February 5, 2010 | Grades 1 & 2 In This Issue: Apple's New Tech Toy; Protecting Football Players; A Colorful Look at Dinosaurs
Save a (Apple) Tree: Get an iPad
Apple has introduced a new product it hopes will build upon the success of the iPhone and the iPod Touch. The company claims that the iPad will take paperless reading to new heights. The 1/2-inch-thick computer is more than an e-book; people can use it to surf the Internet and tap into 140,000 iPhone apps.
Discuss with your child the things that you both might miss if books disappeared from library shelves and your life.
Do a reading exercise. If you have an e-reader, great! If not, no problem—find a magazine or newspaper article, poem or storybook to read online. If possible, try to choose a text that you can also read in book or newspaper form.
Read from the computer and then from paper. Take note of the following: time you spent with each medium; level of satisfaction and interest; things missing.
In recent years, researchers have been taking a close look at the game of football. Their findings are troubling: the tackles and blows common during games can seriously injure players' brains. Studies indicate that these injuries often lead to early onset of Alzheimers and depression. Last fall the NFL adopted a new policy requiring players to be cleared by independent brain-injury experts before returning to a game or practice. Several states are considering or have passed similar policy for youth sports.
Activity Ideas - Language Arts Writing
Suggest to your child that together you write a letter to a favorite player or to an official within the NFL. First, decide what you want to say. Do you want to urge people to do more to protect players? Or do you simply want to tell a player how good you think they are?
Once you know what you want to say, discuss what tone to take. Is it a friendly letter or do you want to ask for changes to the game?
Be sure the letter is brief and to the point in either case.
Recently scientists announced that they had discovered the color of a dinosaur that lived 125 million years ago. How? By studying its fossilized feathers. A bird's feathers get color from pigments contained within a capsule-like structure in the feather. The shape of the capsule depends on its color. Using this information, researchers found that the dinosaur's tail was covered with ginger and white feathers. For now, featherless T-Rex's true colors remain a mystery.
Have your child research a dinosaur he or she would like to learn more about (see below).
Suggest that your child draw the dinosaur using colors to match its behavior, reputation or eating habits.
Ask your child to provide a color key that reveals their reasons for choosing each color, i.e., Red = Carnivorous, Blue = Minds its own business, Yellow = Low "Man" on Totem Pole, etc.
ASK: Did any other characteristics or facts about the dinosaur influence your portrayal? If so, how?
Discuss the ways that drawings or photos can add information or details to the text.