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For Grades 9-12 , week of Nov. 07, 2016

1. History-Making Election

The 2016 race for president was one for the history books. Not only did it break new ground in the use of Twitter and other social media, but it broke into new territory regarding what topics and language were considered acceptable for use by the candidates and their supporters. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the 2016 presidential race between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. Use what you read to write an editorial giving your opinions on actions you think will have a positive or negative effect on future presidential campaigns. Discuss editorials and opinions as a class.

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; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

2. Climate Views and Politics

Americans are deeply divided on the causes, cures and urgency of climate change, according to a Pew Research Center poll — and one of the strongest predictors of views is which political party people identify with. Of those who care a great deal about the issue, 72 percent are Democrats and 24 percent Republicans, according to the poll. Nearly seven of 10 Democrats, but fewer than a quarter of Republicans, attribute climate change primarily to human activity. More than 80 percent, across party lines, favor expansion of the solar and wind industries, and about two-thirds say climate scientists should play a major role in policy decisions related to climate change. Governments and communities all over the world are discussing ways to deal with climate change and global warming. In the newspaper or online, closely read stories about proposals being offered to address the issue. Use what you read to write a paragraph or short essay, summarizing two or more proposals and analyzing which you think has the best prospect for success.

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.

3. Pope Advises Catholic Voters

Pope Francis had advice for Catholics voting in Tuesday’s presidential election: Study the candidates’ proposals, pray, and “choose in conscience.” The Pope offered the advice during a visit to the predominantly Shiite Muslim nation of Azerbaijan in the Caucasus region in Europe. The visit was part of a tour of the Caucasus that included a visit to Armenia. People with strong religious beliefs often can play a significant role in the outcome of elections. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the views of religious leaders and groups regarding the race for president. Use what you read to write a summary of the significance of the religious vote in the election or in individual states. After the results are announced, read stories analyzing the significance of the religious vote and write a summary of its impact on the presidential race.

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.

4. Colombian Wins Peace Prize

Juan Manuel, president of the South American nation of Colombia, has won the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize. But some of his countrymen are not applauding the choice. Manuel was awarded the Peace Prize for negotiating an agreement to end the nation’s half-century civil war, but voters then rejected the agreement he negotiated. His followers are scrambling to save the accord, which was defeated in a referendum by a very narrow margin. The hostilities of Colombia’s civil war have left 220,000 dead and almost 8 million displaced from their homes and villages. A cease-fire is currently in place, but many Colombians believe the accord lets FARC rebels behind scores of atrocities off too easily. The Nobel Peace Prize seeks to honor people who have worked to end wars or conflict around the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a person or group working to promote or achieve peace somewhere in the world. Use what you read, plus images from the newspaper or Internet, to design a poster calling attention to one effort.

Common Core State Standards: Integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.

5. A Police Apology to Blacks

The president of the country’s largest police organization has issued a formal apology “for the actions of the past and the role that our profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of minorities of color.” Terrence M. Cunningham, chief of the Wellesley Police Department in Massachusetts, issued the apology on behalf of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, at its convention in San Diego, California. Cunningham — who received a standing ovation — expressed “my hope that, by working together, we can break this historic cycle of mistrust and build a better and safer future for us all.” Cunningham’s remarks come after a number of high-profile shootings of black men by police have raised tensions in American cities. In the newspaper or online, find and read stories about reactions to such shootings and proposals to address relationship between police and communities of color. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor offering your views on how police can restore trust with minority communities.

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.