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For Grades K-4 , week of Aug. 14, 2017

1. Goodbye to a Legend

Usain Bolt of Jamaica is the fastest man in history. He is holder of world records in both the 100- and 200-meter races and the first man to win three 100-meter titles in the Olympic Games. Now, after winning 23 major gold medals in track and field, he has retired from professional racing at age 30. Bolt ran his last individual race this month at the World Athletics Championships in London, England, and competed a week later in the 4x100-meter relay. His last race did not end as he had hoped. Bolt finished third in the 100-meter sprint finals, the first time he had been beaten in finals for that race in either the world championships or the Olympics. Usain Bolt performed at a high level for many years. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a person who has had success for many years in sports or another field. Use what you read to write a paragraph explaining what personal qualities and skills made it possible for this person to succeed for so long.

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.

2. Lucky Penny!

When a rare U.S. penny was made in 1943, it was worth one cent like every other penny. But last month at a special sale, a buyer paid a whopping $282,000 for the coin because just 10 to 15 of them exist in the world. Unlike most of the pennies made in 1943, the rare penny was made with the metal bronze instead of zinc-coated steel. The U.S. Mint had switched to steel for pennies because copper was in short supply due to World War II but a few were cast in bronze by accident. This was the first time one of the bronze 1943 pennies had come up for sale. People often pay great amounts of money for rare or unusual items. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an unusual item that someone has paid a lot for, or might want to buy. Use what you read to write a creative story about someone selling, buying or wanting the unusual item, and how that affects their life.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

3. Community Steps Up

In St. Petersburg, Florida, a 95-year-old man has a new set of wheels. The community stepped up to buy them for him after a thief stole the motorized, oversized tricycle he used to get around. Richard Griffin had lost his tricycle when he left it parked outside a drug store while he went inside to get eye drops. When word got out that a thief had made off with the trike, more than 40 people donated $2,445 to the St. Petersburg Police Department to buy him a new one. “It’s just absolutely heartwarming,” said Betty Battle, Griffin’s daughter. When people need help, communities often work together to provide it. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a community working together to help an individual, family or group. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, giving your opinion on how the community benefited by working together to help this person. Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

4. A Pioneer Pilot

Girls and women once were limited in the careers they could choose, but barriers are now being broken all over the world. In the Asian nation of India, for example, 30-year-old Anny Divya has become the youngest woman in the world to be commander of a Boeing 777 aircraft. Divya, who flies for Air India, always wanted to be a pilot but had no role models as child. “I didn't have anybody around who knew about piloting,” she told CNN news. Eventually, a friend sent her an advertisement for a flying school and she was accepted at the age of 17. Hard work led to her pilot’s license and she now has been flying international flights for 10 years. Women and girls are doing new things successfully in many career fields. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a woman finding success in a career in a new way. Pretend you could interview this woman. Write out five questions you would like to ask her about how she became successful, or challenges she had to overcome.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; closely reading written or visual texts to make logical inferences from it.

5. Bridge of Thrills

If you’re looking for mountain thrills, the European nation of Switzerland has an attraction you won’t want to miss. The world’s longest hanging bridge for hikers and walkers has opened in the Swiss Alps mountain range. The suspension bridge for pedestrians is a whopping 1,620 feet long and hangs 300 feet above an Alpine ravine. And that’s not all. The bridge is only 25 inches wide, and has a grated, steel walking surface that allows hikers to look right through it to the ground below. The bridge is part of a mountain trail that connects two towns in the area. It’s “for hikers with no fear of heights,” according to a local travel agency. The new Swiss suspension bridge is an attraction many people would like to visit. In the newspaper or online, read or study stories or photos of other places that would attract visitors. Use what you find to brainstorm an idea for a TV ad telling people why one place would be an exciting or unusual place to visit. Write an outline for your ad, including images or photos you would use.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.