Engage students with this week's news, events, and anniversaries.

Each week we offer a civics lesson to help students understand how our government works: Here's this week's lesson:

The right to peaceful assembly is guaranteed by our Constitution and Bill of Rights. In recent months, many Americans have gathered to protest or to support a variety of civil issues. Can you find a news story about such a gathering? What issues in the news would you be interested in supporting by gathering together with other engaged citizens? Do you think public protest and demonstration is a good way to let our elected officials know what matters to us?

Sept. 18-22, 2017

Language Arts
1. Some headlines are complete sentences just as they are, and some are not. For example, "A tree falls across the road" is a complete sentence, but "Across the road" is not. Ask your students to find examples of complete sentences in the headlines. Then they should look for incomplete sentences and decide what is needed to turn the incomplete sentence into a complete one.
Common Core Standard: produce complete sentences recognizing and correcting inappropriate fragments

2. The comics offer great material to help your students learn to use proper punctuation. Invite students to choose three strips (with more than one panel) and to write the text out as dialogue.
Common Core Standard: use commas and quotation marks in dialogue

3. Editorial cartoons are vehicles for expressing opinions. Expressing opinions is a right guaranteed by the First Amendment’s section on freedom of speech. Benjamin Franklin may have created the first editorial cartoon. It is pictured here. Franklin created the cartoon because he wanted to convince the delegates to the Albany Convention of 1754 to get ready to fight to defend themselves. England and France were fighting what became known as the French and Indian War. Franklin wanted to colonies to join together so that they wouldn’t be destroyed in the conflict.

Paul Revere used the same cartoon in 1760 when he wanted the colonies to band together to fight the British and become an independent country. Eventually, the name of the cartoon became, “Live Free or Die” and it was sewn onto flags. That slogan is still the state motto on license plates in New Hampshire.

Have students examine the cartoon and decipher its message. Then have them use the e-edition search tool to find the editorial cartoon in today’s newspaper and decipher its message.
Common Core Standard: evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media

1. Have students suppose a full page of advertising is $10,000. They can then find 5 ads of different sizes in the newspaper and estimate how much each one would cost based on the $10,000-per-page price. It may be interesting to have students find out the actual cost of a full-page ad by contacting the newspaper.
Common Core Standard: Assess the reasonable of answers using estimation and rounding off

2. Have the students find the average cost of renting a 1, 2, and 3 bedroom luxury apartment for a month, a year and for five years. They should list their reasons for classifying the apartments as "luxury."
Common Core Standard: Applying properties of operations as strategies to multiply

3. Explain to students that according to Payscale.com, the highest-paying college majors are, for the most part, those in engineering. Others are in economics, physics and computer science. It seems a shame that some of the lowest-paying majors are in the fields involving helping people like social work and education. Invite students to skim the Help Wanted ads seeking information about higher and lower paying jobs. Have them find ten jobs with the salaries listed and create a graph or chart showing the difference in pay rate. Students can create wonderful charts and graphs online here.
Common Core Standard: Graph points on the coordinate plane

Science Literacy
1. These days your students might hear the word “organic” quite a bit. They might not be as familiar with its antonym, “synthetic.” Although the differences are complex, put simply, organic means something that is derived from nature while synthetic means something that is human-made. Assign students to find five examples of each in the newspaper. Which is easier to find? Why?
Common Core Standard: evaluating and interpreting source text

2. Explain to students that a drug is any non-food substance that you put into your body that may alter your body’s chemistry. Because some of those changes are unpredictable, some medications and other substances like cigarettes have disclaimers. A disclaimer is a warning about the drug and its potential side effects. Can your students find a disclaimer on any advertisements in today’s newspaper? Have them try to find one and to decipher what it means. Do they think they would buy the product after reading the disclaimer?
Common Core Standard:Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science texts.

3. Have students check out the weather report in the news and examine the national map. They should identify incoming fronts and write a prediction. Then can check their prediction against the one in the news. Are they the same? Note after a few days, which prediction was more accurate.

The first day of fall was this past week on Sept. 21. Invite students to use the e-edition archive tool to see if they can find any news mention of the new season. Have them summarize what they find.
Common Core Standard: Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development

Social Studies
1. On Sept. 21, 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female Justice of the Supreme Court. Invite your students to find a woman making news today and to write a comparison of the two women’s newsworthy accomplishments. They may want to start with the most prominent woman making news today, Hillary Clinton.
Common Core Standard: evaluate sources of information

2. Explain to students that the country’s founders adopted the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787. In 2006, a law was passed requiring schools that receive federal funds to teach about it every year on Sept. 17. What do your students think of this law? Why is it important for them to learn about the Constitution? Which stories in today’s news support their opinion on that?

For further examination of the Constitution, students may enjoy playing this online game about the Bill of Rights.

3. Students can engage with an Interactive Constitution here.On the top sidebar, they can click the arrows on the right to move to the next set of choices. Then click on Amendment 1. Students should read the amendment and the explanation. They should write essays explaining how this is relevant today.
Common Core Standard: evaluate the reasoning of constitutional principles

4. The Jewish New Year holiday is celebrated this year beginning on the night of Sept. 20. If this were the beginning of a new year for you, which news story would you choose to represent a hope or dream you have for the year ahead?
Common Core Standard: Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development

Lessons written by Deborah Drezon Carroll. Carroll taught for ten years in Philadelphia, PA and is the author of two parenting books. She also coordinated the Newspaper in Education department of the Philadelphia Inquirer for 16 years.
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