1. Hillary at the Lunch Counter
Nobody recognized the woman in dark glasses at the counter until after she left a Chipotle restaurant in Maumee, Ohio, and a reporter informed the staff they had just served newly declared presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. En route to a campaign swing in Iowa, Clinton’s van had stopped for lunch at the restaurant, and Clinton ordered a chicken burrito bowl. She even carried her own tray, according to security video at the store. “She was just another lady,” the manager recalled of the Democratic candidate. Though the next presidential election is 19 months away, candidates are lining up to succeed President Obama, who by law cannot seek another term. In the newspaper find and read a story about a candidate who has announced a presidential bid. From the story and additional research, write a paragraph or short essay summarizing reasons the candidate thinks he/she should be president.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.
2. Boston Cool to Olympics
Cities are no longer as eager as they used to be to host the Olympic Games. In Boston, Massachusetts, a recent poll showed only a third of the population favored making a bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. In Vienna, Austria, the Viennese have already voted no on the 2028 Summer Games, and three other European cities have turned away bids for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Though the U.S. Olympic Committee is pushing Boston for the 2024 Games, some Bostonians say hosting would be too expensive and the money would be better spent on improving schools and social programs. In addition, it would add to Boston’s already terrible traffic problems. Hosting a major event like the Olympics can bring economic benefits to a city, but it also can bring expense, responsibilities and security issues. In the newspaper or online, read stories about the benefits and liabilities of hosting sports events or sports teams. Based on what you read, write a short newspaper editorial detailing whether you think Boston should host the Olympics. Finish by discussing whether you think a city in your state would benefit by hosting a major sports event.
Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; closely reading what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
3. ‘Mamma Mia’
For 14 years, it’s been a Broadway hit in New York City, but ”Mamma Mia” will be closing in September. The musical, based on songs of the Swedish pop group Abba, will have had 5,765 performances by the time it closes, making it the eighth longest-running show in Broadway history. For years, the show took in nearly $1 million a year at the box office, but in recent years, the amount has dropped to around $500,000. Since opening in October 2001, it has grossed some $600 million in ticket sales. “Mamma Mia” was created when writers put together a plot that would tie together the topics of Abba songs. In pairs or groups, read about a music group you like in the newspaper or online. List songs from the group and the topics discussed in the lyrics. Then brainstorm a plot that would tie together at least five songs. Write an outline for your plot and give your musical a title that would reflect the group and its music. Share and discuss as a class.
Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
4. Giant Lizards Threaten Cats
If you live in Palm Beach County, Florida, and have a cat, beware — giant lizards are on the prowl, and they love small mammals. Reptiles, fish and amphibians, too, and state officials are fearful of the species’ “impact on Florida’s native wildlife.” The Nile monitor, native to North Africa, measures up to five feet long when fully grown, and is not particularly aggressive, except when it is hunting or feels threatened. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has urged residents to report sightings, but not to attempt to catch the lizards, which have sharp claws and teeth. Wildlife officials feel the monitors were introduced as pets in Florida and then escaped or were released when they got too big. With no natural enemies, the population has mushroomed since the 1990s. Invasive species can disrupt the balance of nature in habitats and wild areas. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an invasive species affecting Florida or your state. Write a paragraph or short essay detailing how the species was introduced to its new area, what problems it has caused and what solutions might control it.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
5. Climate Change and Your Health
President Obama has launched an initiative aimed at highlighting the connection between climate change and your health. The administration will sponsor a Climate Change and Health Summit later this spring and has enlisted deans from 30 medical, public health and nursing schools to train students in climate change’s impact on public health. Weather extremes, higher temperatures and decreased air quality caused by climate change all have impact on public health, health officials note, and climate change can influence the spread of some diseases. In the newspaper or online, do some research and read stories about different ways climate change can have impact on public health. Or check reports on the subject from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the interagency U.S. Global Change Research Program. Use what you read to prepare a multi-media presentation to share information with the class. Discuss your findings after your presentation.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic.