, week of
Mar. 25, 2019
1. Strike for the Climate
When adults fail to act, students must step up to save their generation. That was the message from tens of thousands of students March 15 when they went “on strike” and left school to push for action on climate change. The students took part in “school strikes” in more than 100 countries around the world to urge government leaders to take action to slow global warming and climate change. “We’re missing lessons to teach you one,” declared a protestor’s banner in the European city of London. The worldwide protest was spearheaded by the actions of teenager Greta Thunberg of the European nation of Sweden. Thunberg has won wide attention for calling out world leaders for inaction on climate change at the United Nations climate summit in December and the World Economic Forum in February. Thunberg, 16, has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts and has inspired fellow students worldwide. “You’re stealing our future!” demonstrators chanted in the European nation of Germany. From global warming to gun violence, students are raising their voices to urge national and world leaders to take action. In the newspaper or online, read about some of these efforts. Then use what you read to write an editorial giving your opinion on why it is important for students to speak out — and why adult leaders should listen. Share and discuss as a class.
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; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.
2. Talking About Vaping
Vaping continues to grow in popularity with high school and middle school students. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, vaping jumped 80 percent in one year among high school students last year and 50 percent among middle schoolers. That has left school districts and parents scrambling to find ways to discourage vaping of electronic e-cigarettes, or “Juuls,” as they are popularly known. In the state of California, a new approach is enlisting students themselves to warn classmates of the health risks of vaping. According to CNN News, a pilot program in Santa Clara County is teaching students about the risks of vaping and how to effectively communicate those risks to classmates. Of particular concern is the addictive qualities of nicotine in all those “Juuls.” “I already know about all the bad side effects and stuff, but I don't know how to explain that to my fellow peers, exactly,” one student told CNN. “I’m scared that the people around me are going to eventually get addicted to tobacco from their addiction to nicotine.” Vaping is an issue that now affects many teens and pre-teens. Yet communities are struggling to come up with ways to address the issue with students. In teams or pairs, read stories about vaping and its long-term risks. Then brainstorm a TV marketing campaign to raise awareness about vaping among students your age. Create a branding slogan for your campaign, a logo and at least two TV ads that you think would be effective getting the attention of students.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.
3. He Found a Home
For a dark period of his life, Dylan Chidick and his family had to live in a homeless shelter after his mother lost her job in Jersey City, New Jersey. This month he learned he could have 18 homes for college. That’s how many schools he was accepted at, including his top choice, the College of New Jersey. Chidick had never told friends or classmates about the homeless period that occurred during the summer of 2017, or the struggles he went through to keep his grades up during the disruption. Things calmed down when his family won permanent housing in Jersey City with help from a local group called WomenRising. He earned A’s again his senior year, while also serving as senior class president and president of the student council at Henry Snyder High School. In college he wants to major in political science and history, and prepare for a career as a lawyer. Dylan Chidick had to overcome great obstacles to achieve success. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another person who had to overcome obstacles to succeed. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, detailing what lessons this person’s experience could teach others — and how it could inspire them.
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.
4. Rethinking Eggs
Eggs are one of the most popular breakfast foods, and they are used in many other recipes, too. They also contain large amounts of cholesterol in their yolks, and that could affect the health of your heart in future years. A new study involving 30,000 people has found that for each additional 300 milligrams of cholesterol you consume every day, there is a 17 percent increased risk of heart disease and an 18 percent increased risk of premature death. Since a large egg contains about 185 milligrams of cholesterol, an additional two eggs a day would cover the amount that researchers say is risky. The study stopped short of saying there is a direct cause and effect between eggs and heart disease, but researchers noted that even with an otherwise healthy diet, the more eggs you consume, the greater the risk for heart disease, stroke, heart failure and premature death. The new study on eggs calls attention to a health issue that could affect many people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another health issue that could affect many people. Use what you read to write a personal letter to a friend or family member, detailing the most important things to know about this 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. Sports Inspiration
People who lose their sight often feel they have to give up the things they love. Not so for Thomas Panek, who has been an avid runner for all of his life. When he lost his sight in his 20s, he found ways to keep running marathons and half-marathons. And this month he made history in the New York City Half Marathon, becoming the first person to complete the 13.1-mile course running with guide dogs. The 48-year-old Panek, who is president and CEO of Guiding Eyes for the Blind, ran with three Labrador retrievers taking turns to keep him on course. With the help of the labs named Waffle, Westley and Gus, Panek finished the race in 2 hours and 21 minutes. It was the first time guide dogs had run in the race. Sports often give people ways to overcome obstacles, handicaps or doubts about their abilities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone using sports to gain confidence or wellbeing. Use what you read to write a sports column, discussing this case and the importance of sports in building character in people’s lives.
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.