11/6 discussion ideas: black cats, Netflix, obits and supermarkets

Some article possibilities from today’s New York Times:

-“Farm towns that produce beef, corn and greens to feed the world are becoming America’s unlikeliest food deserts as traditional grocery stores are forced out by fewer shoppers and competition from dollar store chains. Their exodus has left rural towns worried about how they can hold on to their families, businesses and their future if there is nowhere to buy even a banana.”

-A woman who called 911 after a bullet punched through her car’s rear window in Coral Springs, Fla., waited so long for help that she finally drove herself to the police station. Why the delay?  The 911 supervisor was busy watching Netflix, according to the internal disciplinary report.

-From the obits, novelist Ernest Gaines (The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman) dies at 86 and playwright William B Branch (A Letter from Booker T, and In Splendid Error) dies at 92.

-A black cat ran onto the field at MetLife Stadium and the Giants never recovered.

-Also, air pollution in New Delhi, India has become so dire that the government declared a public health emergency, shutting primary schools for days.  NASA satellite images show large swaths of India’s northern plains smothered by haze, and streets are blanketed in an opaque haze.

Why I love Tuesdays

This week’s Science sections shows, once again, why you can’t go wrong with class news meetings on Tuesdays.  (Or save some of the stories for just the right time!)

Among the offerings:

-an amazing look at the wax palm, the national tree of Columbia, how it became endangered and what is being done to save it. Also offers everything from politics to biodiversity.

-despite their teeny-tiny brains, guinea fowl create remarkably complex societies.

Why do parrots waste so much food?

Nov. 4, 2019 – discussion ideas

If you’re thinking about starting news meetings with your class, today is a great day to begin.  Lots of great starting-point stories to discuss:

-a story out of Indonesia about jellyfish who have evolved in isolation and lost their ability to sting humans, only now they are at risk because of a growing number of tourists and swimmers bumping them, a death sentence for the fragile species.

-from London, a musician loses his 18th century violin when it is left on a train, now returned.

-always remember the obit section: mathematician John Tate dies at age 91.

-teens love TikTok and that’s why Silicone Valley is worried about its lame efforts to dethrone the app from China.

-More than 20 years ago, a breakout squash performance by a 19-year-old in Egypt started a craze there for the previously unpopular sport, and now the Egyptians rule the squash world.

Talking about social media

One of the questions we discussed at the WMA conference workshop on media literacy is a topic that goes hand-in-hand with class news meetings — talking to upper elementary students about social media.  A friend posted this podcast on the topic from NPR’s Sept. 9 Hidden Brain on her Facebook page today and it was so worth the entire 53-minute listen.  I’m debating using it in class and if I do, I will let you know how it goes.

WMA Conference notes

Thank you to those of you who came out to the Media Literacy session at the Wisconsin Montessori Association conference this weekend.  As promised, I’m attaching a copy of my slides here, with the quotes and curriculum information.  (I’ll also get the curriculum posts moved to the Learn/Teach section of this site, but for now you can still find them within the blog itself.) If you are not a Montessori teacher, you may still find useful information in the PowerPoint linked here — just skip the sections that don’t apply to your classroom.