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For Grades 9-12 , week of Sep. 05, 2016

1. From D.C. to the NFL

One of the nation’s longest-serving and most popular big-city police chiefs is stepping down to become head of security for the National Football League. Cathy Lanier, the first woman to head the Washington, D.C., police department permanently, says she had turned down offers to lead other big-city police forces, but handling security for the nation’s “favorite sport” was too good to pass up. A high school dropout who became a mother at age 15, Lanier, now 49, rose through the ranks in Washington, serving as D.C. chief for almost 10 years under three mayors. In her new job, she’ll oversee security for all 32 NFL teams and their stadiums. Security is an important concern for governments and organizations whose events attract large numbers of people. In the newspaper or online, closely read stories about security concerns and security measures taken by sports leagues, entertainment events or governments. Use what you read to write a summary of security measures that you think have been successful and should be employed widely.

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.

2. High-Charged Campaign

The race for president between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump is drawing attention all over the nation for the things the candidates are saying and the tactics they are using. Follow the campaign for a week by closely reading stories about Clinton and Trump and their campaigns. At the end of the week, write a paragraph for each candidate, detailing one thing you think each should do (or do more), and one thing each should stop doing. Discuss your conclusions as a class.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

3. Self-Serve Theft

Self-service checkout technology offers convenience and speed for shoppers, but it also helps turn them into petty thieves, researchers have discovered. In stores with self-service checkout, shoppers are given “ready-made excuses” to take merchandise without paying for it, the researchers say. In a study of American and European retailers, they report that use of self-service lanes and smartphone apps to make purchases has generated a loss (theft) rate of nearly 4 percent — a full point higher than the 3 percent loss rate at which stores are profitable. The technology relies largely on the honor system, instead of a cashier ringing up the sale. Increased thefts from self-service checkouts is an example of new technology having an unexpected outcome. In the newspaper or online, closely read a story about another technology that had an outcome that was not expected. Write a consumer column for the newspaper, summarizing the effect of the unexpected outcome, what has been done in response or what should be.

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.

4. Selling a Toy to Afford Food

A 7-year-old boy was found standing at a busy intersection in Franklin, Ohio, this summer, trying to sell his teddy bear so he could buy something to eat. He hadn’t eaten for days when a police officer found him. The officer declined the teddy bear, but took the boy to a nearby Subway and bought him a sandwich. His parents hadn’t been aware he was out of the house, police said, after arresting them on five counts of child endangerment and removing the boy and four other children from their trash-strewn house. The parents have pleaded not guilty, while the children have been placed in the custody of relatives. Police and social service agencies often are in the news for helping children who have been neglected, abused or otherwise mistreated. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about such a case. Use what you read to write an editorial giving your opinion on what should be done for the children in the situation and what should be done to those responsible for their situation.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; 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. ‘Honey’ Misconduct

In a first for the American Bar Association, the lawyers group has ruled that it will now be considered professional misconduct if any lawyer singles out an opponent, colleague or anyone else on the basis of race, religion, sex or disability. Some state bar associations already have such ethics rules, but this is the first nationwide ban. Among the things the new rule will prohibit is use of not-uncommon terms such as “Honey,” “Darling” and other sexist remarks to refer to female lawyers while they’re trying to practice their profession. Critics had charged that the rule impairs free speech, but no lawyers signed up to speak against it when it came up this summer on the agenda at the ABA annual meeting in San Francisco, California. Gender bias is an issue that has gotten increasing attention in recent years. In the newspaper or online, closely read stories involving mistreatment of people based on whether they are male, female, gay or transgendered. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a TV ad, calling attention to the issue and suggesting ways to combat it.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.