For Grades K-4 , week of Dec. 07, 2020

1. Holiday Season

December is here, so that means it’s time to get the holiday spirit. Three major holidays are celebrated in December — Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. And for many people, that means giving and receiving gifts. With family, friends or classmates, talk about favorite gifts you have given or received in the past. Then use ads in the newspaper or online to find gifts you would like to give family and friends, and gifts you would like receive. Don’t worry about prices when doing your “shopping,” but think carefully about the reasons you would like to give or receive the gifts you choose. Make a list of gifts you would choose for family or friends and write a reason for choosing each one. Then make a list of gifts you would like to receive and write a reason for each. Share lists with family or friends.

Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

2. What a Kick!

In the world of sports, women and girls are breaking new ground every season. The latest to make history is Vanderbilt University kicker Sarah Fuller, who achieved something never done before at the highest level of college football. When Fuller kicked off to start the second half of Vanderbilt’s game with Missouri, she became the first woman ever to play for a men’s football team in a Division I “Power Five” conference. The Power Five are the top five conferences in NCAA Division I football. Fuller was pressed into action, because Vanderbilt had lost kickers when they tested positive for the coronavirus. Her kick was short, traveling just to the 35-yard line, but it was long enough to make history. “I want to tell all the girls out there that you can do anything you set your mind to,” she told ESPN Sports News. “… You really can. If you have that mentality all the way through, you can do big things.” Fuller is a senior who has played four seasons as a goal keeper on the Vanderbilt women’s soccer team and started all four games in Vanderbilt’s run to the Southeastern Conference championship this fall. Women and girls are setting new goals and achieving success in sports and many other fields. In the newspaper or online find and closely read a story about a woman or girl who is doing this. Write a letter to the woman/girl telling how her success could inspire young girls to achieve their goals in the future.

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.

3. Paddling a Long River

The Susquehanna River is the longest river in the eastern United States, starting at Lake Otsego in the town of Cooperstown, New York, and ending at the city of Havre de Grace, Maryland at the head of Chesapeake Bay. It has long been an attraction for boaters, kayakers and canoeists, and this fall it presented a once-in-a-lifetime challenge for three 30-something college friends. The trio kayaked 444 miles on the river in 18 days. That was a major accomplishment for the three friends, because none of them was an expert kayaker. They had to push their way through rapids, avoid rocks and drag their kayaks over areas where the river had dried up due to drought. And then there was exhaustion. It “dogged us the entire trip,” said Joel Witwer, who works with a children’s organization in Africa and organized the trip with friends Zach Miller, a professional runner, and Michelle Christiance, a photographer. “My fingers were contracted into claws after being curled around a paddle for 180-plus hours, and my feet were horribly sunburned and cut up.” Kayaking down the Susquehanna River was an outdoor adventure for Joel Witwer, Zach Miller and Michelle Christiance. In the newspaper or online, find a photo of an outdoor area where you would like to have an adventure. Pretend you are a tour guide and create an ad for the newspaper or Internet telling what kind of adventure you would offer in this place and why it would be exciting or fun. Give your ad an eye-catching headline.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.

4. Save the Turtles

Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are the rarest and most endangered of seven species of sea turtles. Each year, hundreds of them have to be rescued from beaches of Cape Cod in the state of Massachusetts when the ocean waters turn cold in late fall. This year a rescue almost ended in failure when a plane carrying 30 of the endangered turtles malfunctioned on Thanksgiving weekend. Ridley turtles breed in the warm southern waters of the Gulf of Mexico and then follow ocean currents to northern states like Massachusetts. When the weather turns cold, they get “cold stunned” by the drop in ocean temperatures and will die if not rescued. The Thanksgiving rescue started well, the New York Times newspaper reported. But when the transport plane had mechanical problems, teams of volunteers and wildlife groups had to jump into action. Key to the effort were the Tennessee Aquarium in the city of Chattanooga, which sheltered the turtles overnight when the plane failed, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Audubon Coastal Wildlife Network in New Orleans, Louisiana. “It was just one thing after another,” said Jessica Regnante, who organized the rescue. In the end, the turtles ended up where they needed to be, and after care in New Orleans they will be released into the wild. People often go to great lengths to help wild animals. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a person or group doing this. Use what you read to write an editorial detailing what the people did, why it was important and how others could help.

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.

5. A Deep, Deep Pool

When people want to learn something really well, it’s often said they take a “deep dive” into the information. In the European nation of Poland, people who want to be scuba divers can now do it in deepest swimming pool in the world. The pool outside the city of Warsaw is 148 feet deep and features underwater caves, re-creations of Mayan ruins and even a shipwreck like one that divers could find in the ocean. It will be used to train divers for the Polish army and local firefighters, and holds as much water as 27 Olympic-sized pools, UPI News reports. The public will not get to swim in the pool at this time, but there are a number of viewing areas where people can watch the divers train. The Polish diving pool is an example of a facility designed to serve a specific need. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another facility designed to serve a special need. Write a paragraph explaining the features the facility needed to provide the service for which it was designed.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.