, week of
Aug. 29, 2016
1. Election 2016
In elections, citizens express their beliefs and opinions through the leaders they choose. This year, that is certainly true in the race for president between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. As a class, discuss how different candidates reflect the values and beliefs of people who vote for them. Then discuss what beliefs could be expressed about issues by a vote for Clinton or Trump in this year’s race for president. Make a master list on a chalkboard. Then have the class vote to pick the three beliefs or issues that are most important for students. Write up the results of the vote in the style of a news story.
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.
2. Toxic Algae
Toxic algae that are “guacamole-thick” are strangling Florida’s waterways and polluting its beaches — and the situation could get worse. Experts warn that blooms of the dangerous blue-green algae will increase in Florida and nationwide as global temperatures rise. The thick muck forced beaches to close and hotel reservations to be canceled during the busy summer season. The Florida algae bloom is one more reason for governments to take “rapid action to decrease emissions” of greenhouse gases that cause climate change, a National Resources Defense Council analyst warns. Greenhouse gases created by burning fossil fuels like gasoline trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. The Environmental Protection Agency says “more intense” climate change “might cause harmful algae blooms to occur more often, in more water bodies. …” Global warming is affecting the environment in different ways all over the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one example. Use what you read to write a short summary of what is happening, why it is happening and what can be done.
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.
3. Simone Has 2 Countries
Simone Biles is the world’s No. 1 gymnast after winning four gold medals at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. And while she represented the United States, she is also a citizen of Belize, a small country in Central America on the Gulf of Mexico. Biles was adopted by her grandfather (the father of her mother) in Belize after being placed in foster care in the United States. The 19-year-old holds dual citizenship, visits Belize often, and readily acknowledges her Belizean ties. Central American countries are often in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a Central American country. Use what you read to write a paragraph summarizing the news from this country and explaining why it would be of interest to people in the United States.
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; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
4. Frozen ‘Deep Fried Twinkie’
Hostess Brands is making its first foray into the frozen foods business with the introduction of frozen “Deep Fried Twinkies,” a cream-filled snack in vanilla or chocolate flavors. The packaged snack is a collaboration between Hostess and Walmart, where it will be exclusively available for three months. Battered and partially fried before being frozen, the Twinkies need to be cooked for a short time in the oven or frying pan before being eaten. The new product has nine grams of fat and 220 calories per Twinkie, compared to the regular Twinkie’s four grams of fat and 130 calories. They cost $4.76 for a box of seven. Food companies are always trying out new products they hope people will like. In the newspaper or online, find and read a story about a new product, or find ads promoting this product. Use what you read to write a consumer column for the newspaper, detailing reasons the product might appeal to people, and reasons it might not.
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.
5. Cop in Bikini Tackles Pickpocket
In Stockholm, Sweden, a pickpocket made an unwise decision to steal from a group of off-duty police officers who were sunbathing in a park. A female officer dressed in a bikini chased the man, tackled him and pinned him to the ground! He had looked suspicious to Officer Mikaela Kellner, when she spotted him pretending to be selling magazines at the park. She realized her suspicions were justified when a companion said, “Where did my mobile phone go?” The man who had taken it was about 50 feet away when Kellner went after him. Police officers often make unusual arrests or do unusual things in the course of their duties helping people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an unusual action by a police officer. Write a letter to the editor of the newspaper, thanking the officer for the action and detailing how it made the community a better place.
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 says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.