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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 JUNE 02, 2008

Bloggers may get a health boost, researchers say

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Most newspaper websites have blogs by staff members and sometimes by outside writers. Does yours?
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How does writing for a newspaper differ from writing for a blog? Which source would you be more likely to use for a school project -- and why?
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Start a discussion of advantages and drawbacks to blogging for a newspaper versus posting on your own. Consider exposure, audience size and other factors.

Writing entries for an Internet blog may be similar to taking a vitamin or exercising, in a sense. Evidence supporting that belief is being explored by researchers who see therapeutic value from blogging or posting an online journal. "Writing about personal experiences, thoughts and feelings . . .improves memory and sleep, boosts immune cell activity and reduces viral load in AIDS patients, and even speeds healing after surgery," says a recent article in Scientific American magazine.

Explanations include the possibility that blogging brings an "endorphin rush" from the release of natural chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine - also produced by strenuous exercise and pleasurable experiences, such as listening to music or viewing art. Bloggers also may get a mental and physical lift from positive feedback comments, which create a feeling of connection and common ground. Even the stimulation of online debates with critics can be healthy - a form of brain workout.

A medical journal study published this year says cancer patients who did expressive writing of any kind just before treatment "felt markedly better, mentally and physically, as compared with patients who did not." In response to the new findings, some hospitals are developing programs that include blogging as a supportive care tool.

Blogger says: "I certainly feel better after I blog. For me it is a form of mental exercise, like sit-ups or push-ups. Blogging is how I exhale my mental carbon dioxide." - Tom Abate, journalist in San Leandro, Calif.

Patient says: "FaceBook and blogging have allowed me to keep people up to date with the exact mechanics of my treatment plan for lung cancer, and has also afforded me an outlet to explore the wry side of the entire cancer phenomenon." - Comment from 'Luke' in Melbourne, Australia, on Scientific American site

Ongoing research: A University of Texas psychologist is studying the impact of expressive writing on biological changes that increase health, such as improved sleep. "I think the sleep angle is one of the more promising ones," says researcher James Pennebaker

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

E-cigarettes spark discussions about health benefits and teen use

Safety campaign combats distracted driving with dramatic ad, new website and #justdrive tag

White House posts climate change details at new website as part of push for action

Even President Obama is caught up in the NCAA basketball tournament’s March Madness

‘Cosmos’ science series on TV aims to show how ‘we’re all connected’

Sweeping changes will make the SAT more relevant and useful, College Board says

‘My Brother’s Keeper’ is Obama’s name for effort to help at-risk young men

This season of wicked weather brings above-normal ice coverage on all Great Lakes

Warm days make the last week of Olympic action in Russia seem like the Spring Games

Major drugstore chain will stop selling tobacco items as improper for a health retailer

Complete archive