For Grades 9-12 , week of Dec. 02, 2019

1. Holiday Shopping

With the holidays of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, December is the busiest shopping period of the year. To attract shoppers, stores and companies offer special products during the month, and feature a variety of cost-saving sales and promotions. What products and promotions are getting the most attention this year? Use the newspaper and Internet to find and closely read stories about “hot” products or promotions. Use what you read to write a consumer column, predicting which products and promotions you think will be the most popular and successful.

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. Climate Protest & Football

The Harvard-Yale football game is one of the oldest rivalries in college football. It’s been played 136 times since 1875, but this year something happened that had never occurred before. Protestors demonstrating against climate change took over the field at halftime and delayed the game so long it didn’t finish until it was almost nighttime. The protestors came from both schools and were demanding that Harvard and Yale give up their investments in companies that produce fossil fuels, which contribute to global warming and climate change. Hundreds of students joined the protest and dozens were arrested on misdemeanor charges. The protest delayed a fiercely fought contest that went to two overtimes before Yale prevailed 50-43. Inspired by Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg, college and high school students around the world have been publicly protesting for action against climate change. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about students protesting for climate change action. Use what you read to write a paragraph or short paper, summarizing the changes and actions sought by students, what it will take to achieve the changes and which changes are likely to happen first.

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.

3. A ‘Diaper Drive’

Shoplifting is a crime, and nothing good usually comes from it. But in a county in the state of Wisconsin, an arrest for shoplifting led to a program designed to help young parents. It all started in the City of Pewaukee, when a local police sergeant arrested a man who was shoplifting baby items for his young children because he couldn’t afford them. “I just kinda felt for the guy,’ Sergeant Lucas Twelmyer told a local TV station. “If I can help the guy out, maybe he's not in the situation again.” To make that happen, Twelmyer organized a “diaper drive” through the police department to collect funds or baby supplies for families that might need such things as diapers, wipes or formula. He put word out in the community and the community responded. In a matter of days, the department collected more than 5,000 diapers and $4,000 in cash to help needy parents. Like Sergeant Twelmyer, people often take it upon themselves to help others or solve a problem. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a group or individual doing this. Use what you read to write a short editorial telling how this action could inspire others to help people or solve a problem this holiday season.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; citing textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

4. No Meat — Even Painted

Around the world, vegans have become more and more vocal expressing opposition to foods that come from animals. Like vegetarians, they refuse to eat meat, but they also oppose eating products like milk and eggs that come from animals. At a college in the European nation of England, they have even declared they don’t want to look at animals used for foods — and they have won a big concession from school officials. At issue for vegan students at the University of Cambridge was a large 17th century painting called “The Fowl Market” that hung in a dining hall. The painting showed a variety of dead animals — including a swan, a pheasant and a deer — that might have been served at a 17th century banquet. The vegan students objected to having to eat below a painting of animal carcasses, and the university agreed to take it down. “Some diners felt unable to eat because it was on the wall,” said a spokesperson for the museum that had loaned the painting to the dining hall. “People who don’t eat meat found it slightly repulsive.” Like the University of Cambridge, many colleges and other organizations are struggling to balance the attitudes of today’s students with attitudes and practices that were considered acceptable in the past. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about one such situation. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor calling attention to the situation and stating what you think should be done.

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.

5. Pizza = Help

Domestic violence can affect any household, and people often wonder what to do. In the state of Ohio, a woman prevented a violent incident from getting worse by calling 911 … and ordering pizza. The woman in the city of Oregon made the pizza request because she was still in the house where her mother was being beaten up by her boyfriend. The boyfriend had allegedly come home drunk and was punching the mother and threatening more violence, police said. Her daughter couldn’t tell the police dispatcher what was really going on, so she insisted on ordering pizza, at one point telling the dispatcher “you’re not understanding.” Fortunately, the dispatcher did recognize what was going on, sent a patrol car and the abuser was arrested. Abuse groups have encouraged people witnessing domestic violence to use the pizza approach, but police say it’s better to text message requests for help, if possible. Domestic violence is a problem in every community, and victims need resources on how to get help. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about domestic violence, ways to help victims and groups that provide assistance. Use what you read to design the home page for an informational website to help domestic violence victims. Decide what issues or categories to feature on the home page, and pick an image to illustrate each. Then write headlines and text blocks to explain each category.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic. they need.