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For Grades K-4 , week of Nov. 12, 2018

1. Salute to Veterans

This week the nation observes Veterans Day to honor the men and women who have served in America’s military forces. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Veterans Day, which was begun as Armistice Day in 1918 at the end of World War I. Military veterans are soldiers who have served in the past, not those serving presently. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about how communities are honoring veterans this year for Veterans Day. Then talk about other ways communities could thank veterans for their service. Use ideas from the class or what you have read to write a “Thank You” poem to all veterans, or to a veteran you know. Your poems do not need to rhyme but should express strong emotions.

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understanding how language functions in different contexts.

2. Yes We Can!

The holiday season is a time of giving, and a shopping center in New York City has found a way to do it in a very creative way. For the 26th year, Brookfield Place New York is hosting a “Canstruction” sculpture exhibit that not only shows off artistic talent, but helps the needy as well. Every sculpture in the exhibit is made out of canned foods stacked in elaborate and imaginative shapes. Then when the exhibit ends November 15, the sculptures will be taken apart and the canned goods donated to food pantries. The food will then be delivered to families who need it, just in time for Thanksgiving. In honor of Thanksgiving, families and communities are doing many different things to help people who are in need. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one effort. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor telling how this effort could inspire others to help people in need.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

3. Mickey Turns 90

Mickey Mouse is one of the most popular cartoon characters in the world — and has been for a very long time. Mickey first appeared in a cartoon called “Steamboat Willie” that appeared way back in 1928. To celebrate Mickey’s 90th birthday this year, the Disney company is throwing a party that will last for months and stretch around the world. One highlight of the party was a two-hour TV special and other observances will include celebrations at Disney theme parks, art exhibits, books, special birthday foods, clothes and souvenirs. What cartoon characters do you and your classmates like? In the newspaper or online, find and read a story about one character you like. Use what you read and personal knowledge to create a birthday card for the character. Draw a picture to go on the cover. Then write a message that connects to the character’s personality.

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

4. What a Bird!

With feathers of purple, orange, green and blue, the male Mandarin duck is one of the most colorful birds in the world. In the wild, Mandarins are native to East Asia, so you can only imagine the excitement when one turned up this fall on a pond in New York City’s Central Park. Birdwatchers were amazed and flocked to the park for a chance to see the bird that is usually found in the Asian nations of China and Japan. No one knows how the duck got to the park, but New Yorkers are glad he did. He may have escaped from a zoo or been let loose by a pet owner, officials said. They doubt he flew from Japan or China, which are more than 10,000 miles away. Wild birds and animals often show up in unexpected places, and people wonder how they got there. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a “sighting” of a wildlife species in an unexpected place. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a short movie or video telling how the bird or animal got there. Your movie can be factual or made up. Give your movie a title and write a summary of the opening scene.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

5. Keep on Swimming

People are always looking for new ways to have adventures and challenge themselves. On the continent of Europe this summer, British adventurer Ross Edgley started by jumping in the ocean. Five months later he came out of the water, after swimming 1,791 miles around the entire island of Great Britain. The 33-year-old Edgley started his journey in southeast England on June 1 and finished November 4 in the same place. He wore a wetsuit to keep warm in the cold water, didn’t use flippers and slept on a support boat when not swimming six hours a day. His “Great British Swim” is the first time anyone has swum all the way around Great Britain, which is home to the nations of England, Scotland and Wales. People challenge themselves in many ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone setting goals and challenging himself or herself. Use what you read to write a paragraph or personal column for the newspaper describing the character or personality traits the person needed to meet the challenge.

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.