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For Grades K-4 , week of Dec. 11, 2017

1. Max Is a Star

Max the Cat has become an Internet star. All because he wanted to get in from the cold and hang with students at a library in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The library at Macalester College was worried Max would get locked in or that students could have allergic reactions to him. So they put up a sign that read: “Please do not let in the cat. His name is Max. Max is nice. His owner does not want Max in the Library. We do not want Max in the Library. … Please do not let Max into the Library.” The sign had a cute cartoon picture of a cat and very quickly someone shared it on the Internet. Then things got really crazy. It was shared around the world and reported in newspapers and other news media. And then there were calls to turn Max’s story into a children’s book. One writer even has set up a website for a book: It’s called LetMeIn.com. People often get ideas for children’s books from people, pets or events in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story that could be turned into a children’s book for your age or younger. Use what you read to write an outline for your book. Then write the opening scene. Give your book a title that would make people want to read it.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

2. Cheaper Fast Food!

McDonald’s restaurants have become popular around the world by offering fast food at reasonable prices. Now they are introducing a new menu that is reducing prices even more. The $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu will offer customers price savings on some of McDonald’s most popular items when it goes into effect January 4. The $1 items will include McChicken sandwiches, cheeseburgers and soft drinks of any size. The $2 items will include Sausage McGriddles, Bacon McDoubles and 2-piece Buttermilk Crispy Tenders. The $3 items will include Sausage McMuffins with Egg, Triple Cheeseburgers and Happy Meals. This the first time a value menu has included Happy Meals. Businesses often try new ideas to get people to buy their products. As a class, discuss ideas that you have noticed. Then team up with a partner and brainstorm a new idea that would make people want to buy a product. Design an ad for the newspaper announcing your idea. Make sure your ad has an eye-catching title. Share with the class.

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.

3. Fire and More Fire

In the state of California, history repeated itself last week. A brush fire that started in a local park exploded and burned more than 90,000 acres in Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles. Thousands of residents were forced to evacuate, many in the middle of the night when wakened by sheriff’s deputies going door to door. The wildfire was spread by dry Santa Ana winds blowing up to 60 mph. At its peak, the fire was burning an entire acre every second. The Ventura fire in Southern California follows massive wildfires in Northern California that burned more than 245,000 acres in October. Recovering from a natural disaster like a wildfire presents many challenges for communities. As a class, find and closely read a story about recovery efforts from the latest California wildfires. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor discussing what steps you think communities should take first to recover.

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.

4. What a Find!

Dean and Jan Anderson have been married for 50 years, but for 46 of them Dean didn’t wear the wedding ring Jan put on his finger the day they got married. He lost it in 1971, while playing touch football at a barbecue with friends. Now they have it back, thanks to a construction crew, the Internet and some old-fashioned luck. The construction crew found the ring while digging up a sidewalk in Hazeldale Park in Beaverton, Oregon. The local Parks and Rec Department noticed the ring was engraved with initials and a wedding date and posted information about it in a blog it runs on the Internet. Word spread and eventually got back to the Andersons. They don’t know how the ring got to the park, but they’re happy to have it back. “For years, I didn’t wear any ring at all,” Dean Anderson said. People who experience good luck often are in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone who has had some good luck. Use what you read to write a poem, rap or rhyme titled “I Feel Lucky.” Read or perform your work for the class.

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

5. NFL Know, Wonder & Learn

The 2017 NFL football season is heading into its final weeks, and fans all over the country are watching to see which teams make the playoffs. Following the NFL in the newspaper or online is a great way to build reading skills if you use the approach called Know, Wonder and Learn. With this approach, called KWL for short, you ask yourself questions every time you read something. First, you ask what you already KNOW about the subject. Then you ask what you WONDER or WANT TO KNOW about the subject. Then you read and ask what you have LEARNED about the subject by reading. Practice KWL by finding a story in the newspaper or online about the NFL playoff races. Write out what you already KNOW about the subject of the story. Then write what you WONDER or WANT TO KNOW about the subject of the story. Then read the story and write what you LEARNED about the subject of the story by reading.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.