, week of
July 18, 2016
1. First Lady Sues Governor
In the state of Illinois, the governor and some state agencies are being sued by nonprofit social agencies for failing to pass a full state budget. The state legislature passed a stopgap budget June 30, but groups critical of the measure say it will not be sufficient to keep essential services. Ironically, one of the groups suing is headed by Gov. Bruce Rauner’s wife Diana. Diana Rauner is president of the Ounce of Prevention Fund, a partly-state-funded nonprofit organization that offers early childhood programs. Diana Rauner is a Democrat while Governor Rauner is a Republican. Social and government agencies provide many services for people in need. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about one agency that provides services. Use what you read to write a short editorial giving your view on why the agency’s services are important to the community.
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. Test Cheating Can Lead to Jail
Cheating on tests apparently is not just an American phenomenon. And the Asian nation of China is cracking down big time. A new law makes it a crime to cheat on the “gaokao” college entrance exam, and the punishment is up to seven years in prison. For many students in China, the “gaokao is the most important test in life, because a high score can lead to a university education and a high-paying profession while a low score can bring family shame and a future limited to menial jobs. There has been much debate in the United States and around the world about the use of standardized tests to measure student achievement or proficiency. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about this debate. Then use what you read to make lists of reasons people favor testing and reasons they oppose testing. Write a paragraph summarizing key points and discuss opinions with family or friends.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
3. Heimlich Uses His ‘Maneuver’
Dr. Henry Heimlich is 96 years old now and living in a senior center in Cincinnati, Ohio. So is an 87-year-old woman who recently choked on a piece of food in center’s dining room. That was a lucky coincidence for the woman, whose life was saved when Heimlich was able to rescue her by using the technique he invented known as the “Heimlich Maneuver.” In all his years, Heimlich had never actually used the maneuver in an emergency. But when he saw the woman choking he knew just what to do. He dashed from his seat, put his arms around her and pressed on her abdomen just below the rib cage, dislodging the food from an airway. Afterward, in an interview at Deupree House, where the retired surgeon has lived for six years, he said, “I felt wonderful … sav[ing] that girl” — who is almost 90 herself. Senior adults today live longer and more active lives than in the past. In the newspaper or online, closely read a story about a senior adult who is living an active life. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, giving details about the life the senior is living and how that could inspire people of all ages.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
4. No Guaranteed Income
Voters in the European nation of Switzerland have overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to guarantee an income to the nation’s residents, whether they are employed or not. About 77 percent voted No on a plan to give a basic monthly income of 2,200 Swiss francs (about $2,560) to each adult and 625 francs to each child under 18. Purpose of the plan was to fight poverty and social inequality and to guarantee everyone a “dignified” life. It was opposed by the government and major political parties, and opponents warned that it would jeopardize Switzerland’s economic system, which has given the Swiss one of the highest standards of living in the world. Economic issues often are in the news and frequently their importance is illustrated or told with graphs, charts and tables. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an economic issue that is illustrated by graphics. Study the graphs and charts and then write a paragraph or short explanation of how graphs help readers better understand the information in ways that words alone cannot. Finish by reading an economics story on your own and creating a graphic to go with it. Share with family or friends.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; organizing data using concrete objects, pictures, tallies, tables, charts, diagrams and graphs.
5. Thumbs Down on Bull Spearing
In the European nation of Spain, bullfights have been an attraction for hundreds of years. But this summer, one of Spain’s goriest bullfighting events is being outlawed by the government of Castile and Leon. In the annual Toro de la Vega festival in Tordesillas, men on horseback chased down bulls and speared them to death in front of onlookers. In recent years, animal-rights activists have denounced the festival about 120 miles northwest of Madrid as cruel — and have been urging the ban. Animal rights and animal abuse issues have gained wider and wider attention in recent years. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an animal rights or abuse issue. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a short creative story or paper examining the issue. Write an outline for your story or paper. Then write the opening in a way that would summarize key points for the reader.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; (or) writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.