For Grades K-4 , week of Sep. 04, 2017

1. Record-Breaking Storm

Hurricane Harvey was a storm for the record books. In a matter of days it dumped more than 25 TRILLION gallons of rain on the state of Texas. The total rainfall of more than 50 inches topped what the area usually gets in a whole year. About 13 million people were under a “flood watch” at the storm’s peak, and nearly 35,000 were forced from their homes. Things got so desperate that the 911 system in the city of Houston got 56,000 calls seeking help in a period of just 15 hours (it usually gets about 8,000 per day). As Texas recovers, officials are updating the statistics that show the impact of the storm. In teams or pairs, read stories about the recovery from Hurricane Harvey and make a list of statistics and numbers that reveal its impact. Use the numbers you collect to create three math problems to share and challenge other teams. Before exchanging, do the math on your problems so you know the correct answers!

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; representing and solving problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

2. Milestone Librarian

This month, Carla Hayden marks the first anniversary of her historic appointment as the leader of the nation’s Library of Congress. Hayden is not only the first African American to become Librarian of Congress, but also the first woman to lead the world’s largest library. She is also the first professional librarian appointed to the post in more than 60 years. From 1993 until 2016, she was leader of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland, and from 2003 to 2004 she was president of the American Library Association. African American women are making a mark across America in business, politics, sports, the arts and other fields. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one such woman. Use what you read to write a short editorial or letter to the editor, giving your opinion how this African American woman’s achievements could inspire others.

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.

3. Fun in the Pool

In the town of Morris, Minnesota, a 94-year-old man has found the best way not to be lonely is to do something special for others. After his wife died after 66 years of marriage, Keith Davison said his big house felt “very, very quiet” with his children grown. Then he had an idea. He built a swimming pool and invited all the neighborhood kids to swim. Now, his yard is alive with the laughter and splashing of kids and the friendly talking of neighbors. The kids love it, but so do their parents. “As a neighborhood, we’re getting out of our day-to-day routines to make the time to … get to know each other,” one neighbor said in an interview. “He says it’s just a pool, but … it’s so much more than that.” Davison, who loves to swim and wanted a pool for a long time, couldn’t be happier about how things have turned out. “There’s a lot of noise and splashing about, and that’s good,” he says. Keith Davison found happiness by doing something good for others. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone else who found happiness or satisfaction by helping others. Use what you read to write a poem, rap or rhyme explaining how you or your friends could find happiness by helping others, based on this person’s experience.

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.

4. What a Pet!

Family pets come in all shapes and sizes, but a couple in the state of Arkansas has one that few can match. Their pet Holly is a one-ton Holstein cow! Stan and Shannon Flowers have raised her since birth after “she was given up for dead” after her mother died. They love her so much they have built Holly a house of her own and decorated it like a child’s bedroom! Ten-year-old Holly loves the decorations, Stan and Shannon say, including pictures on the walls and a music box she can start with a push of her nose. And she has company. A stray cat named Annie moved in shortly after Holly’s house was finished. People love their pets and often do amazing things for them. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone doing something special for a pet. Then use what you read to draw a series of comic strips showing how the pet enjoys the special treatment.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.

5. NFL Donation

Hurricane Harvey caused wide disruptions and cancellations across the state of Texas. But one cancellation could benefit victims of the storm. Last week’s NFL preseason game between the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys was canceled by the league after being moved to Arlington, Texas due to flooding in Houston. But the Texans quickly said they would donate money equal to the amount of ticket sales to the United Way of Greater Houston Relief Fund that supports the efforts for Hurricane Harvey relief. About 40,000 tickets had been sold for \$25 each, making the value of the donation at least one million dollars. All across the country people are raising money to help victims of Hurricane Harvey. As a class, use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read stories about different efforts. Then brainstorm ideas for raising funds that your class or school could do. Put one idea into action.

Common Core State Standards: Closely reading written or visual text to make logical inferences from it; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.