Resources for Teachers and Students
, week of
Oct. 23, 2017
1. A Mideast Milestone
In the battle against terrorism in the Middle East, great effort has been made to defeat the Islamic State known as ISIS, or ISIL. This month, forces backed by the U.S. military achieved a significant victory when they regained control of the Islamic State’s onetime capital city of Raqqa in the nation of Syria. The drive to capture the city had been going on since June, with Syrian Democratic Forces advancing on the ground and U.S.-led warplanes bombing the Islamic militants from above. Small groups of militants had taken a final stand inside Raqqa’s main hospital and stadium, but others surrendered during the final days of the battle. It is not known what the future holds for the city. Many buildings have been destroyed, and residents have fled to refugee camps elsewhere in the country. The fight against ISIS has been an ongoing battle in Syria. And what will happen next is not clear. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about efforts to defeat ISIS in Syria. Use what you read to summarize the latest events, and the challenges to be faced in the next few months.
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.
2. Wildfire Pollution
Wildfires cause tremendous damage to communities and natural areas. They also cause great damage to the air. According to air quality experts, the wildfires devastating Northern California this month produced as much air pollution in the first week as all the motor vehicles in the state produce over an entire year. More than 10,000 tons of breathable “particulate matter” were produced in the first week, according to CNN news, and on one day the air quality rating soared to 486, more than two times what is considered “very unhealthy.” Exposure to particles from wildfire smoke can cause respiratory troubles including chest pains, a fast heartbeat or an asthma attack. As recovery efforts begin, officials are still gathering information on the full impact of the Northern California wildfires. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about different ways the fire has had impact. Use what you read to write a short editorial, detailing the most important things that California needs to do to deal with the effects of the wildfires.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
3. Fur-Free Fashion
In the fashion world, Gucci is one of the most famous luxury brands. Now the Italian company is gaining fame for a decision that affects the treatment of animals. Gucci has announced it will go fur-free in its fashions, starting with the clothing it will introduce in its Spring-Summer collection for 2018. Under the new policy, Gucci will not use mink, coyote, raccoon dog, fox or any other animal bred or caught for its fur. “Being socially responsible is one of Gucci's core values, and we will continue to strive to do better for the environment and animals,” Gucci president Marco Bizzarri said. Companies choose to be socially responsible in many different ways. As a class, discuss some of these ways and how they help the community. Then find and closely read a story about a business in your community. Brainstorm a way this company could be socially responsible to help the community. Write a letter to the company, outlining reasons that the company could benefit by helping the community in a socially responsible way. Finish by checking the company’s website to see what things the company already is doing to help the community in a socially responsible way.
Common Core State Standards: Responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
4. An Ancient Theater
Archaeologists are always making discoveries that shed light on ancient life. In the latest example, a team in the Middle East city of Jerusalem has discovered a site that helps explain the role that public spaces like theaters played in ancient Roman times. Archaeologists working next to the Western Wall holy site have found what they believe was a theater used when Romans controlled the area 1,700 years ago. Located next to the Wilson’s Arch landmark, the theater is a roofed building that could have held have held about 200 people. That is much smaller than many Roman theaters, leading researchers to believe it could have been used for small musical performances or for meetings. Buildings can tell archaeologists a lot about how people lived or worked in the past. What could future archaeologists learn about buildings people use today? In the newspaper or online, find a photo of a building people use today. Study the photo closely. Then use what you see to write a paragraph or short paper detailing what the building’s features would tell future archaeologists about how people live or work now. Share with the class and discuss.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; 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.
5. Criminal Booing
In many nations, booing is a familiar part of sports events, but in the Asian region of Hong Kong it is now considered a crime. At least if it involves the national anthem of China. For many years Hong Kong was controlled by the European nation of Great Britain, but it since it was returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 there have been constant tensions over Chinese control. Now those tensions have surfaced at soccer matches in Hong Kong, where fans who oppose Chinese authority have been booing during the playing of the Chinese national anthem, the “March of the Volunteers.” In response China’s government passed a law in September that threatens jail time for anyone who disrespects or mocks the national anthem. Under the law, fans who boo the anthem face 15 days in jail, with the possibility of additional criminal charges. When people seek to protest, they often look for unusual ways to call attention to issues or problems. In the newspaper or online find and closely read stories about different ways people have chosen to protest. Use what you read to write a political column, outlining one or more ways that you think are particularly effective.
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.
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