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for Grades 9-12

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For Grades 9-12 , week of Feb. 24, 2020

1. Apple Watch Soars

For hundreds of years, the best watches in the world were made in the tiny European country of Switzerland. Swiss watches are still of the highest quality, but Swiss dominance in the watch world took a hit in 2019. The Apple Watch outsold the entire Swiss watch industry. According to sales information compiled by the consulting firm Strategy Analytics, the Apple Watch sold 31 million units worldwide, while all Swiss watch brands combined sold 21 million units. Swiss watches include such familiar names as Rolex, Omega, Cartier and Gucci. High-priced Swiss watches still brought in more revenue than the Apple Watch, but “the Apple Watch has emerged as a status symbol of its own,” one analyst told CNN News. “It offers a competitive alternative to mid-range Swiss watches.” When products become popular, business experts study them to determine why they appeal to so many people. In the newspaper or online, find and study ads or stories about a popular product. Use what you read and prior knowledge to write a consumer column analyzing why this product is popular.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

2. She’s a Belieber!

Justin Bieber has fans all over the world, but no one appreciates him more than Stockton University senior Julie Coker. In honor of her work promoting mental health awareness, the music star recently surprised Coker with a check for $100,000. Bieber wanted to honor someone involved in the mental-health field, and Coker has been doing just that as a volunteer with the Active Minds mental health awareness group. Coker is the president of Stockton’s chapter of the group and also a member of the national Active Minds Student Advisory Committee. She also happens to be a big Justin Bieber fan — he was the star of the first live concert she saw when she was 13. She plans to use some of the money from Bieber’s gift to pay for graduate school after earning a degree in social work this May. Celebrities often reach out to help people. In the newspaper or online find and closely read a story about a celebrity doing this. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend telling what the celebrity did, how that helped someone and how it could inspire people to help others.

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.

3. Obesity Success Story

Obesity is a problem facing nations all over the world, especially among children, teens and young adults. Efforts to encourage people to eat healthier diets have had mixed results, and in many nations the percentage of people who are overweight or obese remains high. In an effort to reduce obesity, health and government leaders now are looking to the South American nation of Chile for guidance. Four years ago Chile enacted sweeping measures to discourage people from eating foods high in sugar, salt or saturated fats. The results are in, and they are encouraging, according to a new study. After the measures took effect, consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks dropped more than 25 percent in the first 18 months, and front-of-package warning signs have changed the way people shop, the researchers found. The warning signs, which take the shape of a black stop sign, warn when foods are “high in” salt, sugar, fat or calories. Chile adopted the measures because 75 percent of Chilean adults and more than half of children are overweight or obese. In addition to package warnings, the measures ban junk food in schools, prohibit cartoons and kid-friendly packaging on unhealthy foods and disallow TV ads for unhealthy foods between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Unhealthy foods are often packaged in ways that appeal to children or make them appear healthier than they are. In the newspaper or online, find examples of packaging that makes unhealthy “junk” foods appealing to kids or young adults. Use what you read to prepare a multi-media presentation outlining the impact of this type of packaging and how it could be changed to reduce the appeal of unhealthy food choices.

Common Core State Standards: Integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

4. Baby Shower in the Sky

When a couple adopts a baby, it is always a special event. But for a man and woman from the state of California, their adoption was made extra special by the kindness of strangers on their flight home from Colorado. Dustin and Caren Moore had just picked up their 8-day-old daughter in Colorado when flight attendants and other passengers threw them a surprise “baby shower” on the plane. When the attendants learned the couple’s story, they announced to the plane “there’s a very special guest on the flight today. She’s only 8 days old and she’s traveling home with her mom and dad.” The attendants then passed out pens and napkins so that passengers could write good-luck wishes to the Moores, the Washington Post newspaper reported. “For an entire crew of strangers to … show us that kind of love and kindness meant everything to us,” Dustin Moore said. One of the notes read: “I was adopted 64 years ago. Thank you for giving this child a loving family.” People often do unexpected things to help or be kind to others. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone doing this. Use what you read to write a poem, rap or rhyme telling the story of this act of kindness and how it affected both the giver and receiver.

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.

5. Flu Hits Hard

The spread of coronavirus has grabbed all the headlines, but in the United States another health hazard is having an even bigger impact this winter. Influenza — “the flu” for short — has affected at least 22 million U.S. residents, hospitalized about 210,000 and killed at least 12,000, national health officials report. The rate of infection among children and young adults this flu season has been higher than normal, officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. At least 78 children have died. The flu has affected all states, CDC experts report, and 47 have reported a “high level” of flu activity. Medical issues and concerns are often in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one example. Use what you read to create a public service ad for the newspaper or Internet informing people about this issue. Use the newspaper or Internet to choose images for this ad. Then give it an eye-catching headline and write “bullet points” highlighting key information. Share with the class and discuss.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.