Common Sense Media – Parenting Tips

Common Sense Media

This web site  has information for parents as well as teachers! I have recently shared resources and lesson plans on cybersafety with the teachers at CV and found this wealth of information for parents. This weeks featured article is on “Are WE bending the media rules.” It is often difficult to know where to draw the line with age appropriate Video Games, TV Shows and Movies. This website gives parent a great resource to help you stick to your own media rules.  And what about the Super Bowl Ads? Here is an article that can help you discuss what your children will see if they are viewing the Super Bowl with your family this year.

Looking for Movie and TV Show Reviews?

Common Sense Media Movie and TV Show Reviews are rated by suggested age but they are much more indepth. The movie reviews have category ratings for Positive Message, Positive Role Models, Violence, Sex, Language, Consumerism, and Drinking, Drugs and Smoking. Each movie is clearly defined for each category and gives you a much better feel for if the movie is right for you and your family. Questions like “is the movie too scary for my 6 year old?” and “what swear words will I hear in the theater?”

Common Sense Media Advice for Parents is also very real world and helpful to parents. Videos and articles on your child’s age appropriate resources are available!

It is always nice when you can find helpful information on TV Shows, Movies, Music and Computer Games to make parenting decisions a bit easier!

Internet Safety at Home – Good Advice for Parents

Advice for going online with your child at home from Microsoft’s Safety and Security Website  –“Here are some safety tips to consider when you go online with your 2-10 year old:

  1. It’s never too early to foster open and positive communication with children.
  2. Always sit with your kids at this age when they’re online.
  3. Set clear rules for Internet use.
  4. Insist that your children not share personal information such as their real name, address, phone number, or passwords with people they meet online.
  5. If a site encourages kids to submit their names to personalize the web content, help your kids create online nicknames that don’t give away personal information.”
  6. Internet Child Safety – Family Safety You can also find information for the age groups of  11-14 and 15-18.
  7. Have the computer in a family room or kitchen area with the monitor screen turned in the direction of the supervising parent.

Web Filtering and Content Monitoring -As my child turns 10 this year I am also looking for other tools to help with internet filtering in the home. There are a multitude of tools for web filtering and for tracking of usage of the internet.  I have been reviewing K-9 Web Filtering and OpenDNS Web Filtering. Both are free tools that have simple directions for setup with your home computer or wireless router. The computer or lab top being used by a child at home should also be  in a room where a parent is available to handle questions and monitor computer usage. You are the best monitor of internet usage in your own home.

Two FREE Web Filtering tools for your home computer and your wireless internet device

SOPA … So Whatta?

SOPA and PIPA (Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT-IP Act)
Is the name of the legislation that is currently slated to be debated in the US House and Senate.
The subject of the two bills include the Protection of copyright holders from piracy on the internet.

Debate and Protest
With any debate or proposed legislation there are at least two sides for any issue.
The proposed protest by several well known websites and search engines is to draw attention to the issue of how the internet could be effected if this bill is made into law as it currently stands.

So Whatta????
So you may see internet websites protesting in some way tomorrow January 18th, 2012… including website outages, blanked out pages of text, and links to more information about SOPA. This will be by the companies that are protesting the SOPA legislation.
For your planning and lesson plan purposes:
This will not affect the CV Websites like Sapphire and the CV Homepage but it might affect Web 2.0 tools or Search Engines and Wikipedia tomorrow.

Further Information on SOPA
If you want to become more informed, I have several web links in my Diigo account that you can read for yourself…
I have linking articles I have found on the topic as well as the links to the Congressional Website for the current legislation.
PLEASE BE AWARE several of the linked articles are opinion pieces and express bias, based upon the author and the intended audience.
Keywords for this debate are Piracy, Censorship, First Amendment Rights, and Internet DNA – Domain Name Address.

Blogs for Educators to build your PLN

PLN or a Personal Learning Network  is a connection of people who have similar professional interests who often share resources in an online collaborative environment.  How do you build a network?

ONE – look down your hallway in your school — do you have anyone who you can go to for advice on technology tools for your classroom and your curriculum? These people are in your school PLN already.

TWO – look in the Google Docs collections that have been shared with you, many of the building technology integrators have placed resources into folders for you to use. The collections are organized by grade level and subject area. The people who contribute lesson plans, flip charts and worksheets are in your District PLN because they have share with you. You can add items to these collections and share your resources with others on your grade level to build your PLN resources.

THREE – Look for educators and resources that are outside your physical environment. One way is to  follow blogs of other people.

  • save the websites in your bookmarks to visit later or
  • follow the RSS feed for entries. RSS is Really Simple Syndication. Like a magazine that is delivered these blogs can be delivered to your email in box, every time an author published a new post/edition or
  • send the RSS feed for entries to your iGoogle homepage or your Google Reader.

Build your own Virtual PLN. Choose  a few bloggers to follow. I have listed a few bloggers below:

CV School District Blogs

Technology Ideas for Classroom Teachers :

Or check out these blogs about Education Issues:

Why should you build your PLN? The potential to increase your area of expertise by reaching outside of your physical circle of professionals is an advantage for today’s teachers. It also meets the standards of the ISTE NETS for Teachers and for Students.   ISTE NETS-T3. Model Digital-Age Work and Learning: D. model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning. And ISTE NETS-S 3. Research and Information Fluency B. locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.

Well now if you got this far in the article and you are thinking what is this Technology Coach talking about? You know what to do… send me a helpdesk ticket and we can meet and discuss your questions. I am looking forward to talking about Blogs and PLN with you! Comment on this blog post  to add the links to blogs that you follow that other teachers would find helpful.

Minimize that Ribbon

Did you know that you can minimize the tool bar in your Office 2007 Products?  This can be very helpful when you need more screen real estate for projecting on your board or screen. Just Double Click on the open tab and it will hide the ribbon. Double click on the menu area and you can select minimize the ribbon.

1. HELP Button  : The Microsoft Office has a great HELP feature. In Office 2007 the HELP button is in the top right corner. The icon is a blue question mark. Click on it and ask it a question.  The Microsoft Office website also has great short videos that can take you step by step through your question.

2. Microsoft Office Website : To see more about the ribbon and other features of Microsoft Office 2007 check out this web site and search for your questions!

3. Atomic Learning Videos:  Don’t forget about the Atomic Learning Videos too! You need to log into Atomic Learning with your CV username and password and then you can access this link for Office 2007

Atomic Learning also has videos for Office 2000 and 2003.  Just Browse and select the product you need!

Spelling City

I love Spelling City! (you might love it too!)

spelling city
spelling city

I have all of my son’s spelling list on Spelling City! He likes to practice his spelling words on spelling city and he likes the handwriting worksheets I print out for him to practice.

You can use the FIND A LIST feature and search the parent choice for McGaw and you will find his lists!

Several CV Teachers also use Spelling City….Smoketown has a set of list for your Reading series for Grade One and Two… FIND A LIST … search the username choice for Smoketown. This list is updated by Jeremy Kerchner at Smoketown.

Molly Dougherty had the third grade spelling list on spelling city!! … FIND A LIST … search the teacher choice for Dougherty.

Find a List
Find a List

You do not have to log in to use the lists that are created by others. Many list are just available for you to use.

·        You can create an account for FREE and add your own spelling list.

·        There is a fee for the service only if you use the premium features.

·        The advantages are that you can customize your lists.

·        You can print out HANDWRITING SHEETS for student to practice their words or

·        Students can practice online when you are in the computer lab OR AT HOME

Technology Goals and the NETS


Setting goals for the new school year is always a challenge. Finding the right framework to evaluate your completion of the goal will help you create a measurable goal.  I have included a link to the International Society for Technology  in Education ISTE Standards for Teachers, Students and Administrators called the NETS.  National Educational Technology Standards. These standards provide a framework for teachers to measure their success with technology integration into their curriculum and daily lesson planning. Standards for teachers

NETS for Teachers in Brief
1. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity
2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments.
3. Model Digital-Age Work and Learning
4. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility
5. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Leading the Learning for the Net Generation

Leading the Learning for the Net Generation

June 17 and 18, 2009 at IU#13


Keynote Speakers were Doug Johnson and Alan November.

I attended sessions on Power Up Your Professional Learning Network, Schools and Libraries for the Net Generation, Teaching Students to Think, Students as Authors: Blogging in the Classroom, and Technology Tools for Differentiation.

Each of these sessions encouraged teachers to incorporate technology into their classroom. Educators are charged with designing rigorous and motivating assignments. Encouraging students to become authors of digital content on the “digital learning farm” is the other charge.

The amount of resources that were shared was awesome and substantial. Fortunately we have several of these resources available in our district for you to use with your students!! WordPress Blogs, Google Apps, Wikispaces, Thinkfinity, Moodle.

The hashtag of #iu13lead was used on twitter throughout the workshop so that you could search twitter for great comments and links to the resources at a later date.

Building a PLN

Building your Personal Learning Network!

In Andrew Churches’ article “Eight Habits of Highly Effective 21st Century Teachers” he lists these skills as being crucial: Adapting, Being Visionary, Collaborating, Taking Risks, Learning, Communicating, Modeling Behavior, and Leading.

One way to accomplish these skills is to create a Personal Learning Network. Find people to connect with who share the same teaching philosophy or have a common area of expertise. Follow someone whom you respect and can learn from their work and their experiences. Reading blog postings on a regular basis can provide invaluable insight into other people’s ideas on education. You can use a RSS tool to have the blog post delivered to you in the iGoogle or Google Reader. This allows you to read all of your blogs in one location rather than having to visit each blog site for the latest blog posting.

Shorter blogs called Microblogs can be found on services like Twitter. Following people on Twitter can provide valuable connections to resources without having to read a post longer than 140 characters.

It is important to share back with others from your wealth of knowledge as well. Using tools like Delicious or Diigo provide you an opportunity to not only save your own favorites or bookmarks but to share them with others in your personal network. There is so much information available on the internet that I often find more valuable search results on Delicious or Diigo. By searching the bookmarks of my PLN I am better able to focus on good resources for education.

The first step would be to go to these sites Twitter twit_icon ,Google Reader reader20x20, or Delicious deliciousmed, and sign up for an account. Proceed with a few “friends” you already know like: christopher.smith23, mcgaw, pmcclune are all on delicious. See who they follow and check out their personal learning network.

I try to follow other educators, librarians or local people who have something in common with me and my areas of interest. I am quick to unfollow any one who is inappropriate in their language or their choice of bookmarked sites.

You can find more details on each of these tools on the CFF wiki or by contacting me for an appointment to work on a resource together.

Article: “Eight Habits of Highly Effective 21st Century Teachers” by Andrew Churches Information Technology at Kristin School in Auckland as found on

ActivInspire Software

The newest release of Promethean Software will be available in March. This software blends the best of the Windows and Mac Versions of the software creating an more user friendly module to access tools, resources library and the Promethean Planet. The look and feel of this latest version is smooth and dynamic. I think teachers who have been using the Active Studio software will be able to transition easily to this new sleek platform. I am sure it will win over a few of the Smart board users in the building as well. The Promethean Planet has a wealth of resources available to a classroom teacher and I am sure no matter which type of Interactive White Board you are currently using YOU WILL FIND some great resources to include in your classroom!  I have been doing some advanced Promethean training and I am excited and hopeful that this new version will reduce some of the number of steps to completing some of the advanced processes. I know the placement of the resource library and the redesigned access panel have already won me over. The seamless integration of the ActivExpressions and the ActiVotes will reap added benefits in many classrooms.  I look forward to sharing this tool in my classroom and with my staff!!  The Primary and Standard Workspace are available in the same software piece. This allows you to toggle back and forth between the two versions much like you can now with design mode and active mode through the use of the Activsoftware Dashboard

This is the new Activsoftware Dashboard


The Student Database


This tool allows you to Edit YOUR Student Database and brings the best of the ActivExpression software which used to be a separate program right into you Active Studio screen. Putting the power of interaction with your students at your fingertips!!

Seamless integration of these powerful classroom tools!

The Resource Browser


This is the Resource Browser Window and it seems easier to navigate!

You can visit the Promethean Planet to take a sneak peek at this upcoming version of the software!!