1. Climate Milestone
Global warming is a problem all over the world, and for years nations have been trying to decide what to do about it. A gathering of representatives from nearly 200 countries this month didn’t come up with a solution, but they made a breakthrough in another big way. The nations attending a conference on climate change sponsored by the United Nations agreed to set up a fund to compensate developing countries for global warming caused by wealthy nations. The fund would help poor countries cope with climate disasters caused or made worse by Earth-warming pollution from wealthy nations, the New York Times newspaper reported. How much money will go into the fund — and how soon — remain to be determined. But getting agreement to establish the fund — especially from the United States — was a major milestone for negotiators. United States has pumped more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than any nation in history through its use of fossil fuels like gasoline, oil and coal. While American diplomats agreed to a fund, money must be appropriated by Congress, and it is uncertain that will happen with Republicans controlling the U.S. House following the midterm elections. Republicans have opposed such climate measures in the past. Many nations of the world are now taking steps to control or reduce global warming. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about things one or more nation are doing. Use what you read to write an editorial highlighting steps you think are the most important for controlling global warming.
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. Twin on Twin
In the United States more than 100,000 sets of twins are born every year. But none of those twins have done what twin brothers did this month in the state of Pennsylvania. Adam Van Zelst and his brother Ryan Van Zelst faced off as college head coaches in a basketball game between teams from schools just outside the city of Philadelphia. Adam is in his fourth season in charge at Arcadia University, while Ryan just started his first year as head coach at Penn State Abington. The Division III schools are just five miles apart in the Philadelphia suburbs. “I actually drive by Arcadia every single day,” Ryan old the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper. Born two minutes apart (Adam is older), the 34-year-old brothers have followed similar paths to head coaching. They grew up in the Philadelphia suburb of Levittown, went to Conwell-Egan High School together and were both captains on the basketball team. When it came time for college, both were recruited and played for Albright College 60 miles west of their home town. They even coached a year together as Albright assistants before going separate ways. Now they’ve come back together — as opponents rather than teammates. Twins or other siblings often pursue similar careers or activities. And sometimes they even face off as rivals. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about twins or siblings who have had such a rival experience. Use what you read to write a letter of advice to the siblings as if you were their father or mother — suggesting the best way to handle the situation.
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.
3. White House Wedding
The White House in Washington, DC, is usually the site of serious government business, but this month it was the setting for some old-fashioned family joy. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden hosted the wedding of President Biden’s oldest granddaughter on the South Lawn of the official residence of the First Family. The bride Naomi Biden is 28 and an attorney at a Washington, DC law firm. The groom is Peter Neal, 25, a recent University of Pennsylvania Law School graduate who works at the Georgetown University Law Center on National Security. The couple were introduced by friends in New York City in 2018 and dated for three years before becoming engaged. Naomi Biden is the daughter of the President’s son Hunter Biden. She and her new husband now live in a third-floor apartment at the White House. Newspapers and online news sites often cover joyous occasions. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about one such occasion. Use what you read to write a personal column discussing what made the occasion joyous, how the people involved made it special, and how it compares to joyful occasions you or your family have had. Share with the class and discuss.
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. Money for Africa
Microsoft founder Bill Gates is one of the wealthiest people in the world with a net worth of more than $100-billion. He also is one of the world’s greatest givers to charity and has pledged to give most of his money away through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other organizations. This month, the Gates Foundation announced a major donation to nations on the continent of Africa — $7-billion to tackle hunger, disease, poverty and gender inequality. The money in Foundation’s pledge will be delivered over the next four years and represents a 40 percent increase in Foundation donations to Africa compared to the previous four years. “Our Foundation will continue to support solutions in health, agriculture and other critical areas and the systems to get them … to the people who need them,” Gates said. Billionaires and millionaires often donate large sums of money to help needy people, nations or communities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about one such donation. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor detailing what the billionaire has donated, how it will help and how it could be a model of giving for other wealthy people.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
5. The Last Word
From the start of the coronavirus epidemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci has been the spokesman for the American government about the risks, prevention and treatment of the disease. Now, at age 81, Fauci has announced he will leave government service next month, stepping down as President Biden’s top medical adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci has been head of the Infectious Disease Institute for 38 years and has served under seven presidents. He has been a national leader on every major health crisis, including AIDS and the Ebola virus, but he didn’t gain wide attention until he became the spokesman for U.S. policy on the coronavirus under former President Donald Trump. In that role he was a lightning rod for public opinion, especially when promoting unpopular tactics such as mask wearing, social distancing and the closing of businesses. And what is his last bit of advice on the virus? “My final message,” he said, “ … is that please, for your own safety, for that of your family, get your updated Covid-19 [coronavirus] shot as soon as you’re eligible to protect yourself, your family and your community.” The coronavirus epidemic is not making headlines as it once did, but it is still having an impact on hospitals and communities. And health officials fear it could surge again when winter arrives. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the impact the coronavirus continues to have on communities. Use what you read to write an open letter to families, detailing key things they should watch for this winter and how they should respond to stay healthy.
Common Core State Standards: Citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.