, week of
Apr 16, 2018
1. Register to Vote!
With issues like gun control and sexual harassment facing the nation, more and more young people are getting interested in politics. The latest evidence comes from the state of California, where young people not only are registering to vote — but “pre-registering” before they are 18. State officials say more than 100,000 16- and 17-year-olds have pre-registered to vote under a state law that allows teenagers to sign up to vote even before they have reached the legal voting age of 18. The activism of survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, has motivated many teens, officials say. “These kids know that to change the political environment and policy, they need to register to vote, and they need to vote,” said California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. Many political experts feel young people could play an important role in the 2018 election that will choose new members of the U.S. House and Senate and new governors in many states. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about teens or young adults getting involved in politics. Use what you read to write a political column, analyzing what issues will be most important to young people and what impact they could have on 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.
2. Fighting Overdoses
The opioid drug crisis has hit communities hard all over the nation. Overdose deaths from prescription and illegal opioids have more than doubled in recent years, and the numbers keep going higher. To combat the rise in overdoses, the U.S. surgeon general has taken the unusual step to urge more Americans to carry and learn to use the powerful drug Naloxone, which can reverse the effects of overdoses. “Knowing how to use Naloxone and keeping it within reach can save a life,” Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said in a health advisory to the nation. Sold under the brand name Narcan, Naloxone is currently used by police officers, first responders and emergency medical techs to reverse opioid overdoses. Adams said more people could be saved if more members of the community had the drug and could administer it in an emergency. States and communities across the nation are looking for ways to deal with the opioid crisis and reduce overdose deaths. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about different approaches being tried or proposed. Use what you read to write a short editorial outlining one or two steps you think could be effective and why.
Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.
3. Support from the Pope
Following the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, teens and young adults have taken the lead speaking out for gun control and a ban on high-powered military weapons. Now they have gotten support for speaking out from the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis. “The temptation to silence young people has always existed,” Francis said in connection with the Church’s World Youth Day. “There are many ways to silence young people and make them invisible. Many ways … to make them keep quiet, ask nothing, question nothing. … It is up to you not to keep quiet. Even if others keep quiet, if we older people and leaders … keep quiet, if the whole world keeps quiet.” Young people are speaking out forcefully on gun control and other issues. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about issues young people are addressing. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a short documentary film examining ways teens and young people are addressing these issues. Write an outline for your film, including images you would use. Then write the opening scene in the style of a screenplay.
Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
4. Senate Baby
U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth has had a lot of firsts in her life and career. She was the first woman to lose two limbs in combat in the Iraq War, the first Asian American woman elected to the U.S. Congress from Illinois and the first disabled woman ever elected to Congress. Now she has become the first U.S. Senator to give birth to a baby while in office. The 50-year-old Duckworth gave birth to a baby girl on April 9 and named her Maile Pearl after an aunt who served as a World War II Army nurse. Duckworth, and her husband Bryan Bowlsbey, also have a four-year-old daughter, Abigail. When parents have children, they want the best for them in the future. In the newspaper or online closely read stories about challenges that children born today will face in their lives. Use what you read to write a letter today’s new babies, telling them what challenges they will face, how you hope they will deal with them and what kind of person you hope they will become.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
Odd occurrences are often called “a freak of nature,” and nothing could be more freakish than what happened in the state of Idaho this month. During a violent thunderstorm, more than 50 geese fell out of the sky dead. Even weirder, they all fell from the sky at the same time and in an area no more than 100 yards across. Idaho Fish and Game officials speculate that the geese were struck by lightning during the storm and dropped out of the sky as a group. Game officials said most of the geese were snow geese with a few ross geese mixed in. Weird things often happen in nature. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a weird “freak of nature” event. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a short horror story based on the event. Give your story a “freaky” title and write the opening scene.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.