For Grades 9-12 , week of Nov. 21, 2022

1. Trump Again

The votes from the 2022 midterm elections were still being counted last week, when former President Donald Trump decided to jump-start the 2024 campaign. Trump, who lost the race for president to Joe Biden in 2020 but refused to concede, announced from his estate in Florida that he is running for president again. Trump’s announcement marks a new chapter in his turbulent career as a politician. If elected he would be the first president since Grover Cleveland in the 1880s to recapture the White House after losing re-election. He would also be the first president to run for re-election after being impeached by the U.S. House — twice — though he was acquitted by the U.S. Senate. Since winning the presidency as a Republican in 2016, the 76-year-old Trump has been a divisive figure in American politics, for Republicans as well as Democrats. Members of his own party have blamed him for the Republicans’ poor showing in the midterm elections and some have even suggested it is time for the party to move on and nominate a younger candidate such as 44-year-old Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is just won re-election by an overwhelming margin. Donald Trump’s new campaign for president is causing wide discussion and debate among Republicans. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about how Republicans feel about another Trump run for the White House. Use what you read to write a political column assessing the benefits and risks to Republicans if Trump is the party’s nominee.

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. More Mass Shootings

Unlike other developed countries, the United States has a continuous and deadly problem with mass shootings. They occur in big communities and small, in public schools and private universities, at work places and in public spaces. There have already been more than 600 mass shootings this year in the United States, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Mass shootings in which four or more people are injured or killed — not including the shooter — have averaged more than one per day so far this year, the Washington Post newspaper reported. Not a single week in 2022 has passed without at least four mass shootings. The shooting at the University of Virginia that left three football players dead was one of nine mass shootings that took place on that weekend alone. Mass shootings have had a huge impact on American life, killing 611 people and injuring 2,507 more through November 14. Every time there is a mass shooting, politicians debate what could be done to stop them. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about different proposals from Democrats and Republicans. Use what you read to write an editorial outlining steps you think could be taken to stop or reduce such shootings.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

3. A Grammy Record

Every year the Grammy Awards honor top performances in the music world. This year’s nominations have just been announced, and some familiar names are at the top of the list. Superstar Beyoncé earned nine nominations, the most of any performer. That gave her 88 nominations in her career, tying her with her husband, the rapper Jay-Z, for the most all-time. Jay-Z had five Grammy nominations in this year’s competition. Others with the most nominations were rapper Kendrick Lamar with eight, and singers Adele and Brandi Carlile, with seven each. Six artists had six nominations each, including singer Mary J. Blige, rapper Future and pop star Harry Styles. The 65th Grammy Awards will be presented Sunday, February 5 in Los Angeles, California and televised on CBS-TV. The Grammy Awards honor the top performances in music. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about music performers who have been popular or successful this year. Use what you read and your own knowledge to write a music column highlighting performers you think should win Grammys, and why.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

4. Billions to Give Away

Jeff Bezos is the world’s fourth richest man, with a net worth of about $120-billion. He made his huge fortune as the founder of the Amazon shopping network, but now he says he plans to give most of it away during his lifetime. In an interview with CNN News, Bezos suggested for the first time that he would join a growing list of billionaires who have pledged to give their money away to charitable causes. In the interview Bezos said that he and his partner, Lauren Sanchez, were “building the capacity to be able to give away this money.” Bezos has already started giving away some of his wealth. In 2020, he created the Bezos Earth Fund, which announced it will provide $10 billion to scientists and organizations to fight climate change. He and Sanchez also have created the Courage and Civility Awards, which carry a $100-million prize for people who work to help their communities. The most recent recipient was singer Dolly Parton who has promoted children’s learning and literacy through her Imagination Library project that gives away free books to children whose families can’t afford them. Jeff Bezos says he wants to give away his immense fortune in his lifetime. There are many worthy causes that could benefit from his generosity. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about one or more causes you think would be worthy of his support. Write a paragraph describing each cause and why it deserves support. Share with the class and vote which are the most deserving.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

5. Grizzly Comeback?

Grizzly bears are one of the fiercest mammals in the United States and North America. Standing nearly 8 feet tall on their hind legs, they can weigh up to 800 pounds and have no rivals as an “apex predator” at the top of the food chain. Grizzlies once ranged from Canada in the north to Mexico in the south and throughout mountainous areas in the western United States. Hunting and development greatly reduced their range, however, and today they live mostly in the states of Alaska, Montana and Idaho and in Wyoming around Yellowstone National Park. Now, however, U.S. wildlife officials are considering reintroducing grizzlies to an area they haven’t lived in the wild in more than 25 years, the Washington Post reports. The National Park and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services are exploring whether to reintroduce grizzlies in Washington state’s North Cascades region just below the U.S.-Canadian border. With glacier-capped peaks, mountain meadows, rugged valleys and ancient forests, the area is ideal for grizzlies, according to wildlife and Native American leaders. Ranchers and other residents oppose bringing grizzlies back for fear they will prey on livestock and pose a danger to people. The Park and Wildlife services are holding online hearings this month to gather public feedback on the plan. Wildlife experts say re-introducing grizzlies to the North Cascades region would restore the balance of nature in the area. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read other stories about efforts to maintain balance among wildlife species in an area. Use what you read to prepare a two-minute newscast for television about one effort. Include images from the newspaper or Internet to go with your report.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.