1. Trump in N. Korea
Since taking office, President Trump has charted a new course for dealing with the Asian nation of North Korea and its unpredictable leader Kim Jong Un. Trump threatened Kim over his nation’s nuclear weapons program, and then sat down for face to face meetings with the North Korean leader at summits in Singapore and Vietnam. Then this summer, Trump did something no other president has done — he met with Kim inside the North Korean border. His meeting with Kim on the north Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea was the first ever by a sitting U.S. president. In a 50-minute discussion with Kim, Trump agreed to resume talks about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Talks on the program had broken down at the Vietnam summit in February. President Trump’s approach to North Korea has drawn great attention and caused great debate. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the latest developments. Use what you read to write a short editorial for the newspaper predicting what you think will happen next.
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.
Celebrity Kim Kardashian has fans and followers all over the world, but she didn’t make any new ones when she introduced a line of underwear in the Asian nation of Japan this summer. In a play on her name and Japanese culture, she called the underwear brand Kimono. The Japanese were not amused, as the classic clothing kimono is a cherished part of Japanese culture and tradition. Critics went online and dismissed the name with the hashtag “#KimOhNo” and called it a “blasphemy against Japanese culture.” The mayor of Kyoto called on Kardashian to pick a new name that would not sully the special place kimonos hold in Japanese culture. Anger spread and Kardashian said she would find a new name. “I am always listening, learning and growing,” she wrote on Twitter. “I so appreciate the passion and varied perspectives that people bring to me.” The choice of the Kimono name for Kim Kardashian’s underwear fashion line was criticized for being an insensitive example of “cultural appropriation.” Cultural appropriation occurs when people adopt the culture of another people for their own purposes. In the newspaper or online, read stories about controversies caused by alleged cultural appropriation. Use what you read to write a letter to family or friends discussing the cases you have read about.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.
3. Hero or Pirate?
The United States is not the only nation where immigration has become a hot-button issue. Across the continent of Europe, nations have been stepping up efforts to block the entry of migrants fleeing war-torn nations in Africa. This month a German sea captain was arrested in the nation of Italy when she defied Italian law and brought 40 migrants she had rescued at sea to an Italian seaport. The actions of Carola Rackete, 31, have become a flash point in the debate over how to deal with migrants seeking entry. Italy’s interior minister branded the 31-year-old Rackete a “pirate” and said she had committed “a criminal act” that was equivalent to “an act of war.” Germany’s president said that “someone who rescues people cannot be a criminal” and called for her release. In a matter of days, supporters raised nearly a million dollars online to help Rackete defend herself. The migrants rescued by Rackete on her Sea-Watch 3 vessel will be sent to five European countries that have agreed to take them in. The efforts of African migrants to enter European nations has caused great debate and controversy. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about how different nations have reacted. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor discussing European reactions and what Americans could learn from them.
Common Core State Standards: Citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
4. Tracking Workers
Fitness tracking devices like Fitbit and Apple Watch have become increasingly popular because they give people data and information about their exercise habits. The technology that makes that possible soon may be put to another use: measuring how effective people are as employees. A team of researchers at Dartmouth College has developed an electronic system that tracks physical and emotional signals of people while they are at work to build a “performance profile” of their effectiveness as employees. The device monitors such things as heart functions, sleep, stress, weight and calorie consumption, as well as physical activity and phone use. It was field-tested at a company with 750 employees and proved 80 percent accurate assessing worker effectiveness, the researchers said. Using electronics to track work performance could be a benefit to employees seeking to improve their productivity. But it raises questions about how it might be used by employers. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about how digital devices are being used to monitor personal behavior. With family or friends discuss guidelines you think would be needed for use in the workplace.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.
5. Milestone for Women
In the last 50 years, women have made great advances in careers ranging from politics to business to the law. In the state of Ohio, women have made legal history in Summit County. For the first time ever, the 10 judges in the common pleas general division of the county court system are all women. The milestone in Summit County was reached in the November election when judges Kathryn Michael and Kelly McLaughlin defeated male opponents. “It is a moment in history that should be celebrated,” said Judge Joy Oldfield, when the judges gathered for a formal group portrait last month. Women are achieving groundbreaking success in a wide range of career fields. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a woman who is doing this. Use what you read to write a public proclamation calling attention to this woman’s achievements, why they are important and how they could inspire young girls or other women.
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.