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For Grades K-4 , week of Jan. 23, 2017

1. A New President

After eight years with a Democrat as president, Republican Donald Trump has been sworn in to lead the nation. Trump took the oath of office in inauguration ceremonies January 20 and already is moving to make changes in the way the nation is run. As a class, use the newspaper or Internet to read stories about things President Trump is doing and saying this week. Discuss things you and your family would like him to do — or not do — as president. Then write a letter to the editor of the newspaper, stating one thing you would like the new president to do — and why. Discuss ideas as a class.

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.

2. Billie Jean’s Dress

Billie Jean King was a superstar in tennis and one of the greatest women ever in sports. For years she was the Number One women’s tennis player in the world, and she also worked long and hard for women’s rights, equality and social justice. Because of her achievements, she will be featured in the exhibits of the new Center for the Study of Women’s History at the New York Historical Society. She has given personal items to the women’s history center for the exhibit, including the white lace tennis dress in which she won the singles titles at the U.S. Open in 1971 and Wimbledon in 1972, and notes she received from school girls before her historic “Battle of the Sexes” match against Bobby Riggs in 1973. In the match, which King won, she demonstrated that a top female athlete could be the equal of a male athlete and inspired girls and women around the country. Billie Jean King was a pioneer in sports and helped bring greater opportunities for girls and women in athletics. In the newspaper or online, find and read a story about a top female athlete today. Use what you read to write a paragraph or short essay describing how this athlete could inspire girls and women in sports in the future.

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. Birds at State Fairs

Bird flu is a deadly disease for birds like chickens, ducks and geese, and two years ago a severe outbreak forced state fairs to cancel live exhibits of these poultry species. Last year, however, no cases were detected, so the popular exhibitions returned to most fairs, including competitions for kids sponsored by 4-H groups and Future Farmers of America. There was only a slight dip in participation, partly due to the fact that some children switched to rabbits or other animals and stuck with them. The bird flu epidemic two years ago has been called the worst livestock disease outbreak ever to hit this country. Farmers lost nearly 50 million birds. Farmers who raise chickens, ducks, geese and other livestock face many challenges keeping them healthy. Alone or with a partner, find and closely read stories about farmers raising livestock for food or other purposes. Use what you read to create a poster showing challenges a farmer would face keeping one kind of livestock healthy.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; 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. New Name for a Hall

The home of the New York Philharmonic orchestra at New York’s Lincoln Center is now known as David Geffen Hall. For 42 years it was known as Avery Fisher Hall, but it was renamed for Geffen after the entertainment leader donated $100 million for renovations. The renovations won’t begin until 2019, and what they will involve has not yet been determined. Yet Geffen’s generosity has already been honored by changing all the hall’s signs to the new name. People who have great wealth often donate large sums of money to support the arts, music programs or other community projects. As a class, use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read stories about things you would like to support if you had a great deal of money. Pick one and write a paragraph describing why you would like to support it and why. Be sure to detail how your donation would help the community.

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.

5. Root Words

Figuring out words you don’t know is an important skill in reading. Sometimes “root” words can help you out. Root words are words that are part of larger words. “Read” would be a root word of “reader” or “reading” for example. Skim stories on the front page of the newspaper. Make a list of 10 words that contain a root word. Write what you think each word means. Then look them up in a dictionary. Use three of the words you found in complete sentences.

Common Core State Standards: Applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.