, week of
May 25, 2015
1. Stones Roll Again
The Stones continue to roll. The Rolling Stones are about to start a 15-city tour across North America that will feature huge video screens, special effects and a stage extending deep into the audience. The tour begins May 24 in San Diego, California, and ends July 15 at the Le Festval d’Ete de Quebec in Canada. The tour is the group’s first in American stadiums since 2007 and comes 51 years after the Stones first toured the United States in June 1964. Lead singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards are now both 71 and drummer Charlie Watts is 73, but the band remains extremely popular in concert. Live concerts are a popular entertainment in the summer months. In the newspaper or online, find and read a story about a music artist or band you like that will be touring this summer. Think like a rock critic and write a newspaper “advance” story informing people what to look for or expect when they see this artist or band in concert.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; closely reading what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.
2. Politics Past Death
A North Carolina man died recently, and when his family announced his death they passed along two requests he had made: Don’t buy flowers (give to charity instead) and don’t vote for Hillary Clinton. The latter was an unusual request, a daughter explained, but was made because Larry Upright, 81, of Kannapolis, was a rock-ribbed Republican and no fan of Clinton, who has announced as a Democratic candidate for president. Clinton is one of several Republicans and Democrats who have announced they will seek to replace President Obama, who by law cannot run for re-election for a third term. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about presidential candidates and their positions. Pick two and write a paragraph or short essay comparing their views on key issues.
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.
3. A $179 Million Picasso
Pablo Picasso’s 1955 painting of a harem, “Women of Algiers (Version O),” has sold for $179.4 million — the most ever paid for a work of art at an auction. At least four telephone bidders competed for the cubist masterpiece at the New York salesroom of the Christie’s auction house. The previous record for a single artwork was $142.4 million for Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud.” The record before that was $120 million for Edvard Munch’s famous “Scream” painting. Neither the seller nor the buyer of the record-setting Picasso has been identified. When record prices are paid for artworks, it always prompts discussion about other things that amount of money could be used for. In the newspaper or online, read about a problem facing your community or the nation. Then use what you read to write a poem, rap or rhyme describing what you would do about the problem “If I Had $179 Million…” Read poems aloud and discuss. Which poems were most effective calling attention to the problem?
Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.
4. Binge Drinking Rises
Overall alcohol consumption may be declining in wealthy developed countries, but that trend is hiding a dangerous increase in binge drinking among the young, according to a new study. That is “a major public health and social concern,” sayss the 34-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which conducted the study. While average alcohol consumption in its member countries has fallen 2.5 percent, the organization reports, children have been taking up drinking at increasingly earlier ages, and regular binge drinking by young adults (five or more drinks on one occasion at least once a week) has been rising. Alcohol abuse by teens, pre-teens and young adults is a health concern in many communities. In the newspaper or online, find and read stories detailing the effects that alcohol abuse can have on teens and other young people. Write a short editorial for the newspaper offering ways the community could discourage alcohol abuse and encourage responsible behavior among young people.
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.
5. A Hidden Treasure
A Texas man purchased a dresser at an estate sale for less than $100, but later discovered it had a secret drawer. Inside were several diamonds, rubies and emeralds; gold and silver coins; stamps and paper money from around the world and Civil War medals. The value of the items has not been disclosed, but the man has decided to return the items to the previous owner. He explained that although he bought the handcrafted walnut chest with a marble top, “I didn’t buy those things. If I kept them, I would never feel right about it.” Stories like the “Diamonds in the Dresser” often can provide inspiration for creative stories or movie plots. In the newspaper or online, find and read a story about an odd news event or occurrence. Brainstorm a plot for a short story or movie script by re-reading the story and imagining an unusual consequence that could happen by asking the question “What If?” Or do the same with the “Diamonds in the Dresser” story. Write an outline for your short story or movie and then write the first scene. Share with the 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.