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for Grades K-4

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For Grades K-4 , week of Jan. 15, 2018

1. Making Sports History

The Winter Olympics take place every four years, and this year they will run February 9-25 in the Asian nation of South Korea. For the first time ever, the African nation of Nigeria will have a team in the women’s bobsled competition. And that is not all the history the three women on the team are making. They also are the first Nigerian athletes ever to compete in the Winter Olympics and the first athletes from any African nation to qualify for bobsledding. “This is beyond a dream come true,” said Seun Adigun, the driver for Nigeria’s bobsled. “Fear of the unknown doesn't need to be something that limits your ability to thrive in life. … Fear is really just another opportunity to learn.” The Winter Olympics feature the world’s best athletes in winter sports like bobsledding, skiing, skating and ice hockey. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about U.S. athletes preparing for the Winter Olympics. Write a paragraph explaining what one athlete has done to prepare and his/her chance for success.

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. Falling Iguanas

The record-setting cold that hit the United States this month caused a wide variety of problems for communities across the nation. For weirdness, however, none could top what happened in the state of Florida. It got so cold that iguanas became “cold stunned” and fell out of the trees. Though many residents said the reptiles appeared dead, wildlife experts said most would likely recover when the temperatures warmed up. The “cold stunning” occurred because iguanas are cold blooded and their bodies shut down when temperatures get below 45 degrees, the experts said. They still breathe but at a much slower pace, and return to normal if temperatures rise within a few days. Different species of wildlife have the ability to do unusual or important things to survive. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about something one species does. Use what you read and images you find to create a poster showing what this species does to survive and why it is important. Give your poster an eye-catching title and text to explain what the species does.

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.

3. Preserving the Past

Every year people use technology in new ways to make their lives and communities better. On the continent of Africa, people are using technology to preserve the history and culture of their communities. A high-tech project is working to create “virtual reality” models of historic and cultural sites so that future generations will know what they looked like. The project is using drones and lasers to create electronic, three-dimensional models of sites that are in danger of being destroyed or lost due to neglect, CNN News reports. Many of the sites have been damaged by war, worn down by nature or threatened by vandals or development. Based in South Africa, the Zamani Project is recording the structure and condition of tombs, churches and other buildings and locations. Every community has buildings or places that are important to local history, culture and traditions. In the newspaper or online, find and study stories and photos of important buildings and places in your community or state. Pick one that you would choose to be preserved in an electronic model for future generations. Write a paragraph explaining your choice.

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.

4. It’s a Dog’s World

In the winter months, animal lovers and supporters worry about pets being left out in the cold for long periods. To call attention to the problem, animal control officers in Michigan’s Saginaw County staged a dramatic demonstration last week. Three officers spent the night outdoors or in dog houses to demonstrate the risks animals face with extreme temperatures. Two officers slept in dog houses with nothing but straw to keep them warm, and the third stayed outside with no shelter. One officer posted Facebook Live updates throughout the night to let people know what it was like to be left out in the cold. People and animals do many different things to deal with cold weather. With a partner, talk about things people or animals do and scan the newspaper and Internet for other examples. Then write the letters of the alphabet down the side of a sheet of paper. Use each letter to start a phrase or sentence describing something an animal or person does to deal with the cold.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; organizing data using concrete objects, pictures, tallies, tables, charts, diagrams and graphs.

5. 5,000 Baby Caps!

You’re never too old to make a difference. Just consider the case of Fran Johnson of Hillsborough County, Florida. Johnson is 94 years old, but she still volunteers at South Florida Baptist Hospital, Meals on Wheels and the local Chamber of Commerce business group. Most impressive of all, she has used her creative skills to hand make more than 5,000 caps for new born babies at the hospital. She makes the caps with a kind of sewing called crocheting, which she learned more than 70 years ago when her husband was in the Navy during World War II. She makes the caps in three colors — blue, pink and white — and people keep them for years. “I had my two kids here and they both still have their hats that Fran made,” says Fran's boss, Eugena Gale. “And they’re in their 30s now!” More and more senior citizens live long and active lives today. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one senior. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor describing how this person’s active life could inspire others.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.