Resources for Teachers and Students
, week of
Sep. 24, 2018
1. Free Speech
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, along with freedom of the press, assembly, religion and the right to petition the government to take action. But in many situations across the nation today, audiences who do not like the views of speakers shout them down, or prevent them from speaking at all. On Constitution Day September 17, two members of the Trump Administration targeted college campuses where controversial (and often conservative) speakers have been protested or shouted down. “Today, freedom of speech and thought have come most under attack on the college campus,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “That should shock us.” In a separate event, Education Secretary Betsy Devos said freedom of speech is endangered by the “heckler’s veto,” by which protesters prevent controversial speakers from expressing their views. While Sessions and Devos targeted college campuses, their boss President Trump has himself been criticized for attacking views or criticism he doesn’t like as “fake news.” Freedom of speech is not just the words people speak. It’s also the views they express in art, movies, TV shows, websites, blogs and even the clothes people wear. In the newspaper or online, find examples of people exercising free speech in different ways. Then write a personal column, discussing the ways you and your friends exercise freedom of speech in your daily lives. Share columns with the class and discuss.
Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.
2. A Boost for Success
When you interview for a job or college, it’s always a good idea to “dress for success.” Looking neat and professional always helps make a positive first impression. To help teens and young adults do that, a branch library in New York City has launched a new program to provide essential tools for job or college interviews. The Riverside Branch of the New York Public Library system has put together a collection of ties, briefcases and handbags for people who need them for interviews or special occasions. The program was started by young-adult librarian Michelle Lee after she taught a library class on job-seeking for teens and young adults. When she talked about dressing up for interviews, she found many teens did not have that kind of professional clothing. So she applied for a grant through the library’s Innovation Program, and soon had the money to offer ties, briefcases and handbags that students can take out like books or DVDs with a library card. Preparing for a job or college interview can be a challenge. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories offering advice to help people do well at an interview. Use what you read to design a website offering tips for people preparing for an interview. Design the home page to showcase tips you think are the most important or useful. Pick an image to illustrate each tip. For each tip, write a sentence or phrase telling why it is important.
Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic. they need.
3. Special Storm Meals
When disasters strike, getting food to families who need it is always a challenge. That is especially true after a hurricane floods communities, as Hurricane Florence did in North Carolina. Fortunately for those storm victims, celebrity chef José Andrés and his nonprofit World Central Kitchen team have stepped in. Since the storm struck on September 13, Andrés and his organization have made and delivered more than 100,000 free meals to families, children and other survivors. And he vows to stay as long as people need help. This is not the first time Andrés and his organization have stepped in to help hurricane victims, according to CNN News. After Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico last year, his World Central Kitchen served more than 3.6 million free meals to survivors and stayed in the U.S. territory for more than a year. Many famous people set up nonprofit organizations to provide help for people who need it. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one famous person’s nonprofit group. Use what you read to write a paragraph or short essay examining what the organization is doing, why that is important and how the involvement of the famous person helps call attention to the problem.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing.
4. Longer Travel Time
Traffic is a big problem in and around America’s biggest cities. It’s especially hard for people who have to drive to work — and it’s getting harder. A new survey from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that commuting drive time has increased for workers who travel into — or out from — cities for their jobs. The average commuting time nationwide is now 26.9 minutes, and while the latest increase adds just 18 seconds a trip, that adds up to more than 2.5 hours a year. According to the new survey, New York City has the worst average commuting time at 37 minutes, followed by Washington, DC; San Francisco, California; San Bernardino, California; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Baltimore, Maryland, and Boston, Massachusetts. To ease traffic problems, cities often encourage people to use public transportation such as buses, trains and subways. In teams or pairs, use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read stories about ways cities have tried to get more people to take public transportation. Use what you read to brainstorm a TV or newspaper ad campaign to encourage use of public transportation. Come up with a theme message for the campaign that would appear on each ad. Then outline how content for each ad would illustrate the theme. Present your campaign to the class.
Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.
5. One Trillion, Two Trillion
Just one month after the Apple company became the first to be worth $1-trillion, Amazon has joined the computer giant in reaching that milestone. Amazon achieved that benchmark September 4 when the value of its stock rose to top the $1-trillion mark. A leader in e-commerce online, Amazon is now the nation’s second largest private employer behind Walmart. It started as an online bookseller, but now is involved in cloud computing, moviemaking and other industries. It has registered $4.1-billion in profits this year as its value soared. Apple and Amazon are two of the most successful companies in the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about another successful company. Use what you read to write a paragraph or short paper analyzing how this company became so successful.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.
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