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For Grades 9-12 , week of Apr 24, 2017

1. It’s Not Worth It!

Be careful, thrill seekers. Taking a dangerous selfie could leave you badly injured — or cost you your life. “None of that is worth a selfie!” warned a county sheriff’s office in California after a woman fell 60 feet off a bridge while climbing around on the bridge’s support girders. The Sheriff's Office said the woman and a group of friends were walking on the bridge's girders when she attempted to take a selfie and fell from the Foresthill Bridge in Placer County. She landed on a trail below, was knocked unconscious, suffered a deep gash to her arm and fractured bones that will require surgery, according to a friend who was there. “It’s a cool place to take pictures, but obviously not worth the risk,” the friend said. The woman had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital. When people take selfies, they sometimes lose track of dangers involved. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about people who have been injured taking selfies. Use what you read to create a short safety film showing things that could happen and how to stay safe. Write an outline for your film, including images you would use. Give your film a style that would appeal to students your age. Discuss style and content as a class.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

2. Now That’s a Prom Invite!

If you’re going to dream, dream big! A high school junior from Arizona certainly did. He was looking for a date for the prom and decided it would be great to go with Emma Stone. Yes, THAT Emma Stone, who won an Oscar for her role in the movie “La La Land.” Jacob Staudenmeier knew it was a long shot, so he went all out: He and his friends re-created the musical traffic jam scene from the opening of the movie, and he reworked the lyrics of the song "Another Day of Sun" to make his pitch. "I know my voice ain't great, but please be my prom date," Staudenmeier sang in his video of the scene, dressed in a tuxedo and sunglasses. In a note, Stone thanked Staudenmeier “for making the greatest proposal I have ever received,” but said she could not make it because she’s working overseas. In his prom-date video, Jacob Staudenmeier rewrote the words of a familiar song to create a new message. In the newspaper or online, read a story or watch a video of a song you like. Pretend you want to invite someone to a special occasion. Re-write the words of the song with a new and creative message. Perform songs if you dare!

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

3. 20 Million at Risk

Wars can take a terrible toll, and not just in the actual fighting. In the nations of South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen this year, wars have left 20 million people facing famine and starvation. That is more people facing famine than at any time since World War II more than 70 years ago. As defined by the United Nations, famine occurs when the death rate in a region exceeds 2 per 10,000 people per day. Each of these four countries is involved in a long-running conflict. The constant violence can prevent aid workers from getting into affected areas, and in some cases warring parties use forced starvation as a tactic. Experts say humanitarian assistance can save lives in the short term, but the food crises cannot be solved long term without a peace agreement. When nations or regions face starvation or other crises, other nations often step in. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a crisis facing a nation or region elsewhere in the world. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, detailing ways that other nations could get involved — and what would be the most effective thing to do.

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.

4. The Jobs Picture

In the month of March, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 4.5%, the lowest level since May 2007. That was the good news. The not-so-good news was that the nation only added 98,000 new jobs, according to the U.S. Labor Department. That disappointed employment experts, since the U.S. had added 219,000 jobs in February and averaged 187,000 new jobs a month last year. According to new statistics, workers are starting to get bigger raises, with wages 2.7% higher in March compared to a year ago. At the same time, most of the raises were going to supervisors. “The bosses are getting paid more, while the worker bees aren’t,” one jobs expert said. Hiring continues to be strong in health care and manufacturing, but retail stores are struggling due to competition from the Internet. One of the challenges of hiring people is matching skills people have to positions that are open. In the newspaper or online, survey Help Wanted advertising for jobs that are open. Pick one and write a paragraph detailing what skills are needed for the position and how those skills can be acquired.

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. Yahoo Selling to Verizon

Yahoo has agreed to sell its core Internet operations and land holdings to Verizon Communications for $4.5 billion. A pioneer in the social media industry, Yahoo is left with about $41 billion in Asian e-commerce investments, compared to its peak value in 2000 of more than $125 billion. Yahoo was one of the last independently operated pioneers of the web. Despite constant management turmoil, it kept growing and offering more services, supported by advertising displayed on its pages. It eventually was eclipsed by two younger competitors, Google and Facebook, and it was damaged by the revelation that there had been serious security breaches affecting user accounts. The breaches led to a reduction of the sale price to Verizon of about $250 million. When one company acquires another, it does a great deal of research to determine key issues involved with the company being acquired. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one company seeking to acquire another. Use your reading to write a business column, detailing what are the most important issues the purchasing company should know about the company being acquired.

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.