Monday, October 7, 2013

Week #5: Using current events to integrate social studies. Locate and blog about any article relating to social studies and suggest how it could be integrated with the ELA common core.


  1. The New York Times, Thursday, Oct. 2, 2013
    Jellyfish Invasion Paralyzes Swedish Reactor
    By Dan Bilefsky

    A huge cluster of moon jellyfish clogged the cooling water intake pipes at a nuclear power plant on the Baltic Sea coast and forced the shutdown of one of the complex’s units. A representative of the plant stated that jellyfish could be killed by pressure from the filtration system, and the author of the article implied that possible nuclear disaster could result from recurring jellyfish blooms.

    Connections to Social Studies:
    Time, Continuity, and Change-
    Knowledge and understanding of the past enable us to analyze the causes and consequences of events and developments. The author of this article mentions that Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, which caused a nuclear disaster due to a 2011 earthquake and tsunami, used the same technology the Swedish power plant now uses. He also provides that there was a similar jellyfish episode in 2005. Based on these two events, the author implies that jellyfish invasions, like the one that paralyzed the Swedish nuclear reactor, could result in nuclear disasters like the one in Japan.

    People, Places, and Environments-
    This article mentions various geographical locations and makes implications about relationships between humans and the physical world.

    Science, Technology, and Society-
    Included in this article are examples of the role technology (e.g. nuclear technology) plays in our lives.

    1. continued...
      Weekly Question/Theme:
      How could an article relating to social studies be integrated with the ELA common core?
      This article could be tied to Grade 4 CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.1: Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
      In this article are several explicit details and examples as well as instances where the author implicates meaning from details mentioned in the text. These closely following examples are explicit text details:
      1) “…a huge cluster of moon jellyfish clogged the cooling water intake pipes at the Oskarshamn nuclear power plant on the Baltic Sea coast, forcing the complex’s 1,400 megawatt Unit 3 to shut down.”
      2) “…the jellyfish had been cleared and…engineers were preparing to restart the reactor.”
      3) “The species [of jellyfish] is known as the common moon jellyfish, a resilient type that can sting, but it is generally not dangerous to humans.”
      4) “[Mr. Osterberg said] there was no risk of a nuclear accident… [but] there was a likely risk that the [jellyfish] would be killed by the pressure from the filtration system.”
      5) “…jellyfish blooms are common… [and they] are a recurring problem.”

      Details from the text include the following examples and their perceived implications:
      1) Example: “[It’s] an episode that evokes B-grade sci-fi movie plots from the 1950s.”
      Implication: Incidents like this could cause nuclear war or cause radioactive damage and horror.
      2) Example: “[The] episode…reflects a continuing global problem…”
      Implication: Using nuclear plants for power is a global problem.
      3) Example: “There will be no dinner of boiled jellyfish.”
      Implication: No jellyfish got near the reactor and boiled.
      4) Example: “Jellyfish blooms are common even in waters that are not environmentally damaged.”
      Implication: This water is environmentally damaged because it is next to a nuclear power plant.
      5) Example: “The Oskarshamn nuclear power plant uses the same technology employed at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, where a powerful earthquake and tsunami in 2011 caused the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl [another implication: Chernobyl was a nuclear disaster].”
      Implication: The Oskarshamn plant could cause a disaster like the one in Japan because it uses the same technology as the Fukushima Daiichi complex.
      6) Example: “The Oskarshamn nuclear power plant uses the same technology employed at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, where a powerful earthquake and tsunami in 2011 caused the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl [another implication: Chernobyl was a nuclear disaster].”
      Implication: Mr. Osterberg was wrong or was lying when he said there was no risk of a nuclear accident.

      Classroom Applications:
      In the classroom, students could weigh the merits of the article’s author’s implication that jellyfish invasions, like the one that paralyzed the Swedish nuclear reactor, could result in nuclear disasters like the one in Japan.

      Students could study and compare the geography of places mentioned in the article: The Baltic Sea, Sweden, and Japan. They could also examine relationships between humans and the physical world (i.e. the interactions between humans’ nuclear power plants and moon jellyfish or the effects of a nuclear disaster like the one that occurred in Japan due to an earthquake and tsunami).

      The benefits and risks of using nuclear reactors as sources for power could be compared and analyzed. There also could be discussions about managing the spread of technology and the resultant disasters due to technology that has gone out of control.

      Submitted by Joyce Mustoe

    2. I like that you mentioned that this doesn't necessarily have to be about jelly fish. It can be about geography! Learning about the countries and where they are is important so students can see a map and make connections! Teaching about nuclear power would be insightful too-- I still get confused about it sometimes. It could clear up some misconceptions for your students.

    3. Wow! You broke this down really well with a lot of details! I like how you also focused on the second part of the standard, using the details in the text to understand what the text says implicitly. I think drawing inferences from the text is an important skill for students to learn, and I think your examples would do a good job of helping them do that.

  2. The Wall Street Journal
    "Software and Design Defects Cripple Health-Care Website"
    By Christopher Weaver, Shira Ovide, and Louise Radnofsky

    With the implementation of Obamacare, there are a lot of people that have tried to access the website to apply for health insurance that haven't been able to. According to tech experts, the website was built poorly-- the code is bad and the layout is sloppy. They are working on fixing it, but for now, a lot of Americans are annoyed that it hasn't been working functionally. There were about 9 million visitors to the federal run website last Friday night, and the system underwent maintenance over the weekend.

    Connection to Social Studies:
    This relates to social studies because it has to do with Americans who want to get covered with health insurance as soon as possible, and the technology keeping them from doing so. It also brings up another topic relating to Obamacare-- is it ethical? Is it right that a lot of Americans will be paying more for their own insurance so that other Americans don't have to pay as much?

    Classroom Application:
    This article can definitely lead to a debate about the health insurance top, and a fun activity could be done to teach the concept of socialism. I could have some kids work hard for pieces of candy, and have lots of candy, and some kids be poor citizens that work and only receive a few pieces of candy, and some kids be non-working, welfare-receiving citizens that do nothing but still receive some candy. I think i would need to be careful with this activity but it would teach the basics of what socialism is and how it is affecting our lives with things like Obamacare. We could also discuss how technology is a useful tool, but requires hard work and precision to make sure it works correctly.

    Weekly question:
    This article could be integrated with a 5th grade Reading/Literature lesson: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.6 Describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described.
    With the debate that could begin with this topic of Obamacare, it could be taught that the viewpoint of the writer (or different people in general) can influence what the reader may think. For example, if the writer had written with a disgusted tone in the article (think, "I can't believe they would build such a horrible website that doesn't even work!") then the reader is inclined to think the same, as opposed to the tone of "They are working on it, I know it! It will work soon and I can't wait!"

    1. I really like your connection to reading. I think the author's opinion really does play a role in his or her writing. It is important for students to recognize this so they are aware of biases as they read. The article I read was an opinion piece, and the author's point of view played a HUGE role in the tone and information presented in the article. I realized with your connection that I could use that standard with my article as well!

    2. I appreciate how you underscore the role the author of the article plays in influencing the reader. Certainly, the writer has the ability to set the tone of a piece. However, I am thinking that the teacher also plays a role in setting the tone when she/he presents the material. I think we, as teachers, will need to be careful about the biases we present with our reflections on literature. Although we can have unique perspectives, I think it will be best to encourage our students to develop their own ideas based on the evidences they can find!

    3. I also think it's important for students to discern between viewpoints and what their biases may be, in addition to developing their own ideas, like Joyce said above. It seems like almost everything has some bias, and I think we can draw more from what we find out if we are aware of their sources! If we can teach our students how to do this, they will be so much more skilled in gleaning information from a variety of sources.

  3. Post #5: Using current events to integrate social studies
    New York Times
    Wednesday, October 2, 2013
    The Cost of the Shutdown

    Article Summary:
    This article is an opinion piece. This writer’s claim is “The same people [meaning the republicans] who have built their careers on railing about the deficit are actually increasing it.” The writer then goes on to quote findings from other sources regarding the cost of the shutdown on the government and on the people. Some of the findings that were cited were, the past shutdown in 1996 that cost the government $1.4 billion in 26 days, 800,000 government employees out of work, an estimation by IHS inc. stating the $300 million dollars a day the government will lose in economic output. The author then goes on to state that the shutdown was a “singlehanded crusade” by the republicans.

    Social Studies Connections:
    This article deals with the social studies themes “individuals, groups, and institutions” because the government shutdown affects people and institutions. It also deals with “power, authority, and governance,” because of what happened to cause the shutdown and what is being affected by it.

    Application/ Objectives:

    I thought this would be a good article to use when teaching about writing opinion essays, and examining the good and bad of already published opinion pieces.

    Response to weekly question:
    I would use this to teach the fourth grade writing core standard, “CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information”. I would also include the fourth grade informational text core standard, “CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.8 Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.” One of the big elements of these standards is using evidence to support opinion. We could go through this article to identify the author’s opinion, as well as the supporting facts. One of the faults with this article is that the author presents two parts to his or her opinion but does not back both up with evidence. The first part of the author’s opinion is that the shutdown adds extra costs and hurts the government and the people. He or she does back this opinion up with facts from other sources. However, the other part of the opinion that this government shutdown is a “singlehanded crusade” by the republicans is not supported by evidence. I would have my class look for the good support this article presents, as well as the lack of support. We would identify how important it is to fully support with evidence what you claim, because otherwise your claim lacks validity. Since we will be working on the writing standard as well, we would then work on doing some research, and writing an opinion piece on any topic using supporting evidence that fully supports our entire claim (not just part of it, like this article did).

    It also fits with the following ELA core standards for fifth and sixth grade:
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.8 Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text, identifying which reasons and evidence support which point(s).
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6.8 Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.

    Blog Author: Cami Hall

  4. WOW! to you, too! Look at all the connections you were able to make between the article and the Core. It just shows how well social studies (specifically, current events in this case) connect with the ELA standards...especially as our students learn to write!

    1. I liked all of your connections to the ELA standards! I liked how your students would learn how to support their answers and text with evidence. I think that this is a good lesson about politics in general that there are always two sides to the issue and that you need to find the sources. I think that this is a great article to teach social studies in action as well as learn valuable writing skills.

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  7. Sorry about the above deletions, it's what I get for multitasking :)
    Wall Street Journal, October 7
    "At Haneda, Two Wrongs Don't Make a Flight; Tokyo picks a new favorite airline and passengers lose again", by Anonymous

    A few years ago, the Japanese government bailed out Japan Airlines (JAL), but recently they gave ANA some of the best slots for takeoff and landing at the downtown Tokyo's Haneda airport. Since this airport is so close to downtown, they are able to charge business travelers a lot of money to fly, which makes having good landing slots at this airport so ideal. People are worried that the government giving ANA such an economical advantage will ruin the market since JAL and ANA won't have a fair competition based on their merits.

    Connection to Social Studies
    I think seeing economics in practice (in another culture) along with making predictions based on history are all big parts of Social Studies! There are so many connections that can be made here! Students can study how economic markets work, what historical events have made the market crash or boom, or about the culture of another country. Combining these all together can make student learning so much more meaningful and powerful.

    I think when teaching economics to students, simulations could be very helpful. I could demonstrate with students how a market based on competition would play out, in contrast to the scenario illustrated in the article, and have students discuss which scenario is more ideal and why they think that.

    How it could be integrated with the ELA common core
    When I was reading this, I kept thinking about supply and demand, which is discussed in 4th grade Social Studies. I thought that it related best to Standard 2, Objective 3, Indicator e: "Identify the factors which bring about economic changes (e.g. natural resource development, new technologies, NEW MARKET DEVELOPMENT, globalization, global conflicts, education)". I think once students can understand basic economic principles, this article could become very interesting to them because the scenario presented is not a typical situation. I think also by having a discussion about the situation, speaking and listening can be easily integrated:
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.1a Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.1b Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.1c Pose and respond to specific questions to clarify or follow up on information, and make comments that contribute to the discussion and link to the remarks of others.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.1d Review the key ideas expressed and explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.
    By preparing to do these things, students could better understand the situation because they have been presented with not only a simulation but also potentially enlightening viewpoints from their peers..

    Holly Meek

    1. I really like the idea of using a newspaper article to make economics more relevant to students. I agree that simulations would be extremely beneficial as they would provide students with necessary background information to be successful with the task. While I think that a discussion is an excellent activity to hear various viewpoints and to learn from their peers, I liked that you included preparation for the discussion. When students come prepared and with evidence to support their opinions, the discussion will be more meaningful.

  8. New York Times/ October 7, 2013
    A Balancing Act Around Lake Tahoe By: Rick Lyman

    Summary: As Lake Tahoe straddles the California-Nevada border, the two states often disagree on the uses of the lake. An example of this is legislators from Nevada feel that too much precedence is placed on environmental concerns. Last December, a new development plan was created that seemingly appeased both states. It includes “more construction” around the lake and will reduce the costs of upgrading environmentally unstable properties as “the environmental requirements made it too expensive for the owners of small, struggling properties”. Ultimately, both sides had to compromise and didn’t get exactly what they wanted, but they were able to come to an agreement which will keep the essential two-state compact alive.

    Connections to Social Studies: This article relates to respect for civil discourse as all involved in this decision had the right to share their opinions, but also had a responsibility to listen to others. It also relates to E pluribus Unum as to make this decision, individuals had to recognize that the decision would not include everything they wanted. Instead, they recognized that their two-state compact required a balance between their desires and a higher purpose.

    Weekly Topic- Locate and blog about any article relating to social studies and suggest how it could be integrated with the ELA common core: After students have read an article similar to the one above, students could form their opinion on the issue, and find additional evidence for support. This relates to CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.1: Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information. Students would:
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.1a Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which related ideas are grouped to support the writer’s purpose.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.1b Provide reasons that are supported by facts and details.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.1c Link opinion and reasons using words and phrases (e.g., for instance, in order to, in addition).
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.1d Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.
    If time permitted, students could share their opinions with the class which would promote respect for civil discourse as students would have the responsibility to share and listen to others’ ideas.

    Applications: This article reinforces the idea that newspapers are an excellent tool for students to learn about current issues and how they are resolved. This article, and many others, demonstrates that citizens will have varying viewpoints, but ultimately must be willing to share their own ideas, listen to others’ ideas, and compromise to successfully reach a decision. This will make democratic ideas more meaningful to students as they see their relevance.

    Blog Author: Kara Weathers

    1. Wouldn't it be nice if Congress and the Senate took a page out of California and Nevada's book? That's a good way to look at democracy and a great think to point out to students: that democracy involves negotiation. Both sides hardly ever get exactly what they want but it's important to sacrifice for the common good.

  9. The New York Times, October 7, 2013
    "Fed Up on the Prarie, and Voting on Secession" by Jack Healy

    Summary: Citizens in 11 counties in Colorado are going to vote to split from Colorado and form a new state, the 51st state. The people in these rural areas are more conservative and they don't like how liberal the state is becoming. They feel they are getting drowned out by the city populations. It is unlikely to happen because they first have to vote to leave and then the rest of Colorado has to vote to let them leave. The US government has to allow it as well. That hasn't happened since the 1800's.

    Connection to Social Studies: This is democracy in action. They are exercising their right to vote and form a new state. It would be very exciting if this happened because the students could see the process of forming a new-state.

    Weekly topic:
    This relates to the following standard for ELA:
    Grade 4
    Reading: Informational Text Standard 1
    Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
    There are a lot of inferences students could make from this article. This is a simple enough article that they could easily read and make inferences based on the details. They could infer more reasons why the citizens want to break off from Colorado. They could make inferences about government process.

    Applications: As I mentioned before, this would be a fun issue to follow. Students could see the process of forming a new state in modern times. It could easily be linked to a unit about how the country was formed and how all the original states gained their statehood. If the vote doesn't make Colorado into two states the class could discuss why and the benefits and drawbacks of the decision.

    Sarah Wetzel

    1. I really like this article and your ideas to integrate! That would be an awesome way to teach about how the first states were formed! Great ideas!

    2. I agree that it would be very interesting to see a new state being formed. By sharing this article with the children you are showing them how democracy works in the United States and I love your connection to the 4th grade ELA standards.

  10. New York Times, 8 October, 2013
    "U.S. Adults Fare Poorly in a Study of Skills" by Richard Perez-Pena

    Summary: This article is about recent statistics showing that Adults in America are falling behind on a test they administered to people in different countries. It said that Japan was at the top, Finland was second, and Netherlands, Sweden, and Norway were also near the top (this was for average scores of all the tests). The U.S. scored in the middle for literacy and near the bottom for things with math and technology.

    Connection to Social Studies: These results are the way they are for a reason. Studying these different societies might show possible reasons why different countries scored higher than others. This article looks at some of these possible reasons and talks about some of these different aspects of these different societies. These results could show what these different societies value and the things that they do.

    Application: This may be a really interesting thing to bring up to my students. They could explore possible reasons why the scores are the way they are. They could research the different countries and learn more about their societies and find possible links to their scores on this test. They could also pretend to be the president and decide on a new way of teaching that would help our scores to be higher. Or they could write a letter to the president/government suggesting ways to help educate our people.

    Fifth grade ELA standards that could be integrated:

    Students could write an opinion piece about why they think American scores are low:
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.1a Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which ideas are logically grouped to support the writer’s purpose.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.1b Provide logically ordered reasons that are supported by facts and details.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.1c Link opinion and reasons using words, phrases, and clauses (e.g., consequently, specifically).
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.1d Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.

    Students could research the different countries mentioned in the article and find possible causes for their higher or lower scores on the tests:
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.7 Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic

    Students could write a letter to the President or government giving suggestions of how to improve education in the United States based on research they did of other countries who performed better on the tests.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)

    Lana Poppleton

    1. This is interesting! I would have read this article if i saw it. It makes you wonder how other countries approach their education. It's good to teach students what is going on in the world around them, especially education. Students can reflect on how they learn and if there is anything that could help them at school become better students and learners.

  11. Give Us This Day, Our Daily Senate Scolding
    The New York Times
    October 7, 2013
    By Jeremy W. Peters

    Article Summary:
    The Senate have tried to meet and work through the issues in the government, and at the beginning of each session they start with a prayer. The senate’s chaplain, Barry C. Black, has been offering these prayers as a rebuke and guidance to solve the problems in a nice way. He asks the Senate every day to try to resolve their problems and work to what we need in the country.

    Social Studies Connection:
    This article relates to the social studies core as it writes about the Senate, which is a part of the Legislative branch of government. This article could help illustrate what the Senate tries to do and how they accomplish this. I think that this article also focuses on how the Senate is formed and why there might be a problem in coming to consensus on budget and health care. This article also touches on the issue of the process of passing laws in our government. These are all fifth grade core curriculum objectives and indicators. This article bring up some very interesting points about our system of government and how there are arguments and problems that have to be resolved.

    I would use this article to have the students analyze why changing or passing a law is so difficult in our government. I would ask the students to look at the issues and the different sides. As the students discover the different sides, I would ask them to explore also why the government was set up this way. I would ask how the Constitution has changed and how the laws and government works. I use this article to have them look at how this articles gives us an insight of what goes on in the Senate. This article is a great introduction on the debate and tension that goes into running our country.

    Current Events to Integrate:
    I would integrate this article and the fifth grade social studies curriculum with the ELA standard of Reading Literature to describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.6). This article has a different point of view than other political articles. As a class, we could discuss what point of view the article has and how it influences how the events are described. We could then relate that to the process of how the Constitution was formed and how different people in history see our history from a different point of view. We could discuss how social studies and point of view are extremely related and important. Another way to integrate would be to discuss how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text, identifying which reasons and evidence support which points (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.8). Using this standard, we would look for evidence as well as discussing how our nation is composed of different points of view and that this is part of the reason why a balance between the branches of government are so essential.

    Blog Author: Rachel Stokes

  12. New York Times, October 7, 2013
    “Bomber Kills 13 Children at Iraq School Playground”
    By Duraid Adnan

    In Iraq a suicide bomber detonated a bomb by a school playground and killed 13 children. This has been the deadliest attack since 2008 and it has shocked parents who thought their children were safe at school.

    Connection to Social Studies:
    As stated in the article, this attack on school children is a crime against humanity. It connects with the NCSS themes of global connections and culture because it is a current event and it deals with a longstanding hatred between two cultures that live in the same region. This article would be most appropriate for sixth graders because of the many connections to the sixth grade social studies standards.
    Standard 4: Students will understand current global issues and their rights and responsibilities in the interconnected world.
    Objective 2: Explore current global issues facing the modern world and identify potential solutions.
    a. Investigate pressing issues facing the world.
    Objective 3: Determine human rights and responsibilities in the world.
    a. Identify rights considered essential for all humans.
    From this article students can be aware of human rights that are being violated in the world today. They can be grateful that they live in a country that is free from terrorists.

    I would use this article to identify human rights and discuss other rights that we have in our country. As a class we could talk about how people in other countries are sometimes deprived of the rights we enjoy.

    LEA Standards Connection:
    This article could be used with these sixth grade LEA standards:
    Reading: Informational Text Standard 2: Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
    Reading: Informational Text Standard 6: Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and explain how it is conveyed in the text.

    Laura Villicana

    1. That is a great idea to incorporate this somewhat sad news article into teaching the students about other countries and the rights we have. It's important to have an interconnected world, and I think this would do this well.

    2. I think this is awesome because it lets them see what is going on in the world around them and they will definitely have opinions to write about.

  13. New York Times
    For 3 Nobel Winners, a Molecular Mystery Solved
    by Lawrence K. Altman
    October 8, 2013

    Three Americans won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine this past monday. This a huge milestone, and yet most scientists are worried that this could be the end because of government shutdown and less funding going towards science. These scientists all talked about how it took years of failure to get to this point, and right now the economy doesn’t support failure.

    Connection to Social Studies
    This is a connection to social studies because we, as americans, are in the middle of change. If science is no longer funded like it used to be then science may be put on the backburner. Or if it remains dominate, we must figure out a better way to fund our science programs. These 3 american scientists are at the forefront of our science community, which is also a connection to social studies.

    Classroom Application
    This article can help inspire future scientists. Sometimes in school it feels like all of science has already been learned. This article helps to teach the students that science is changing everyday and we need lots of scientists. This article could also be used to talk about current events, more specifically the nobel prize winners and the effects of the government shutdown.

    Weekly question
    This article can be used with the following 4th grade ELA common core:
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.2 Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.3 Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 2–3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
    Each one of these standards can be used to discuss the article with the class, and check for understanding.
    Jessica Fox

  14. New York Times
    When Wealth Disappears
    by Stephen D. King
    October 8, 2013

    The author discusses the current economic issue of our government, what with the recent government shutdown. But, rather than simply discussing the events of the shutdown, the author explains how our government's economic status has been in trouble for many, many years. As we look back to our past and see the patterns that have led us to where we are today, the author is trying to help the reader predict what the economy will be like in the future; some things may need to change for the better so our country's economy does not suffer the consequences of our past.

    Connection to Social Studies:
    Because this issue is so current (within the past week or so) but also has some historical background, students who study this subject will find that there are many patterns that exist between the post World War II era and present day (21st century). Noticing these patterns in history is crucial to understanding the way our country is headed economically and how we may be in need of some drastic changes.

    Classroom Application:
    In the classroom, this article can be applied quite simply; students' actions have an effect on others in the classroom, resulting in either good or bad consequences. This theme (found throughout the article) can be taught explicitly to the children to show that ones' actions affects others' actions, creating a pattern that may survive throughout the days, weeks and months if changes aren't made. Even our government is experiencing this theme currently; we have dealt with economic hardship in the past, yet we have made little to no changes for the better of our country as a whole.

    Weekly Question: Suggest how this article could be integrated with the ELA common core.
    This article could be integrated into the 5th grade ELA curriculum by focusing on the following standard: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.1 - "Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text."

    I think that by reading through this article, looking for main ideas and highlighting important quotations as they go, students will be able to better comprehend what they read. The direct quotes they select from the reading will help to guide their understanding of the article and will provide them with sufficient schema to then make inferences from the text. As they read through the article, they will be being taught about a very prevalent and current issue that relates to Social Studies, while getting practice with some very important informational reading skills.

    --Heather Young

  15. The New York Times/ October 8, 2013
    Default Threat Generates Fear Around the Globe
    By Steven Erlanger

    Summary: The threat of a debt default not only will affect the United States, but it will affect many countries throughout the world. Many countries are fearful because it could trigger other crises in financial markets throughout the world. This fear is found in European countries and some Asian countries. One foreigner commented that they feel like the United States has so much control and influence over their country, but they have no say in what goes on in the USA.

    The article ends with a quote from Alexander Lambsdorff, a member of the European Parliament for the German Free Democratic Party. The article explains, “He said that he admires the United States Constitution, but that the founders never imagined a ‘media democracy’. The weakness of the American system is in the constant political campaigning required for the House of Representatives… ‘In the permanent campaign mode the representatives find themselves, there is an incentive to be more radical and less compromising,’ he said. ‘But no democracy works without compromise, and if compromise starts to be elusive, then a democratic system has to rethink itself.’

    Connections to social studies: One of the NCSS themes is global connections. Students need to realize that what happens in the government not only affects them as citizens of the country, but also has worldwide effects. This will help them develop a wider perspective of the world.

    Applications: This would be a great issue to discuss in a sixth grade classroom. In sixth grade, the last standard states, “Students will understand current global issues and their rights and responsibilities in the interconnected world.” Objective 2 requires that students explore investigate pressing issues facing the world and identify potential solutions.

    Suggest how it could be integrated with the ELA common core:
    I would incorporate ELA Writing Standard 7 which states “Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.” It would be beneficial for the students to research current issues and write about them.

    Blog Author: Kelsey Captain

    1. This is a topic that I have been extremely interested in! I feel like the foreigner- I don't really have any control over what happens in the government. I can only hope that people in those positions will do what's right and good. This would be an EXCELLENT article for students to read regarding social studies. In particular with politics, everyone has such different opinions. We have to learn how to compromise and meet people's concerns as best as possible.

  16. New York Times, Wednesday, October 2, 2013
    “Once Alienated, and Now a Force In Her Husband's Bid for Mayor” by Michael Barbaro

    Chirlane McCracy has become a huge political figure. Her husband, BIll de Blasio is running for New York mayor. She used to feel like an outsider, as one of the two black families in her community. McCracy is a partner with her husband in propelling his ascent toward the mayor's office.

    Connect to Social Studies:
    McCray comes from a very different background that has given her different perspectives and opinions. A lot of what social studies is about is learning about other people's ideas and respecting differences.

    Classroom Application:
    My students will all come from different backgrounds. They need to learn how to respect others, even if they don't agree. It is NEVER acceptable to treat someone poorly. Something else this article teaches is that if you are treated poorly, don't let it stop you. You can do amazing things.

    Weekly Question – how can this article be integrated with the ELA common core?
    This would be great to use with ELA-Literacy.RL.6.6. This says students will "explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text." There is obviously some strong opinions and perspectives in this article. It would be good for students to practice figuring out how the author creates those strong emotions, in particular of the person the article is about.

    Author: Holly Johnson

  17. New York Times, October 14, 2013
    "Haunted by a Child's Illness" by Perri Klass

    This article talks about how parents who have had a child, or baby in the hospital for serious conditions suffer from reoccuring worry, depression, and of feel 'haunted' long after the experience. Experts report that if parents can't get past these negative feelings and strong emotions that cause you to worry, it will affect your children. This articles talks about how parents/families need to take care of themselves after traumatic experiences and get therapy or help if they need it.

    Connect to Social Studies:
    Part of growing of strengthening our relationship with one another involves helping each other in time of need. We never know what other people may be going through, so it is important to treat each other with care and respect. We need to also treat ourselves with respect because that influences how we interact and communicate with others.

    Classroom Application:
    We all go through hard times in our lives. Dealing with illness or watching loved ones suffer are some of those very hard things we encounter in life. We can reach out to each other and be of support. We need to maintain a positive outlook and not always worry bad things are going to happen.

    Weekly Question - how can this article be integrated with the ELA common core?
    Reading: Informational Text Standard 1
    Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
    Reading: Informational Text Standard 2
    Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
    I think these two ELA common core standards would go well with this article. After reading this article students could write about how they feel about, bringing up details they remember and why they feel certain things are important to remember from the text.

    Author: Natalie Bench

    1. Hi Natalie! Awesome article. It hits home for me, because my mom suffered a little with this after my youngest brother was born. He was born 3 months premature and had to be in the neo-natal unit so it was a hard time. However, both he and my mom are both doing great now, but I think it's really good to educate students about things like this.

  18. The New York Times
    The Union's Most Undervalued General
    By Phil Leigh
    October 24, 2013

    This article talked about a fairly unknown civil war general named George H. Thomas. Although he had many victories, he was a rival of the famous general turned President Ulysses S. Grant. Grant was afraid that Thomas would gain more favor as a general then he and although he was a brilliant general and had many strategic victories, he is not remembered. Thomas frequently disobeyed the orders of Grant and other generals higher up, even though his decision were nearly always right and he won many battles. He died shortly after the war was over so his rivals made sure he was not spoken well of in their memoirs, and his family was sympathetic to the South so they were eager to forget their Unionist son.

    Connection to Social Studies:
    Our history plays a huge role in the teaching of social studies. In the fifth grade, there is a whole unit focused on the civil war and important people during that time period.

    Classroom Application:
    I would definitely use this article when teaching my students about generals in the civil war. I love finding out about people who have done great things, but maybe got overshadowed by others who were more popular. I think that this would give student's a wonderful new perspective on the life of a civil war general and how he compares and contrasts with the others he served with in the war.

    Weekly Question:
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3 Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.
    I think this article is perfect to integrate with this Language Arts Standard. I would have the students compare the viewpoint of General Thomas and General Grant, and then maybe write a journal from that person's perspective.

    By Katy Powell