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for Grades 9-12

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For Grades 9-12 , week of Mar. 23, 2020

1. Learning at Home

Schools across the nation have shut down due to the coronavirus, and students have been asked to continue their learning at home. Teachers have sent home packets of work assignments to help students keep their skills sharp, and developed lessons that can be done online. Newspapers and the Internet also are great resources for learning and staying sharp while schools are closed. News websites provide fresh and interesting information about topics students learn about in school — from math and science to social studies and health. And just reading newspaper and Internet stories builds reading and writing skills. With the newspaper and Internet, closely read stories about the latest developments regarding the spread of the coronavirus. Use what you read to write a paragraph or short paper, summarizing the new developments and analyzing efforts to address them. What efforts are most important to curb the spread of the virus? What efforts are most important for addressing the economic and job impact? Finish by noting how the stories you read incorporate the school subjects of science, math, social studies and health.

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.

2. Checks in the Mail?

The coronavirus is wreaking havoc on businesses, jobs and the U.S. economy. Businesses are being forced to close to prevent the spread of the virus and their workers are being laid off by the millions. Without work, they cannot pay bills, rent, or home mortgages or buy necessities for day-to-day life. To help these workers, the U.S. government is moving ahead with plans that could send checks of up to $1,200 to each adult to help people cover their expenses in the coming weeks. First proposed by Utah U.S. Senator Mitt Romney, the cash payments have won the support of President Trump, congressional leaders, economic experts and community leaders as a way to blunt the economic impact of the virus. They are part of a $1-trillion virus relief package being debated in the U.S. Senate and House. The U.S. government is taking unprecedented steps to lessen the economic losses caused by the coronavirus. In the newspaper or online find and closely read stories about these relief efforts. Use what you read to write an editorial assessing the steps the government is taking and which are the most important. Discuss your editorials with family and friends.

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.

3. A Woman Vice President?

In the race for president, former Vice President Joe Biden has had a string of successes in recent primary states and is now considered the frontrunner to win the Democratic nomination. In his last debate with Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, Biden gave Democratic voters another reason to support him. He said he would choose a woman as his running mate for vice president. Just two women have been nominated for vice president — Democrat Geraldine Ferraro and Republican Sarah Palin — and neither was elected. Biden hopes his announcement will appeal to women who had hoped that a woman would be chosen as the party’s presidential nominee this year. A record six women entered the 2020 race for the Democratic nomination. Vice President Biden’s announcement that he would choose a woman as his running mate has sparked much speculation about who that woman could be. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about women being discussed as potential running mates. Write a political column examining which women you think would be the best candidates and give evidence to support your choices.

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. ‘Fauxmencement’

Colleges are closing early all over the country, and finishing up classes with Internet learning. But there is one thing that can’t be done online, and it has left seniors and their families feeling empty. With schools closed for health reasons, there will be no commencement ceremonies. At an engineering school in the state of Massachusetts, students were instructed not to return to campus after spring break. So seniors at the Olin College of Engineering took matters into their own hands to ensure they would have memories of their graduation. Before they left for break, students staged a “fauxmencement” last week complete with gowns made of black trash bags, caps made of paper and tassels made of yarn. “It is a testament to what Olin is as a community and it kind of makes me want to cry,” Olin’s dean of the faculty said. “But I'm gonna not do that quite yet.” The closings of colleges and high schools have canceled many traditional activities. With family or friends, discuss activities and traditions that have been canceled for your school or state. Use points from the discussion and your own knowledge to write a personal opinion column about activities students will be missing and how they will feel about it now and in the future.

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.

5. From Liquor to Sanitizer

With the coronavirus spreading, there’s a shortage of hand sanitizer all over the nation. Now relief is coming from an unlikely source. Distilleries that make hard liquors like whiskey and gin are shifting their attention to turn their homemade alcohol into hand sanitizer. Alcohol is the active ingredient in sanitizers for killing germs, and distilleries have plenty of it. CNN News reports that distilleries in Georgia, North Carolina and Oregon are among those making the switch, and some are even giving sanitizer away for free. Businesses are making adjustments to help fight the coronavirus or to simply survive. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about changes businesses are making. Write a letter to the editor analyzing how these changes help the community, and how they help the businesses.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; citing textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.