, week of
May 13, 2013
1. U.S. Intervention Opposed
Most Americans oppose U.S. intervention in Syria or North Korea, but approve of using drones to bomb terrorists in foreign countries. In a New York Times/CBS News poll, 62 percent of Americans say the U.S. has no responsibility to do anything about the civil war in the Mideast nation of Syria, and 56 percent say the Asian country of North Korea may be a threat, but it can be contained for now without military action. At the same time, 70 percent favor use of remotely piloted aircraft against terrorists abroad. Only 1 percent name foreign policy as the nation’s major problem, while 40 percent cite the economy and jobs as the top problem. With the newspaper and online resources, do some research about the situations in Syria and North Korea. Pick one and write an opinion piece detailing what the U.S. should do.
Common Core/National 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; writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
2. Death Penalty Support Declining?
Despite “setbacks” in some countries, the Amnesty International group says it is “encouraged by signs of progress in the global trend toward ending the death penalty.” Only one country in 10 carried out death sentences in 2012, the organization reports, for a total of 682 confirmed executions, just two more than the prior year. This figure does not include China, which probably executes more people than any other country but keeps the data secret. Still, China was listed as the top employer of the death penalty on the Amnesty list, followed by the Middle East nation of Iran, with 314 confirmed executions. Iraq was next with 129, followed by Saudi Arabia with 79 and the United States with 43. But the good news for Amnesty — which opposes the death penalty in all cases — is that the “overall trend globally is toward abolition.” In the U.S., for example, only nine states carried out executions, compared to 13 in the previous year. As a class, discuss whether the death penalty should be used as punishment for crimes, and if so, what sort of crimes. Take a vote at the end of the discussion to see if the class feels the U.S. should continue using the death penalty. Write a short news story summarizing the vote.
Common Core/National Standards: Responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task, purpose and audience.
3. ‘Rocky,’ the Musical
The “Rocky” boxing movies have been some of the most popular of the last 35 years. Now a musical version of the first “Rocky” is on its way to a Broadway stage in New York City. Sylvester Stallone, who became a star in the film, will not be featured in the stage version, but he is its co-producer, with Stage Entertainment USA. The musical “Rocky” has been a big success in Hamburg, Germany (where it’s billed as “Rocky: Das Musical”), and it is expected to open in February at the Winter Garden theater in New York. Prospective audiences here are being assured it is “not boxers doing a kickline.” Artists often remake works in other forms, turning a movie into a theater musical, for example, or a news event into a movie. In today’s newspaper, find an event, person or issue that would make a good subject for a movie. From the news, write a summary of the story your movie would tell, and how.
Common Core/National 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; writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events.
4. The Guantanamo Dilemma
The 166 prisoners of the United States at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba have never been convicted of anything. They are suspected of being foreign terrorists, and they are there indefinitely. President Obama has promised to close the prison run by the U.S. military, and transfer the inmates to continued confinement in the mainland United States, eventually to be tried and, if not convicted, released to their native lands. Thus far, he has been unable (some say, unwilling) to so because of opposition from Congress. In the meantime, most of the inmates have gone on a hunger strike, which could infuriate the world if it leads to even one death. The inmates at Guantanamo are being treated as “enemy combatants” and are not afforded the constitutional rights guaranteed American citizens. With the newspaper or Internet, read stories about the debate over treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo. Write a summary of points expressed on both sides of the debate.
Common Core/National 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; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
5. Soap Operas Online
Soap operas are some of the most popular shows on daytime television. But what happens when they are taken off the air? Two of the longest-running soap operas are getting a new lease on life on the Internet. Prospect Park, a production company, snapped up the rights to “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” after ABC canceled them in 2011. After a year of difficulties —financial and otherwise — the transition has been completed, and the shows are now available online on the Hulu and iTunes websites. The company’s owners say they don’t expect every one of the shows’ 3 million viewers to watch them online, but only one-sixth of that number will enable the firm to break even. Viewers, they predict, will be longtime fans and “younger people who are already watching most of their TV online.” As a class, talk about the growth of Internet programming for entertainment. Pick one entertainment you have tried or view one you have heard about. Write a review of the show as if you were a TV critic for the newspaper, including how you like watching a program online.
Common Core/National Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task, purpose and audience; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic.
A-1 Striping & Pavement
Ace Fence & Supply
Alcoa Fastening Systems
Animal Hospital of Waco
Bird Kultgen Ford
Brazos Higher Education
Brazos Valley Equipment
Comet Cleaners - 1216 Speight Ave.
ExtraCo Banks, N.A.
Fallas Automation, Inc.
First National Bank of Bosque County
First University Credit Union
Golden Books Exchange
Healer Printing & Office Supply
Holiday Inn Express Hotels & Suites
James R. & Nell Hawkins
Marathon Norco Aerospace, Inc.
Member's Choice Federal Credit Union
National Lloyd Insurance
Northern & Nye Printing Office
Olive Isis Thompson Connally
Owens Illinois Glass Company, Inc.
Rick Abbe Financial
Snap-ee Convenience Store/Lube & Service Center
State Farm Insurance – Agent Jim Baker
Texas State Technical College
Waco Federal Credit Union
Wells Fargo Bank