Yak’s Corner

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For Grades 9-12 , week of Aug. 21, 2017

1. Red Wing Outrage

All over the country, people are grappling with the deadly violence that exploded in Charlottesville, Virginia when a group of white supremacist and Nazi marchers clashed with demonstrators who opposed their views. Few would have predicted that the Detroit Red Wings would be swept up in the debate. But the popular NHL hockey team has found itself one of several top businesses struggling with how to respond to their products or symbols being used by white and Nazi groups that embrace bigotry. At the “Unite the Right” march in Charlottesville some participants carried signs that took the logo of the Red Wings and altered it to incorporate Nazi imagery, prompting the team to consider “every possible legal action” against a Michigan group calling itself the Detroit Right Wings. In a sharply worded statement, the team said the Red Wings “vehemently disagree with and are not associated in any way” with the Charlottesville rally. “We celebrate the diversity of our fan base and our nation.” From the White House to small towns, debate over the Charlottesville violence continues to be heated across the country. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the debate and what people are saying. Use what you read to write an editorial for the newspaper, giving your opinion about the greatest lessons the nation has learned from the incident and its aftermath. Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

2. From Dealer to Teacher

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the life of Quamiir Trice is both a feel-good story and a give-back story. When he was 15, he was arrested for selling crack and sent to the city’s juvenile justice center. This month, he starts a new life teaching fourth grade at one of the city’s elementary schools. In between, he “found himself” at a special residential program for troubled youths, got the grades he needed to go to community college and Howard University, and even got encouragement from President Barack Obama. Inspired to teach by a younger brother who looked up to him, he was hired by Philadelphia as part of a push to recruit more black men as teachers. He wants to use his life as a lesson to others, and give back to the community. “I’m not running away from my past,” he says. “I’m using it as a teaching tool.” People who overcome obstacles or turn their lives around often inspire others. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about such a person. Use what you read to write a poem, rap, rhyme or song expressing your reaction to the person’s experience and how it could inspire others

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.

3. High School Football

Football is the most popular sport among high school athletes, with more than one million participants at U.S. schools last year. But with concerns about head injuries and the growing popularity of sports like soccer, there are signs football may be growing less popular than it was in the past. A report by the National Federation of State High School Associations noted that the number of high school football players dropped by 25,901 in 2016-2017. And a more recent study in the state of California indicates that participation in football declined more than 3 percent in each of the last two years in that state, and more than 10 percent over the last 10. Many parents are reconsidering whether they want their children to play football. In the newspaper or online, find and read stories examining their reasons. Use what you read to write a sports column, outlining the risks and benefits parents should consider and whether you would want your own child to play football.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; closely reading written or visual texts to make logical inferences from it.

4. Bruce on Broadway

Rock star Bruce Springsteen has filled all kinds of stadiums and concert halls during his career. This fall, he will perform in a place where he has never taken the stage. Springsteen has announced he will do a solo show on Broadway in New York City’s theater district October 3 through November 26. The show “Springsteen on Broadway” will chronicle his life and music and feature Springsteen alone onstage with just his guitar and a piano. Some of the show will be spoken, and some of it sung. “I wanted to do some shows that were as personal and as intimate as possible,” the singer said, joking that the Walter Kerr Theatre “is probably the smallest venue I've played in the last 40 years.” Small venues give audiences a chance to get close to performers. In the newspaper or online, find and read stories about a performer you like. Then think like a music critic, and write a column explaining why you would like to see this artist perform in a small setting and why that would be special to you. Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

5. Opioid Emergency

All over the country, use of opioid drugs has led to addiction and deaths for thousands of people. The problem has been growing over the last few years, and this month President Trump declared it has become a “national emergency.” “We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis,” he said. “It is a serious problem, the likes of which we’ve never had.” Health officials estimate that 2.6 million Americans are addicted to opioids, which include legal and illegal drugs ranging from prescription painkillers to heroin. So many have become addicted that local police, firefighters and paramedics now routinely carry an overdose drug that can halt overdoses and save lives. Communities all over the country are looking for information on how to deal with the opioid crisis. In the newspaper or online, find and read stories about issues they want information about. Then use what you read to design a website offering information about opioids and the opioid emergency. Design the home page to show categories of information you want to highlight. Pick an image to illustrate each category. Then write headlines and text blocks to briefly explain each category.

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; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.