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Lessons for

Grades 1-4
Grades 5-8

Past lessons
for Grades 9-12

Sep. 09, 2019
Sep. 02, 2019
Aug. 26, 2019
Aug. 19, 2019
Aug. 12, 2019
Aug. 05, 2019
July 29, 2019
July 22, 2019
July 15, 2019
July 08, 2019
June 24, 2019
June 17, 2019
June 10, 2019
June 03, 2019
May 27, 2019
May 20, 2019
May 13, 2019
May 06, 2019
Apr 29, 2019
Apr 22, 2019
Apr 08, 2019
Apr 01, 2019
Mar. 25, 2019
Mar. 18, 2019
Mar. 11, 2019
Mar. 04, 2019
Feb. 25, 2019
Feb. 18, 2019
Feb. 11, 2019
Feb. 04, 2019
Jan. 28, 2019
Jan. 21, 2019
Jan. 14, 2019
Jan. 07, 2019
Dec. 17, 2018
Dec. 10, 2018
Dec. 03, 2018
Nov. 26, 2018
Nov. 19, 2018
Nov. 12, 2018

For Grades 9-12 , week of Apr 29, 2019

1. Showdown with Congress

When Democrats took over the U.S. House in the 2018 elections, they vowed to exercise greater oversight of the actions of Republican President Trump and his administration. But vowing to do something and actually doing it may turn out to be very different things. That became clear this month when the President announced he is opposed to current and former White House aides testifying to congressional committees about topics such as Russian meddling in the last presidential race and the President’s efforts to stall the investigation. He said the release of the report by Special Counsel Robert Muller makes it unnecessary for aides to testify on those topics, even though many parts of the report have been blacked out, or “redacted.” Trump said he would exercise “executive privilege” to block testimony by aides on the grounds their experiences were confidential. Democrats accused the President of “stonewalling” legitimate inquiries and said they would go to court if necessary to secure cooperation. Conflicts between the President and the U.S. House continue to make news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about what issues are in dispute. Use what you read to write a political column analyzing what has happened, why it is important and what could happen in the future.

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.

2. Earth Day Protests

To mark Earth Day this year, thousands of protesters took to the street around the world to call attention to the threat of global warming and climate change. Organized by a group calling itself the Extinction Rebellion, the protests resulted in thousands of arrests from Los Angeles, California to London, England. In London alone, more than 1,000 people were arrested in non-violent protest demonstrations. Sixteen-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg told London protesters that “for way too long the politicians and the people in power have gotten away with not doing anything” about climate change. She then asserted that politicians “will not get away with it for any longer.” The Extinction Rebellion protests called attention to the effects of climate change and global warming. In the newspaper or online find and closely read stories about other ways people are calling attention to these issues. Write a letter to the editor, assessing which approaches you think are effective and which you think are not.

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. Drug Charges

Communities all over the nation are struggling to deal with the opioid drug crisis that has caused thousands of deaths and overdoses from the abuse of legal painkillers. Now law enforcement officials are taking a new approach to stopping the flow of opioids into communities. For the first time, federal prosecutors have filed criminal charges against a drug distribution company and two of its former executives for their role in distributing narcotics for non-medical purposes. The executives of the Rochester Drug Cooperative could face 10 years to life in prison. Prosecutors said they and their company approved distribution of “tens of millions” of opioid pills to drugstores, even though they knew the pills were not being used for legitimate medical purposes. Since 1999 more than 400,000 people have died of opioid overdoses in the United States. All across the nation communities and states are struggling to deal with the opioid crisis. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about different approaches. Use what you read to write a paragraph or short paper examining one approach you think could be effective. Be sure to support your views with evidence from your reading.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

4. African Animation

The Netflix entertainment company is always looking for fresh programming to offer audiences. Soon its offerings will include something the company has never tried before. Netflix has just announced it has signed its first deal to feature an original African animated series. The show, called “Mama K’s Team 4,” will feature the adventures of four futuristic teen girls recruited by an ex-secret agent to save the world, CNN News reports. Its animation will be created by Cameroonian artist Malcolm Wope, with a story by Zambian writer Malenga Mulendema. Mulendema sees tremendous potential in the breakthrough project. “I hope to introduce the world to four strong African girls who save the day in their own fun and crazy way,” she said in a statement released by Netflix. “Most importantly, I want to illustrate that anyone from anywhere can be a superhero.” Movies and TV series often are inspired by events and characters from real life. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about people and events that could be the subject of a movie or TV show. Use what you read to write a “pitch letter” to a movie or TV company, telling why the person or event would make a good show or movie and how you would develop the idea. Share with the class.

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.

5. A New Emperor

In the Asian nation of Japan, the emperor is head of the Imperial Family and head of state for the nation. He does not run the government — the prime minister does that — but performs ceremonial functions, much like the Queen of England in Europe. Next month, Japan will get a new emperor, following the decision of Emperor Akihito to step down at the age of 85. He will be succeeded by his son, Crown Prince Naruhito, on May 1. To mark the occasion, Japan has announced that the era of Prince Naruhito will be officially known as the “Reiwa” era, a name symbolizing “auspiciousness” and “harmony.” Emperor Akihito’s era was known as the “Heisei” era, which means “achieving peace.” In Japan, it is a tradition that the era of each emperor is given a symbolic name that expresses its values or goals. If other nations did this, what would be the result? In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about leaders in the United States or other nations. Pick three and brainstorm a Japanese-style label for the era of each leader. Write a paragraph for each, explaining your choice. Share with the class and discuss.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.