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for Grades K-4

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For Grades K-4 , week of Jan. 15, 2024


The television network most people tune into for sports, ESPN, had to apologize recently. Some of the people that appear on the network won Emmy Awards for their sports broadcasting, but they shouldn’t have been eligible to win. The Emmys have a categorie for “outstanding weekly studio show,” which are meant to recognize the behind-the-scenes people who help create the show. Hosts and reporters could win individual awards for their work but aren’t supposed to be included in the group awards. However, some ESPN team members had submitted fake names (that had the same initials as on-air hosts) as part of the group of people they nominated. These awards are meant to recognize the people behind the camera who help put a show together. Think about why it’s important to celebrate the whole group and their teamwork, not only one person. Write a paragraph about why you think awards like that are important.


Many parts of the world have faced extreme drought, or periods of time with very little or no rain, in the past few years. This has caused water shortages and led people to think of ways they can reduce how much water they use. To encourage people to use less water on their landscaping and watering their lawns, the town of Gotland, Sweden, started an “ugliest lawn” competition two years ago. It was originally just for locals, but this year, they opened it up to anyone in the world, and people from the United States, Canada, Germany, France, and several other countries entered. The winning lawn was in Sanford, Tasmania—a state in Australia about the size of West Virginia. The town of Gotland says its residents have used 5 percent less water since the competition was created. What are some ways you, your family, and your community use water that might be wasteful? What could you do to encourage people to think about the water they use and maybe use less of it? Write down one habit of using water that you’d want people to change. Then, write down how you would get them to change that habit—would you teach them about water shortages? Show them a different way to do something that uses less water? Then, write out or draw an example of the strategy you came up with to help change minds and save water!


Elephants and bison at the Berlin Zoo in Germany are taking care of some of the waste from the holiday season: unsold Christmas trees. The zoo takes fresh, unsold Christmas trees that are free from chemicals and decorations and gives them to some of the animals that eat and play with them, including European bison, reindeer, and elephants. In the United States, some farms take discarded Christmas trees for goats to munch on. Write a story about one of the animals listed here eating leftover Christmas trees. Draw a picture to illustrate your story.


For the last fifteen years, Wayne State University in Michigan has released a list of “long-lost” words, words that aren’t commonly used anymore. The Word Warriors program (named for Wayne State’s athletics teams, the Warriors), aims to bring these interesting, old-fashioned words back into use. Among the words this year are blatherskite, a person who talks a long time but doesn’t make much sense; curglaff, the shock you feel when you jump into cold water; dollop, a shapeless blob of something; thunderplump, a heavy fall of rain during a thunderstorm; and petrichor, or the pleasant smell when it rains after a long period of warm, dry weather. Write a story that correctly uses as many of these words in sentences as you can! Share your stories with your classmates.


A group of people in Romania are working to save a forest of historic beech trees, some of which are hundreds of years old. The area is now protected land, but before that, generations of villagers would cut the branches they could reach to use the trees for firewood. The cutting and regrowing gave them a unique shape, like an upside-down broom. In an effort to protect the trees from people who would cut them down for lumber, an organization crated the Forest of Immortal Stories. They gave each tree a number on a plaque and photographed the trees through the seasons. For a fee, people can “adopt” one of the five thousand trees and put their story with it for people to find via QR code. What would you write about if you were to put a story on a tree for all to read when they walk by it? Write out what you would say.