll portrays Wells wearing a long black gown, white lace collar and black boots, and clutching a copy of the Memphis Free Speech and Headlight newspaper, which she co-owned. Her newspaper drew nationwide attention for exposing violence against Blacks and earned her death threats and a reputation as one of the most courageous women in America. “I felt that one had better die fighting against injustice than to die like a dog or a rat in a trap,” Wells wrote in later life. The doll is part of the Inspiring Women series of Barbies created by the Mattel toy company to “spotlight … heroes who paved the way for generations of girls to dream big and make a difference.” Ida B. Wells is a figure from the past who inspires girls, women and others today. Who is a figure who will inspire people in the future? In the newspaper or online find and closely read a story about a person whose deeds are inspiring others. Use what you read to write a short editorial telling how this person could still inspire people in the future.

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. Professional Pillow Fighting!

For the longest time, pillow fights have been a great source of fun for kids at bedtime or slumber parties. Now pillow-fighting has gone professional. On January 29, the first Pillow Fight Championship event will be held in the city of Miami, Florida and broadcast nationwide through Pay Per View television. The fighting won’t be quite like what brothers and sisters do in their bedrooms. The male and female fighters in the championship bouts come from the worlds of professional boxing and mixed martial arts, and they’ll be competing with heavy-duty, specialized pillows far sturdier than those kids have at home. “It’s serious,” explains Steve Williams, the creator and CEO of the Pillow Fight Championship. “It’s hardcore swinging with specialized pillows.” People often come up with unusual competitions to entertain audiences. With a partner, use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read a story about an unusual competition. Then brainstorm an idea for an unusual competition you think people would enjoy. Design an ad for the newspaper promoting your competition. Give your ad an eye-catching headline to get people’s attention.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

3. What a Dig

With strong legs and long claws, badgers are mammals that are famous for their digging ability. In the European nation of Spain, a badger digging for food or a den, led scientists to a treasure of coins dating back at least 1,600 years. The coins were found in a cave in northwest Spain after the badger started digging in a crack in the rock. The badger unearthed about 90 coins made of copper and bronze, and eventually more than 200 were found when archaeologists were called in. The coins date from the last years of the ancient Roman Empire between the years 200 and 400 C.E. — a time when barbarians were over-running Roman settlements in Spain, according to news reports. The treasure was probably hidden by people fleeing the barbarians, scientists said. The coins are being cleaned and will be put on display at a local museum, while scientists further explore the cave. Digging efforts by scientists often uncover things that shed light on how people lived and worked in the ancient past. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about such a discovery. Use what you read to write a letter to your teacher, telling what was discovered, how it was discovered and why it is important.

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.

4. Spider-Man Support

Tom Holland is world famous for playing Spider-Man in the “Spider-Man” and “Avengers” movies. He also is a man of his word. When a young boy from the state of Wyoming was badly injured saving his sister from a dog attack, Holland reached out to offer support and encouragement. He said that when 6-year-old Bridger Walker recovered from the wounds he sustained in the attack, he should come to the set of the next “Spider-Man” movie. Holland made good on his offer, hosting Bridger and his family on set and even chucking some webs with his young fan. Bridger Walker was just 6 years old when he jumped into action to save his 4-year-old sister when a German shepherd-type dog charged at her, CNN News reported. Bridger had to undergo a two-hour surgery that required more than 90 stitches. Celebrities and other people often go out of their way to do nice things to support people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone doing this. Pretend you are the person being supported and write a thank you letter to the helpful person, telling how the support was valuable to you.

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. Record Chinese Tunnel

From skyscrapers to bridges to high-speed railroads, the Asian nation of China takes great pride in its construction and engineering projects. Now it has another achievement to boast about. After nearly four years of construction, China has opened its longest underwater highway tunnel, a six-lane tunnel that travels under a lake in eastern China. The Taihu Tunnel is 6.65 miles long and cost about $1.56-billion to build. It was designed to connect the cities of Shanghai and Nanjing and to relieve traffic jams near cities along the shore of Lake Taihu. While the new tunnel is the longest of its kind in China, it is not the longest underwater highway tunnel in the world. That honor goes to an 8.9-mile twin-road tunnel in the European nation of Norway. The longest underwater tunnel of all is the 23.5-mile Channel Tunnel that runs under the English Channel to connect the European nations of England and France by railroad service. All over the world, cities and nations are building remarkable buildings, tunnels and other public facilities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about such a project. Write a letter to the editor pointing out how the new facility helps the nation or city.

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.