For Grades K-4 , week of Nov. 21, 2011

1. Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is Thursday, and one popular way to celebrate is to enjoy a big meal with family and friends. Cut pictures and words out of today's newspaper showing food that your family eats on Thanksgiving, or food it might be fun to have on Thanksgiving. Make an art collage with your words and pictures. Give your collage a creative title.

Core/National Standards: Using drawings or other visual displays when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts and feelings; reading and writing with developing fluency, speaking confidently, listening and interacting appropriately, viewing strategically and representing creatively.

2. Gathering Words

Learning to read takes many, many years. We start by learning the sounds of letters, then we put the sounds together to make words and then words come together to make sentences. A new scientific study shows that as people begin to read, words get “placed in a purely visual dictionary in the brain.” As a result, young readers learn to recognize these words quickly when they see them. Volunteers for the study got in a device called a magnetic resonance imaging machine and read lists of words that were different but sounded the same. The MRI showed different parts of the brain were active when different words were read, almost as if “the words were stored on different pages of a dictionary.” In pairs, search a page of the newspaper story for 10 words you do not know. Memorize those words so you will recognize them instantly. Look up their meanings in a dictionary.

Core/National Standard: Acquiring and using accurately grade-level appropriate, general academic and domain specific words and phrases.

3. The Next President

In one year, Americans will elect a president to serve for the next four years. From now until then, candidates will be campaigning all over the country. President Barack Obama is running for a second term for the Democratic Party. Eight major candidates have thrown their hats in the ring for the Republican Party and have been educating voters about their views in a series of debates. Who will win the 2012 election is still up in the air, but one fifth-grade class in Washington, D.C., has already picked the winner. According to an article in Time Magazine, Mr. Dingledine’s class debated who would win the next election and then voted to pick a winner. After much discussion, the students predicted Obama would win. As a class, debate who should be elected president based on the views of your parents and information you can find about the different candidates’ positions in newspaper stories. Vote as a class. Who would your class elect?

Core/National Standard: Coming to discussions prepared, having read or studied required materials, and explicitly drawing on that preparation

4. For This I Give Thanks

President Franklin D. Roosevelt was known for many things. He led the country through World War II, brought it out of severe economic hard times and was the only president elected to serve more than two terms. He also was the man responsible for setting aside the fourth Thursday of every November as a day Americans would give thanks for everything we have. He signed a bill officially establishing Thanksgiving Day on November 26, 1941. The most famous Thanksgiving occurred 390 years ago when Plymouth Governor William Bradford invited local Indians to join the Pilgrims in a three-day feast to give thanks for a bountiful harvest of food in Massachusetts. Thanksgiving became an annual affair in the 17th century, and in 1798 George Washington declared the first national Thanksgiving holiday. Find stories in your newspaper about how people in your community will celebrate Thanksgiving. Write a paragraph discussing some things they are thankful for this year.

Core/National Standard: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

5. The Beauty of Art

Large works of art can be seen in galleries and churches around the world. There are large marble statues, paintings on the ceilings of cathedrals, even monuments in the sides of mountains. Taiwan artist Chen Fong-shean prefers a smaller approach to making art — using rice, sand and dental floss. The Asian artist recently created a dragon made of gold foil and black resin that measures less than half an inch long and about a third of an inch high, according to a Reuters article. As a class, find a story or photo involving art or an artist in your newspaper. Discuss the art as a class. Then create a piece of art inspired by the work of that artist.

Core/National Standard: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly; adding drawings or other visual displays when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts and feelings.

Thank you Sponsors!

First National Bank of Texas
Community Bank & Trust
American Income Life
Buckeye Bingo
Diversified Product Development
Greg White Texas Appellate Lawyer
Waco Habitat for Humanity