Local Living Section

Every Thursday LOCAL LIVING combines Home and community news with local entertainment, family and health features that readers want.  The result?  A convenient weekly resource covering Washington life from family room to community room.

LOCAL LIVING provides news and features about the community, profiles of neighbors and neighborhood organizations, coverage of local government agendas, zoning and school board actions.

LOCAL LIVING offers a wide range of educational opportunities and strategies. A few simple examples will help to introduce students to LOCAL LIVING.

Articles and advertisements provide illustrations, headlines and vocabulary that lead to concept development, so necessary to reading a story with success. In articles, features and photographs, a particular area of the Washington metropolitan region is covered. Students can learn much about the locations in and geography of their area and surrounding areas through LOCAL LIVING.

Mathematical applications and scientific concepts as well as basic survival skills can be reinforced through the HOME features of LOCAL LIVING. Biology students get a practical look at plants in Adrian Higgins Gardening Column, A COOK’S GARDEN, and even in TIP OF THE WEEK.

Home economics and marketing students can find trends, designs and advertising to use with classroom projects. Check out the HOME FRONT, HANDY GUIDE, and HOW TO features for Sales Talk, colors, design, decorating and new products.

You might begin using the HOME section of LOCAL LIVING by asking students to define “home.” Ask students to consider the many different types of living spaces — apartments, condominiums, mobile homes and duplexes. Lead students in a discussion of what makes one of these spaces (places) a “home.”

Students can imagine that they have been taken to an empty room or set of rooms and told, “This is where you are going to live.” What would each student do to turn this space into a home? Students can list or draw a picture of the space-turned-home.

A few questions would help prompt their thinking:

•Would you want to own or rent?

•What type of furnishings and decorations would you like to have around?

•Would you remodel the space in any way? How and why?

•What would you want to have surrounding (outside) the space?

•Do you want to grow some of your own fruits and vegetables?

•Do you plan to entertain in your home? What would entertaining require you to have in your space?

When students have completed their lists or drawings, the current and/or previous issues of the HOME section can be scanned to see if the articles and features offer them any advice specific to how they plan to turn their house into a home. You might also tell them they can purchase one item in the current issue of HOME for this new space.  What would they select and why?

Students can communicate with HOME writers online. Live discussion schedules can be found at www.washingtonpost.com in the Home and Garden section. Regular programming talk focuses on decorating, furnishings, gardening, collecting and remodeling.

When discussing the WELLNESS and FAMILY features of LOCAL LIVING, students should be encouraged to discuss who lives in the types of homes they have already discussed and how things like design, decoration, furnishings and gardens contribute to the wellness of the different individuals and families who will live in these various homes.

In the COMMUNITY NEWS features of LOCAL LIVING, students will see the names and faces of local celebrities, community leaders and other residents. Stories and articles feature places “just down the road” or “right around the corner.”

The Post publishes one or more weekly editions of LOCAL LIVING for specified locales in the metropolitan area:


District of Columbia


Prince George’s

Southern Maryland

Loudoun (a special Loudoun “Extra” section is published on Sundays)

Prince William (a special Prince William “Extra” section is published on Sundays)

Howard and Anne Arundel Readers receive a generic Maryland edition of LOCAL LIVING

The COMMUNITY section of LOCAL LIVING provides students the opportunity to explore and learn about that part of their world that is only one step beyond their own homes.

•Ask students to scan LOCAL LIVING to find names and/or photographs of local people and places.

•If this particular edition of this section carries articles about their school system or their school, challenge students to find the article(s) in which their school system or school is mentioned.

•If this particular edition carries All-Met teams, ask students to create an All-Met team. Compare their team’s composition with The Post’s selections.

Have students look for examples of the following:


•Columnists and opinion pieces

•Consumer information

•Health information

•News articles

Use LOCAL LIVING to apply mathematics skills:

Locate HOME SALES. Within each real estate division, locate the home that sold for the most money. The least money.
Examine the advertising and locate the CLASSIFIED insert. Find the best buys for particular items.

Though the section focuses on their own community or their own neighborhood, students can also learn how the thinking and actions of people in other places can impact their lives. If a far-away place is featured in a headline or picture, ask students to think about why it appears in their LOCAL LIVING.

The events and issues covered by LOCAL LIVING demonstrate the interdependence of people who live in a community. These are important lessons about the balance that must exist between sharing space and, at the same time, protecting and valuing individual rights. The encouragement “to weigh in,” to write letters to the editor and to send reactions to current actions and issues is democracy and free speech in action. In very meaningful ways, the COMMUNITY section of LOCAL LIVING extends any social studies or civics text.

Highlights of Local Living

GOING OUT GUIDE  Located on pages 2-3.  A county specific list of special events in the community for the coming week.

A COOK’S GARDEN A weekly column by author and garden expert Barbara Damrosch who focuses on growing food to eat (vegetables, fruits, herbs) and how to take care of a food garden

ADRIAN HIGGINS The Washington Post’s Gardening columnist on what’s new and notable in the world of gardening

TIP OF THE WEEK Part of The Post garden coverage, Tip offers readers quick, specific advice (no longer than one paragraph) about what they should be doing to care for their gardens right now.



HOME FRONT Brief news items: new products, stores, goings-on around town, and personalities in the home and design field

THE MISFITS Column on fitness trends

EAT, DRINK & BE HEALTHY Jennifer Larue Huget’s column on nutrition

FAMILY ALMANAC Marguerite Kelly’s column on issues facing families

ON PARENTING Excerpts from the On Parenting blog by Janice D’Arcy

MOMSPEAK Occasional column by KidsPost editor Tracy Grant

HOME SALES Recently recorded home sales. To find sale and assessment records for homes in the Washington area, visit www.washingtonpost.com/realestate



DR. GRIDLOCK Robert Thomson a.k.a. Dr. Gridlock offers therapy for that most intimate relationship: the one between you and your commute

CLASS STRUGGLE Jay Mathews’ Column on Schools.

ANIMAL WATCH Animal cases reported by animal control divisions and shelters

ANIMAL DOCTOR Veterinarian Michael W. Fox responds to readers’ questions on animal health and behavior.


FOR THE RECORD How major bills fared and how local congressional members voted

CRIME REPORT Recent crime reports received by local police departments

HEALTH CODE VIOLATIONS Food establishments closed for health code violations, compiled from health department reports

COMMUNITY CALENDAR Community events sponsored by public and nonprofit organizations

CLASSIFIED SECTION Marketplace for local jobs, car, apartments and more

Finding Your Way Around


Pre-reading activities prepare students for comprehension and a more satisfying reading experience. These exercises will acquaint students with the LOCAL LIVING section’s organization and features.

Have students use the contents or Inside index of the HOME section to locate standing columns and features of the section. These exercises can be done individually or in groups.


1 and 2.  Over two or three weeks, use editions of LOCAL LIVING to acquaint students with the tone, purpose and format of this section of the newspaper. Have them consider the types of articles and advertisements carried in LOCAL LIVING. How does the writing in this section differ from news writing found in the MAIN NEWS section?

Have students demonstrate their understanding of the LOCAL LIVING section’s format and tone through the development of a mock-up of “Home Front,” “House Calls,” and “How To” sections for the school’s student paper.

Divide the class into four groups. Each group takes a different section from above and discusses the following questions:

•What topics would you cover in your section?

•What would be the focus of your article for this season?

•What pictures would be carried?

•How would the advertisements on the page target various audiences?

•Who would these audiences be?

•In what ways would these articles be different from the writing and format of the school’s student-produced newspaper as currently written and designed?

Extension: Have students employ their technology skills. Keyboard the articles and layout a sample page. “Publish” these on the bulletin board display.


3.  Ask students to collect TIP OF THE WEEK examples from a month or more of LOCAL LIVING. Discuss why this filler is included in LOCAL LIVING.

•What kind of information is provided in this feature?

•In what ways does the information offer an improvement? A more efficient way of doing something? A safer environment?

Use information found in the following two paragraphs from A COOK’S GARDEN Column for practice in writing a TIP OF THE WEEK. Discuss the problem, solution and other considerations. Then draft a tip column.

[M]arigolds don’t repel nematodes just by growing there and blooming. You must plant

them thickly throughout the whole affected area, then till them under in fall to lend protection to next year’s crops. And marigolds may even be allelopathic — that is, toxic to some vegetables, such as beans and cabbage. This is the flip side of companion planting.

So it’s not as simple as just planting a row of the “Nema-gone” marigolds that one popular seed catalogue cheerfully promotes.

Have students write a TIP OF THE WEEK that shows they can apply a lesson from science class or an article they read in LOCAL LIVING to a new format. Writing may require further research.

If you have students who can’t think of a topic, ask them to advise what one should do if:

•Slugs are damaging plants

•Tree roots are causing sidewalks to crack

•Poison ivy is growing profusely around the tennis court

•Tomato plants are no longer bearing

•Weeds are overtaking smaller plants in a garden


Academic Content Standards and Skills



Reading/English Language Arts, Students will identify and use text features to facilitate understanding of informational texts.


English, Grade 10, The student will develop a variety of writing, with an emphasis on exposition. Generate, gather, plan, and organize ideas for writing.

Washington, D.C.

Reading/English Language Arts, Grade 5, Language as Meaning Making, The student recognizes various structures of text as aids to comprehension.

Fundamental Aim:

Performing a Task

Sub-skill Reinforcement:

Understanding forms, locating information, comparing and contrasting, finding the main idea, identifying, drawing conclusions


How Does Our Garden Grow?


What an array of gardens D.C. and the metropolitan area offers. The National Garden (a jewel added to the nation’s oldest public garden), the U.S. Botanical Garden, and the Smithsonian’s Sculpture Garden adorn the Mall’s green carpet stretching from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol. Dumbarton Oaks and the National Cathedral’s gardens, the farmers’ markets and stamp-sized private gardens all have their place.

Have students use the Inside index on Page 2 of LOCAL LIVING to locate the gardening features. This exercise may be done individually or in groups.

1.  Have students locate Adrian Higgins Column and A COOK’S GARDEN in LOCAL LIVING. Clip or print out and date these articles. Lead students in a discussion of the differences between them, using the headlines and illustrations from each column.

The columns might be distinguished in this manner:

Adrian Higgins Column:

Ornamental gardens, lawns and landscapes are nurtured under the careful eye of Garden Editor Adrian Higgins.


If it is an edible plant, vegetable or fruit, it could be described and explained in this column. Readers learn about moment crops and continuum crops, wilt and watering, varieties and volumes of berries, veggies and vines. After reading this column, readers are ready to take out their shovels to plant their own meals.


2.  Ask students to scan Adrian Higgins Column and A COOK’S GARDEN for information on gardens and plants. The following questions can facilitate discussion about their findings from this survey:

•When students hear and use the word “garden,” what kind of plants and activities do they think of?

•What do they now know about the style of gardening done in and around Washington?

•Given the many supermarkets and flower shops in this area, why would someone want to cultivate their own garden?

Point out to students that modern technology and marketing frees people from tasks that at one time were important to survival. Examples are cultivating a garden, making clothes and baking bread.

Ask students to offer examples of members of their family who continue to do things “the old-fashioned way.” Why might these people still prefer to do these things for themselves? Are any students interested in learning a handicraft or a skill such as woodworking, gardening or stenciling?

Extension: Using student references to members of their family who are preserving an old practice or skill, invite these people to the class to demonstrate and/or talk about the practice. These might include gardening, needlework, wood carving, bread making and basket weaving.

Have students write a profile either of the person or the practice/skill. Submit the profiles to the school’s newspaper or literary magazine for consideration.


3.  Direct students to read Adrian Higgins and A COOK’S GARDEN columns. From the information gathered, ask students to design a back yard or ornamental garden. Ideas for different types of plantings and garden “accessories” can come from a scanning of the advertisements in this section.

The plan should be labeled or coded to indicate different types of plantings. As much as possible, the plan should be drawn to scale. Whether a back yard vegetable garden or an ornamental garden is planned, creativity and an inviting, efficiently cared-for space should characterize the layout.

Additional research may be necessary to determine the differences in plant needs, plant compatibility with different soils and other plants, various water and sunlight requirements and growing space requirements. Much of this information would be found within free brochures available from local gardening and home improvement stores.

After the informational text found in LOCAL LIVING is read, students could also look for advertisements and other consumer information on the products they have decided to purchase or to determine which particular product to purchase.

Extension: Students may want to consider their vegetable or flower garden plan as a first step toward a money-earning project for the following spring/summer. Fresh vegetables and potted plants are popular “farmers’ market” items.

Look in The Post STYLE, METRO and HOME sections for examples of individuals who turned a home project into a business. In August 2003, The Post reported the story of Bill and Betty Meadows. They turned summer tomatoes, which he sold by the basket door-to-door, into Meadows Farms, a chain of 22 nurseries in Maryland and Virginia.


Academic Content Standards and Skills



Reading/English Language Arts, Students will read, comprehend, interpret, analyze and evaluate informational texts. Identify and explain relationships between and among ideas.


English, Grade 10, The students will read and interpret informational materials. Compare and contrast product information contained in advertisements with that found in instructional manuals and warranties.

Washington, D.C.

Reading/English Language Arts, Grade 5, Language as Meaning Making, The student applies thinking strategies to aid understanding (including ability to question, summarize, analyze, compare, interpret and evaluate).

Fundamental Aim:


Sub-skill Reinforcement:

Locating information, comparing and contrasting, finding the main idea, identifying, drawing conclusions

Advertising for the Home and Garden


Advertising in The Post allows a business to reach as many as 1.7 million readers daily. Readers are Yuppie Boomers (age 35-54), affluent (42% of Washington’s adults are in $75,000+ income households), educated and influential. The LOCAL LIVING section advertising is tailored to three geographic, target zones: Montgomery/D.C. West,  Prince George’s/D.C. East, and Virginia.

Have students skim the advertisements in the LOCAL LIVING section in preparation for the following exercises.


1.  Ask students to print out three ads from the HOME section for each of the following categories:

Floor covering

Kitchen or bath

Furniture Remodeling

Garden plants


Have students tape or paste all ads from one category on a sheet of paper. Students should use the above terms to label each page.

As students look over their papers, lead them in a discussion of which type of advertisement their classroom would benefit from most. Would their room look more modern or be a better environment with new windows, new furniture or new flooring? Have students describe the “new, improved” classroom through a written description and/or picture.


2.  Lead students in a discussion that focuses on what makes an advertisement attract readers/customers. Consideration should be given to effective use of artwork, photography, color and shades of black, typeface, vocabulary and white space.

Ask students to browse through the advertisements within the LOCAL LIVING section and choose one that doesn’t look particularly appealing to them. Have students redesign the ad to make it more eye-catching. Students might choose to add color, use more exciting vocabulary, make the print larger or smaller, or choose only one item in the advertisement to promote.


3.  From the LOCAL LIVING section, have students select any two advertisements that promote the same item or service. Ask students to mount the ads on a sheet of paper on which they will respond to the following instructions:

 •Describe the service or product promoted by each advertiser.

•Describe the ad that has the most visual appeal. Why is it appealing?

•Which offer would interest the student most if he or she were in the market for this service or product?

 Have students compose a script for a radio or TV commercial to promote the product or service. Students may want to consider appropriate background music to enhance the advertisement.


Academic Content Standards and Skills



Social Studies, Grade 7, Economics, Students will analyze how scarcity of natural, human and capital resources affects economic choices producers and consumers make in the world today. Analyze opportunity costs and trade-offs made in the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services.


English, The student will read and understand information from varied sources. Distinguish fact from opinion in newspapers, magazines and other print media.

Washington, D.C.

Reading/English Language Arts, Grade 4, Language for Social Change, Students view multi-media advertisements to identify criteria used to select products for purchase.

Fundamental Aim:

Reinforce Interpreting

Sub-skill Reinforcement:

Locating information, analyzing, drawing conclusions, evaluating, developing visual imagery

Making Home Improvements


LOCAL LIVING is a showcase for interior design and outdoor living spaces. Its special sections offer new products, styles of life, gardening and solutions for do-it-yourselfers. These exercises focus on enhancing or improving the interior environment and on fixing annoying problems.

Have students scan LOCAL LIVING sections to prepare for these exercises. Use the calendar in e-Replica to look back through LOCAL LIVING sections for three to four weeks for the Level 2 exercise.


1.  Have students scan the LOCAL LIVING section looking for ideas in preparation for the following exercise. Students are to write a description of their favorite room. This could be any room in their own homes or in the home of a relative. Students may choose to start by drawing a bird’s-eye view of the room, illustrating special areas in the room and/or sketching favorite furnishings. These pre-writing picture-prompts can then accompany a written description.


2.  Pair students. Students are told that they are a design team that has been contracted by owners of a three-bedroom house. The homeowners have a budget of $3,000 to transform one bedroom into one of the following. Students can decide which they want to do.

•The bedroom will become a baby’s bedroom;

•The bedroom will become a library/office for the stay-at-home dad;

•The bedroom will become a family TV/computer/ study room that can be used as a guest room.

Have students review LOCAL LIVING sections looking for a particularly interesting home improvement idea. Students should brainstorm how the idea could work in their project.

The oral presentation of their concept to the homeowners (rest of class) should be accompanied with a rough sketch illustrating the improvement or addition. They may print out items from LOCAL LIVING to illustrate their intention.


3.  Have students use the HOUSE CALLS or HOW TO columns of LOCAL LIVING to  respond to the following questions:

•What new design or idea is being described in this column?

•What are the benefits of the change or addition?

Use student responses to initiate a class discussion that leads to the conclusion that design changes respond to the need to solve a problem. Answers may include that the “original” was too large, too slow, too expensive or too hard to operate.

Ask students to consider the following “technical” problems that students have contended with at school: lunch boxes that accidentally pop open, pencils that break too easily, backpacks that are too heavy and lockers that are a junk pile. What has been done/designed to eliminate these “technical” problems?

Ask students to brainstorm “technical” problems that they contend with frequently at school. Might the brainstormed problems have an answer in a redesign proposal?

Organize the class into “design teams.” Each group should work together to devise an invention or a redesigned product that solves their identified problem. The following format can be used to organize information about the problem-solving redesign or invention.

1. Problem: What happens that we wish didn’t happen

2. Solution: What we wish would happen

3. Illustration: What the redesign or invention will look like

4. Explanation: How the redesign or invention works

Extension: The student-created articles and illustrations can be featured in “A Better Mousetrap” bulletin board display or in a Power Point presentation.

Once the proposed design is developed, have them investigate how they would go about getting the concept copyrighted or patented.


Academic Content Standards and Skills



Reading/English Language Arts, Students will draw conclusions and inferences [from informational texts] and make connections between and among ideas that lead to a new understanding.


English, Writing, The student will read and demonstrate comprehension of a variety of informational sources. Summarize what is read. Organize and synthesize information for use in written and oral presentation.

Washington, D.C.

Reading/English Language Arts, Grade 5, Language as Meaning Making, The student recognizes various structures of informational text as aids to comprehension; e.g., main idea and details sequence, compare and contrast.

Fundamental Aim:

Reinforce Developing Positive Attitudes and Personal Interests

Sub-skill Reinforcement:

Comparing and contrasting, identifying, drawing conclusions, decision making, predicting outcomes, critical thinking, developing visual imagery

Community Events


In a metropolitan area it may be difficult to feel at home or have a sense of community. LOCAL LIVING provides a COMMUNITY CALENDAR to highlight concerts, workshops, yard sales and activities that are taking place that week near the reader.

Have students locate the COMMUNITY CALENDAR in the Inside key to LOCAL LIVING (page 2) to prepare for the following exercises. Templates for graphs may be prepared ahead of time for the Level 2 exercise.


1.  Have each student select one event of interest from the Saturday column in COMMUNITY CALENDAR. Information contained in the listings will be used to complete a five-column chart on the board. The five columns that read across the top should be labeled “Event,” “Location,” “Intended Age Group,” “Time” and “Cost.”

Record the information that students have gathered.

Extension: Each student can draw a picture illustrating his/her involvement in this activity.


2.  Ask students to complete the Level 1 activity, including the preparation of the chart. Each student will report his/ her choice to the class. As the reports are given, tally the selections on the chalkboard or on a large tablet.

Other data should also be collected: Categories might include:

•boys’ choices versus girls’ choices

•music-centered versus non-music activity

•outdoor, physically active event versus indoor, spectator event

•physical activity preferred by girls versus physical activity preferred by boys

When all reports are in, the information can be converted into line or bar graphs.

Using these graphs as the only source of information, lead students in a discussion in which questions such as the following are addressed:

•Which activity is most popular with the whole class?

•Which activity is least popular with the whole class?

•Which activity was most popular with the girls in the class?

•Which activity was most popular with the boys?

Extension: If an activity is actually attended during the week by one or more members of the class, students should be encouraged to share their experiences with the class.


3.  Lead students in an analysis of the COMMUNITY CALENDAR column in preparation for the following exercise. More than the type of events listed, the analysis should focus on the way in which the information is organized to facilitate clear, concise communication.

Students should note whether the activities are grouped by


•the day on which they are scheduled

•intended age group

•free or fee

Attention should be given to the use of any coding and/ or whether some information could be expressed more efficiently using codes. In what way could this type of detailed information (or other data) be most clearly presented?

•Are the costs clear?

•What about the cost for children versus adults?

•Is there a discount for senior citizens and/or students?

•Is there a group rate?

Based on this analysis of the organization of information, students are to draft an events calendar for their school. Activities and events to include might be testing dates, parent-teacher meeting days, assemblies, club meetings, sporting events, concerts and plays. Decisions will have to be made as to how best to organize and present the information in the clearest format possible. The finished product can be offered to the school office or school newspaper or posted on the school website or bulletin board display.


Academic Content Standards and Skills



Reading/English Language Arts, Students will read, comprehend, interpret, analyze, and evaluate informational texts.


English, Grade 7, The student will use knowledge of text structures to aid comprehension. Organize and synthesize information for use in written and oral presentations.

Washington, D.C.

Reading/English Language Arts, Grade 5, Language for Meaning Making, The student recognizes various structures of text as aids to comprehension.

Fundamental Aim:

Performing a Task

Sub-skill Reinforcement:

Understanding forms, locating information, identifying, categorizing, evaluating, drawing conclusions