For Grades K-4 , week of Nov. 07, 2011

1. New Science Satellite Achievements in space have given scientists new and better ways to understand life on Earth. The latest example is a new satellite launched by America’s NASA space agency that will improve the way information is collected on weather, climate change and environmental conditions such as the ice cover of the Earth and the ozone layer in the atmosphere. The satellite will send new data back to scientists every time it orbits the Earth. As a class, find a story about space exploration in the newspaper or on the NASA website Pick one mission and write a letter to the editor describing ways it could improve life on Earth. Make sure you use complete sentences in your letter.

Core/National Standard: Writing opinion pieces in which students introduce the topic they are writing about, state and opinion and supply reasons that support the opinion

2. Puppy Steals Ham Sandwich When Teen Is Looking in Fridge

November is National Family Stories Month. Stories that get told and retold within a family are an important source of personal history. Think of a funny or interesting story about an event that happened to someone in your own family. Then, using today's newspaper as a guide, write the story in third-person newspaper style. See if you can still retain the mood of the story, while using this style to tell your tale.

Core/National Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to task, purpose and audience; writing fluently for multiple purposes to produce compositions, such as stories, poetry and personal narratives.

3. Learn from the Setting

The setting of a story — where it takes place — can often be important to understanding the action that takes place. This is true in real-life stories as well as fiction. Scan the newspaper for a news story that interests you. In the spaces below, write out where the story takes place. Then write three ways the place affects what goes on in the story — or how it could affect future events. Share ideas as a class.

Core/National Standard: Responding thoughtfully to classic and contemporary texts.

Where Story Takes Place

Three Effects of Setting

A. _____________________________________________

B. _____________________________________________

C. _____________________________________________

4. Blackbeard’s Cannon

Blackbeard the Pirate was one of the most feared thieves ever to sail the oceans off the coast of the southeastern United States. In the early 1700s, he terrorized and robbed ships delivering goods to the American colonies, and sometimes he took over the ships themselves. In October, historians learned more about one of those ships, when a 2,000-pound cannon was pulled from the waters near Beaufort, North Carolina. The cannon is believed to be from a ship Blackbeard had seized and will be studied with guns, chains and other recovered items to learn more about Blackbeard’s life. Pretend you are studying the history of your community. Study a photo of the community in the newspaper and write what you could learn from what you see.

Core/National Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts and information.

5. Dinosaur Teeth The fossils of dinosaurs can tell scientists a lot about how they lived. Now a study of dinosaur teeth has shed new light on how they moved around. Dinosaurs shed their teeth at different times in their lives and grew new ones. And when they drank water, their new teeth picked up chemicals only found in the water where they were living. By studying the chemicals in the tooth fossils of the North American Camarasaurus, scientists were able to match them to areas where that species of dinosaur was eating and drinking. As a class, talk about the things people can learn by studying fossils. Then pick an animal from the ads, photos or stories of the newspaper. Pretend you are a fossil hunter and write everything you could learn about this animal by studying its fossil.

Core/National Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions, building on ideas of other students and expressing their own clearly; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts and information.