For Grades 9-12 , week of June 08, 2020

1. The Legacy of George Floyd

The death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota has pumped new life into the #BlackLivesMatter movement, focused new attention on police brutality against people of color and even injected new rancor and energy into the 2020 presidential race. President Trump has called for using the nation’s military forces to put down and “dominate” protesters, while Democratic challenger Joe Biden has accused Trump of fanning “the flames of hate” and making it harder for the nation to come together at a moment of deep unrest. Floyd, who was African American, died when a white police officer pressed his knee against his neck for nearly nine minutes while Floyd protested he could not breathe. His death sparked a wave of nationwide protest, and violent outbursts of vandalism, destruction and looting in some communities. The death of George Floyd continues to spark debate and disagreement about how the nation should address issues of racial inequality and police treatment of minorities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the ongoing debate and what people are proposing. Use what you read to write an editorial outlining how you think the nation should address these issues going forward.

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.

2. Historic Marathon Shut Down

The Boston Marathon is the oldest marathon in the world, but this year runners won’t get a chance to test their skills and endurance in it. For the first time in the event’s 124-year history, the annual race will not be held due to health concerns connected to the coronavirus. The historic race in the state of Massachusetts attracts 30,000 runners and hundreds of thousands of fans, and race officials said the crowds pose too great a risk for spreading the disease during the corona pandemic. The race had already been postponed from its original date of April 20 to September 14, but officials now feel even that will be too soon to run the competition safely. “The traditional one-day running of the … Boston Marathon is not feasible this year for public health reasons,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in making the announcement. Major events continue to be canceled due to the coronavirus epidemic. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about some of these events. Use names of these events to create a crossword puzzle or word jumble to exchange with family or friends.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; organizing data using concrete objects, pictures, tallies, tables, charts, diagrams and graphs; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.

3. Jet-Ski Graduation

One of the great disappointments caused by the coronavirus epidemic is the cancellation of traditional graduation ceremonies for high school seniors. In Key West, Florida, a charter high school didn’t have a traditional graduation, but still made its ceremony an event to remember for its 12 graduates. Each student received his or her diploma while social distancing on a jet ski. Key West is a popular tourist destination known for water sports and recreation, so it wasn’t that far-fetched for Somerset Island Prep to take to the waves to honor seniors. Dressed in masks and graduation gowns, each senior zoomed out to a boat moored offshore, where Principal Tom Rompella handed them their diploma with a long-handled gripping device. Many high schools have been trying different things to make graduation ceremonies safe and memorable. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about some of these celebrations. Use your imagination and come up with an unusual way to make graduation safe and memorable in your community by connecting to local traditions or attractions. Write a paragraph describing your idea and why it would be appropriate for local students.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.

4. Twin Care Careers

When people are born as twins, they often have a special bond with each other. They like to do the same things, react to situations the same way and have similar goals. That is certainly the case with a pair of twins in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Lacie and Lauren Brown have never done anything apart. They went to the same high school together, played the same sports and earned their nursing degrees from the same college, Oklahoma City Community College. Now the 21-year-olds are working in the same intensive care unit at INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center in Oklahoma City, while pursuing master's degrees in nursing at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. “We’ve never had to walk into any situation alone,” Lauren told CNN News. “We’ve always had each other,” added Lacie. Twins and other siblings often support each other in special ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about twins or siblings doing this. Use what you read to write a poem, rap, song or rhyme about sibling support. Title your poem “I’ve Got Your Back.”

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.

5. Helping Seniors

During the coronavirus emergency, people have found many ways to help others. In the Washington, D.C. area, two teenagers decided to do the grocery shopping for their grandparents — and discovered they could help many more senior adults. Dhruv Pai, 16, and Matt Casertano, 15, of Silver Spring, Maryland, started shopping for their grandparents in March just after the virus closed their school. They soon realized there were many other seniors who needed help with shopping and other tasks. They formed a group called Teens Helping Seniors, and the idea took off with their classmates and other volunteers. The group now has more than a dozen chapters in the United States — from Washington to New York to California. Hundreds of seniors are getting help, and more can sign up through email or a Facebook page set up by the two students. At this time, many people are helping others. With family or friends, find and closely read stories about people who could use help of some kind. Brainstorm ways you, your friends or your family could help these people in big or small ways. Write a paragraph explaining what you could do to help.

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.