, week of
Nov. 19, 2018
1. Docs vs. the NRA
The debate over gun control has pitted prominent individuals and organizations against each other all over the country. This month, it entered new territory when U.S. doctors and the National Rifle Association became locked in controversy. The showdown was sparked by a position paper from the American College of Physicians that said physicians had a “special responsibility” to speak out about gun violence and urged “appropriate regulation of the purchase of legal firearms.” The NRA responded with an editorial and a social media message declaring that “self-
important anti-gun doctors” should “stay in their lane.” That prompted a new wave of criticism from doctors, including one who Tweeted “Do you have any idea how many bullets I pull out of corpses weekly? This isn’t just my lane … it’s my [expletive] highway.” Recent mass shootings have brought renewed attention to the issues of gun rights and gun control. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about proposals that seek to address the problem of mass shootings. Use what you read to write a short editorial, giving your opinion on what would be the most effective way to deal with the problem.
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. Good Will
The 2018 midterm elections set new standards for nastiness and mud-slinging in many places around the country. But in the New England state of Vermont, two candidates for state representative took an unusual step to demonstrate respect and good will toward each other. Following a debate at a local library, Republican Zac Mayo and Democrat Lucy Rogers sat down to play a musical duet together. Mayo plays the guitar, and Rogers plays the cello. Together they performed the Eddie Vedder song “Society” from the movie “Into the Wild.” The lyrics were kind of a call to calm, declaring “Society, have mercy on me, I hope you’re not angry if I disagree.” There are many ways to show respect and good will toward other people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone showing respect or good will in some way. Use what you read, and personal knowledge, to rewrite the words of a song you like to explain how to show “Respect” to others. Perform your songs and discuss.
Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understanding how language functions in different contexts.
3. No More Dog Racing
Greyhounds are the fastest species of dog and can reach speeds of more than 40 miles per hour in a matter of steps. Because of their speed, they have been raced by people as a sport for more than 100 years. Today, however, greyhound racing has become less popular, due to concerns about the treatment of the dogs. Now the state of Florida has voted to end greyhound racing entirely. Voters in the November 6 election approved a ban on racing that will shut down 11 greyhound racing tracks in the state. Supporters of the ban say it will spare dogs the “pain and suffering that is inherent in the greyhound racing industry.” It also will require finding homes for about 6,000 dogs that race in the state each year. Florida was home to 11 of the 17 active greyhound tracks in the United States. The ban on greyhound racing in Florida is being viewed as a victory for people who support “animal rights.” In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the growth of the “animal rights” movement and how it has affected the way people treat animals. Use what you read to prepare a multi-media presentation detailing goals of the movement, successes it has had, and any drawbacks it has for communities or businesses. Present your report to the class.
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. Adult Smoking Drop
Because cigarette smoking is a health hazard, there has been a lot of effort by schools and doctors to persuade people not to smoke. A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that all that effort is paying off. According to the report, use of tobacco cigarettes among American adults is the lowest it has been in more than 50 years. Cigarette smoking is down to 14 percent of adults, the CDC reported — a huge drop from the 1960s when more than 40 percent of adults smoked. According to the report, men were more likely to be smokers (24.8 percent) than women (14.2 percent). The leading age group for smokers were adults 25 to 44 years old. The study did not indicate how many users of tobacco cigarettes may have shifted to e-cigarettes. Cigarette smoking has long been a major health concern for doctors and the healthcare industry. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another health concern or problem. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, highlighting key things people should know about this health issue.
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.
5. Business Winners
One of the most closely watched business stories of the last year has come to an end. The Amazon company has announced where it will locate two new headquarters facilities. Winners in the search for the new HQ2 headquarters are the Queens neighborhood of New York City and the Crystal City area of Arlington, Virginia outside Washington, DC. Twenty cities had been competing to be the location of what had been announced as a “second headquarters” (HQ2) to support Amazon’s main headquarters in Seattle, Washington. Amazon recently decided to split the second headquarters into two locations. The new facilities are expected to provide a combined 50,000 new jobs to their communities, at salaries of $100,000 or more per year. The cities that wanted to be the location of Amazon’s HQ2 facilities offered the company many incentive benefits. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about what the New York and Virginia communities offered to get Amazon to choose them. Use what you read to write a business column, weighing the benefits against the costs for each community.
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.