1. Milestone for Whales
Attention to animal rights has grown around the world, and nowhere more than at aquariums and facilities that feature porpoises, dolphins and orca whales as attractions. Activists and protestors have called attention to the effects of long-term confinenent on these species, and the North American nation of Canada has now taken a huge step to protect them. Canada has just passed a law banning the captivity, breeding, trade, possession and capture of porpoises, dolphins, orcas and other cetaceans. The “Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act” passed overwhelming in Canada’s Parliament and was hailed as a milestone in the ongoing efforts to protect the species. “The passage … is a watershed moment in the protection of marine animals,” the executive director of Humane Society International/Canada said. “Whales and dolphins don’t belong in tanks.” Issues involving animal rights have been getting more and more attention around the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story involving animal rights. Use what you read to write a short editorial analyzing the issue and how you think it should be addressed. Discuss with family and friends.
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. An Honor for Trump
President Trump is a huge supporter of the Jewish nation of Israel in the Middle East, and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a big fan of the U.S. president. So it shouldn’t have come as a surprise when Netanyahu decided to honor Trump by renaming a settlement in the Golan Heights for him. The settlement is 30 years old and located about 12 miles from Israel’s border with Syria. Formerly known as Beruchim, the settlement will now be called Ramat Trump (which means “Trump Heights” in the Hebrew language). The renaming is a “thank you” to Trump for recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the area, which was seized from Syria in the Six-Day War in 1967. Trump is a “great friend” of Israel, Netanyahu said when announcing the name change. Since taking office, President Trump has often made headlines for how he deals with other nations. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about the President’s approach to another nation. Use what you read to write a political column, analyzing the President’s approach and how it affects the interests of the United States.
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.
3. Saved by an App
It’s widely known that technology can change lives. It also can save lives, as a family in North Carolina discovered this month. A phone tracking app allowed the family to find their 17-year-old daughter whose car had gone off the road and trapped her in a ravine. The family first knew something was wrong when Macy Smith missed her curfew and didn’t answer calls. Fortunately, the family’s phones were equipped with Apple’s Find My Friends app, which enabled the family to track Macy’s whereabouts. The app led them to a spot on a winding country road, where they saw two tire tracks leading into the underbrush. They followed the tracks and found Macy’s car. It had gone off the road in a rainstorm, flipped over several times and pinned her arm under it. Macy and her family told a local TV station that the crash had shown them the importance of using mobile tracking apps. “It’s unreal that I survived that crash,” Macy Smith said. New apps are constantly being developed to help people do new things. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about new apps. Use what you read to write a paragraph analyzing which you think will have the biggest impact.
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.
4. Push for Manufacturing
Manufacturing was once a huge part of the American economy. In recent years, many manufacturing jobs have gone overseas and communities that relied on manufacturing have been hurt. A U.S. senator from the state of Michigan wants to help those communities by having the federal government focus on manufacturing in a new way. Senator Gary Peters, a Democrat, is proposing that government create a National Institute of Manufacturing that would coordinate manufacturing programs now scattered among nearly a dozen federal agencies. The Institute would be led by a manufacturing “czar” who would report directly to the president. Many government and political leaders want to help manufacturing businesses or promote manufacturing jobs. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about leaders proposing different ways to do this. Use what you read to write a letter to one leader offering your reaction to ideas he or she has proposed to support manufacturing.
Common Core State Standards: Citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
5. Father & Son Time
Getting a college degree is always a big deal, but it’s an even bigger deal when two family members get one on the same day. Especially if one is the father of the other, and graduation falls on Father’s Day. In the city of Portland, Oregon, Don Sheeran and his son Jacob both were beaming degree-winners during commencement ceremonies at Portland State University. Dad got a degree in mechanical engineering and his son got a degree in electrical engineering, local TV station KATU reported. Their unusual story began eight years ago when Don started work on getting a second college degree and his son was just starting high school. They didn’t learn until a month ago that they would be graduating together. “What a wonderful Father’s Day present to get your degree on the same day your son is getting his,” Don said. “It sure beats another necktie.” Getting college degrees on the same day was a special family experience for Don and Jacob Sheeran. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another family having a special experience. Discuss the story with members of your own family. Then discuss special experiences you have had as a family — or would like to have.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.