For Grades K-4 , week of Mar. 12, 2012

1. Double Tornado Damage

Cody Stewart of Harvest, Alabama, must feel like he is living his life twice. A year ago, on April 27, 2011, a tornado ripped through his community, causing $40,000 in damage to his home. He finally moved back in two months ago, even though there were still repairs to be finished, according to the Associated Press news service. On March 2, another tornado hit the town and ripped the roof off his repaired house, leaving the walls bending outward, the article said. This time the damage is beyond repair, and Stewart said he is going to have to live in an apartment for a while. Tornadoes whipped through several Midwestern and Southern towns earlier this month, destroying or damaging homes, schools and businesses. Search the newspaper for stories about tornado survivors and recovery efforts. Read some as a class and discuss ways your school could help the communities hurt by the tornadoes. Design a poster showing one way to help.

Core/National Standard: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; adding drawings or visual displays to presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.

2. New Words

Chances are that when you read the newspaper, you'll bump into a few words that are unfamiliar to you. Pick a number from 1 to 30. Start at the back of today’s paper and count pages until you reach your number. Find a word on that page (or on a page near it) that is new to you. Look your word up in the dictionary and explain what it means in a sentence. Share your word with the class.

Core/National Standard: Reading with developing fluency a variety of texts, including periodicals and reference materials.

3. Great Inventions

What does it take to get a new product on the shelves of your local stores? Well, if you are Procter & Gamble, the makers of Tide clothes detergent, it takes eight years, 450 product sketches, 6,000 consumer tests and hundreds of millions of dollars. In one case, all that time and money led to Tide Pods, which are palm-size, liquid detergent-filled tablets that are thrown in the wash with the clothes. According to an Associated Press article, P&G is known for making products people need and then figuring out how to improve them. P&G spends about $2 billion per year on research and development and introduces an average of 27 new products each year. Find an article or ad about a product in the newspaper. Work in groups to brainstorm and come up with a plan to improve the product. Design and illustrate a manual describing the product and how to use it.

Core/National Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; using illustrations and details to describe key ideas.

4. My Own Lorax

And the winner is … “The Lorax.” Dr. Seuss’ lovable, fuzzy, tree-loving Lorax became a movie star worth a lot of money last week, when the movie pulled in $70.7 million in ticket sales in its first weekend in theaters – more than any other movie. It opened on a Friday and made $17.4 million. By Saturday, it had brought in another $31.3 million and Sunday saw $22 million in ticket sales. The movie follows the adventures of the Lorax, who warns a character named Once-Ler against cutting down all the trees in the forest. The book was written in 1971, the year after the first Earth Day, and had a very forward-thinking environmental message. Search your newspaper for an environmental issue that you could turn into a children’s story with a fun hero and a bad villain. Create your own picture book.

Core/National Standard: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences.

5. Which Is Which?

What’s the difference between an adjective and an adverb? There’s an easy way to remember, and the hint is in the word. An adverb describes a verb. An adjective describes a noun. Adverbs usually end with the letters “ly” — “quickly,” “quietly”or “happily,” for example. Adjectives ask you to rely on your senses. How does the noun look, feel, smell or taste? In the sentence “The fuzzy, white cat purred loudly as I patted him” can you find the adjectives and the adverb? Now clip or print out a newspaper article. Circle the adjectives and underline the adverbs you find. Use two adjectives and two adverbs that you find in complete sentences.

Core/National Standards: Using adjectives and adverbs; choosing between them, depending on what is to be modified.

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