, week of
Feb. 12, 2018
1. Lottery Dilemma
Most people would love to win a half-billion-dollar jackpot in a lottery game. But a woman in the state of New Hampshire is unhappy that she can't collect the $560 million Powerball prize she won unless she reveals her name and the town where she lives. Fearing that she will be targeted by people who want the money, she has gone to court to ask that her name remain private when collecting the prize. New Hampshire's lottery is run by the state government, and lottery rules require the winner's name and town be made public to comply with the state's open-records laws. The woman's lawyer, however, notes that as "an engaged community member" the woman wants to maintain her "freedom to walk into a grocery store or attend public events without being known or targeted as the winner of a half-billion dollars." Many people value privacy and don't want their lives exposed to public attention. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone who is seeking privacy or has lost privacy in their lives. Use what you read to write a personal opinion column titled "My Privacy." Use your column to explain why privacy is important to you, or situations in which you would want privacy. Discuss columns as a class.
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. Don't Fear Failure
Nick Foles threw three touchdown passes, caught a fourth and earned Most Valuable Player honors in this year's Super Bowl. But just under two years ago, he almost quit football after being benched and released by the Los Angeles Rams. He didn't - and the Philadelphia Eagles are certainly glad. They signed him as a backup quarterback this year, and when starter Carson Wentz was injured, Foles stepped in and led the team to an upset Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots. Foles has learned a lot from his up-and-down career, and a day after the Super Bowl he shared some advice. Asked what he would tell others about his experience, Foles said: "I think the big thing is don't be afraid to fail. … Failure is a part of life. That's a part of building character and growing. … Without failure, who would you be? I wouldn't be up here if I hadn't fallen thousands of times. … When you look at a struggle in your life, just know that's just an opportunity for your character to grow. … Embrace it. Because you're growing." Everyone learns from their experiences. As a class, discuss experiences you have had and what you learned from them. Then use the newspaper and Internet to find and closely read a story about someone who has learned from an experience. Write a letter to the editor, summarizing what the person has learned and how that can help others deal with issues in their lives.
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.
3. Tomb of a Priestess
Archaeologists love exploring the African nation of Egypt because there always seem to be new discoveries there. The latest sheds light on the life and influence of a priestess who lived more than 4,400 years ago. The discovery near Egypt's famous Giza pyramids is a tomb thought to be the final resting place of a high-ranking priestess named Hetpet, who served the goddess Hathor. Hathor is associated with motherhood, love and fertility, Egyptian officials said, and the tomb contains rare wall paintings showing domestic scenes. "The tomb is in very good condition," said Mostafa Waziri, the secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities. "There are colored depictions of traditional scenes: animals grazing, fishing, bird-catching, offerings, sacrifice, soldiers and fruit-gathering." Tombs and other archaeological sites give scientists and historians a look at the way people lived in ancient times. In the newspaper or online, find and study a photo of a room where people live or work today. Pretend you are an archaeologist from the future and write a paragraph detailing what the room tells about how people live or work today. Use visual evidence from the photo to support your points.
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. Playful Coyote
People who love wild animals know they can do some pretty strange things. Consider the playful coyote in the city of San Francisco, California. The story about the coyote's antics came to light when a newspaper delivery man started getting complaints that customers didn't get their papers. This was strange, since he knew he had delivered the papers to their homes. So he hung around and did a little detective work. What he discovered surprised him: A neighborhood coyote was stealing papers - just to play with them! As the deliveryman searched the neighborhood, he found the coyote on a grassy hill, using a newspaper as a toy. Because he felt no one would believe it, he videoed the coyote tossing the paper in the air, sliding down the hillside on it, and running around with pages flapping from its mouth. The delivery man didn't get angry, though. Now he just tosses an extra paper on the hill where the coyote likes to play. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a wild animal doing something interesting or unusual. Use what you read to create a series of comic strips showing the animal doing its unusual activity.
Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.
5. Looted Art
Before and during World War II, Nazi Germany confiscated thousands of paintings and artworks from Jewish families and institutions and others that the government of Adolf Hitler targeted. Now, in an effort to find families of the original owners, the famous Louvre Museum has mounted an exhibit of seized art in Paris, France. It is the first time the Louvre has dedicated an area to display Nazi-looted artworks in one space. The Louvre holds about 1,752 artworks looted by the Nazis, most of which were purchased directly or indirectly from the French government. The government obtained them when about 61,000 artworks were returned to France from Nazi Germany after World War II. About 45,000 were returned to survivors, but thousands of others were sold to museums or private collectors to raise money for war-recovery efforts. Museum officials say the goal of the exhibit is to return "everything we can" to families of the original owners but critics say the effort is "too little too late." Around the world, communities and institutions are taking action to address injustices from the past. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about one effort. Use what you read to write an editorial giving your view about the effort to address the past injustice, and whether you think it goes far enough.
Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
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