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For Grades 9-12 , week of Feb. 13, 2012

1. Life in Egypt

One of the world’s great historic events happened on February 16, 1923. On that day, English archaeologist Howard Carter opened the sealed burial chamber of King Tutankhamen — King Tut. The Egyptian king lived around 1,400 BCE and died while he was still a teenager. Tutankhamen went into the afterlife with a tomb full of rich treasures. Prior to Carter’s discovery late in the year before, many of the ancient tombs had been ransacked. Carter searched for more than five years to find the tomb. With the newspaper or Internet, find an article about Egypt. Use what you find and other resources to write a summary about what life is like for Egyptians now.

Core/National Standard: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas.

2. Abraham Lincoln

On February 12, 1809, President Abraham Lincoln was born. Lincoln was one of the best political writers in history. Consider the beginning of his Gettysburg Address — "Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure." Find an article in this week's newspaper about an issue or an event that you feel needs addressing. Write a speech that informs and inspires.

Core/National Standard: Demonstrating how the language used in oral, written and visual communication is related to successful discourse.

3. Women Making Their Mark

If you think founder Mark Zuckerberg is the highest paid person at Facebook, you would be wrong. That honor belongs to the company’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg. According to a Yahoo! News article, Sandberg took home $30.87 million last year between her salary and stock awards. Before joining Facebook, she studied economics at Harvard and worked at the World Bank. She then went to work for Google before being recruited by Zuckerberg in 2008. She jokes about “being the only adult in the room” at Facebook, but is disconcerted by the fact that she’s also often the only woman. She noted in an interview that of 190 heads of state in the world only nine are women and only 15 percent of companies are led by women. Since coming to Facebook, she has increased membership to 800 million and made it profitable. Find a newspaper article about a woman executive. Write a profile of her.

Core/National Standard: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to task.

4. Sweet Toxins?

The government regulates alcohol and cigarettes. Now researchers at the University of California, San Francisco are proposing those same kinds of regulations and restrictions on sugar. They say sugar and sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup are toxic to the body and are also a cause of obesity and the related health issues of diabetes, heart disease and liver failure. They propose taxing sugar, banning the sale of it near schools and setting an age limit for purchase. They say that Americans consume on average 600 calories per day from added sugar, “equivalent to a whopping 40 teaspoons.” Dr. Robert Lustig said that sugar meets the established public health criteria for regulation because it is, “addictive, toxic and has a negative impact on society.” Find a newspaper article about sugar and health. Or find one online. As a class discuss different things you could do to improve your diet.

Core/National Standard: Understanding that the selection of foods and eating patterns determine nutritional balance.

5. Oscar Buzz

First come the much-awaited, early-morning announcements. They are followed by hours and hours and pages and pages of speculation, not to mention fancy lunches and parties. Then, of course, there are fancy dresses, unbelievably expensive jewels and the red carpet. The hype of the upcoming Academy Awards is in high gear, but when the Oscar awards ceremony first premiered on February 18, 1929, the winners’ names were printed on the back of the academy’s newsletter and the results appeared in the show business newspaper Variety a few days later. This year there are nine movies up for Best Picture. Find newspaper articles and reviews about the nominated movies. Then think of a movie you have seen, either one nominated for an Oscar or another film. Using one of the reviews as an example, write your own review of one movie.

Core/National Standard: Writing arguments to support claims in an analysis of topics or texts

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