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For Grades 5-8 , week of Mar. 25, 2024

1. SPEAKER TROUBLES AGAIN

Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene filed a motion in the House to oust Speaker Mike Johnson, who’s been in the position for only five months after former speaker Kevin McCarthy was similarly removed from the position. Greene targeted Johnson after he compromised with Democrats to push forward a spending bill that prevented a government shutdown, despite protests from the far-right Republicans in the House. Greene and other hard-right representatives demanded that Speaker Johnson decline to compromise on any spending issues, willing to shut down the government if necessary to impose their spending cuts. Research what other representatives said about Greene’s effort to remove Johnson as speaker. Then, write an article that summarizes this topic.

2. HISTORY MADE IN WALES

Wales just made European history by electing the first Black head of government for any European nation. Vaughan Gething was elected as first minister of Wales by the Welsh Senedd, the country’s Parliament. The population of Wales is almost 94 percent white, which made the election of Zambia-born Gething all the more noteworthy. In response to critics, who Gething anticipates will use his race as grounds to question his motives or eligibility for office, he said, “It is very easy not to care about identity when your own has never once been questioned or held you back. I believe the Wales of today and the future will be owned by all those decent people who recognize that our Parliament and our government should look like our country.” Did it surprise you that no European country has ever had a Black leader before? Do you think Gething will face additional challenges as head of Wales because of his race? Write an opinion piece discussing this historical election, using research to back up your claims.

3. TRUMP MERGER

Former President Donald Trump’s social media company will soon be going public on the stock market. Trump Media & Technology Group, which is the parent company of Trump’s social media network Truth Social, will merge with a shell company called Digital World Acquisition Corp. Shell corporations are corporations that don’t have a business operations or produce goods or services of their own; they are usually created to gather start-up funds, but can sometimes be used to hide money that was obtained illegally. With the merger, Trump could have nearly $3 billion in shares of the company, but he won’t be able to sell his stake for at least six months because of a company policy that prevents insiders from selling newly issued shares right away. The deal comes as the former president’s lawyers have said he can’t come up with the $454 million he’s meant to pay out in a fraud lawsuit. Read more about the merger from at least two different sources. Then, write an article that summarizes what’s happening and how it could affect the former president.

4. PRINCESS KATE BREAKS HER SILENCE

After she became the subject of widespread internet conspiracy theories, Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales, announced the reason for her disappearance from the public eye. Following an abdominal surgery in January, Kate was uncharacteristically absent from public events. Then, she released a photo for Mother’s Day that was digitally altered, leading to further speculation about her whereabouts. Last week, she recorded a video that was released by the royal family, explaining that she was diagnosed with cancer following her surgery and is undergoing treatment. It is the second such announcement in just two months; King Charles III said last month that he is being treated for an unspecified type of cancer as well. Kate’s husband, Prince William, is next in line to inherit the throne in Great Britain’s monarchy. The royal family lives very much in the public eye; what right to privacy do you think they have or should have when going through events like health problems? If you were a reporter in the United Kingdom, how would you balance covering news people want to know about the royal family with respect for their privacy when dealing with difficult or sensitive matters? Write a paragraph describing the challenges you would face in that situation and how you would handle it.

5. POLICE DEPARTMENT SUSPENDED

The small town of Ridgely, Maryland, made an unusual move and suspended its entire police force amid an investigation. State prosecutors have said little about their investigation, but the office handles cases of election fraud, ethics violations, public misconduct, and more. Residents are frustrated with the lack of information about the suspensions and worry it may make them a target for crime, though offenses in the county have been very low for decades. Officials have said that law enforcement from other nearby counties and the Maryland State Police will help fill the gap until the investigation is resolved. Consider how you would report on an issue where so little information is publicly available. Who would you talk to and what questions would you ask them in order to put together a story about the topic? What research would you do? Write at least a paragraph about how you would approach this story, including sample interview questions.