For Grades 9-12 , week of Oct. 03, 2022

1. Hurricane Ian

Hurricane Ian has stopped pounding Florida and the East Coast of America, but its effects may be felt for months or even years. Ian (pronounced EE-un) will likely be one of the most expensive hurricanes in history, according to damage and insurance experts. In Florida alone, early estimates place the damage to property at $20-billion to $40-billion and the actual costs could go much higher. Across all states affected in the southeast United States, damages could soar to $120-billion, the founder of the AccuWeather TV service said. Ian slammed into Florida’s west coast as a Category 4 hurricane with 155-mile-per-hour winds and plowed across the Florida peninsula until it reached the Atlantic Ocean. Along its path, it flooded streets, splintered homes, downed power lines and left more than 2.6-million Florida residents without electricity. Then it moved up the East Coast to cause more damage to the states of Georgia and South Carolina. Officials called the damage from Hurricane Ian “historic” and “unprecedented” in its scale. In the newspaper or online, find and read stories about the hurricane damage to homes, businesses, highways, bridges and public buildings. Use what you read to write an editorial outlining the greatest challenges facing communities — both in the immediate future and long-term. What are the most urgent needs and how can they be met?

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.

2. A Cherokee in Congress?

In the history of the United States, treaties with Native American Indian tribes were often broken by the U.S. government. Now one tribe is seeking to get the government to make good on a promise made in a treaty signed nearly 200 years ago. The Cherokee Nation has renewed its campaign for representation in the U.S. Congress, which was promised in 1838 as part of the treaty that forced the Cherokee people to give up their ancestral land in the southern United States and relocate to what is now Oklahoma. The re-location led to the infamous Trail of Tears journey, on which about a quarter of the tribe’s population died of disease, starvation and exhaustion. In exchange for giving up their land, the Cherokee were promised $5-million and a delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives, CNN News reported. “For two centuries, Congress has failed to honor that promise,” Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said when announcing the renewed effort to get representation. The Cherokee have already nominated a delegate to be seated as a non-voting member in the House. She is Kimberly Teehee, who was a senior policy adviser for Native American Affairs for President Barack Obama. Native Americans were the first Americans, but they face many problems today both on and off the reservations where many now live. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about problems faced by Native American tribes and what would be needed to address them. Use what you read create a PowerPoint or multi-media presentation on the problems and needs of Native American tribes in the 21st century. Use photos from the newspaper or Internet to illustrate your presentation; then present it to the class.

Common Core State Standards: Integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

3. Your Favorite Music

What kind of music do you like? And what kind of music do you think you will like when you are grown up and an adult 20 or 30 years from now? As unusual as it sounds, recent research indicates it may be the same music. Researchers have found that preferences may change over time, but people tend to be especially fond of music from their adolescent years as they go through life, the Washington Post newspaper reports. That’s because many people form their musical identity when they are adolescents, peaking around the age of 14. As a result, people can recall music they liked from age 10 to 30 much more easily than songs and styles they encounter later. Another factor in musical taste and recall is personality. People tend to like performers whose personalities they identify with. “When people listen to music, they’re being driven by how similar that artist is to themselves,” says researcher David Greenberg of the University of Cambridge in the European nation of England. Similarity between the personalities of the listener and the artist is “predictive of … musical preferences,” he notes, with high energy people liking high energy artists and mellower people liking mellower ones. As a class, discuss the artists and different kinds of music you like to listen to. Then use the newspaper and Internet to find and closely read stories about the artist or artists you like most. Use what you read to write a personal column titled “This Music Speaks to Me.” Discuss the songs and artists you like and explain how their music and lyrics connect with you. Are the personalities of your favorite artists similar to your own?

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.

4. ‘Freaking Cool’ Flute

As any Lizzo fan knows, she not only is a great singer and rapper, but also a great flute player. So it wasn’t entirely a surprise that when she played a concert in Washington, DC this month, she played a really great flute. A flute from more than 200 years ago! The flute was a special one made for President James Madison from the clear mineral known as crystal. It is part of the huge flute collection owned by the U.S. Library of Congress, and Lizzo got to play it after being invited to tour the collection before her Washington concert. Lizzo spent an afternoon exploring the Library’s flute collection and trying out several of the historic instruments. When she asked if she could play Madison’s crystal flute at her concert at the Capital One Arena, the Library was ready to make that happen. The flute was placed in a special protective container and taken by security officers to the arena. Lizzo was delighted. “I want everybody to make some noise for James Madison’s crystal flute, y’all!” Lizzo shouted before playing the instrument onstage. “We just made history tonight! Thank you to the Library of Congress for preserving our history and making history freaking cool!” At her Washington concert, Lizzo was excited to show her audience that history can be “cool.” In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about a historical person, place, event or thing that you find interesting, unusual or cool. Use what you read to write a letter to a younger student telling why you find this bit of history cool or interesting. Encourage the younger student to explore history to find cool things they would like.

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.

5. Piece of Cake

When applying for a job, it’s often hard to get the attention of people in charge of hiring at big companies. A woman from the state of North Carolina came up with an unusual way to get noticed. Karly Pavlinac Blackburn had her resume printed on the top of a cake and sent it to the Valiant Labs division at Nike headquarters in the state of Oregon. With the help of Instacart driver Denise Baldwin, the cake not only got past security, but wound up in the hands of Mac Myers, a leader for Nike’s Valiant Labs, which “incubate” and develop new ideas. Baldwin took a picture of Myers holding cake, KARE TV reported. The effort hasn’t resulted in a Nike job offer for Pavlinac Blackburn, who had been laid off from a marketing job earlier this year. It HAS generated a lot of attention for her, though — and for Baldwin, too. When Pavlinac Blackburn posted about the experience on her LinkedIn page online, it went viral with more than 75,000 reactions and thousands of shares and comments. “So many messages of going after what you want and people sending me job openings,” Pavlinac Blackburn said. And so much support for Baldwin it “made me cry,” she said. As the Nike slogan says, when you really want something, you sometimes have to “Just Do It.” People often make news by doing unusual things to call attention to themselves, causes they support or businesses they run. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about people who have done this. Choose one and write a humorous poem about that person’s effort. Read the poem aloud, with good humor. Use the Internet to look up limericks or rhyming couplets to see how humorous poems are written, if you like.

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts; reading prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate and expression on successive readings.