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For Grades K-4 , week of Jan. 30, 2012

1. I’m Parched!

Cities like Phoenix, Arizona, Las Vegas, Nevada and Los Angeles, California are growing each year, as more people look to live in a warmer climate. Phoenix and Las Vegas are located in deserts, and Los Angeles is in an area that has a dry climate. This means more and more people are living in areas where there isn’t a lot of water. On top of that, many western states are experiencing drought conditions, which makes water even more scarce. Currently, Arizona is experiencing severe to extreme drought conditions, because nearby mountain areas have not gotten much snow. Snow in the mountains provides water for dry areas down below when it melts. As a class, look at your newspaper’s weather section for snow and rain reports around the country. Together, color in a blank U.S. map showing states that need rain or other kinds of precipitation.

Core/National Standard: Understanding that the Earth does not have infinite resources and that increasing human consumption places several stress on the natural processes that renew resources.

2. It’s a Super Game!

The country is revving up for the Super Bowl this weekend. The New England Patriots will take on the New York Giants in Indianapolis, Indiana. This is the seventh time the Patriots have battled for this National Football League championship, and the fifth time for the Giants. The Patriots’ first Super Bowl win came 10 years ago, when they beat the St. Louis Rams 20-17 with a field goal in the last seconds of the game. That Super Bowl held special importance, as it was the first after the 9/11 attacks on the United States. At the start of the game, then-President George W. Bush flipped the coin to determine who would get the ball first, and there was a special tribute to the victims of the attack. This isn’t the first time the Giants and Patriots have met in the Super Bowl. In 2008, the Giants beat the Patriots 17-14. Find a newspaper article about the Super Bowl, one of its teams or a player in the game. Write a paragraph or short informative essay summarizing the article. Core/National Standard: Writing informative/explanatory texts in which students introduce a topic, use facts to develop points and provide a concluding statement or section.

3. Photo Finish

Photographs often can supply important information about a big news story. Find a photo in the paper connected to Sunday's Super Bowl. Working quickly, write out as many details as you can that tell what is going on in the picture. If the photo is of a person, write down everything you can tell about the person from the way he/she looks.

Core/National Standard: Collecting and exploring data through observation.

People in the picture:

What they are doing:

Other details about the people:

Things in the picture:

Details about the things:

Other picture details (time, place):

4. Say What?

It isn’t likely that you would hear a presidential candidate say something like, “OMG! I totally want to be president, because I’m like awesome.” People use different types of speech in different situations. For example, in a recent article, actress Keke Palmer said, “I’m like, ‘Dad, doesn’t this freak you out, too?’” San Francisco 49ers kicker David Akers said in an Associated Press article, “I say this and I say it in the truest way: We win as a team, we lose as a team.” Politicians use more formal speech. U.S. Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, said, “We need a budget with a responsible spending restraint … and we need it now.” In teams or pairs, print out a variety of newspaper articles and notice the speech patterns. Then do interviews in which students pretend to be people speaking as they did in the stories.

Core/National Standard: Adapting speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when appropriate to task and situation

5. In, On, Over, Near

Your family had a picnic. That’s nice, but where did you have the picnic? In the park. When do you like to go on vacation? During the summer. Without our friend the prepositional phrase, we wouldn’t have a clue as to when and where things happen. Imagine asking your mom, “Have you seen my library book?” and her saying, “Yes, it’s.” That answer is not going to give you the critical information you need. “It’s on the table beside your bed” is a much better answer. Print or cut out a newspaper article and use a highlighter to find all the prepositional phrases to see how important they are to writers. Then write a short poem about your day, in which each line starts with a prepositional phrase. Start with “In the morning…”

Core/National Standard: Using and forming prepositional phrases.