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For Grades 9-12 , week of Oct. 31, 2016

1. Election Push

Election Day is a week away and the candidates for president are making their final push to win support from voters on November 8. The issues candidates stress in the last week often reveals what voters they think will be most important to their prospects. In the newspaper or online, follow the campaigning of Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump this week. Closely read stories about the issues are stressing and use what you read to write an analysis of what voters each thinks are the most important to his/her success on Election Day. Share your views with the class and discuss.

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.

2. Great Artist’s Teen Works

For the first time, the four paintings still known to exist from Rembrandt van Rijn’s series depicting the five senses are being displayed together. The works created when the art master was a teenager are contained in an exhibit titled “Sensation: Rembrandt’s First Paintings,” which is on display at Oxford University’s Ashmolean Museum in England through November 27. The 17th century Dutch artist’s allegory painting on the sense of smell was discovered only last year in a basement, and sold at a New Jersey auction to the owners of two other works in the series. An allegory painting dealing with the sense of sight is owned by a Netherlands museum in Leiden, Rembrandt’s home town. A fifth panel, dealing with taste, has not been seen for almost 400 years. Artists often use images to represent ideas, senses or emotions that are not physical in nature. Taste, sight, smell, love or hate are some examples. In the newspaper, find and read a story involving an idea, sense or emotion that is not physical. Use what you read to create an artwork representing this idea, sense or emotion. Share with the class and explain your images.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

3. Ronald McDonald Holding Back

Ronald McDonald is keeping a very low profile these days as reports of creepy-clown sightings have risen around the country. Most of them have been pranks involving people dressed as clowns, but the McDonald’s company says it has to be cautious due to “the current climate around clown sightings.” The burger chain hasn’t detailed how it will revise how its red-haired mascot “participate[es] in community events” but wants to ensure the safety of those portraying Ronald and people coming to see him. The creepy-clown phenomenon has gotten attention from police and communities all over the country because some pranksters have suggested the clowns could be violent as well as unnerving. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about creepy-clown reports and what communities are doing in response. Use what you read to write an editorial for the newspaper, offering suggestions on how communities and individuals should respond to clown reports.

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. Mustang Factory Shut

Ford Motor Company shut down its Mustang factory in Michigan for a week in October after the sports car suffered a 32 percent decline in sales in the United States and was outsold for the first time in almost two years by Chevrolet’s Camaro model. Ford said it idled the factory to match the number of cars available to demand for them. Under the labor agreements Ford has with its workers, the employees that make Mustangs were paid during the shutdown. The U.S. auto industry has had ups and downs in recent years. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about Ford or another automaker taking steps in response to the economy and market for automobiles. Use what you read to write a summary of what prompted the steps taken and what the company hopes they will achieve.

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.

5. Entertainer Asteroid

An asteroid orbiting near the planets Mars and Jupiter has been named for singer-guitarist Freddie Mercury of the band Queen in honor of his 70th birthday. “Henceforth,” declared the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center, it “will be known as Asteroid 17473Freddiemercury.” Said one researcher: “Freddie Mercury sang ‘I’m a shooting star leaping through the sky,’ and now that is even more true. … Even if you can’t see Freddiemercury leaping through the sky, you can be sure he’s ‘floating around in ecstasy,’ as he might sing …” Queen and Mercury are best known for hit songs like “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions.” He died in 1991. Famous people often are honored by naming things for them. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a famous person you like. Then think of something to name after the person to honor him or her. Use what you read to write a paragraph, explaining why the object to be named would be appropriate for honoring the famous person.

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.