Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

FOR THE WEEK OF DEC. 11, 2017

Tech and electronic gifts: See what's new and imaginative for this month’s holidays

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Look for a mention of one or more gift items – tech or not – that you'd like.
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Find news of a local holiday performance, display or other event that's appealing.
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Can you spot coverage of people or groups helping the less fortunate?

Parents and other relatives shopping for holiday season presents that you'll enjoy more than a few weeks or even months can pick from new tech gadgets and electronic diversions. Choices get cooler and more interactive each year. Popular categories include apps, video games and consoles, audio gear and all sorts of programmable stuff. Some items are digital upgrades of traditional favorites grandparents remember from a B.C. era (Before Computers).

In the audio category, the new Beats Solo3 wireless headphones have a 40-hour battery life and can sync with a phone. Star Wars fans (who isn't, right?) can role-play with a Jedi Challenges AR headset that works with an iOS or Android phone to enable the game app. It's from Lenovo and comes with a lightsaber controller and a tracking beacon to arm you for virtual battles to seek galactic peace – or dominance. ViewMaster, a non-digital which let older generations view 3D slides, now has a virtual reality-style model from Mattel that shows 360-degree views of scenes using Google Cardboard technology.

If you like vinyl records, there’s a three-speed turntable with built-in Bluetooth speakers that let users stream music from a mobile device – another cool combo of vintage and now. In gaming, the new Xbox One X provides more immersive gaming and entertainment via 6 teraflops of graphical processing power and a 4K Blu-ray player. Nintendo follows up on last year's blockbuster NES Classic with another vintage game console for 2017 that’s selling out. Buyers who manage to find one from a limited restock get a miniaturized version of the 16-bit '90s Nintendo console, with two controllers and 21 retro games like Super Mario Kart and The Legend of Zelda preloaded. Other throwbacks, available on Amazon, are mini-arcade game versions of six 1980s classics -- Pac-Man, Frogger, Centipede, Asteroids, Space Invaders and Q'Bert. Each has a joystick control and arcade-style sounds. As for 2017 games, Star Wars Battlefront II and Call of Duty: WWII are the hottest new releases. Both are available on PC, Xbox One and PS4.

Videogame updates: Star Wars Battlefront II additions are based on a film coming out this week, "Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi." Players align themselves with the First Order or New Republic. There's also a new Galactic Assault map, a Starfighter Assault map and a new vehicle (Tallie's A-Wing).

Videogame critic says: "Star Wars Battlefront II is an online casino designed to lure kids into spending money. It's a trap." – Hawaii State Rep. Chris Lee, a Democrat, who criticizes "loot boxes" requiring payments

Mom blogger says: "When I saw friends on social media talking about adopting a new four-gift strategy -- something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read -- I decided to jump on the bandwagon." – Ashley Austrew at cafemom.com

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2017
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