Resources for Teachers and Students
, week of
Apr 10, 2017
1. Internet Protections
Should Internet service providers have to get your permission before collecting, sharing or selling data about what you browse on the web, what apps you use or where you are located? The U.S. Federal Communications Commission approved privacy protections for such situations late last year. But the U.S. House and Senate have voted to repeal the protections and President Trump has signed the legislation into law. The privacy rules were intended to give consumers extra control over their personal data, but opponents said they created an uneven “playing field” of rules by treating broadband service providers differently from companies like Google and Facebook, which could still collect and share data. Supporters of the rules argue that repeal effectively hands over the customer's personal information to the highest bidder. “It totally wipes out privacy protections for consumers on the Internet,” said U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo. Internet privacy is an issue important to many people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the repeal of Internet protections by Congress. Use what you read to write an editorial or letter to the editor giving your view on whether the repeal was a good idea. Support your arguments with facts and evidence from your reading
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. Dylan Finally Accepts Nobel
Songwriter and poet Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature last fall, but he caused a controversy when he chose not to show up at the awards ceremony to accept it. Five months later, he agreed to accept his award and medal when he was in Stockholm, Sweden, last weekend for a pair of concerts. The ceremony took placed in a small setting, and the only people attending were Dylan and members of the Swedish Academy that gives the award. No media were allowed at the ceremony, and Dylan did not deliver a Nobel Lecture, which is required if he wants the $900,000 that comes with the prize. Nobel leaders said they believed he would deliver a taped lecture later. The 75-year-old Dylan was chosen for the prize “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” Bob Dylan won fame for writing poem/songs that commented on events in the world. Use the Internet to read examples of Bob Dylan lyrics. Then closely read a story in the news about an issue that is important to you. Use what you read to write a poem/song about the issue in the style of Bob Dylan. Share or perform your works with the class.
Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.
3. Parents & Autism
Parents of autistic children can help reduce the severity of the symptoms and improve the children’s ability to communicate, according to a study published in the medical journal the Lancet. Researchers report that when parents work with therapists, they can learn how to communicate with their children effectively and how to pick up their child’s cues for interaction. The causes of autism are not fully understood, and there is not yet any pharmaceutical treatment or cure for it. The recommended parental interventions show “improvements on a range of measures,” one researcher reports, “but the effects were not dramatic … We are still a long way from individualized programs that might produce lasting behavioral improvements.” Autism is now thought to affect one in 68 American children, with half expected to have intellectual disabilities and about 10 percent never learning to speak. Autism is a condition that concerns parents because it has life-long effects. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about autism and what is known about it. Use what you read to write a letter to a state legislator, U.S. congressman or other government leader asking them to support research into autism, its causes and potential treatments.
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; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
4. The Gun Debate
How much the federal government should regulate gun ownership is an issue that is hotly debated year after year. Presidents may change, but the issue comes up every time legislation is proposed to either increase or reduce gun regulations. Part of that is due to the wording of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which declares “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” As a class, discuss whether you think the wording of the amendment gives everyone the right to own guns, or limits who can own guns. Then use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read a story about a crime that involved a gun. Write a paragraph describing how the use of the gun affected the outcome of the crime. How would the outcome have been different if no one had had a gun?
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. Draw Your Point
Editorial cartoons use art to make a point or state an opinion. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read an opinion piece or editorial. Write a paragraph summarizing the point of view or opinion of the writer. Then use what you have written to draw an editorial cartoon illustrating the opinion of the writer — or your own opinion on the issue. Discuss how editorial cartoons use exaggeration of features and symbols to make their points.
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.
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