, week of
Nov. 28, 2016
1. Top Rated Cars
Lexus, Toyota, Buick, Audi and Kia are the most reliable brands of automobile, according to the latest survey conducted by Consumer Reports magazine. For Lexus and Toyota, it was the fourth straight year at the top of the rankings, while Buick is the first American brand to crack the top three since the ratings began in the late 1980s. Vehicles named most reliable were the Toyota Prius and the Lexus CT200H, both hybrids. The top-rated cars were given high rankings because of their conservative approach to trying new technology, Consumer Reports says. Ratings of consumer products and services are important to readers who want information to help them make decisions on what to buy. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read consumer stories that rate products or services. Then think like a consumer writer, and write a review of a product, service, store or attraction you or your family have used or experienced. Be sure to support your rating with evidence from your reading or personal experience.
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.
2. Please Don’t Feed the Elk
A wild elk has been spotted roaming the woodlands of South Carolina for the first time in more than 200 years. Once native to the Low Country area of the state, elk were wiped out in the Carolinas in the 1700s, but they were reintroduced to North Carolina in 2001. The young male that was spotted is believed to have been pushed out of North Carolina into South Carolina by fighting among males. While people were excited to see the elk, social media showed people feeding the animal, which drew a warning from the North Carolina Wildlife Commission. Biologists warned Pickens County residents and tourists to keep their distance from the animal, because young male elk can cause serious injuries if they are startled or angered or feel threatened. When people encounter wildlife, they often want to get as close as possible. But this can cause problems, for both the people and the wildlife. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a close encounter between people and a wildlife species. Use what you read to write a list of safety tips for people when they encounter this species.
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.
3. ‘Leaning Tower of San Francisco’
In Northern California, a 58-story building of luxury condominiums has sunk 16 inches into the ground it was built on, causing a tilt that has earned it a nickname as “the Leaning Tower of San Francisco.” The building was constructed on soft soils of filled land, and the city is suing the developers for not telling buyers about the problem. Engineers have questioned the wisdom of building a skyscraper with a foundation set in mud and clay, and the building’s ability to withstand earthquakes also has caused concern. The Mission Street Development company that built the building insists the initial sinking was within “predicted, safe ranges,” and blames extra sinking on the city’s construction of a railway station on neighboring property. The building called Millennium Tower contains more than 400 housing units. To ensure public safety, governments regulate the construction of buildings and take action if there are problems. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a government setting rules for a building, or taking action because of a problem. Use what you read to write a paragraph explaining why the rules or action by the government are needed.
Common Core State Standards: 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. Huge Art Gift
Marlene and Spencer Hays, an 80-year-old married couple from Texas, have announced they will donate the largest foreign collection of art to the nation of France since World War II. The works will be sent to the Musee d’Orsay in the city of Paris upon the Hays’ deaths, and the museum will display the collection intact in a dedicated space. The collection includes more than 600 masterworks from the 19th and early 20th centuries, including pieces by the famous artists Matisse, Bonnard, Vuillard and Modigliani. One-hundred-eighty-seven works valued at $188 million were shown at the museum in 2013 in an exhibition, “A Passion for France: The Marlene and Spencer Hays Collection.” Art museums display famous works or works that reflect their region. In the newspaper or online, find and read stories or listings about an art exhibit at a museum in your state. Use what you read to design an ad for the newspaper, promoting the exhibit to schools or families. Feature information that would appeal most to your audience, and write an eye-catching headline for your ad.
Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
5. Climate Change & Fire Perils
Scientists have concluded that human-caused climate change is responsible for more than half the dryness of forests in western U.S. states, and also for the increasing length of the fire season in the region. Forest fires are burning longer and stronger, forcing evacuation of many American homes and eating up more than half of the U.S. Forest Service’s budget with firefighting costs. In a study published in the journal called the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers agree that human-caused climate change — in tandem with a variety of natural drying patterns — has doubled the drying process in forests, resulting in longer fire seasons and more burned acres. Wildfires in many parts of the country have caused great damage this fall. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one wildfire. Use what you read to write a paragraph summarizing the cause of the fire, how much damage was done, how it was fought and how effective the effort was.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.