1. Segregated History
Before the Civil Rights Movement, schools in much of America were segregated by race, with White students attending with White students and Black students attending with Black. Communities defended this approach, especially in southern states, on the ground that the education provided the two races was “separate but equal.” That approach to education was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in a famous ruling in 1954 that found “separate but equal” wasn’t equal at all because Black schools never received the same resources as White schools. In the state of Virginia, a woman is working to preserve that segregated history by restoring a one-room Black schoolhouse her father attended as a child growing up in farm country. Kimberly Morris found the Old Dawn School in the woods of Virginia’s Caroline County while researching her family’s history, the Washington Post newspaper reported. Her father, who attended the school in the 1930s, was a descendant of slaves who worked on plantations in the area. “This is my family’s history,” said Morris. “Realizing all the history that had happened there with my dad was an incredible thing. It was everything.” Segregated education is now illegal, but many schools still break down along racial lines. The majority of students in many schools in cities are now students of color and the majority of students in many private or suburban schools are White. This can still lead to inequality in the education minority and White students receive. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about school districts looking to improve the education they offer. Choose one urban district and one suburban district and write a paper comparing the needs each has. Share and discuss as a class.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
2. Record Plane Destroyed
The world’s largest airplane was built in the European nation of Ukraine long before Russian armies invaded this year. Now the Antonov AN-225 aircraft has reportedly been destroyed during a battle for control of an airport near Ukraine’s capital city of Kiev. The plane named “Mriya” (which means “dream” in the Ukrainian language) was on the ground for maintenance when fighting broke out at Hostomel Air Base on the fourth day of the Russian invasion. At the time of the attack, one of the plane’s engines was dismantled for repairs so the craft could not take off. There has been no official confirmation of the plane’s destruction but both Ukrainian and Russian TV posted videos showing heavy damage. The Mriya first took flight in 1988 and remains the heaviest aircraft ever built. It measured 276 feet long, with a 290-foot wingspan, the widest of any plane in service this year. Powered by six turbofan engines, it could transport 551,000 pounds of cargo at speeds of 528 miles per hour, and needed 32 wheels to support landings and takeoffs. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is causing widespread destruction across the country. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about destruction caused by the war. Use what you read to write an editorial outlining the challenges and hardships this damage will impose on Ukraine after the fighting stops.
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.
3. Coach K Is Money
For more than 40 years Mike Krzyzewski has been one of the top coaches in men’s college basketball. So it was no surprise that demand for tickets to his last home game as Duke University coach went right through the roof. When Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils squared off against arch-rival North Carolina Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the cheapest ticket available from the Vivid Seats service cost $3,231 on the Thursday before the game. The cheapest ticket at StubHub was $3,250, and SeatGeek was selling tickets for $3,300. Other tickets were said to be going for up to $10,000 apiece. Since taking over as Duke coach in 1980, Krzyzewski has won more than 1,100 games, earned a 79 percent overall winning percentage and won five national titles. He has been the ACC Conference Coach of the Year five times and the national Naismith Coach of the Year three times. Krzyzewski’s career will not end after his final appearance at Cameron. The Blue Devils are 26-5 after suffering a disappointing loss against North Carolina but are expected to contend for another national title in the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament. Next Sunday is Selection Sunday, the day Duke and other top teams will find out how they will rank in this year’s NCAA basketball tournament. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the top teams in this year’s tournament. Use what you read to write a sports story predicting which teams will be ranked Number 1 in each of the tournament’s four brackets.
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.
4. Bad Times Coming
For years and years, scientific studies have been telling the world how climate change is affecting the environment, wildlife and people. Now a special United Nations panel on climate change has pulled together data from thousands of those studies to paint a stark and distressing picture of what the world will look like in a few short years. And the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued a warning to government leaders that there is only a “brief and rapidly closing window” to change course and do something about it. The 3,500-page report examines both direct and indirect effects of climate change, from the death of coral reefs in the ocean to increases in children’s malnutrition. It urges nations and communities to address changes they know are coming in advance rather than reacting to disruptions after they occur. United Nations Secretary General António Guterres called the new report “an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership.” He added “I have seen many scientific reports in my time, but nothing like this.” Climate change is affecting habitats, wildlife and people around the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about some of these effects. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor calling attention to the most severe effects climate change is having.
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.
5. Teen Soccer Signing
At 14 years old, Maximo Carrizo is really good at soccer. He is so good in fact, that he has just made history in professional soccer — without ever playing a game. Just as he turned 14 Carrizo signed a pro contract with the New York City FC team of the Major League Soccer league — and became the youngest player ever to sign with the pro league. Carrizo’s early signing as a “homegrown player” broke the MLS record for youngest signing held by Axel Kei, who signed with the Real Salt Lake team at 14 years and 15 days old. Carrizo is a midfielder who has a family background in the South American nation of Argentina. He lives in the Manhattan neighborhood of New York City and has trained with New York City FC’s development academy. He is not expected to play this year for the first team of New York City FC, which is the defending MLS champion. He could see action for the NYCFC II team in the MLS NEXT Pro League when play begins in March. Athletes are achieving success and milestones at younger and younger ages. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about such young standouts. Pretend you are a coach for one young player. Write a Success List for him or her listing things to do — or not do — to be successful. Read your list aloud for the class, as if you were the coach talking to the player.
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; reading prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate and expression on successive readings.