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for Grades 9-12

Dec. 10, 2018
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For Grades 9-12 , week of Sep. 11, 2017

1. Dreamers Targeted

For years, U.S. leaders have debated what to do about children who entered the country illegally when brought here by parents who secretly immigrated to the United States. Former President Barack Obama protected 800,000 of them from deportation through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but the administration of President Trump has just announced it will end the so-called DACA program for the undocumented immigrants known as “Dreamers.” The President gave the U.S. Congress six months to pass legislation if it wished to amend or preserve the DACA program, which offered protection if Dreamers were making positive contributions to the nation, the military or their communities. Both Democratic and Republican legislators have voiced support for Dreamers and 16 Democratic and nonpartisan state attorneys general have filed suit in federal court to block the president’s move. The decision to end the DACA program has caused great debate across the nation. In the newspaper or online, closely read stories about the debate and points different leaders are making. Then use what you read to write a short editorial giving your opinion on what you would like Congress to do regarding the program over the next six months. Discuss as a class.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

2. Sleep In, Save Money!

It’s no news to teenagers that they like to sleep in. But it is news that if they got to sleep in a little more on school days the nation could save a pile of money. A new study by the RAND Corporation estimates that just by shifting the start of school to 8:30 a.m. could save the U.S. up to $9 billion a year in as little as two years. The savings would be realized by reduction in the number of car crashes among sleepy adolescent drivers and greater career earnings due to stronger academic performance of well rested students, according to the authors of the study. Those benefits would greatly outweigh the costs of implementing the change, most notably the reorganization of bus transportation and hiring more drivers, the authors note. Many studies have examined teenagers’ health and behaviors and how different factors affect their success in school or life. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a study involving teen health or behavior. Write a personal column examining the findings of the study in light of your own experience or the lives of your friends.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; closely reading written or visual texts to make logical inferences from it.

3. Help for Ethiopia

Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries on the continent of Africa, and conditions have been made worse by three years without rain. The drought has dried up food crops and grazing areas for livestock and threatened the 100 million people who live there. Now the United States has announced it will provide an additional $91 million in humanitarian aid to help the people of Ethiopia survive. The extra funding brings total U.S. aid to $454 million for 2017. In return, U.S. officials urged Ethiopian officials to take “concrete steps … for all voices to be heard” in the nation’s politics, uphold constitutional and guaranteed rights and “show greater leadership and invest more resources to combat a worsening humanitarian crisis.” Many nations in the world suffer from poverty, hunger and other problems. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a problem in one of these nations. Use what you read to write a paragraph detailing what the problem is, what the United States or other nations are doing to address it and what more they could do.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

4. A Boost for Bluefin Tuna

Pacific bluefin tuna are at the top of the food chain among ocean species, but overfishing has threatened their existence. Now an agreement reached by tuna-fishing nations may give the bluefin a chance to recover. Under the agreement, the number and size of bluefin that are caught will be regulated with a goal of rebuilding the Pacific bluefin population to 20 percent of historic levels by the year 2034. That is the minimum level scientists think is necessary to protect the species. Countries signing the agreement included the United States, Canada, China, South Korea and Japan, which is the world’s greatest consumer of bluefin tuna. Overfishing has depleted the Pacific bluefin population by more than 97 percent from its historic high point. Protecting endangered or threatened species is a concern all over the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about efforts to protect one species. Think creatively and use what you read to create a series of comic strips, showing two members of the species talking about the problems they face and what help they need. Share with the class and discuss.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

5. Nurse Roughed Up

In the state of Utah, the Salt Lake City police department has apologized to a hospital and a head nurse after one of its officers arrested and roughed up the nurse for refusing to let him draw blood from an unconscious patient. Detective Jeff Payne had wanted to take the blood in connection with a traffic accident case, but he did not have a court warrant giving him authority, and the unconscious patient could not grant permission. When Nurse Alex Wubbels informed Payne that hospital policy did not allow withdrawal without a warrant or consent, he grabbed her, handcuffed her, pushed her out of the building and arrested her. Payne was placed on administrative leave after the police department opened an investigation of the incident. Nurse Alex Wubbels was arrested for standing up for the rights of one of her patients. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another person or group standing up for the rights of others. Write a letter to the editor, discussing the actions of the person or group, and why they are important to the community.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; closely reading written or visual texts to make logical inferences from it.