1. Peace Prize
Hunger and poverty are problems facing the United States and nations all around the world. Many organizations work to combat hunger, but one has been singled out with the honor of the Nobel Peace Prize. The Peace Prize is the most prestigious Nobel Prize awarded each year, and this year it goes to the World Food Program run by the United Nations. The program has been at the forefront battling hunger and dealing with the poverty and economic problems caused by the worldwide coronavirus epidemic. Because of the coronavirus, program leaders estimate that the number of people facing food insecurity will double this year, to roughly 270 million around the world. In awarding the Peace Prize to the WFP, the Nobel Committee called on nations to work together to address issues of hunger and poverty. “The need for international solidarity and multilateral cooperation is more conspicuous than ever,” the chairwoman of the Nobel Committee said. The World Food Program has been battling hunger and poverty for 59 years since its founding in 1961. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the work of the WFP. Use what you read to create a multi-media presentation on the food program’s efforts, successes and challenges. Share your presentation with family, friends and classmates and discuss.
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.
2. Record NBA Title
When the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat for this year’s NBA championship, the win was one for the record books. The championship was the 17th the Lakers have won in the team’s history, tying them with the Boston Celtics for the most championships ever in the NBA. In the title-clinching game, the Lakers were led by LeBron James, who recorded 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists to earn Most Valuable Player honors for the NBA Finals series. The Finals award was the fourth for James, second only to Michael Jordan, who won six. The Lakers’ appearance in this year’s Finals was the team’s 32nd, another league record. They last won the NBA title in 2010, when they were led by Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant. The team dedicated this year’s championship to Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash with his daughter Gianna in January. People set new records every day in sports, entertainment or other fields. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone setting a new record. Pretend you are writing a news story about the new record. Write out five or more questions you would ask for your story — and why.
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.
3. Hotter and Hotter
Scientists all over the world are collecting data to see how the Earth is warming and what can be done about it. The latest information comes from three leading weather tracking organizations, and it is eye-opening. The organizations report that the Earth has just had its hottest September since at least 1880, and that 2020 is on track to be one of the hottest years on record. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average global temperature in September was 1.75 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average, topping previous records for the month that were set in 2015 and 2016. In addition the agency noted that the 10 warmest Septembers on record have all occurred since 2005, and the last seven years have delivered the seven warmest Septembers ever. Global warming is affecting the environment all over the world. And people are taking action to slow it down. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one effect global warming is having on the environment. Write a letter to the editor describing the effect, what people are doing about it, or what they could do.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.
4. Very Special Farm
Children with special needs often have trouble connecting with the world physically or emotionally. In the state of Texas, a special farm has been created to make those special connections. The farm, called Safe in Austin, features animals that have been injured, born with physical problems or experienced abuse. It not only rescues animals in need but lets special needs children see animals that have similar problems to their own, the Washington Post newspaper reports. “There is something absolutely magical about watching a child with differences come out here and say, ‘They’re just like me,’ ” says farm owner Jamie Wallace-Griner. She and her husband started the farm sanctuary after seeing how a service dog help their son, who has the condition known as autism, which makes it hard for him to connect with others. The farm now has 20 dogs, 14 cats, eight horses, 32 goats, four rabbits, three tortoises, one parrot, four turkeys, 18 pigs, four cows and “lots of chickens.” Every one of them has a name. Many programs and organizations work to support or provide help to children with special needs. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one such organization. Use what you read to write an editorial for the newspaper telling what the organization does and why it is worthy of support.
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. Enhanced Cleaning
For people who like to travel, Airbnb has become hugely popular as alternative to staying in hotels or resorts. The service allows people to rent directly from owners of homes, apartments and condominiums, usually at a fraction of the cost of staying in a hotel. With the coronavirus raising health concerns around the world, Airbnb is now is making changes to ensure the safety of property owners and people who rent their properties. The service has adopted an “Enhanced Clean” program requiring that properties be given the highest level of cleaning, that guests and property owners wear masks at all times when interacting and that social distancing be practiced at all times. Cleaners now are required to wear a mask and gloves during cleanings, ventilate the spaces they are servicing, sanitize surfaces with approved cleaning products and wash laundry and dishes on the highest possible temperature settings. Businesses often make changes to their services and practices. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about businesses that have made changes due to the coronavirus or other reasons. Use what you read to write a business column, detailing what one business has done, why it made the change and how the change will affect operations or future success.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.