Middle School and Social Media

To support grade 5 students with their transition to middle school,  four grade 6 students came by this morning to chat with fifth graders.

We discussed the increased pressure to use social media in middle school. The sixth graders also discussed how to successfully navigate this new frontier by doing the following:

  • THINK before you share/post
  • ASK for permission before sharing or posting a photo or video of another person
  • If you don’t want your mom, dad, or principal to see it… don’t post or share

Interestingly, all of the sixth graders agreed that life was easier without social media and pointed out that you don’t have to have a phone or social media… it’s probably easier if you don’t!

Please take a moment this week and talk with your child today about social media today!


Parenting in the Age of Social Media

In an effort to better understand our children’s social media use and to provide support for purposeful parenting of children and social media, the Elementary School held a Parent Coffee Morning..

Principal Roberta Wiens, Vice Principal Kit Wilding, School Psychologist Lesley Clark, and Technology Integrator Claire Wachowiak discussed current research as parents discussed ways in which they tackle social media issues within their own homes.

Also presented were results from a current survey given to fourth and fifth grade students. The survey asked students questions regarding using technology at home, what social media apps they use, and what it means to be a good digital citizen. From this, we discussed how to best guide students to having a healthy, well-balance digital life; at home and at school. All in all, it was a good morning for responsible technology use!

Please find the presentation below:

Spider Sense Tingling?

With our current digital citizenship lesson in grades 4 and 5, we have been discussing ‘Spider-Sense’ and the Internet. There are three big ideas that we review:

  1. The Internet is forever; be thoughtful about what you post, text, share, or comment
  2. Privacy online is never guaranteed; if you don’t want the world to see it, don’t put it online
  3. Use your Spider-Sense ‘ listen to your inner voice’; if you aren’t sure, question it.

In order to help students visual this,  we ask them to think of a red balloon.  Once the student has sent a photo, texted a friend, shared an experience, etc, the red balloon it out of their hands and they can no longer control where it goes or who sees it.

We strongly encourage students to talk to their parents about social media. If something comes up that they are uncomfortable with or unsure of, talk to your folks.

The Internet is a wonderful place, full of information, creativity, ideas, and learning communities. However, students need to be thoughtful and savvy when participating in this gigantic digital world. Talk to your child today about social media today!

Don’t Open That!

Throughout the year, students in elementary school are learning about keeping safe when online. Currently, the focus is about how to avoid Spam and never clicking on a pop-up.

Elementary students’ email accounts are on a ‘Restrict Delivery’ mode. This means that the school email cannot send to or receive emails from outside of the school domain ‘gemsdaa.net’.

However, many students have mobile phones and personal email accounts and eventually, their domains will not be protected. As a result, we are talking to students about staying safe online regarding emails and pop-ups.

Based upon Common Sense Media lesson You’ve Won a Prize!, students are are learning about Spam, how to deal with Spam and also, to never click on a pop-up.  We discuss strategies that include not opening up emails if they don’t know the sender, and never, ever give out personal information.  Additionally, students are strongly encouraged to speak with their parents regarding Spam as strategies for keeping safe online.

Do You Believe in Magic?

Below please check out two tools from Google and Chrome Add-Ons to assist with student writing and research… easily confused as magic because these tools are so easy to use and very helpful.

Create a Bibliography quickly and easily with the Chrome Add-On ‘EasyBib Bibliography Creator’ located within Google Docs:

See what words you are using most often in any piece of writing using the Chrome Add-On ‘Word Cloud’ located within Google Docs:


Empowered Learners

As adults and teachers it is sometimes easy to believe that students are very tech savvy. Although this may be true in some cases, I caution that familiarity does not equal mastery. Within the classroom, it is very beneficial to slow down and discuss the whys and hows of a tool or program to help students gain a deeper understanding about how technology can support their learning.

Currently students in grades four and five are learning how to create folders, to understand what the share/permissions indicate, why naming conventions are important, and how to make copies of documents within Google Drive. However, before we get to all of that, what does cloud storage mean?

After a bit of discussion regarding Google Drive, we watch the video below that briefly describes what cloud storage means and how it works. As technology is constantly changing and with us in many parts of our lives, it’s a good idea to slow down and ask questions.