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For Grades K-4 , week of Apr 12, 2021

1. Disney to Disney

Many kids and families want to visit Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida. Few do it back-to-back, and up to now no one has run from one theme park to the other. A 59-year-old man from the state of Texas has just done that, however, covering more than 2,700 miles on foot between the two parks. It took Don Muchow more than a year, but last week he completed the journey, UPI News reported. He originally had planned to run non-stop from Disneyland to Disney World starting in February 2020, but had to break up the trip because of coronavirus restrictions. He originally estimated the trip would take 90 days of actual running, and he said that proved to be true, though with many breaks. He said he made the run to raise awareness of Type 1 diabetes. “I want every single person with Type 1 diabetes to see that we can still dream big,” he said after completing his run. People often do unusual things to call attention or raise money for different issues. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone who has done this. Then find and read about an issue or cause you would like to raise awareness about. Brainstorm an idea to do this and write out why you think it would be effective.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.

2. Heartfelt Memorial

Public art can often express the emotions a community is feeling. In the European city of London, England, local residents have used art to express the city’s emotions about the coronavirus epidemic. Local artists have painted more than 145,000 hearts on a wall opposite England’s Parliament government building — one for each life lost to the epidemic since it began a year ago. The bright red hearts are being hand painted by grieving families who lost members to the virus and by hundreds of volunteers. “Each heart represents someone who was loved,” a spokesperson for the project said. “Someone who was lost too soon.” The coronavirus epidemic has affected communities in many ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about some of the effects. Then design a public art mural showing some of the effects on people in the stories, or in your own community.

Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.

3. An Unexpected Swarm

Honey bees are among the most important insects in the world, because they pollinate fruits and vegetables and allow them to grow. They also are among the most interesting to scientists, because they form complex communities in which different bees have different roles within the hive or nest. Spring is a busy time for honey bees, because it is the time that hives split and bee colonies seek new homes. In Las Cruces, New Mexico this month, that created an eye-opening experience for a man doing grocery shopping. When he went into a local store, he left a window open in his car to keep the inside from getting too hot. When he came out, there was a swarm of 15,000 honey bees in his back seat! An off-duty firefighter whose hobby is beekeeping successfully removed the swarm and relocated it without anyone getting hurt. Experts said the swarm was likely looking for a new home and had stopped in the car to rest. In nature, insects and other wildlife often go to great lengths to find or build homes. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one species doing this. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend or teacher explaining how the home benefits the species and protects its young. 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.

4. Super ‘Super Mario Bros.’

Since they were developed nearly 40 years ago, the “Mario Bros.” and “Super Mario Bros.” video games have been among the most popular in the world. None was as popular as a Super Mario Bros. game that sold at an auction this month. The sealed, unopened copy of the game sold for more than any video game in history — a record $660,000! The Nintendo Entertainment System game had been purchased as a Christmas present in 1986, but had never been used. The owner put it in a desk drawer and never opened it. “I never thought anything about it,” he said. The same could not be said for collectors, who value unopened games more than anything. When the owner took his 35-year-old game to the Heritage Auction house in Texas, everyone’s eyes lit up. “As soon as this copy of Super Mario Bros. arrived at Heritage, we knew the market would find it just as sensational as we did,” a spokesperson said. People often pay great sums of money for rare or unusual items. With friends or classmates, discuss items you would pay a lot for if you had a lot of money. Then find one in the newspaper or online. Write a paragraph or short paper, describing this item and explaining why you would like to buy it.

Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

5. Warm and Fuzzy

Stories that have happy endings are often called “warm and fuzzy” by people in the news business because they make readers feel good. In the state of North Carolina one recent story was “warm and fuzzy” in more ways than one. In the community of Kenansville, animal rescue officers had to be called because a stray dog kept darting into a Dollar General store every time the doors opened. Each time he made a beeline for the back of the store where he tried to steal a purple plush unicorn toy from an Easter display. He always went for the same toy, never any other. When the dog kept coming back, store officials finally called a local animal rescue shelter. Shelter officials named the Labrador retriever mix Sisu and made plans to send him to a training ranch before putting him up for adoption. But not before making sure Sisu’s story had a warm and fuzzy ending. Before taking him to the training ranch, the rescue team went back to the Dollar General. While they were there, one of the officers bought the unicorn for Sisu as a gift. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story that makes you feel good. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor telling why this story made you feel good and how it could make others feel good, too.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

Step onto any school campus and you'll feel its energy. Each school is turbocharged with the power of young minds, bodies, hearts and spirits.

Here on the Western Slope, young citizens are honing and testing their skills to take on a rapidly changing world. Largely thanks to technology, they are in the midst of the most profound seismic shift the world has ever seen.

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