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For Grades K-4 , week of June 29, 2020

1. Creative Tribute

All over America, people have been showing support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Some have joined protest marches, some have created artworks, and some have turned to the Internet to post messages or videos. A 9-year-old figure skater from Washington, DC chose a different approach. She created an original skate routine and performed it atop the “Black Lives Matter” mural painted on a street near the White House in her home town. Kaitlyn Saunders, who is African American, performed her routine using in-line roller skates instead of ice skates to her favorite song, “Rise Up” by Andra Day. “I want[ed] to replace the negative messages that people have in their minds with positive ones,” Kaitlyn told CNN News. “I feel free and powerful when I'm on the ice. Like I can fly and no one can stop me. I wish everyone could feel like that.” When her performance was posted online, it went viral and was viewed by more than 2-million people in a matter of days. People choose many different approaches to show their support for issues, programs or people they believe in. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone showing support for something in an unusual way. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend or teacher, telling how this effort calls attention to the issue in a way people will remember. Talk with family or friends about ways you could show support for something in a way people would notice and remember.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.

2. No ‘Nutcracker’

The coronavirus emergency has forced the cancellation of events all over the country. Now it has claimed one of the most popular entertainments of the holiday season in December. The New York City Ballet has announced it has canceled all performances of “The Nutcracker” along with the rest of its fall season. This is the first year that City Ballet will not perform “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker” since it had its first shows 66 years ago. The ballet company said it made the decision after determining with health officials that it would not be safe for large groups of people to gather in a theater or for a large cast of artists to perform together. The production includes more than 150 dancers and musicians, 40 stagehands and more than 125 students from the School of American Ballet, the New York Times newspaper reports. By canceling the popular show, the City Ballet will lose a huge amount of money in ticket sales. Last year “The Nutcracker” brought in more than $15.3-million in ticket sales out of a total of about $35-million for the ballet company. Many popular events have been canceled by the coronavirus epidemic. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one event that has been canceled that you and your family have enjoyed in the past. Then use newspaper or Internet ads and listings to find other things your family could do for fun in place of the canceled event. Write a paragraph telling why your family would enjoy these activities and draw a picture of your family doing that.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.

3. ‘Exploding Whale Park

When communities name parks, it is usually for special natural features or people who contributed to local history. In the city of Florence, Oregon, residents have taken another approach. They have named a new park after an exploding whale. “Exploding Whale Memorial Park” takes its name from an incident 50 years ago when a dead sperm whale washed up on the community’s shoreline. The 45-foot whale was too big to haul off and bury, so the state highway department decided to blow it up with dynamite. The result was a huge, smelly, gooey mess, as blubber from the whale rained down on bystanders and even crushed a car. Residents don’t seem to mind remembering that long-ago incident, however. The new park name was chosen by a vote of the community over more traditional names such as “Bridge View Park” and “River View Park.” Naming parks and recreation areas requires care and thoughtfulness. With family or friends, use the newspaper or Internet to find names of parks and recreation areas in your state or community. Discuss why they were given the names they have. Then pretend you have been chosen to name (or rename) a park in your community. What name would you choose? Write a letter to local leaders telling what name you would choose and explain why.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

4. Private Hot Dog Contest

The Coney Island neighborhood of New York City is world famous for its beaches, games and amusement rides. Every Fourth of July, it also gets attention for presenting the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating contest. Hosted by Nathan’s Famous hot dog restaurants, the contest draws big eaters from around the world and attracts thousands of spectators. Until this year. Because of the coronavirus epidemic, this year’s Hot Dog Eating contest — the 103rd in the history of the commmunity — will be held in a private location without spectators. There also will be fewer competitors — just five in both the men’s and women’s divisions instead of 15 so that they can maintain safe social distancing from each other. Competitors also will be tested for coronavirus before being allowed to compete. The record for most hot dogs eaten in the contest is 73 in 10 minutes. Many communities have unusual or even silly events that they celebrate year after year. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about events different communities have. Pick one and write a short editorial outlining ways the event could be held safely to avoid risks of the coronavirus. Then design an ad for this event, stressing the safety steps being taken.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

5. Drone Reading

It’s often hard to get kids to do summer reading, but it’s even harder when libraries are closed due to the coronavirus emergency. A school district in the state of Virginia has found a solution to that: Using drones to deliver books to students for required or pleasure reading. The Montgomery County Public School District has partnered with Wing, the drone-delivery unit run by Google’s parent company, to deliver books right to the doorsteps of students who sign up. Best of all, they don’t have to return the books until schools re-open. “I thought that this would be a great way to get our resources to our students,” middle school librarian Kelly Passek, told the New York Times newspaper. “Now that we’ve entered this time of social distancing and remote learning, it’s become even more necessary.” Summer reading is a great way to keep your classroom skills sharp while on vacation. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about books that kids your age may be reading this summer. Use what you read and personal knowledge to write a “review” of two or three books you would recommend to friends or younger readers — and why.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.