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Lessons for

Grades 1-4
Grades 5-8

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for Grades 9-12

Sep. 17, 2018
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For Grades 9-12 , week of Mar. 05, 2018

1. President for Life?

The Asian nation of China is one of the world's growing superpowers, and much of its success has been due to the leadership of President Xi Jinping. Now a rules change planned by China's ruling Communist Party could make Xi president for the rest of his life. The party has proposed eliminating a rule in the nation's constitution that restricts the term of the Chinese president to "no more than two consecutive terms." The change would allow the 64-year-old Xi to stay in office after his second term ends in 2023. With more than 1.4 billion people, China is a growing economic and political power in the world. In the newspaper or online, closely read stories about China's growing influence. Use what you read to write an editorial or letter to the editor, suggesting ways the United States should respond to China's growing influence.

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. High School Hero

High school sports bring out the best in students in many ways. At a swim meet in Michigan, for example, a freshman swimmer proved he not only was a competitor, but a hero as well. Fifteen-year-old Xavier Staubs of Corunna High School won wide praise for quick thinking that helped save the life of a rival. Staubs had just finished his 200-meter relay race when he noticed a competitor in a nearby lane wasn't getting out of the pool, but sinking to the bottom. Staubs didn't hesitate and dived in to get the rival to the surface. The other boy recovered quickly and resumed breathing on his own without CPR. Staubs later was recognized for his actions in the nation's Congressional Record with a tribute introduced by Michigan U.S. Representative John Moolenaar. Teenagers inspire others in many ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a teen who has done something inspiring. Use what you read to write a personal letter to the teen, explaining how he/she has inspired others by his/her actions.

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

3. New Pollution Source

In the United States and around the world, air pollution is changing. As cars and factories become cleaner, everyday chemicals in things like cleaning, paint and personal care products are becoming an increasing source of pollution, according to a new study. The study by government and university scientists found that chemicals in such products can contribute to the formation of smog, ozone or even small-particle pollution - all of which trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. Noting that "the sources of air pollution are becoming more diverse," researchers said the impact of such chemicals has been underestimated in the past. In addition to cleaning and personal care products, the chemicals can come from pesticides, printing inks and adhesives. Air pollution is a problem in many nations and cities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an air pollution problem somewhere in the world. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a short documentary film or video, explaining the problem, how it came about, what is being done about it and what more could be done.

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

4. Neanderthal Art

Neanderthals were an early species of humans who had thick, muscular bodies and big heads. They were hunters and scavengers and for many years were considered the stereotype of what "cavemen" were like. A new discovery in the European nation of Spain has changed all that. In addition to being strong and muscular, Neanderthals were also artistic and creative. They apparently created paintings on the walls of three caves about 65,000 years ago - the oldest-known paintings in the world. Since modern "homo sapien" humans didn't arrive in Spain until 20,000 years later, the cave paintings provide "incontrovertible proof" that Neanderthals made them. The paintings combined geometric shapes, handprints and attempts to show animals. Cave paintings and other artifacts give scientists clues about how ancient peoples lived. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another discovery of ancient artifacts. Use what you read to write a paragraph or short paper explaining what scientists have learned from the artifacts - and things they still don't understand.

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.

5.'Black Panther' for Kids'

For African Americans and people of color around the world, the "Black Panther" movie has become a powerful symbol of black culture and achievement. Its impact has been so powerful, in fact, that people have raised nearly $800,000 in 50 countries so that black children can see the film and experience its positive message. The fundraising effort got its start in New York City with the Black Panther Challenge, an online fund-raising effort set up to provide tickets for African American kids living in the famous Harlem neighborhood. It since has spread to other states and nations and even attracted the attention of TV host Ellen DeGeneres, who pledged to pay for movie screenings so even more young people could see the movie. Featuring a black superhero, a largely black cast and a story focused on Africa, "Black Panther" sold more than $700 million worth of tickets worldwide in its first two weekends. "Black Panther" has become an important cultural event for African Americans and other people of color. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about why the movie is important to people of color. Use what you read to write a paragraph or short essay discussing how black or African American kids could benefit by seeing "Black Panther."

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