, week of
Jan. 15, 2018
1. Role Models Step Up
Role models and mentors are important to all children and especially to students struggling to overcome obstacles. But sometimes there are more role models available than people realize. Leaders at the Billy Earl Dade Middle School in Dallas, Texas discovered that last month when they planned an event called “Breakfast with Dads” to support boys in the school. When about 150 boys signed up, event organizers grew concerned that some might not have fathers available to attend with them. Through social media, they put out a call for 50 men to volunteer for students who wouldn’t have a father or father figure to attend the event. Nearly 600 showed up to mentor and be role models for the boys, some of them volunteering for the first time. “When a young person sees someone other than their teacher take interest in them, it inspires them,” said the organizer of the event. The response of men who volunteered to be role models made the Dallas event even more successful than its organizers had planned. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a person who is a role model or mentor for students or young adults. Use what you read to write a short editorial, outlining why role models and mentors are important for young people growing up.
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. What a Disaster!
The year 2017 was a devastating one for natural disasters in the United States. Powerful hurricanes pounded southern states and Puerto Rico and wildfires burned thousands of acres in California. As a result, the year was the most expensive ever for disaster costs, totaling more than $306 BILLION in damage, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. The previous record was $215 billion, set in 2005, the year of Hurricane Katrina. A total of 16 weather events topped a billion dollars each in destruction, and included six of the seven disaster categories tracked by NOAA. “We have seen the rare combination of high disaster frequency, disaster cost and diversity of weather and climate … events,” said a top NOAA researcher. Many communities are still recovering from Hurricanes Harvey and Maria and wildfires in California. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about recovery efforts in one area or community. Use what you read to write a paragraph analyzing what has been achieved in the recovery, and what remains to be done.
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.
3. No English Classes
The Middle East nation of Iran is often at odds with the United States and other nations over politics, religion and cultural issues. Now, to prevent a “cultural invasion” from Western nations like the U.S., Iran has banned the teaching of English in primary schools. Iran’s Islamic leaders have often spoken out against the cultural influence of Western nations, and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has asserted that teaching English to young students amounts to the “promotion of a foreign culture in the country and among children, young adults and youths.” Iran’s relations with other nations are often in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about Iran and how it is dealing with other nations. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor explaining one situation and why it is important to the United States or other nations.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.
4. Deer Robots
Illegal hunting by poachers is a problem in every state that allows hunting of deer, elk, bear and other wildlife. In the West Coast state of Washington, Fish and Wildlife officials have turned to technology to catch poachers who break the rules. In the latest hunting season, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife used robots that look like deer, bear, elk and other species to catch poachers. Made with real animal pelts, they are controlled by remote control so that their legs bend, heads turn and tails wag. The robots were used mostly to catch poachers hunting at night after regulated hours. Use of the robots led to the arrests of dozens of poachers during the last hunting season, officials said. Advances in technology have made it possible to develop robots for use in a wide variety of fields. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a new use of robots. Use what you read to prepare a multi-media presentation detailing how the robot is being used and how that is an improvement over the way things were done in the past. Use images from the newspaper or Internet to illustrate your report.
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.
5. Hot, Hot, Hot
If you’re tired of being cold this winter, you might want to take a trip to the other side of the world and visit Australia. While the Midwest and northeastern United States have been setting records for cold temperatures, Australia has been setting records for heat. Australia is located in the Earth’s Southern Hemisphere, so it’s summer there at this time of year when it’s winter in the United States. And it has been a very hot summer. Temperatures outside the city of Sydney hit 117 degrees last week and the heat was so great near the city of Melbourne it melted the asphalt on a six-mile stretch of a highway. What warm place would you like to visit when it is winter in your community? In the newspaper or online, find and read stories about a warm place you would like to visit. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a TV commercial showcasing the attractions of this place. Write the text for your ad and list images you would show to make people want to visit.
Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.
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