, week of
May 18, 2020
1. Corona Comeback?
Medical experts believe the coronavirus epidemic originated in the Asian city of Wuhan, China and spread to other parts of the world. Wuhan responded aggressively, forcing people to stay at home for 11 weeks in social isolation and testing more than a million people for the disease. The measures appeared to work, and officials lifted the lockdown orders early last month. Now an outbreak of cases in a small residential area has prompted officials to mandate testing for as many as 11-million residents to make sure Wuhan does not experience a “second wave” spread of corona. The goal is prevention, Chinese officials say, as it is in the city of Shulan. Officials there have locked down residents in social isolation after 11 new cases were reported. Doctors and scientists are closely watching what happens to nations and communities that relax social distancing requirements and reopen for business and other activities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the experiences of communities and countries that have done this around the world. Use what you read to write an editorial advising U.S. and state officials how to proceed in the United States, and what precautions to take.
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. Princeton Milestone
Students at Princeton University have made a lot of history in the university’s 274 years, but this spring one achieved a milestone never reached before. Nicholas Johnson, a Canadian student majoring in operations research and financial engineering, became the first black valedictorian in the Ivy League school’s history. Johnson called the achievement especially significant, given the school’s struggle in recent years to confront its historic ties to slavery. “It feels empowering,” Johnson told CNN News. “I hope that this achievement motivates and inspires younger black students, particularly those interested in the STEM fields” of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. In the fall, Johnson will further his studies in operations research in a PhD degree program at the world famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology. African Americans and other minorities continue to achieve new milestones in business, academics and other fields. These milestones often call attention to obstacles or injustices of the past. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a milestone achieved by an African American or other minority. Use what you read to write a personal or political column explaining the significance of the achievement, what it took to achieve and what obstacles or injustices it calls attention to.
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.
3. Free Ride
During the coronavirus epidemic it has been hard for many people to get the things they want or need. In the state of Georgia, however, nearly 20,000 teenagers got something wanted in a way that was easier than usual. They got their driver’s licenses without having to take a road test. State officials waived the road test requirement because of a backlog that had built up for people who had applied during the virus crisis. It wasn’t as if the teen drivers had no training, however. They still had to have completed at least 40 hours of supervised driving and had to have had a learner’s permit for 1 year and 1 day with no violations. Many people have not been able to get things they want or need during the coronavirus emergency. In the newspaper or online find and closely read stories about people giving up such things. Then write a personal letter to a friend detailing one thing you need and one thing you want that you have not been able to get due to corona. Discuss with family and friends.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
4. Reporting on Teens
Have you ever dreamed of being a news reporter who is read or heard around the world? Now’s your chance thanks to a Covid-19 World Teenage Reporting Project. The project is challenging teen journalists and school newspapers to write stories about other teens who are making a difference during the coronavirus pandemic. Stories can be told with text, illustrations or videos and will be showcased online starting June 4. Examples of stories already submitted can be viewed at https://www.tinyurl.com/teenreportsMay. The project is a partnership of the Global Youth & New Media organization and more than two dozen news organizations around the world. During the coronavirus emergency teens have been stepping up to help others or make contributions to the community. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a teen who is doing this. Then think like a reporter and write out 10 questions you would ask this teen if you were interviewing him or her. For added challenge, find and write about a teen in your city or community who is helping others.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
5. Hustling for Nuggets
Can there ever be too much of a good thing? Not for an Oregon man who wanted to make the most of a Wendy’s restaurant giveaway of free chicken nuggets. When Wendy’s announced it would be giving away orders of 4-piece chicken nuggets to anyone visiting the drive-thru lane, the man visited 11 different Wendy’s restaurants to get around the “one per customer” limit. Then he turned around and drove the route again to double his score. “Times is tough,” the man wrote on Twitter, “ … but now we eatin[g] free 4 a week.” Some people go to great extremes to achieve goals or gain rewards. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a person doing this. Use what you read and personal knowledge to write a character “profile” outlining the character traits this person needed to achieve success.
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.
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