, week of
Jan. 16, 2017
1. Inadequate Sleep = Overeating
People often worry about gaining weight. Now researchers have found a new reason for weight gain — a link between not enough sleep and overeating. The researchers report in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition that after a night of inadequate sleep, people consume an average of 385 extra calories — the equivalent of a frosted cupcake or a serving of French fries. They also eat more fat and less protein. “Poor sleep could be a risk factor for obesity,” the researchers note, based on an on an analysis of 11 sleep studies. Some suggest that sleep deprivation affects the hormones that control appetite, others that lack of sleep may heighten the desire for food as a reward. Enough sleep is defined as 10 hours for children and nine for teens and adolescents. Health and medical studies are often in the news because they affect so many people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about the results of a health or medical study. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a TV ad that would highlight the key things people should know about the study. Write the script of your ad, including images you would use.
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.
2. Higher Pay, Higher Sales
What some saw as a desperation move two years ago to combat falling revenue has become a success story for Walmart. A program implemented by Walmart offered higher wages for all, better training and better opportunities for advancement. As a result, customer service ratings have rebounded, and sales are rising again. At the time the revolutionary personnel program went into effect, revenue had fallen for the first time in Walmart’s 45 years as a private company, and only 16 percent of its stores were meeting the company’s customer service goals. In addition, the company had a reputation for looking at employee pay as a cost to be minimized. When sales or profits drop, companies try new things to bring improvement. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a company trying new things to improve sales or profits. Use what you read to write a business column giving your opinion on what the company is trying, how successful you think it will be and what other things the company could try to improve things.
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.
3. ‘Translating’ the Bard? Gadzooks!
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival has enlisted some playwrights in a three-year effort to “translate” Shakespeare’s plays into contemporary modern English. The goal is to make the plays more accessible to today’s audiences. “Play On! 36 Playwrights Translate Shakespeare” is working on 39 of the Bard’s plays. More than half of the playwrights in the project are women, and more than half are minorities. The Oregon Shakespeare project seeks to make the writing in Shakespeare’s plays more accessible to modern audiences. That goal is not just important to the writing in plays but to any writing you do. Effective writers always consider their audience when choosing the words and style they use. To see how this works, pair off with a partner and read a story about a serious topic in the newspaper. Then re-write it so that a student in third grade would understand it. Remember that a third grader’s reading level is lower than the newspaper and a third grader may not have learned yet about things that an older student or adult would understand. Rewrite the story as simply and clearly as you can, explaining concepts a third grader might not know. Share 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.
4. Dalai Lama Controversy
The Dalai Lama is one of the world’s leaders in the Buddhist religion, but also a source of controversy. This fall the Dalai Lama made a visit to the Asian nation of Mongolia despite objections from neighboring China. And after the visit, China closed a key border crossing into Mongolia, causing a massive traffic tie-up and blocking trucks carrying goods between the countries. China has had an unfavorable view of the Dalai Lama since 1959, when he fled Tibet during an unsuccessful uprising against Chinese rule. While Mongolia insisted this fall’s visit was purely religious, the Chinese still view the Dalai Lama as someone who is encouraging Tibet to split from China. The controversy over the Dalai Lama has complicated Mongolia’s efforts to get a $4.2 billion loan from China to help revive its economy. China is one of the world’s leading economic powers and the most powerful political power in Asia. Its actions have great effect on other nations. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about actions or activities by China that affect other nations. Use what you read to write a paragraph summarizing the actions and what effect they could have on neighboring nations, the United States, or both.
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.
5. Cabbies Needn’t Speak English
You no longer have to be proficient speaking English to drive a taxicab in New York City. A new law that streamlines licensing requirements for cabbies has dropped the English proficiency test, which had been a barrier to immigrants (who now make up about 96 percent of the city’s 144,000 cabbies). The rules on speaking English were changed because drivers can rely on computer navigation programs, rather than verbal directions. The city councilor who sponsored the legislation said taxi driving is “a step into the middle class for many, and we should be removing barriers … rather than keeping them in place.” Most drivers agree, however, that speaking and understanding English makes their job easier. Different jobs have different requirements because not all jobs are alike. In the newspaper or online, find and read three Help Wanted ads advertising positions that might interest you or someone in your family. Look closely at the requirements for the jobs. Which require special skills or training? Which do you or a family member already have? How could the skills or training be acquired? Write a summary of the three jobs, the skills and training they require, how those skills could be acquired and which would be easiest to acquire.
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.