, week of
Jan. 27, 2020
1. Super Bowl
Next Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday and football fans all over the nation are gearing up to see whether the Kansas City Chiefs or the San Francisco 49ers will win the National Football League championship. The Chiefs have not been to a Super Bowl in 50 years and the 49ers last appeared seven years ago in 2013. Every year before the Super Bowl, hundreds of stories are written about what each team needs to do to win and which players will be the most important. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read examples of such stories for this year’s game. Then use what you read to write a sports column, giving your views on what each team needs to do to win, and which team you think will be most successful. Share columns as a class and discuss which supported their points and arguments most effectively.
Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; 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. Black Hero Honored
Dorie Miller was a sailor who broke the U.S. Navy’s race barrier to become a hero at the Battle of Pearl Harbor in World War II. Now he is being given a first-of-its-kind honor 75 years after the war ended. The U.S. Navy has announced it will name an aircraft carrier after Doris “Dorie” Miller — the first time that an aircraft carrier has been named for an African American, and the first time a sailor has been so honored for actions taken as an enlisted man. At the time of the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, Miller was a 22-year-old mess attendant on the USS West Virginia, working the menial jobs to which the Navy restricted black sailors. When Japanese warplanes attacked the U.S. fleet at the Hawaii base, Miller sprang into action, carrying wounded sailors out of danger and at one point manning an anti-aircraft machine gun — even though he had never been trained on the weapon. For his bravery, Miller was presented with the Navy Cross, the first black sailor to receive that high Navy honor. Black History Month begins this Saturday and throughout February America will be honoring the achievements of African Americans. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an African American from the past or present who deserves recognition. Use what you read to write an official proclamation honoring this person for his/her achievements. In your proclamation, be sure to include what the person did and why it was important to both African Americans and all Americans.
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.
3. Crackdown on Guns
To keep travelers safe, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration screens passengers and their luggage to determine they are not carrying dangerous items onto planes at the nation’s airports. It is well known that firearms cannot be carried on board, but many people still attempt it. That resulted in more gun seizures at the nation’s airports last year than at any time in the TSA’s history. TSA officials said its officers seized 4,432 guns at airport checkpoints last year — and 87% of those guns (3,855) were loaded. Nationwide, TSA said it intercepted firearms at 278 airports. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia had the most guns seized: 323 firearms. Hartsfield was followed by Dallas/Fort Worth International in Texas (217), Denver International in Colorado (140), George Bush Intercontinental in Houston, Texas (138) and Phoenix Sky Harbor International in Arizona (132). The federal government has many rules and programs to keep people safe. In the newspaper or online find and closely read a story about one of these rules or programs. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor detailing why this rule/program is important or needed. 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.
4. Record Global Warming
Global warming continues to worry scientists and government leaders around the world. And a new report from American scientists has only added to the worry. According to data released jointly by America’s NASA space agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the last decade was the hottest ever recorded and each of the last five years ranks in the top five ever. On top of that the government scientists report 19 of the hottest 20 years ever recorded came in the last 20 years. The year 2019 was the second hottest ever, topped only by 2016. The increase in global warming has been fueled by a continuing rise in greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels like oil, gasoline and natural gas, the scientists said. They noted that greenhouse gas emissions hit a record high globally in 2019, and the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than it’s ever been. The greenhouse gas carbon dioxide is produced by burning fossil fuels. National and world leaders are debating what can be done to reduce greenhouse gases and slow global warming. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about approaches being proposed to address global warming. Pick one and write an editorial analyzing what it would do and how effective you think it would be. Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
5. Challenging Journey
Challenges come in many forms, and it often takes courage and hard work to meet them. Three brothers from the European nation of Scotland learned that first-hand this winter, when they set off on a quest to row across the Atlantic Ocean. Ewan, Jamie and Lachlan MacLean overcame seasickness, high waves, storms, dehydration and exhaustion on their journey and set three world records in the process. They are the first three brothers to row any ocean, the fastest trio to row across the Atlantic Ocean and the youngest trio to row across the Atlantic as well. The brothers, who are all in their 20s, completed their 3,000-mile journey in 35 days, nine hours and nine minutes, starting in the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa and finishing on the island of Antigua in the Caribbean Sea. They celebrated by playing Scottish bagpipes on the dock. People often perform extraordinary feats to achieve goals or set records. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one such performance. Use what you read to write a commentary examining what skills and character traits the person needed to succeed, and how his/her achievement could inspire others.
Common Core State Standards: Citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.