Resources for Teachers and Students
, week of
May 21, 2018
1. Legal Sports Betting
Illegal betting on sports events is a $150 billion “underground” business across the United States. Now the U.S. Supreme Court has given individual states the authority to make sports betting legal if they choose. The High Court struck down a federal law that prohibited states from allowing sports betting. “The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make,” wrote Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., in the decision. “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own.” Professional sports leagues and the NCAA opposed allowing states to approve sports betting on the ground it would be a threat to the integrity of their games. The Supreme Court ruling on sports betting will have wide impact on how people watch and follow sports. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about different ways the ruling could affect sports. Use what you read to write an editorial or sports column, analyzing key effects the ruling could have.
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.
2. Dr. Dre & Dr. Drai
Dr. Dre has had huge success in the rap world, having discovered such future stars as Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent. His influence didn’t sway officials of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, however, in a dispute with a women’s doctor and gynecologist. At issue was whether Dr. Draion M. Burch could call himself “Dr. Drai” on audio books and at health seminars he leads. Dr. Dre the rapper objected to the use of the similar name, arguing that it would cause “confusion” among consumers because the types of products and services Burch offers are “sufficiently related” to those the rapper markets. Dr. Dre said both he and Burch offer “MP3 files, magazines, audio books … and other types of public performance” — even though the subject matter of each is completely different. The Patent and Trademark Office said it was unlikely consumers would confuse Dr. Dre with Dr. Drai and dismissed the rapper’s case. Trademark law protects a business’s commercial identity or brand by discouraging other businesses from adopting a name or logo that is “confusingly similar.” In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story involving a trademark dispute between individuals or businesses. Use what you read to write a paragraph summarizing the dispute and assessing the claims of the parties.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing.
3. What a Prank!
When seniors graduate from high school, they often dream up pranks to pull on school officials during the week before graduation. In Cumberland, Wisconsin, seniors got so creative this year that they wound up getting praise from the local police. In an elaborate stunt, the seniors used a junk car, loose bricks, tape and a black tarp to make it look as though a car had crashed into the principal’s office at Cumberland High School. When police got there, however, they discovered it was an optical illusion that looked completely real. “Hats off to the Cumberland High School Class of 2018 on your senior prank,” police wrote on their Facebook page. “… One of best senior pranks that Cumberland High School has seen.” Senior pranks can be very creative. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about pranks that have been tried at different schools. Pick one that was funny or creative (but not destructive). Draw a series of comic strips showing how the prank was executed, and what response it got.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.
4. Poor People’s Campaign
The Rev. Jesse Jackson was an adviser to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and was with him in Memphis, Tennessee the evening the civil rights leader was assassinated in 1968. Fifty years later, Jackson feels the work of Dr. King is being undone, and he has thrown his support behind the Poor People’s Campaign: a National Call for Moral Revival. In the spirit of Dr. King, the Poor People’s Campaign has organized 40 days of protests and demonstrations in Washington and at least 30 states, seeking to end poverty, racism and war. “Everything we worked for — and too many of us died for — during the civil rights movement is under attack,” Jackson wrote in a commentary for CNN news. “Voting rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights, access to affordable health care, housing, education, the air we breathe and the water we drink are in peril.” Public protests can raise awareness about issues. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the Poor People’s Campaign or other protest efforts. Use what you read to write a short editorial, offering your view on how one protest effort can effectively call attention to its issue, and encourage action to address it.
Common 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.
5. Spreading the News
Local newspapers help people keep up with what is going on in their communities. People often take them for granted — until they are gone. In the state of New Hampshire, the town of Weare found out what that would be like when the Weare Community News shut down. But then the local public library stepped in to prevent the community from becoming a “news desert.” Led by director Michael Sullivan, the library started publishing a weekly, four-page newspaper that has just celebrated its first anniversary. Called Weare in the World, the paper reports on community events, local elections, schools, businesses and the achievements of local residents. “You’d never guess all this is going on in this little town until you put it in black and white,” Sullivan said. Local newspapers call attention to things going on in their communities. In teams or pairs, pretend you are going to start a local newspaper for your community or school. Brainstorm a list of topics, issues or people you think should be covered. Make a list of stories that would appear on the front page of your paper. Present your list to the class and explain why you think each story is important. Finish by checking out the local section of a newspaper in your community or state and discussing why you think the stories were chosen for coverage.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
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