, week of
Aug. 13, 2018
1. $1-Trillion Apple
With iPhones, iPads, iPods and iTunes, the Apple company has achieved a lot of milestones in the computer industry. This month, it achieved another one, when its stock value topped $1-trillion. That makes Apple the first trillion-dollar company in history — bigger than the entire American media industry combined, including Netflix, Comcast, Disney and all the nation’s TV channels. Apple’s success is all the more remarkable given that the company was almost bankrupt 20 years ago. Though it had been a pioneer in the personal computer industry, it had made a series of bad decisions that let competitors move ahead of it. Under the leadership of the late Steve Jobs, however, Apple developed products like iPhones and iPods that went beyond computers and became “must-have” items for people around the world. Apple is one of the most successful companies ever. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another successful company. Use what you read, prior knowledge and additional research to write a business column detailing how the company became successful, what it offers customers and how that distinguishes it from other companies.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing.
2. World Champions
Education leaders in the United States have been criticized for allowing U.S. students to fall behind those from other nations in math, science and reading. But America’s top math students still can perform at a world class level. This was demonstrated again this summer when high school students from the U.S. won the International Mathematical Olympiad for the third time in four years. The Math Olympiad is the hardest math competition for high school students in the world, with problems that university professors sometimes can’t solve, the Washington Post reports. Yet in this year’s competition, one U.S. student achieved one of just two perfect scores, four others won gold medals and a fifth earned a silver medal to give the United States the team title. Teenagers often do amazing things with their skills, talents and intelligence. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a teen achieving something great or exceptional. Use what you read to write a paragraph detailing what skills the teen needed to be successful, and how he/she acquired those skills. Finish by writing one question you would like to ask the teen about his/her achievement.
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.
3. No ‘Catcalling’
All over the world the #MeToo movement has brought changes in attitudes and awareness about the treatment of women. In the European nation of France, it has brought a new law that makes it a crime to sexually harass people on the street or in public transportation. Under the law, anyone found guilty of “catcalling” or gender-based harassment can be fined up to $875. The law also includes new protections for rape victims under the age of 15. Passage of the law was sparked by a viral video of a 22-year-old woman confronting a harasser, and being slapped across the face. The #metoo movement is having impact around the world. Use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read a story about one situation the #metoo movement has had impact. Write a short editorial analyzing how this case could change attitudes or raise awareness in a positive way about the treatment of women.
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.
4. Ban on Pooh
In books, cartoons and movies, Winnie the Pooh is one of the most popular children’s characters in the world. Except in the Asian nation of China. There, government officials have banned images of Pooh from the Internet after memes were posted comparing the looks of the pudgy Pooh bear to those of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Now the government has extended its anti-Pooh sentiments by blocking release of the new movie “Christopher Robin” in Chinese theaters. The movie includes computer-generated images of Pooh interacting with an adult Christopher, who owned the bear as a child. The Chinese government has had no sense of humor about Pooh, ever since a photo of Xi waving from a parade car went viral when it was posted next to an image of Pooh in a toy car. Government censorship is an ongoing problem in China and other countries that do not guarantee freedom of speech. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about censorship in another country. Write a letter to the editor calling attention to this censorship and detailing how it has a negative effect on life in the country involved.
Common Core State Standards: Closely reading written and visual texts and making logical inferences from them; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
5. University Controversy
In an effort to promote equality between male and female students, Harvard University adopted a new policy that penalizes students if they join single-sex clubs or social organizations. The policy targeted traditionally all-male “final clubs” and other organizations, but all-female groups also were swept up in the new rules. Now one of the university’s all-female sororities has announced it will disband rather than comply with the new policy. Harvard’s chapter of the Delta Gamma sorority voted this spring to disband rather than become “gender neutral,” as other groups have done by going co-ed. The Harvard policy bans students who join single-sex clubs from holding leadership positions in organizations or sports teams recognized by the university and from getting university endorsement for top fellowships or grants. Harvard’s new policy has sparked much discussion about whether it promotes inclusion on campus or violates the guarantee of freedom of assembly outlined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. With family or friends, read stories about the Harvard policy or other policies like it. Discuss whether you think the policy is a good idea or goes too far restricting with whom students can associate. Write a paragraph summarizing your views.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement; writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.