1. National Vaping Ban
Alarmed by the growing popularity of vaping among teens and pre-teens, President Trump is directing federal agencies to ban the sale of sweet-flavored e-cigarettes that are popular with young users. The move comes as health officials across the country investigate more than 450 cases of lung disease among vapers, including at least six deaths. Alex Azar, the nation’s secretary of Health and Human Services, said the goal is to “clear the market” of candy- and fruit-flavored e-cigarettes in an attempt to reverse what health leaders are now calling a vaping “epidemic.” The ban would not affect tobacco-flavored vaping products. In addition to the lung issues now coming to light, use of e-cigarettes can lead to addiction to the nicotine they contain. “We can’t allow people to get sick,” President Trump said when announcing the ban. “And we can’t have our kids be so affected.” The proposed ban on flavored e-cigarettes was sparked by a growing number of cases in which vaping has led to lung diseases. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about these cases, and the deaths they have caused. Use what you read to write an editorial offering your view on President Trump’s decision to ban flavored e-cigarettes. Examine how effective you think it will be, and what other steps could be taken to discourage teens and pre-teens from vaping.
Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.
2. Hurricane Education
Help for the Bahamas is pouring in after the devastation of Hurricane Dorian. Donations from around the world are helping the Caribbean nation rebuild and recover — and one contribution will help Bahamian students continue their education. America’s historic Hampton University has announced it will partner with the University of the Bahamas to help students continue their education uninterrupted. Hampton, which is one of America’s historically black universities, will allow students displaced by the hurricane to spend the fall semester on its Virginia campus at no cost. Fees for tuition, room and board will be waived for one semester for students of the north campus of the University of the Bahamas, which sustained heavy damage in the storm. Within one day of the offer, at least 22 Bahamian students had expressed interest, Hampton officials reported. “I think this … is something that can be helpful to a great number of students and families,” Hampton President William R. Harvey said. Many different kinds of aid are being offered to the people of the Bahamas. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the support being offered. Use what you read to write a paragraph describing the kinds of aid that are needed most, and how other nations and communities can provide that aid.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing.
3. ‘Insane Numbers’
Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics has had a spectacular season in the WNBA, leading the Mystics to the top seed in the playoffs and establishing herself as the frontrunner for the most valuable player trophy. In the process she made basketball history, as the first WNBA a star to shoot at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line. Only eight other players in the history of pro basketball have done that, and up to now they all have been men. Now Delle Donne has joined the ranks of Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Dirk Nowitzki, Larry Bird and Reggie Miller as members of the so-called 50-40-90 club. Delle Donne reached the milestone with room to spare, shooting 51 percent from the field, 43 percent from three and 97 percent from the free throw line. “Insane numbers,” Durant wrote on Twitter. “Big time accomplishment,” Curry added. “Congrats.” Elena Delle Donne’s shooting this year earned her a place in the history books. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another athlete making history or achieving great success. Use what you read to write a sports column, examining what it took for this athlete to be successful, and what other athletes could learn from the effort.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
4. Name Game
Elections often can be confusing to voters. But in a California congressional race, voters may have double the usual confusion next year. U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz, a Democrat who represents California’s 36th Congressional District, is being challenged by a Republican who is ALSO named Raul Ruiz. The challenger is Raul Matthew Ruiz, a 57-year-old construction contractor. The incumbent Raul Ruiz is a 47-year-old doctor who has served four terms in the U.S. Congress. Though unusual, there is precedent for having two candidates with the same name running for an office. In 2018, Republican U.S. Representative Ron Estes faced another Ron Estes in the primary election for his Kansas district. The incumbent won. Candidates are lining up to run for office in the 2020 election. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about candidates for president, U.S. Senate or the U.S. House of Representatives. Use what you read to write a political column outlining the most important things voters should look for in candidates for such high offices. Discuss as a class.
Common Core State Standards: Citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.
5. Lawn Lesson
Tough love comes in many forms. But as a mother in Stockton, California has proved, it’s still love — even if it involves mowing lawns. That’s what mom Nyia Williams came up with when she found out her son Amaurryon Johnson had been suspended from high school for five days. She wanted to take action, but to choose an action Amaurryon would remember. So instead of taking away electronics as other parents might have done, she put up a post on Facebook offering her son's lawn mowing services — free for people in need. She didn’t know how people would react, but dozens of people responded. Not only to get their lawn mowed, but to support her approach. “I just thought it was such an awesome thing that she was doing,” one neighbor told the Fox 40 local news. As for Amaurryon? “I really appreciate this,” he said. “I felt like I took from the community [by getting suspended], so it’s good to give back to the community.” Nyia Williams took an unusual approach to make an impression on her son after he was suspended from school. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another parent doing something unusual to make an impression on one of their children. Write a personal letter to the parent, telling why you think the approach will have a lasting effect. Discuss as a class and talk about something a parent has done that made a lasting impression on you.
Common Core State Standards: Responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement; writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.