For Grades 9-12 , week of Oct. 07, 2019

1. Impeachment

By launching an impeachment inquiry into the actions of President Trump, the U.S. House of Representatives has opened a new chapter in American history. Just two presidents have been impeached in the 243 years the nation has existed (though a third resigned before the House could vote on impeachment). No president has been removed from office after being impeached. The House made the move to start impeachment proceedings after a “whistleblower” who had worked at the White House alleged Trump sought the help of the president of the European nation of Ukraine to dig up “dirt” on political rival Joe Biden and his son. The discussion, plus talk of military aid to Ukraine, was a “betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. The House, which is controlled by Democrats, will now call witnesses and investigate the allegations of this and other actions by the President. If the House votes to impeach the President, the U.S. Senate will hold a trial to determine if Trump should be removed from office. Two-thirds of the Republican-controlled Senate would need to support removal for it to happen. The impeachment investigation by the U.S. House has heightened tensions between President Trump and Congress. In the newspaper or online, read stories about what is being said by each side. Use what you read to write a political column analyzing the effect the impeachment investigation will have on politics, the 2020 presidential race and the nation.

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. Payday for Athletes?

College sports generate huge enthusiasm — and huge revenue — for schools that have teams. But under NCAA rules, athletes have been banned from making money beyond scholarships for their efforts. That could change now that the state of California has passed a first-of-its-kind law that allows college athletes to sign endorsement deals and hire agents. If not challenged and overturned in court, the law could upend years of tradition and change the way college sports operate. Governor Gavin Newsom, who signed the law after it was passed by California’s legislature, said it corrects practices that have long discriminated against athletes. “Every single student in the university can market their name, image and likeness; they can go and get a YouTube channel, and they can monetize that,” Newsom said in an interview with The New York Times. “The only group that can’t are athletes. Why is that?” The NCAA called the measure “unconstitutional” and said it was considering “next steps” to deal with it. The California law giving new rights to college athletes could have far-reaching effects on college sports. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the law and its potential effects. Use what you read to write an editorial offering your view on whether the law is good or bad for college sports and athletes.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

3. In His Mother’s Footsteps

Before her death in an auto accident, Britain’s Princess Diana campaigned for the removal of land mines in war-torn nations like Angola. This fall, 22 years after Diana visited that African nation to call attention to the problem, her son Prince Harry retraced her steps for the same cause. Though 133 countries have signed a treaty banning land mines, hundreds still are buried in rural parts of Angola. They are left over from a 27-year civil war that ran from 1975 to 2002 and continue to pose a threat to residents. “Land mines are an unhealed scar of war,” Harry said. “… By clearing the land mines, we can help this community find peace, and with peace comes opportunity.” Like other leaders and celebrities, members of Britain’s royal family often work to call attention to problems and issues facing communities and the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a celebrity or leader calling attention to a problem. Use what you read to write a paragraph explaining how the celebrity’s efforts raises awareness about the problem and possible solutions.

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.

4. A Tie That Binds

In addition to enforcing the law, many police officers seek to be role models, showing people the right way to do things. A high school senior from Utah saw that first-hand this fall, and was some grateful. Seventeen-year-old Jake DeLeo was late for his school’s homecoming dance, when his rushed mother got pulled over for not stopping completely at a stop sign. When Park City Officer Mike Carrillo asked why they were in such a hurry, DeLeo told him they were late because they couldn’t figure out how to tie his necktie. He asked the officer if he knew how to do it. Then things got interesting. Carrillo pulled DeLeo out of the car and proceeded to show him how to tie a tie. DeLeo’s mom was so impressed at the gesture she filmed it and posted the moment to Facebook, noting that Carrillo had “saved the day in an unusual way,” CNN News reported. “I’m always wanting to help people,” Carrillo told a local TV station. “So it hit home for me.” Police officers often do things to help people in unusual ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an officer helping in this way. Use what you read to brainstorm a “thank you video” for the officer. Write an outline for the video, including images you would use. Then write the opening scene. Choose a celebrity to narrate the video and explain your choice.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

5. Growing Love

If you want your love to grow, you first have to plant the seed. A man in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador took that message to heart this summer to surprise his fiancé. He planted a carrot seed inside the engagement ring he had bought for her and waited for it to grow. John Neville’s goal was to have the carrot grow inside the ring so it would look like a ring on a finger. It was a longshot, but late last month it paid off. When he asked fiancé Danielle “DeeJay” Squires to help harvest the carrot from the plant pot where it was growing, she discovered the ring perfectly placed on its carrot “finger.” As she pulled it out, Neville got down on one knee and declared: “I love you. Will you marry me?” After a moment’s confusion, Squires nodded “yes,” and a one-of-a-kind proposal was a success. People often do special things to show their love for others. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one example. Use what you read to write a “Love” poem discussing the special ways people share love. Include special ways you, your friends or your family have shared or expressed love. Share poems as a class.

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.