For Grades K-4 , week of Feb. 22, 2021

1. She Was Heard

It’s often said that anyone can make a difference, if they just speak up. Even if they’re in third grade. Colorado third grader Ally Tumblin did just that when she was asked in school to write about a way to improve her community. Ally, who suffers from hearing loss, wrote a letter to her U.S. Congressman, Joe Neguse, about her struggle to hear and how hard it is for families to pay for special hearing devices like the bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA) she uses. As a result, a new law has been drawn up that would help families pay for such unusual hearing aids, which can cost $10,000 or more. Most insurance companies don’t cover such aids, leaving families to pick up the bill. The new law would require companies to offer coverage for Ally’s BAHA device and others, CNN News reported. It has to be passed by the U.S. House and Senate to take effect, but it already has had impact. To honor Ally for speaking up, Neguse called the proposed law “Ally’s Act.” Children often do things that help their communities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a child or group of children doing something to help others. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, telling how this children’s effort could inspire other kids to help their communities. In your letter, include something you, your friends or classmates could do to be helpful.

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.

2. Pet Testing

To slow the spread of the coronavirus, people all over the world are being urged to get tested and sign up for vaccine shots. In the Asian city of Seoul, South Korea, health officials have gone even further. The government there is offering free coronavirus tests for pets. While the virus mostly affects people, it can also infect animals, usually when they are exposed to people who have tested positive for the disease. In Seoul, testing is being offered to pets that show symptoms such as fever or breathing difficulties. Shortly after announcing the pet tests Seoul officials said the virus had been detected in a cat that had lost its energy and was throwing up. Animals are often in the news, and not just in connection to the coronavirus. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an animal in the news. Brainstorm an idea for a video or short movie showing why this animal is newsworthy. Write an outline for your movie, including images you would use. Discuss with family, friends and classmates.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

3. New Speed Record

Porsche cars are known for speed, and this month they proved it in a really big way. A new all-electric model set a world indoor record for speed when it topped 100 miles per hour inside an exhibition hall in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. The Taycan Turbo S Porsche hit 102.65 miles per hour to top the previous indoor record by a whopping 13.6 miles per hour. To qualify for a Guinness World Record, the Taycan had to start from a standstill and had to stop with its own brakes at the end of its run. No safety nets or open doors were allowed. The polished floor of the exhibition hall was the biggest challenge. “The surface is so unpredictable, so slick, that you have to have complete trust in your car,” driver Leh Keen said afterwards. “It truly was like ice — and you’re accelerating flat out, facing a really hard wall at the end.” Many people like high-speed sports cars like Porsches. In the newspaper or online, find an ad for a sports car that interests you. Write the alphabet on a sheet of paper. For each letter, write out one or more adjectives that would describe the sports car. Use three of your adjectives in complete sentences.

Common Core State Standards: Identifying multiple language conventions and using them; recognizing nouns, verbs and modifiers; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.

4. Row, Row, Row

All over the world, senior adults are living longer and doing amazing things later in life. The latest to demonstrate that is a 70-year-old man from the European nation of England. Frank Rothwell has become the oldest person ever to row alone across the Atlantic Ocean. Rothwell completed his 3,000-mile journey in 56 days, two hours and 41 minutes. He started in the Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa and finished on the island of Antigua on the edge of the Caribbean Sea. A grandfather of three, he finished fourth among eight rowers in his division. Every stroke of his journey raised money for a research organization focusing on Alzheimer’s disease, which causes memory loss in older people. He raised nearly $1.4-million. Many older adults challenge themselves to do unusual things. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one older adult who is doing this. Use what you read to write a letter to this person, telling what you learned from this person’s achievement about taking on challenges and succeeding.

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.

4. What a Drawing!

People are often told to stretch their imagination to create new things. In the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a 24-year-old artist has stretched her imagination so much she has set a record for the biggest drawing ever created by a single person. Dyymond Whipper-Young created her artwork as part of a new exhibition at the Franklin Institute museum called “Crayola IDEAworks: The Creativity Exhibition.” Her drawing covers 6,450 square feet within the museum — more than 1 1/3 the size of an NBA basketball court. Her drawing focuses on the sea, land and space and other elements of the IDEAworks exhibit. She drew the entire thing with black Crayola Project XL Markers, and it took 63 hours to complete over five days. The Franklin Institute, which opened in 1934, was created to honor America’s first great scientist, Benjamin Franklin. Art and drawing are great ways to express yourself and show creativity. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about something that interests you. Use what you read and your creativity to create a drawing or artwork expressing your feelings about this subject. Discuss your work and what it says about your feelings with family, friends and classmates.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.