1. ‘Equal Pay! Equal Pay!’
When U.S. teams win in international sports competitions, their fans often break out into chants of “USA! USA!” After the U.S. women’s soccer team won its second straight World Cup this month, that seemed to be happening again. But instead of chanting “USA!” the fans started chanting “Equal pay! Equal pay!” That’s because the U.S. women have become worldwide leaders in the push to have female athletes paid the same as male athletes. To call attention to the issue, the team filed a lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation before the World Cup began, accusing it of pay and workplace discrimination based on gender. Members of the U.S. women’s national team are paid far less than members of the U.S. men’s team, even though they have been more successful. This summer, the U.S. women’s team won seven straight World Cup matches, including a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands in the title game. The U.S. women’s team is putting a spotlight on ways women are not treated equally with men in pay or careers. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a situation in which women are not treated equally with men. Use what you read to write a short editorial, detailing differences between the treatment of men and women, how that makes women feel and how it has negative effects on the workplace or other situations.
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.
2. Change for a Pioneer
For more than 100 years, The Chicago Defender has been a leading voice for African Americans in the newspaper and media world. This month, it changed its operations in a dramatic way, stopping publication of its print newspaper and becoming an all-online media outlet. The decision was an economic one — print newspapers are struggling across the nation, and not just those focused on black life. And while the shift to the Internet is a sign of the times, it leaves a hole in African American communities that came to depend on the print newspaper. The Defender covered all the major issues affecting African Americans — the terror of lynchings, struggles with school integration, and more recently the shootings of black men by white police officers. It was the place for black Americans to get African American perspective on events like the death of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the election of Barack Obama as president. It also covered the important but less flashy aspects of African American life: births, graduations, weddings and funerals. “It didn’t happen if it wasn’t in The Defender,” one former editor told the New York Times. For more than 100 years, The Chicago Defender has called attention to issues important to African Americans. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story on an issue important to African Americans today. Pretend you are a reporter for The Chicago Defender. Plan a follow-up story that would give more details or reaction that would be important to African American readers. Make a list of points your story would cover.
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. Help for Koalas
Koalas are one of the most popular wildlife species in the southern Pacific nation of Australia. But in recent years these marsupial cousins of kangaroos have faced a serious health risk from a disease that can cause blindness, female infertility and death. The disease, chlamydia, is a transmitted sexually and is spreading rapidly among koalas on mainland areas of Australia. A new discovery, however, is generating hope for the future of Australia’s koalas. An isolated population of koalas on Kangaroo Island is completely free of chlamydia and could be used to re-populate infected areas with healthy koalas, scientists told CNN News. “This last large, isolated … population holds significant importance as insurance for the future of the species,” one scientist said. Kangaroo Island is located about eight miles off Australia’s southern coast. Using healthy koalas to re-populate areas where koalas are sick is an example of people taking action to help wildlife. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a wildlife species that could use help. Write a proposal for a nature support group, outlining ways people could help this species and why it is important.
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.
4. More Hot Dogs — Gulp!
Food-eating contests are an All-American pastime in the summer. And none is more All-American than the Fourth of July eating contest hosted by Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs in the beach community of Coney Island, New York. In this year’s contest, mega-eaters Joey Chestnut and Miki Sudo defended their titles as hot dog champs, but no new records were set. Chestnut won his 12th title by downing 71 hot dogs in 10 minutes, but fell short of the record 74 he ate last year. Sudo won her sixth women’s title in a row, consuming 31 dogs but failing to match the 37 she ate last year. Eating contests are serious business for contestants, but they can be comical for those watching. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an eating contest. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a comical creative story based on events during or after the contest. Write an outline for your plot and share with family or friends.
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.
5. A Boost for Solar
In the United States, people take electricity for granted, but in the Asian nation of India, 200-million people don’t have access to electric power. To remedy that problem, the Indian government wants to increase the use of solar energy from the sun, and an innovative program called Solar Friends is showing rural communities how to do that. The Solar Friends idea came from a company called Frontier Markets, and it teaches rural families how to use solar powered products such as lamps, stoves and even televisions, CNN News reports. The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is encouraging the use of solar as it pushes to bring electricity to more remote or rural communities. Power produced by solar has increased to about 8 percent of India's total, and the government wants to triple that by the year 2022. Solar energy, wind power and hydroelectric water power are renewable sources of energy that will never run out. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a company or community working to increase use of a renewable energy source. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor detailing the advantages and disadvantages of this renewable energy source at this time. Share with family or friends and discuss.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; 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.