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for Grades 9-12

Apr 25, 2016
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Mar. 28, 2016
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For Grades 9-12 , week of Apr 25, 2016

1. Ebola Epidemic Is Over

The Ebola epidemic, which killed thousands of people in West Africa, is no longer an international public health emergency, the World Health Organization has announced. A small number of cases continue to be detected, WHO concedes, but “the likelihood of international spread is low,” and “any ban on travel and trade” with the afflicted countries should be “immediately lift[ed].” Caused by the Ebola virus, the outbreak sickened more than 28,000 people in the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and killed more than 11,300. WHO says that it will be “normal” for “little clusters … to flare up,” but with “a high level of vigilance and response” they can be rapidly detected and responded to. The Ebola epidemic was an issue important to nations all over the world, because of fear it could spread. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another issue that affects many nations. Use what you read to write a short editorial detailing how nations could address the issue by working together.

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.

2. Digging Malcolm

Archaeologists in the traditionally black Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, are conducting a dig at a boyhood home of Malcolm X to learn more about the slain activist’s early years. The former Malcolm Little lived at 72 Dale Street as a teen in the 1940s, and its current occupant is a nephew, who hopes to convert the house into a residence for community volunteers. Malcolm X was one of the most prominent African American leaders of the 20th century in the United States, and an activist for human rights and his Muslim beliefs. He was assassinated at the age of 39 in 1965. Malcolm X was an outspoken activist for human rights and African American rights. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about a person speaking out for human rights or African American rights today. Write the word “Malcolm” down the side of a sheet of paper. Use what you read and the letters of the name to write complete sentences describing efforts by the person. Begin each sentence with one letter of the name “Malcolm.”

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.

3. The ‘Happiest’ Nation

In Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet,” the lead character is often described as a gloomy, “melancholy Dane.” But today, residents of Hamlet’s country of Denmark are the happiest people in the world, according to the annual World Happiness Report from the United Nations. In this year’s report, the U.N. ranks the European country of Denmark as first in happiness and the African nation of Burundi as the least happy. The ranking is based on six factors in each country: life expectancy, social support, trust, generosity, perceived freedom to make life decisions, and the nation’s gross domestic product per capita. The United States ranked 13th in happiness in the 2016 report. As a class, discuss how the six factors considered by the United Nations contribute to happiness. Then discuss other things that contribute to happiness. Read about people you think are happy in the newspaper or online. Use what you read and points from the discussion to create a series of comic strips showing different ways people can be happy.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

4. Swallowing Heroin

A team of surgeons at a Massachusetts hospital removed 27 six-ounce bags of heroin from the stomach and intestinal areas of a man who had just arrived in the United States from the Caribbean nation of the Dominican Republic. He was treated for opioid overdose, and after confessing faces charges for drug trafficking. The suspect had gone to the North Shore Medical Center in the city of Salem complaining that he was feeling sick from eating a lobster. After the drug diagnosis, treatment and surgery, he confessed to having swallowed “something bad” to bring into the U.S. Police across the nation are reporting a steady increase in drug trafficking. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about illegal trafficking or efforts to crack down on it. Use what your read to write a paragraph, essay or creative story showing the effects of illegal drug trafficking on a community.

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; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task..

5. ‘Dumb Blonde’ Stereotype

The “dumb blonde” stereotype that once was used to put down blonde women is wrong, according to a study of IQs of people with different hair colors. Researchers for the study found that women with naturally blonde hair scored within three points of people with hair of other colors, providing “compelling evidence … that there shouldn’t be any discrimination against blondes based on their intelligence.” The results for men were similar, researchers reported in the journal Economics Bulletin. Stereotypes can take many forms and can affect people of all races and backgrounds. As a class, discuss different stereotypes you have experienced or read about. Then use the newspaper or Internet to read about three people of different races or backgrounds who are successful. For each, write a short paragraph describing stereotypes this person may have faced and how he or she overcame them.

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.