For Grades 9-12 , week of Mar. 21, 2022

1. War Video Medicine

All over the world people are looking for ways to help the Ukrainian people in their war against Russian invaders. In the U.S. state of Massachusetts, doctors in the city of Boston turned to the Internet to provide medical care from far away. The doctors made a series of YouTube videos showing how ordinary, non-medical people can control bleeding wounds caused by warfare. The videos, which are narrated in the Ukrainian language, were created by U.S. doctors with ties to Ukraine or family who still live there. With written and oral instructions, they show how to stop the bleeding of wounds by applying pressure with bandages or tying tourniquet straps to arms and legs. “Even if one life is saved with this video, it’s totally worth it,” said Ukrainian-born surgeon Nelya Melnitchouk, in an interview with the Washington Post newspaper. Relief and rescue agencies from around the world are looking for ways to provide medical help for Ukrainian people wounded or injured in the war with Russian soldiers. In the newspapers or online, find and closely read stories about different efforts. Use what you read to write an editorial recommending agencies to support that are providing the most effective services.

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.

2. No More ‘Squaws’

In the history of America, white settlers, communities and explorers gave names to places that now are considered offensive to African Americans, Native Americans and other minorities. Many derogatory names have been purged from maps and geography books in recent years. Now the U.S. Interior Department is looking to eliminate a word that many Native Americans consider offensive to both Native people and women. The word is “squaw,” a word once used to describe Native women and mothers. It appears in the names of at least 660 federal sites, and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland wants to find alternatives. Haaland, who is the first Native American cabinet secretary in U.S. history, is asking for help from American Indian tribes in finding new names for mountains, rivers, valleys and other landmarks that include the term. Changing the names would “make our nation’s public lands and waters accessible and welcoming to people of all backgrounds,” Haaland said. All across the United States, government leaders, communities and institutions are re-examining names that could cause offense or statues of people who did things that are now considered prejudiced or offensive. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one case. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor offering your view on how the offensive term, person or actions should be dealt with.

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. A New Selena Album

Before her untimely death at the age of 23, the Mexican American singer Selena had earned a world-wide following for her albums and concerts of Spanish-language Tejano music. Now, 27 years after her death, her family has announced it will be releasing a new Selena album next month featuring new arrangements of familiar songs and one new song recorded when she was just 13. The new song, which will lead off the coming album, has been digitally altered to make her voice sound as it did as an adult just before she died in March 1995. In addition, three of her familiar songs are being presented in new styles and genres. The changes have been made digitally by Selena’s brother, A.B. Quintanilla, who is producer of the new album. New technology is making it possible to do new things in music, and not just altering Selena’s voice to make her sound older. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about ways new technology is being used to create new musical experiences with both living and dead artists. Use what you read to write a music column analyzing the benefits and liabilities of using technology this way in music.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

4. Re-Usable Starbucks

To reduce trash pollution and encourage “green” lifestyles, Starbucks is working on a radical idea for a fast-food company. It plans to eliminate disposable cups for takeout coffee and other drinks. Under plans currently in the works, customers would receive takeout drinks in reusable cups they borrow from the store — or in cups of their own. Borrow-a-cup programs would require customers to pay a deposit for a reusable cup and get the money back when the cup is returned after use, CNN News reports. The company wants to implement the change by the end 2025, but there still are things to be worked out. Of special concern is drive-through service. To figure out how to run drive-through efficiently, Starbucks has set up mock stores to test different designs for customers using private or reusable cups. It also is testing how to efficiently pick up and clean reusable cups. Many companies are making changes to reduce pollution or operate in a “greener” way. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about some companies that are doing this. Use what you read to plan a “Special Report” for TV news on companies “going green.” Write an outline for your report. Then choose one company to focus on in the opening scene. Write that scene.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

5. What a Birthday!

When people celebrate a birthday, they usually want a way to make it memorable. A college student in the state of North Carolina turned 19 this month and got a birthday present she’ll never forget. For the first time in her life Laniah Ashley bought a lottery ticket — and she won a $100,000 prize! Ashley was home for spring break as a freshman at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and bought the ticket while out with her grandparents for a birthday dinner, CNN News reported. She chose a Cash Scratch-Off ticket because she “thought the colors … looked pretty.” When she scratched the ticket at her grandparents’ house, she couldn’t believe her eyes. “I was too excited to believe it was true,” she said. “I kept looking at the numbers and reading the rules over and over again. I was too stunned to speak.” After taxes Ashley will receive $71,016 of the total prize. She says she will put it toward her college education and also to help her grandparents. When people win lottery prizes they often plan to do special things. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a person who did something special after winning a lottery prize. Use what you read and personal experience to write a letter to a friend telling what you would do if you won $100,000 as Laniah Ashley did. Share with the class and discuss.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.