Activities  Home  K-4  5-8  9-12   Geo Quiz   Vocabulary Quiz   NewsVideo   Cartoons   Talking Points  Science Webcast 

Additional Resources for Your Classroom

Find over 300 resources that include teacher guides, student supplements, teacher training modules and so much more.

Click here to access instructional material

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.


More fear than cheer for retailers this holiday season

In holiday gift features, product reviews or ads, find an item you'd consider giving -- or would like to get.
Look for an article or ad describing special sales this Friday for early-rising shoppers. Does it seem worthwhile?
Can you find information about online deals in any ads or news coverage about holiday shopping?

It's a month before Christmas and easy to see
why many gift-sellers are feeling no glee.

Depressed stock market values, business bankruptcies, employee layoffs and other economic worries cast shadows over the holiday shopping season, which also includes Hannukah and Kwanza. So it's no surprise that moods aren't very merry at malls and local gift shops.

Retail sales have dropped each month since July, federal figures show, and October's slippage was the biggest one-month decline in 16 years. Electronic stores are particularly hard-hit, with Circuit City close 155 stores and filing for bankruptcy protection so it can reorganize. The Best Buy chain also is affected, as are national clothing stores such as Nordstrom, T.J. Maxx and Marshalls.
And a critical time begins at the end of this week: America's holiday shopping frenzy traditionally kicks off on the Friday after Thanksgiving, when many big stores open early with cut-rate deals. Holiday sales account for as much as 80 percent of annual profits for many retailers.

So gift-sellers are trying to lure shoppers with hot offers, Web bargains and offbeat ads. Sears announced 450 specially priced items from 5 to 11 a.m. on Friday -- such as a Sony Blu-ray Disc player for $180, down from $300. The Gap e-mailed 30-percent-off discounts to 5 million customers for use before Thanksgiving and also created humorous Webisodes featuring such unlikely pairings of artists singing traditional Christmas songs -- designed to be shared through Facebook and downloaded to iPhones. Even sent out holiday promotions this month for the first time.

Shopper says: "I'm definitely cutting back. Instead of buying for everyone, we're drawing names. And I asked my kids for a very detailed wish list so I know exactly what to get." -- Lori Robson of Morgan Hill, Calif., near San Jose

Retailer says: "In 42 years of retailing, we've never seen such difficult times for the consumer. People are making dramatic changes in how much they spend." -- Brian Dunn, chief executive of Best Buy

Adviser says: "Consumers may need some encouragement to get into the holiday spirit this year. No interest, no payments, layaway offers, door-busters, one-stop shopping, and rebate incentives will all be welcomed." -- Scott Marden of Vertis Communication, a retail consultant in Baltimore

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for, Copyright 2015
We welcome comments or suggestions for future topics: Click here to Comment

Front Page Talking Points Archive

Scary times: More than 30 governors resist federal plans to bring Syrian war refugees

Evidence of cheating by Russian athletes could block some from 2016 Olympics

Screen time: See what digital media students typically look at and for how long

Obama takes new military step to fight ISIS extremist group in Syria

Health concerns lead to steady slide in soda drinking by U.S. students and adults

Why the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is a big deal for our country

‘The Martian’ movie and a real-life NASA discovery put Mars in the news

Injury risks and slipping interest reshape high school football’s status in some districts

VW trickery on exhaust tests creates a cloud over all ‘clean diesel’ vehicles

Inspiring guest: Pope Francis begins six-day U.S. visit Tuesday

Complete archive