, week of
Jan. 07, 2019
1. Effects of Shutdown
Since it began on December 22, the shutdown of large parts of the federal government has affected offices, parks, museums and operations all over the country. The shutdown started when the U.S. Congress needed to pass a bill providing money to keep the government going, but President Trump said he wouldn’t sign it if it didn’t include $5-billion for a wall on the Mexican border to block illegal immigration. As a result, government operations ranging from Joshua Tree National Park to the Smithsonian Institution museum have been closed. Ironically, the shutdown also closed many immigration courts that hear cases involving illegal immigration, and forced cutbacks of security patrols along the Mexican border. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about ways the shutdown has affected the nation. Use what you read to write a short editorial assessing the long-term effect of the shutdown.
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. Two Graduations!
Some students are good students, and some students are great students. And then there is 16-year-old Braxton Moral of Ulysses, Kansas. He’s in his own category as a super super great student. Late this spring, Braxton will graduate from Ulysses High School with his classmates. A few days later he will also graduate from world famous Harvard University. Identified early as a gifted student, Braxton has been taking online courses through Harvard’s Extension School since he was in middle school. When he hit high school, he enrolled in summer classes at Harvard’s Massachusetts campus. “I’ve been going to Harvard now half as long as I’ve been going to regular school,” he told the New York Times newspaper — while also doing his regular classwork at his high school. He is hoping the bachelor’s degree he earns this spring won’t be the end of his Harvard experience. He hopes to enroll in Harvard Law School as early as this fall and pursue a career in government. Students often make news for outstanding achievements. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a student who has done something unusual or outstanding. Pretend you are going to interview this student to learn his/her secret to success. Write out five questions you would ask, and explain why you would ask them.
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.
3. ‘Hakuna Matata’
Trademark laws protect words, phrases, logos or brands used by companies and prevent other companies from using them. Most trademarked materials are created by the companies but not always. The Disney company, for example, has come under fire for trademarking the Swahili language phrase “Hakuna Matata” after it became popular in the Disney movie “The Lion King.” Now an online petition is asking Disney to drop its trademark of the widely popular phrase that means “no problems” or “no worries” in Swahili. The petitioners claim that the phrase is part of the culture in eastern and southern Africa and its use should not be restricted. In the movie, the phrase is featured in a song sung by a warthog and a meerkat to the young Lion King. A remake of the original movie is due for release in 2019. Trademark laws were designed to protect original creations or brands of companies, but sometimes people try to apply them to widely used materials. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about controversies or debates over trademarks. Use what you read to hold a class discussion about Disney’s effort to trademark the Swahili phrase “Hakuna Matata.” Take a vote at the end on whether you think that is acceptable or not.
Common Core State Standards: Responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
4. Washington Day Care
Day care is hugely important for working parents, because it gives them a way to provide safe care for young children when parents are at work. In Washington, DC, day care is especially important to employees of U.S House members because they often are called on to work long hours. To provide more care, a new day care center has just opened in a building next to the U.S. Capitol building for House staff employees. The state-of-the-art facility cost $12-million to build, covers 26,000 square feet and features a playground designed to look like the Washington Mall. The goal is to reduce long waiting lists that House employees have endured trying to get their children into day care facilities in the past. Every family can benefit from day care services. And there are many levels of services. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories and ads about day care services offered in your community or state. Use what you read to make a list outlining the services you think a good day care center should offer — and why. Present your list as an easy-to-read chart or diagram.
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.
5. Seeing a Sunken Sub
World War II took place more than 75 years ago and was mostly fought far from the United States on the continents of Europe and Asia. But some action took place much nearer the U.S. with German submarines targeting the ships of the United States and its allies. One such battle occurred off the coast of North Carolina, and destroyed a German sub that sank in 700 feet of water. Now new technology has given historians a fresh look at the sunken sub. Laser scans conducted from submersible sea craft show what the sub looks like lying on the ocean floor 35 miles off the coastal island of Ocracoke. Though the sub had been damaged in battle days before going down, it appears intact in the laser scans, the Washington Post reports. The hatches were all closed, however, indicating that none of the 45 sailors on board escaped. The sub’s last action had been an attack on a convoy of 19 merchant ships and five escorts heading for Key West, Florida. Shipwrecks can tell historians a lot about the past. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about the discovery of a shipwreck. Use what you read to write a paragraph describing what the wreck could tell historians or scientists if they could get a close look at it.
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.