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for Grades 9-12

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For Grades 9-12 , week of Dec. 07, 2020

1. Who Gets the Vaccine?

Americans soon will be able to get a vaccine to protect them from the coronavirus. Two drug companies — Pfizer and Moderna — have developed and tested vaccines and are awaiting approval from health and government officials to distribute them. But who should get the vaccines first? Last week an advisory panel for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that health care workers and the residents and workers at long-term nursing homes should be at the front of the line. The 21-million healthcare workers and 3-million residents and staff of nursing homes in the United States are at “exceptionally high risk” due to contact with people who have tested positive with the virus, the advisory panel said. After that, “essential workers” who cannot work at home would be eligible, including teachers, emergency responders, police officers, grocery workers, corrections officers, public transit workers and others, the New York Times newspaper reported. The development of vaccines for the coronavirus is a hugely important step in protecting people from the disease. Now officials must convince people to take them. In the newspaper or online find and closely read stories about the approval and distribution of the vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna. Use what you read to design a series of public service TV ads urging people to get vaccinated. Create a theme for your ad campaign and write the text for three to five ads. List images you would use for your ads to make them more effective.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.

2. Mask Up!

Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and Jon Stewart are three of the biggest celebrities connected to the state of New Jersey. And as the cases soar from the coronavirus epidemic, they have a message for their fellow New Jerseyans: “Wear a @%#$& mask!” That blunt command, plus pictures of the trio wearing masks, appeared on a billboard on the New Jersey Turnpike to urge people to help stop the spread of the virus by taking the precaution of mask-wearing. “Let’s all come together and #MaskUpNJ so we can get back to what we do best — singing along and dancing together,” Springsteen tweeted on Twitter. Celebrities often can be effective calling attention to issues or getting people to help their communities. In the newspaper or online find and closely read a story about a problem that needs attention in your community, state or the nation. Pick a celebrity to be a spokesperson calling attention to the issue. Write a paragraph explaining why you think the celebrity you chose would be effective calling attention to the problem and getting people to address it.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

3. Wildlife Bridge

Human activities and loss of habitat are two of the biggest challenges facing animal species living in the wild. In the state of Utah, however, people have come up with a way to help wild animals navigate around human activities and development. To help animals get across a busy interstate highway, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources built a bridge just for animals. And the animals are using it! The bridge in the area known as Parley’s Canyon was built in 2018 to reduce traffic accidents involving native animals, CNN News reported. Now, video surveillance cameras have revealed that moose, porcupines, deer and even bears are using the bridge to get across the six-lane highway. “It’s working!” officials posted on Facebook. People often find creative ways to help wildlife. In the newspaper or online, find closely read stories about creative things people or government agencies have done. Then use the newspaper or Internet to find a story or photo involving a wildlife species that interests you. Brainstorm a creative way people could help this species. Write a paragraph explaining your idea. Then draw an illustration to go with it.

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.

4. Milestone Sculpture

Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi was one of America’s most influential and acclaimed artists of the 20th century. Now he has earned another place in history. His sculpture titled “Floor Frame” has become the first work by an Asian American to be added to the White House art collection in Washington, DC. Noguchi’s sculpture was unveiled by First Lady Melania Trump and the White House Historical Association on the east terrace of the newly refurbished White House Rose Garden. The dark metal sculpture is composed of rectangular blocks that appear to sink and rise as if they were “the intersection of a tree and the ground,” the White House said. The work by Noguchi, who died in 1988 at the age of 84, “not only showcases [the] diversity within our nation’s finest art but it also highlights the beautiful contributions of Asian American artists,” Melania Trump said. Communities often display artworks in public spaces to educate the public, promote culture, celebrate history or enhance the enjoyment of residents or visitors. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about public artworks in different communities, how they have been received and what they contribute to the environment. Then discuss public artworks in your community or state with family or friends. Pick one and write an art column discussing how it makes the community a richer or more interesting place to live or visit.

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.

5. Job Assistance

Across the nation, millions of people have lost their jobs or been laid off due to business closures or restrictions caused by the coronavirus epidemic. Finding a new one can be difficult, particularly in communities where thousands of others are also looking. To help people broaden their job searches, a university in the state of California has taken the unusual step of opening up the employment resources it offers students to the whole community. California State University, East Bay, which is located about 30 miles east of the city of San Francisco, has published a public database of remote job vacancies across the country to help people struggling to find employment, CNN News reports. The university regularly shares job opportunities with its students but chose to expand services to the rest of the country to “enhance their chances of landing a job again.” The database has more than 3,000 active job openings in different fields and will be regularly updated, the university said. Many communities and institutions are offering assistance to help people find jobs. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about some of these efforts. Use what you read to write a consumer column alerting job-seekers to programs that could be the most helpful in finding a job.

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.