, week of
Aug. 24, 2015
1. Obama: ‘I Could Win’
Chiding some of Africa’s long-entrenched leaders with the message “nobody should be president for life,” President Obama said he could probably win a third term if the U.S. Constitution permitted it. Speaking in Ethiopia on a tour of East Africa, Obama said he thinks he’s been “a pretty good president” and “could win” if he ran again, but is looking forward to life after the presidency. He wants to be able to “take a walk” with less security, “spend time with my family, … find other ways to serve” and “visit Africa more often,” including Kenya, where his father was born. Many African nations do not have term limits, and about half of Africa’s leaders have been in their jobs longer than Obama — some for decades. African nations are getting more attention worldwide because they have a wealth of natural resources and could be valuable partners for trade and economic development. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an African nation. Use what you read and additional research to write a summary of why the nation is in the news and why its importance is growing worldwide.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
2. Millennials Living with Parents
Despite the improved economy and a lower unemployment rate in the United States this year, millennials appear to be more likely to live at home with their parents than they were during the recent economic downturn, according to Pew Research’s Current Population Survey. Millennials — defined as young people from 18 to 34 — are more likely to live at home than their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were at their age. The report does not detail possible causes. With family or friends, discuss some possible reasons young people are living with their parents longer. Use the discussion and additional research to write a short editorial, outlining changes that could make it possible for more millennials to live successfully on their own.
Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
3. No Animal Sacrifices
A temple in Nepal that is known for the mass slaughter of animals at a festival every five years has indefinitely banned rituals of animal sacrifice. Millions of pilgrims from the Asian nations of India and Nepal have attended the festival in the past. As recently as 2009, as many as 500,000 water buffaloes, goats, chickens and other animals were killed at the temple. The number dropped in 2014, after India’s supreme court banned taking animals across the border for ritual sacrifice. The festival honors the Hindu Goddess Gadhimai, the goddess of power, who was said to have spared the life of a feudal landlord after he made a blood sacrifice. Animal rights issues and efforts to prevent animal cruelty are making news all over the world. In the newspaper or online, read about a case and what issues are involved. Then use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a short video putting a spotlight on the issue. Write an outline for your video, including images you would use. Then write the first scene.
Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
4. Actress, Senator in Gun Plea
Actress Amy Schumer and her second cousin (once removed), U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, have joined together to urge stricter gun laws. The senator is a longtime advocate of gun control and the actress joined the campaign after a gunman shot up a screening of her film “Trainwreck” in Lafayette, Louisiana, killing two people and wounding nine. Appearing in the senator’s New York office, the pair displayed a sign declaring “Enough Is Enough” and urged passage if a bill mandating background checks of prospective gun owners, especially those with a history of mental illness and drug abuse. They also called for full funding of the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Gun control has been a controversial issue in state after state and continues to spark intense debate nationwide. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a gun control debate or controversy in the United States. Use what you read to draw an editorial cartoon (or cartoons) focusing on one issue in the debate. Give your cartoon a title that would help explain its point.
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.
5. Life-Size Sculptures
Lifelike and life-size sculptures have appeared along a pedestrian plaza of New York City’s garment district, occupying a stretch of Broadway between 36th and 41st Streets in Manhattan. The display is New York’s largest public installation of artist Seward Johnson’s work, and it features two of his interpretations of iconic photos — actress Marilyn Monroe holding down her billowing white dress and a sailor and nurse kissing during Times Square’s World War II celebration of the U.S. victory over Japan (V-J Day). Johnson’s work has been shown around the world, and he is the founder of the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey, a 42-year-old park featuring hundreds of large contemporary sculptures. The New York exhibit will be on display through September 15. Artists often interpret people or things they see in their lives. Their works can be sculptures like Johnson’s, paintings, or collages made by combining different materials. In the newspaper, read about a person or thing that interests you. Then think like an artist, and clip or print out images, words, text or other features of the newspaper that could be used to create a collage interpreting this person or thing. Add other items you have available if you like. Give your art collage a title and discuss it with family or friends.
Common Core State Standards: Integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.