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for Grades K-4

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For Grades K-4 , week of Jan. 22, 2018

1. What a Rescue!

Firefighters do amazing things to save people’s lives, but this month in Decatur, Georgia they outdid themselves. Fighting a fire in an apartment building, firefighters rescued children by catching them “like a football” when they were tossed from a third-floor balcony by desperate parents. The DeKalb County fire crew had intended to raise a ladder to the third floor and bring the trapped families down. But as the flames got worse, parents dropped their children over the rail in the hope firefighters would catch them. They did, including a catch of a 4-week-old baby dropped in a blanket and a dramatic grab of a 5-year-old that was captured on video. Twelve people were injured in the fire, including eight children. No one died. Firefighters, police and other emergency responders help people in many outstanding ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one case in which people have been helped this way by firefighters, police or emergency responders. Use what you read to write a short editorial thanking those who provided the help and describing the skills and courage needed to do it.

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.

2.‘Green’ Fast Food

Fast food restaurants are popular all over the country, but many people worry about the trash produced by their food packaging. To deal with that, McDonald’s has announced it will be shifting to renewable and recyclable “green” materials in all its packaging and install recycling bins in its restaurants by the year 2025. “Our customers have told us that packaging waste is the top environmental issue they would like us to address,” the company’s Francesca DeBiase told CNN News. Today, about half of McDonald’s packaging is made from renewable, recycled or environmentally certified materials. Just 10% of McDonald’s restaurants offer recycling bins for packaging waste, however. Recycling trash and waste materials can save space in landfills and provide materials that can be re-used for other products. With a partner search the newspaper or Internet for a story about a business in your community. Read the story closely and make a list of what waste materials the business produces. Prepare an oral report for the class on how these materials could be recycled and what they could be used for. Choose pictures from the newspaper or Internet to go with your report.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

3. Antarctica Forests

Located around the Earth’s South Pole, the continent of Antarctica is famous for its ice shelves, snow, penguins and glaciers. It might not always have been like that, however. Recent fossil discoveries indicate that Antarctica was covered with leafy ferns and forests 280 million years ago. In the central mountain areas of the continent, scientists have found fossils of 13 trees and a variety of leaf fossils. Some of them were quite large, towering more than 40 meters (130 feet) over the landscape. Geologist Erik Gulbranson said the fossils are from the oldest polar forest yet discovered in Antarctica — and from a time before dinosaurs existed on Earth. Plant and animal fossils help tell scientists what life was like on Earth in the distant past. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a fossil discovery. Use what you read to draw a series of comic strips, showing how the fossil was discovered and why it is important.

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. Snow in a Hot Spot

In the United States this year, winter weather has made news over and over due to winter storms and freezing temperatures. Now winter weather has made news in one of the hottest places on Earth. The Sahara Desert in northern Africa — whose temperatures average more than 100 degrees in the summer — had a snowstorm earlier this month. The desert town of Ain Sefra in the nation of Algeria experienced a half hour storm that left more than an inch of snow on the Sahara’s famous sand dunes. It was just the third time in 40 years that the town has had snow. Extreme heat and cold often are in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and study stories and photos of situations that are extremely hot or cold. Use what you read to write a poem, rap or rhyme about “Hot and Cold.” Remember that the way people act or treat others can also show “hot” or “cold” emotions.

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

5. Fun Ferris Wheel Is Back

Every community has unusual landmarks, and the city of Osaka in Japan has one of the most unusual. It’s a huge, bright yellow Ferris wheel built into the front of a 24-hour discount shopping mall on the Dotonbori River. This month, the Ferris wheel got more attention than ever by reopening to the public after a nine-year shutdown. The wheel had been closed due to mechanical problems since 2008, despite thousands of requests from visitors to get it running again. This year the wheel’s owners decided to activate it so visitors could enjoy the view of the river and surrounding city. The wheel, which is stretched out and tall instead of round, provides great views. It is 274 feet tall — almost the length of an American football field — and has 32 four-person gondolas. A ride on the wheel lasts 15 minutes. The unusual Ferris wheel in Osaka is a landmark people want to see in the city. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a landmark people want to see in your city or state. Or find and study a photo. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a TV ad telling people what they would gain by visiting this landmark. 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.