1. More Graduates
It’s graduation season, and there’s good news for families of high school students. Across the nation, high school graduation rates have risen dramatically since 2001. Nearly 85 percent of high schoolers now graduate, an increase of nearly 13 percent since 2001, when just 71.7 percent graduated. Statistics from the last 10 years show that the increase in graduation rates has been driven by improved performance by African American and Latino students, the Washington Post newspaper reports. In addition, those groups are enrolling in colleges, junior colleges or other post-high-school education programs at double the rate of students 10 years ago. Getting a high school diploma gives students many options for careers or further education. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about different things this year’s graduates are choosing to do. Use what you read to write a short graduation speech encouraging graduates to take advantage the options they have. List the benefits of different options.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.
2. Plus-Size a Plus
Fashion models all used to be skinny, but companies around the world have become “woke” to the fact customers come in all shapes and sizes. Advertising and marketing campaigns now feature large, “plus size” models as well as thin ones, and Nike has taken that approach to a store in the European city of London, England. This month, Nike introduced plus-size mannequins to show off clothing designed for larger customers on the women’s floor of its NikeTown London store. Nike also introduced mannequins showing para-sports athletes with disabilities. By offering plus-size and para-sport mannequins for the first time, Nike said it was seeking “to celebrate the diversity and inclusivity of sport.” Diversity is being featured more and more in advertising for newspapers, television and the Internet. In the newspaper or online, find and study advertisements that showcase diversity in different ways. Use what you read to write a consumer column for the newspaper, analyzing how using diverse models expands the appeal of a business or product. Cite examples you think are particularly effective in your column.
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.
3. Oil Rig Protest
In its activities around the world, the Greenpeace organization seeks to call attention to environmental issues. In the ocean off the European nation of Scotland this month, two Greenpeace protestors climbed on board a 27,000-ton oil rig being towed to the North Sea to protest the role oil and petroleum products play in global warming. The protestors climbed onto the BP (British Petroleum) oil rig as it was being towed out to sea and vowed to stay until the oil company halts plans to establish new oil wells. The protesters said the company should switch to developing renewable energy sources because burning petroleum products contributes to global warming by producing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. Protesters take many approaches to call attention to issues. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about different protests involving different issues. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor analyzing approaches you think are effective and those you think are not effective.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
4. Tech to the Rescue
Technology is changing the world, and students who master tech skills will be the problem solvers of the future. Consider the case of the college student in Central China who was always forgetting the key to his dorm room. The student at Zhongyuan University of Technology solved his simple problem with a solution worthy of a tech specialist. With the help of a roommate, the student designed a digital recognition fingerprint lock to replace the manual key lock for his room. With a fingerprint detector bought online, the student designed a working lock for under $15, the Global Times reported. Now, “Students from other dorm rooms 'wow' me all the time,” his roommate said. All over the world, advances in technology are helping people live happier or more effective lives. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one such invention. Write a personal letter to family or friends telling how this advance has made life better for users.
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. Something’s Brewing
Talk about taking a break! A group of monks in the European nation of Belgium have announced they will resume their abbey’s practice of brewing beer — 200 years after they stopped. In the age of micro-breweries, it may make sense for the Belgian Abbey of Grimbergen to get back in the beer business. Brewing had been a part of abbey life as far back as the 11th century, but had to be suspended when French soldiers smashed the monks’ brewery equipment in 1795. The revived brewing operation will make limited edition versions of beer already brewed on a commercial scale under the Grimbergen name. The Carlsberg beer company will support the program. “Brewing and religious life always came together," one of the monks told Reuters news service. “The tradition … was always here.” Businesses or organizations often take steps to revive traditions or products from the past. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a revival of this sort. Use what you read to write a paragraph analyzing the effort, its prospects for success and to whom it will appeal. Share and discuss as a class.
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.