, week of
Aug. 03, 2015
1. A Stand Against Smoking
CVS Health Corporation is resigning from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce after The New York Times disclosed that the Chamber and foreign affiliates are lobbying worldwide against antismoking laws. CVS has stopped selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in its drug stores, as a move to help improve public health. Despite the World Health Organization’s efforts to curb smoking and tobacco use, the Chamber and its affiliates have targeted restrictions on smoking in public spaces, bans on menthol and slim cigarettes, increases in excise taxes on tobacco products and requirements for plain packaging and graphic warning labels. The Chamber lobbying often targets lawmakers in developing nations. Medical experts agree that smoking and tobacco use are health risks, yet efforts to restrict access to tobacco products often causes debate. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read an article about an effort to curb smoking or tobacco use. Use what you read to write a short editorial, offering your opinion on whether the effort is a good idea. Cite material from the article in your editorial.
Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
2. UMichigan & Nike
The University of Michigan has switched from Adidas to Nike, and for making that decision it is getting $169 million in equipment and cash from the sports equipment company. In a 15-year deal beginning next August, Nike will supply the university’s 32 athletic programs with uniforms, footwear, apparel and equipment and also pay millions of dollars for the right to showcase its brand through the university’s sports program. Since the fall of 2008, Michigan athletes have been wearing Adidas products, as part of an eight-year $60-million agreement. Companies like Nike and Adidas pay huge amounts of money for equipment deals with universities because it helps boost the popularity of their products. In the newspaper or online, find a story or ad for a sports product you like. Read the story or study the ad and write a paragraph detailing why it appeals to you and how its popularity could be boosted if athletes at a university used it.
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; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
3. Vietnam Veterans Thanked
Fifty years after the first U.S. troops arrived in Vietnam, a ceremony was held in the nation’s Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., to thank veterans of that war. Commemorative pins were presented to dozens of them by leaders of the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress. Thanking the veterans, Defense Secretary Ash Carter noted that many had had difficult returns to the United States due to anti-war sentiment of the time, while today “our troops … are welcomed home.” Members of the U.S. military are widely admired today for their service, and many organizations and individuals seek ways to honor or thank them. In the newspaper or online, read about activities of U.S. military personnel in this country or abroad. Then think creatively and come up with a way to honor the personnel for their service. Design an ad for the newspaper, announcing your idea, and encouraging others to contribute or join it.
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.
4. Fair Housing
In an effort to reduce racial segregation in housing, the Obama administration is requiring that cities and other localities give an account of how they use federal housing funds to reduce racial disparities. More affluent minorities have diversified many predominantly white neighborhoods, but the new effort seeks to help minorities by expanding availability of affordable housing in desirable areas and improving housing in lower-income areas. Backers of the plan believe that racial imbalances in housing and lack of economic opportunity have contributed to recent urban unrest among minorities. Issues of racial justice and equal opportunity are often in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story on one of these issues. Use what you read to write a paragraph or short essay, summarizing the history of the issue, the current situation and what could — or should — change in the future.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what a text (or image) says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.
5. Free the Dolphins
Marineland, a popular marine animal park on Europe’s French Riviera, is the target of protests by animal rights activists demanding freedom for the dolphins kept in its pools. Several hundred people have been picketing regularly at the attraction located in the region called Antibes. The management of Marineland argues that the dolphins are a crucial educational tool, and that releasing them into the wild would risk their lives, because most were born in captivity and are accustomed to human companionship. The confinement and treatment of wildlife and sea life in zoos, marine parks and other tourist attractions have caused debate all over the world. In the newspaper or online, read about one debate and what is at issue. Use what you read and additional research to write an outline for a short documentary film on the situation. Include what images you would use in your documentary in your outline. Then write the screenplay for the opening scene of your documentary. Discuss your ideas with family or friends.
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.