, week of
Oct. 28, 2019
1. What’s Your Costume?
Halloween will be celebrated Thursday night, and in every community people will be dressing up as superheroes, sports stars or characters from books or movies. Or they’ll be pretending to be famous people like sports stars, musicians or even politicians. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a famous person whom people might like to dress up as for Halloween. Write a paragraph explaining why people would want to dress as this person, and whether their costume would be serious or funny. Finish by drawing a picture of a costume you will be wearing (or want to wear) for Halloween. Share it with the class.
Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
2. Cell Phone Addiction
Teens and pre-teens love their cell phones, but sometimes they love them too much. They stay on them hour after hour playing games or texting with friends, and can lose track of time. Overuse of cell phones can be like an addition, experts say, and the habit can be difficult to break. In the Asian nation of South Korea, families can get help with cell phone addiction through a special program set up by the government. The program is voluntary and designed to help students break cell phone habits by attending government-run addiction camps, CNN News reports. At the camps, middle and high school students turn in their phones and participate in a variety of non-phone activities. They also participate in group, family and one-on-one counseling sessions at which they discuss their phone use. For 30 minutes before bed, they are encouraged to meditate. For the first few days participants have an “agonized look” on their faces, a camp director said, but after that they “enjoy hanging out with friends.” Overuse of cell phones is a growing concern in communities around the world. With a partner, find and closely read stories about these concerns and what students, parents, schools and community leaders are doing to address them. Then brainstorm a marketing campaign designed to get teens to reduce their use of cell phones. Come up with an eye-catching theme for your campaign. Then create a newspaper ad, a TV ad and an Internet ad using your theme to encourage teens to reduce cell phone use. Share campaign ideas as a class and discuss.
Common Core State Standards: Integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
3. Honor for a Queen
Queen Latifah is one of the most talented African Americans in the world of entertainment. She has been a rapper, a singer, a TV star, a movie star and a winner of both Grammy and Emmy Awards for music and television. Last week she earned another prestigious award — from world famous Harvard University. Latifah, whose given name is Dana Owens, was one of this year’s winners of the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal, Harvard’s highest honor in the field of African and African American studies. The award is given “to individuals in the United States and across the globe in recognition of their contributions to African and African American culture and the life of the mind.” Past winners of the award include Oprah Winfrey, Dave Chappelle, Nasir “Nas” Jones, Octavia Hudson, LL Cool J, Muhammad Ali, Maya Angelou, Shonda Rhimes and Colin Kaepernick. Queen Latifah’s Harvard award recognizes her wide contributions to African American culture. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about another African American who has made a great contribution to African American culture. Use what you read to write a proclamation honoring this person, citing his/her achievements and telling why they are important.
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. Climate Forum
Global warming and climate change promise to be significant issues debated by candidates in the 2020 presidential race. Republican President Trump does not support efforts to slow climate change, but the Democrats who are running do. To give voters an early look at their views, the Weather Channel will host an independent climate forum for candidates and televise it nationwide on November 7. Six leading Democratic candidates have agreed to be interviewed on the hour-long TV special, along with three Republicans challenging President Trump. The most notable no-show will be former Vice President Joe Biden, who had a scheduling conflict with the taping of the special. Climate change and global warming are important issues for 2020 candidates for president, especially among Democrats. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the views of different candidates on the issues of warming and climate change. Use what you read to write a political column analyzing and comparing views and positions of at least three different candidates.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing.
5. Boxed In
It started as an experiment, but it ended as an embarrassment for a school in the Asian nation of India. To reduce the temptation to cheat on exams, the Bhagat Pre-University College in the town of Haveri outfitted students with cardboard boxes to wear on their heads. The boxes had eye holes so students could see their tests, but blocked vision on the sides. School officials said wearing the boxes was strictly voluntary, and required the approval of parents. But when pictures of the students were posted online, the community reacted with outrage. Noting that the boxes worked like blinders on a race horse, the state education minister said the practice was “unacceptable” and declared “Nobody has any right to treat students … like animals.” Faced with wide disapproval, the school apologized for the experiment. Schools try many things to help students or deal with problems, but sometimes community members don’t approve. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an action taken by schools that the community opposed. Use what you read to write an editorial, summarizing what the action was supposed to achieve, why the community opposed it and what would be a better approach.
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.
Lessons & Classroom Activities
Resources by grade level