, week of
Feb. 08, 2016
1. Facebook Bans Some Gun Sales
Private sales of guns will no longer be allowed on Facebook or Instagram in an effort by the social media sites to prevent unlicensed, private, person-to-person gun transactions. Licensed gun sellers, which are required to conduct background checks on buyers, can still advertise on the two social networks. Banned previously were posts related to the sale of marijuana and illegal drugs. Facebook will rely on users to report violations, and offending posts will be removed. Repeat violators will be banned or restricted. Efforts to restrict gun sales have been debated in every state. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read articles about debates over gun sales. Use what you read to write a paragraph summarizing the positions of those who favor restriction and a paragraph summarizing the positions of those who oppose restriction. Finish by writing a paragraph giving your view, and reasons for it.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
2. New Hampshire Primary
The New Hampshire primary election is Tuesday, February 9, and the entire nation will be watching to see which presidential candidates will be favored by voters in the New England state. On the Democratic side, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders are locked in a heated contest. The Republican field is led by businessman Donald Trump and U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. In the newspaper this week, read stories about the primary before and after the voting takes place. Use what you read to write a paragraph comparing the views that candidates and experts had before and after the primary. Or write a paragraph after the voting summarizing the biggest surprise or insight given by the results.
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. Obama Visited U.S. Mosque
In an effort to promote religious tolerance and counter rhetoric linking Islam to terrorism, President Obama visited a mosque in Baltimore, Maryland, this month. At the Islamic Society in Baltimore, he held a round table with community members and stressed the message that Muslim Americans are “our friends and neighbors, our co-workers and sports heroes — and our men and women in uniform defending our country.” A group of prominent Muslim Americans met recently with senior White House officials to discuss concerns about rising hostility toward Muslims in the United States in the wake of terrorist attacks by radical Muslims overseas. Terrorism conducted by radical Muslims has made life difficult in the United States for Muslim Americans. In the newspaper or online, find and read stories about attitudes expressed about Muslim Americans and efforts by the Muslim American community to counter negative attention. Use what you read to write a short editorial offering suggestions for ways Muslim Americans could educate all Americans about their communities — and change negative perceptions.
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. College Drops Its Mascot
Lord Jeffery Amherst was a British military commander in colonial America, and both Amherst College and the town of Amherst, Massachusetts were named for him. Now the college has decided Lord Jeffery should no longer be the mascot of the school’s sports teams. The decision was made because many see Lord Jeffery as a symbol of white oppression for advocating infecting Native Americans with the smallpox disease to hasten their demise in colonial times. The college’s trustees said Amherst will no longer use references to “Lord Jeff” in official communications, and will rename the Lord Jeffery Inn, a college-owned campus hotel. The school sports teams were once known as the “Jeffs” but now are referred to as “the Purple and White.” Changing attitudes about historic figures and symbols have prompted many colleges and universities to make changes to names or traditions on campus. In the newspaper or online, find and read about colleges making changes due to changes in attitudes. Brainstorm an idea for a short documentary on one or more colleges making such changes. Use what you read to write an outline for your documentary, including what 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.
5. Shut Leaking Well
The Southern California Gas Company been ordered to permanently close and seal a storage well that has poured natural gas over a Los Angeles neighborhood, driving thousands from their homes. A hearing board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District has also ordered the utility to fund an independent health study for residents of the Porter Ranch neighborhood. The utility has been ordered to inspect all 115 of its wells at the Aliso Canyon storage facility. The gas leak in Porter Ranch has had major environmental impact on the neighborhood. In the newspaper or online, find and read another story about an event that has environmental impact. Use what you read to draw an editorial cartoon, giving your view on an aspect of the situation. Or draw a series of comic strips to give your view.
Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.
Lessons & Classroom Activities
Resources by grade level