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For Grades K-4 , week of Jan. 30, 2017

1. Super Bowl (Feb 5)

Next Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday and football fans all over the nation are gearing up to see whether the New England Patriots or the Atlanta Falcons will win the National Football League championship. The Patriots won a trip to the Super Bowl by defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers and have won 16 of 18 games in the regular season and the playoffs. The Falcons defeated the Green Bay Packers to advance to the Super Bowl and have won 13 games, against just 5 losses. Every year dozens of stories appear in newspapers and the Internet ahead of the Super Bowl. They cover everything from what each team hopes to do to the habits and hobbies of players. In the newspaper or online, find and read stories about this year’s Super Bowl. Use what you read to write a song about this year’s game. Use the tune of a song you like and give it new words focusing on the game.

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

2. Famous Tower Sold

In the city of Chicago, Illinois, the Tribune Tower is one of the most famous buildings. Now the former home of the Chicago Tribune newspaper has a new owner as well. Last fall the building known for its castle-like appearance was sold by the Tribune Media company to a company known as the CIM Group for $240 million. CIM will renovate the building and develop a neighboring site for a mix of offices, stores, hotels and apartments. Located on Michigan Avenue near one end of Chicago’s “Magnificent Mile,” the building will become “an exciting retail [store] destination,” according to one real estate company. Every city or community has buildings that are considered landmarks. Some are old, some are beautiful or unusual to look at, and some play a key role in the community. In the newspaper or online, find a story or photo involving a landmark building in your community or state. Study the story or photo. Then write a short speech called “I Am a Landmark” in which the building speaks and tells people why it is important or popular. Use active verbs and colorful adjectives. Deliver your speeches to the class.

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.

3. Jailed for Insults

In our country, freedom of speech is a right guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In other countries, people do not have this right. In the Southeast Asian nation of Thailand, 10 people were sentenced to prison for distributing Internet content that a military court ruled insulted Thailand’s king and royal family. Eight were ordered to serve five-year terms, and two were given three years each. In the United States, freedom of speech allows people to speak out and give their views, even if they are criticizing leaders of the government. It also gives people the freedom to write creative stories, make movies, create art or even put messages on T-shirts. In the newspaper or online, find photos and stories that show people using their freedom of speech in different ways. Use the stories and photos, plus other images from the news, to create a poster showing different ways people use “Freedom of Speech.”

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic.

4. Deaths from Measles

The number of deaths from measles has fallen by 79 percent around the world since the year 2000, but more than 350 children still die from the disease every day. That’s because countries and communities have not insisted that every child get vaccine shots and be immunized against the disease, according to a “Make Measles History” report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization and other health agencies. Measles is “easy and cheap to prevent,” a UNICEF official declares, but in some countries many children are not vaccinated. Routine vaccine coverage saved about 20.3 million young lives from 2000 to 2015, the report notes. Stories about health or diseases are often in the news because they affect so many people. As a class or in teams, use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read a story about a health issue important to children or families. Use what you read to create a short oral report telling the most important things families should know about the issue.

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.

5. Learn from the Setting

The setting of a story — where it takes place — can often be important to understanding the action that takes place. This is true in real life stories as well as fiction. Scan the newspaper for a news story that interests you. On a sheet of paper, write out where the story takes place. Then write three ways the place affects what goes on in the story — or how it could affect future events. Share ideas as a class.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.