, week of
Aug. 26, 2019
1. Buy Greenland?
The Arctic country of Greenland has been in the news a lot this summer, due to a massive melt-off of its ice sheets because of global warming. Now it has gotten the spotlight for an entirely different reason. U.S. President Trump says he wants to buy the autonomous country that is part of Europe’s Kingdom of Denmark, and make it part of the United States. Located between the continents of Europe and North America, Greenland occupies territory so strategically important that the U.S. built a military base there during World War II. It also is rich in natural resources, including coal, copper, iron ore, oil, uranium and other minerals; vast water resources; plus fish and seafood. All these things interest Trump, though he understated that interest by noting “essentially, it’s a large real estate deal.” Officials in Denmark and Greenland dismissed the idea entirely, noting that Greenland “is not for sale.” President Trump’s surprise proposal to have the United States buy Greenland has caused debate and controversy — and the cancellation of a state visit by the President to meet with Denmark’s queen. In the newspaper or online, find and read additional stories about the President’s actions regarding Greenland — and reaction to them. Use what you read to write a political column, analyzing the long-term effects of the President’s actions on the United States’ standing in the world. Discuss with family or friends.
Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.
2. Bold Gun Control Plan
Since the back-to-back mass shootings in Texas and Ohio this month, there has been great debate about what should be done to prevent them in the future. Now a group with first-hand knowledge of mass shootings has come up with a plan that is sure to spark even more discussion. Survivors of the 2018 high school shooting in Parkland, Florida have challenged government leaders to enact tougher gun laws outlined in a “Peace Plan for a Safer America” put together by the March for Our Lives group they founded. The plan would ban assault-style weapons and high-capacity bullet magazines; create a mandatory gun buyback program for assault-style weapons; raise the minimum age to buy guns from 18 to 21; limit purchase of firearms to one a month; and create a national licensing program that would require gun owners to buy a new license for each gun every year. The measures go way beyond proposals put forth by members of the U.S. Congress and others. The Parkland shooting left 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day 2018. Gun control remains a highly charged topic. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the Parkland students’ proposal and other plans to deal with gun violence. Use what you read to write an editorial for the newspaper, outlining actions you think government leaders should take.
Common Core State Standards: Citing textual or visual 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.
3. Steph Curry, Golf Fan
Golf is a sport that does not attract many athletes of color. NBA star Stephen Curry plans to change that. Curry has announced he will fund the revival of a college golf program for men and women at Howard University, one of the nation’s premier black colleges. Curry will make a “seven-figure” donation to fund a Division I golf program and encourage African Americans to increase diversity in golf at the amateur and professional levels. Curry has been playing golf since he was about 10, when he first played with his father, former NBA player Dell Curry. “I just think about how many kids, especially from underserved communities, have the talent to play but just don’t have the funds or the resources,” Steph Curry said. In his donation to Howard University, Steph Curry is seeking to support students of color in fields where they have been underrepresented. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another effort to help students of color succeed in new ways or new fields. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor outlining the importance of this effort now and in the future.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
4. Skiing Send-Off
As a college send-off, the feat pulled off by two Wisconsin teens certainly won’t be forgotten. Madelyn Hendrikse and Braden Dirkse celebrated the start of Hendrikse’s college career by water-skiing 62 miles across Lake Michigan. Hendrikse, 18, and Dirkse, 17, of Oostburg, Wisconsin, wanted to send Hendrikse off in style to Grand Canyon University in Arizona. They certainly did, and had to overcome some challenging conditions to do it. Though the pair had made extensive plans, they encountered rough water in the middle of the lake. It was “nothing but a washing machine,” Hendrikse told CNN News, even though conditions were beautiful near the Wisconsin shore. As a result, the teens had to battle through knee, shin and back pain on their 2 ½ hour journey. “I just prayed through the pain,” Hendrikse said after reaching the Michigan shore. “This journey has taught me that I can achieve anything in life that I set my mind toward.” While she is starting college, Dirkse will finish his senior year in high school. Madelyn Hendrikse and Braden Dirkse wanted to do something memorable to celebrate the start of Hendrikse’s college career. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about people doing something memorable to mark an occasion or call attention to a situation. Use what you read to write a poem, rap or rhyme on how such efforts help people “Remember Me.” Include memorable things you have done, if you wish.
Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.
5. Hairy Sacrifice
Military recruiters often say you have to be willing to sacrifice to be a good soldier. A 23-year-man from the state of Montana made an unusual sacrifice so he could join the Army. Reynaldo Arroyo cut his hair for the first time in 15 years so he could enlist as an infantryman. His dark, wavy hair reached down to his waist, but Arroyo said it was time to change his looks to pursue a military career. “I’m just really excited to be enlisting,” he said in a video posted by Utah’s Salt Lake City Army Recruiting headquarters, where he enlisted. His hair will not be wasted, Arroyo said. He donated all of it to Locks of Love, a group that takes makes wigs for children experiencing hair loss from cancer and other diseases. "Hopefully some little girl’s gonna get it,” he said. People often do dramatic things to change their looks or lifestyle. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone making such a change. Write a letter to the person telling them how you hope the change works out, and how to deal with challenges they may face.
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.