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For Grades 9-12 , week of Mar. 11, 2019

High

1. History in Chicago

The city of Chicago, Illinois is electing a mayor next month, and no matter who wins, the city will make history. The two candidates who will appear on the ballot April 2 are both African American women. When the votes are counted, either Lori Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor, or Toni Preckwinkle, the county board president, will become the first African American woman to be Chicago’s mayor. They were forced into a runoff election after none of the 14 candidates running for mayor this year earned more than 50 percent of the vote. Lightfoot and Preckwinkle were the two top vote getters. March is Women’s History Month and all over the country African American women are making a mark in politics. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about these women, what they are doing and how they are breaking barriers or making history. Pick two and write a paragraph or short paper comparing their achievements, challenges and ways they are making history.

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.

2. Memorable Lesson

In professor Nathan Alexander’s classes at Morehouse College, students learn the finer points of algebra, statistics, modeling and higher math. At a recent class at the historically black college, they also learned valuable lessons in caring, support and empathy. Alexander taught those lessons, when he helped out a student who had to bring his infant daughter to class when his family child care fell through. Alexander had told students they could bring children to class in an emergency. But when Wayne Hayer showed up with daughter Asada, Alexander extended the kindness further. He offered to hold Asada so Hayer could take notes, and taught the class with the 5-month-old Asada strapped to his chest. A class member posted a video of the moment, and within days it was liked by more than 300,000 people on Facebook and Twitter. Alexander’s actions were praised for compassion, kindness, community building, caring for others and “how to win at life.” In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another person doing something special in this way. Use what you read to write a personal column telling how this display of support made you feel, why it was important to the people involved and how it could inspire others. Finish by discussing special or unusual things you or people you know have done to show kindness or support for others.

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. Fish in Trouble

All over the world, people rely on fish from the ocean for food. But climate change and global warming are having a significant effect on the amount of fish available for eating, according to a new scientific study. The study found that the amount of seafood that could be sustainably harvested by humans declined by more than 4 percent from 1930 to 2010. And with ocean temperatures continuing to rise, the decline could get worse in the years ahead. To measure the impact of ocean warming, the researchers compared data on fish populations in different parts or the world with data on changing temperatures of ocean water. Some areas, such as the northeast Atlantic Ocean and the Sea of Japan in Asia, have been hit particularly hard, researchers said, with drops in fish population of more than 35 percent over the study period. In other areas, fish populations have moved to find more comfortable water temperatures. “Fish are like Goldilocks: They don’t like their water too hot or too cold,” one author of the study told The New York Times newspaper. Global warming is having an effect on wildlife and ecosystems all over the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one effect. Use what you read to prepare a two-minute news report for television. Write the text for your report and choose images to go with it. Read your report aloud and time it to make sure it does not go over two minutes in length.

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.

4. Kitten Café

Finding homes for cats and kittens is a big challenge for animal shelters. A new approach in Washington, D.C., is making it easier for people to meet and play with them, however, and that may lead to more adoptions. A “pop-up” café called Crumbs & Whiskers has opened in the city’s Georgetown section, and it is attracting a steady stream of cat and kitten lovers. For a small fee, people can meet and play with kittens and cats roaming free in the café, and if they hit it off with one they can apply to adopt it. The “pop-up” café will operate through June and its organizers hope to find homes for 500 cats and kittens in that time. The Crumbs & Whiskers café is trying a new approach to find homes for cats and kittens. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about this or other efforts to help cats. Use what you read to design an ad for the newspaper promoting Crumbs & Whiskers or another effort. Give your ad a creative headline that will get people’s attention.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

5. Beatles Mania

When people are fans of music groups, they can do some crazy things. When the Beatles were at the peak of their popularity, one fan in Cleveland, Ohio, went so far as to steal a Life magazine with a picture of the supergroup on the cover. That was 50 years ago, but the fan-turned-thief apparently had a guilty conscience. On February 28, he/she returned the 1968 magazine to the Cuyahoga County Public Library system, along with a money order for $100. According to Cleveland’s Channel 5 TV station, the fan wrote a letter to library officials, explaining that “I stole this magazine from the Parma Ridge Road Library when I was a kid. I’m sorry I took it. I’ve enclosed a check for the late fee.” Library officials don’t know what they’ll do with the now-famous magazine, but on their Facebook page they thanked the fan for returning the “borrowed” copy of Life. Fans of music groups often make news by unusual or extreme behavior. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one such fan. Then rewrite the words of a favorite pop song to tell the story of this fan. Perform your song for the class, if you dare!

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.