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Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

FOR THE WEEK OF DEC. 10, 2007

Popular new items spice holiday gift season

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The paper is loaded with shopping help these days. See how many gift suggestions pupils can find in articles and ads from one day’s issue – focusing on items they or family members might like.
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Invite students to discuss the value and limits of ads in planning gift lists. What helpful facts can be found before heading out to shop? What statements should be seen as claims or hype, rather than the type of balanced, objective reports presented alongside ads?
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In addition to Christmas, this month has other festive celebrations. Challenge class members to look for coverage of cultural and religious observances besides the most prominent one.

’Tis the weeks before gifts will be in hand
So everywhere all through the land,
Savvy shoppers act now because of demand.
This means if your're one of the elves,
Better grab "hot" presents still on the shelves

It’s called the holiday shopping season for a reason. Commercials, ads, web sites and malls are dominated this month by promotions aimed at moving stuff to give to friends, family and – let’s not forget – those who can’t buy presents and may appreciate heartfelt generosity the most of all. Hot-sellers include a programmable Lego robot with video sensors, the iPod (still!), Nintendo’s Wii video game console for a second year and Ugg boots, shoes and slippers – now available for guys, too. Electronics stores nationwide sell out of Wii units shortly after new stock is delivered.
For adults, first-time choices include Kindle, a hand-held electronic book reader from Amazon that lists for $399.

Another popular new gift is a $170 music video game called Rock Band, which comes with two mock electric guitars and a plastic drum set. Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions hit stores three weeks ago and a PS 2 version comes Dec. 18. Up to four players perform in virtual bands by simulating lead guitar, bass guitar, drums and using a microphone. Hitting notes that scroll on screen lets users "play" songs by Nirvana, the Rolling Stones, Metallica, Radiohead, R.E.M. and others. The game helps drummers stay in rhythm and tells players when their singing is sharp or flat. Guitarists get to practice strumming.

Retailer says: "Nintendo Wii, Rock Band and Guitar Hero 3 -- those are definitely the three big, in-demand items as far as the gaming world goes this Christmas." -- Jason Strawn, Best Buy chain spokesman

Game maker says: "The demand [for Wii] continues to exceed our expectations, and it hasn't slowed down at all. We are at capacity in terms of production." -- Kelli Koenig Horner, Nintendo of America spokeswoman

Teacher says: "We have to give back. We receive all the time in this country." -- Ava Butzu, English teacher on the Giving Back Committee at Grand Blanc High School in Michigan, where students bought and wrapped gifts for school district bus drivers, secretaries, cafeteria workers, maintenance crews, educators and others.

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2014
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