Sunday, March 31, 2019

Balancing Screen Time at Home for Kids

At SFS, we strive to help our students develop each of the learner profiles. Balance is understanding the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being for yourself and others.

Our students are navigating a digital world and both teachers and parents are wondering how can we help our students balance their screen use, game time and social media? Here is some helpful information and tools to help your child develop balance in their own life.

Recommendations for Screen Usage from American Academy of Pediatrics
  • For ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and how it applies to the world around them.
  • For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media and the types of media. Parents should make sure that media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.
  • Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.
  • Have ongoing communication about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline.
Source: Huffpost

Which media is appropriate for my child?

Not sure if that new game is right for your child? Wondering about the content in the latest Marvel movie? Check out Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in the world of media and technology. They provide independent ratings and reviews for almost everything kids want to watch, read, play and learn. Parents also give reviews as well as children.

What tools are available to help me set limits on my child's device?

Creating a Family Media Plan

Media should work for you and work within your family values and parenting style. When media is used thoughtfully and appropriately, media can enhance daily life. But when used inappropriately or without thought, media can displace many important activities such as face-to-face interaction, family-time, outdoor-play, exercise, unplugged downtime & sleep.
By creating a Personalized Family Media Use Plan, you can be aware of when you are using media to achieve your purpose. The tool below will help you to think about media, creating a family plan of rules that are in line with your family’s values.
Click on Family Media Plan Tool to create your own family's plan.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

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10 Trends for 2019

Each year Core Education highlight what will be the trends in education for the year. This is not a gimmick, highlighting the latest tech toy but a focus on what are important issues and directions education is going. Because Core is a New Zealand company it has a NZ flavour but the trends highlighted have a global impact.
Very interesting reading particularly the one on Wellbeing.

Trends of 2019

"We have been featuring these Trends for over ten years; focusing in particular on the trends and influences shaping how we live, work and learn - brought about by the increasing use of technology in our modern world.

This year we have tried to create a focus within the Ten Trends on the impact of change on society, communities and individuals and go further than simply explain this as something that is inevitably going to occur. Instead, we provide provocations that question the value of the change, and implications for us as humans - now and into the future. We hope you enjoy the read."

Core Education website

Trends of 2019

Bring Lessons to life with video

Bring lessons to life with video.
Clips is a free app for iPhone and iPad that makes it easy
to create expressive videos that are unique, informative and fun.
Learn to use Clips.
We’ve created a new collection of tips and idea starters to help you introduce Clips into your lessons.
Watch real teacher videos.
Check out these Clips videos to see how Apple Distinguished Educators around the world use Clips to support learning across grades and subjects.
See how an Apple Teacher uses Clips to bring literature to life.
Jamie Clark is integrating Clips in his Year 12 writing class as they explore dystopian authors. Read about his recent project to help students improve the quality of their work.
Bring video to your lessons and assignments.
Teach your students fun and easy skills to share ideas and learning through film with the Everyone Can Create Video guide. And, in the Everyone Can Create Teacher Guide, you'll find dozens of ideas on how to bring video into lessons and assignments in any subject.

Tips for Parents regarding Social Media

Tips from CommonSense Media:  Help Kids Post, Comment, and Upload Responsibly

Be a role model.

Before you post a photo of your tween or teen on social media, ask them if it's OK to share. Not only will you give them control over their own digital footprint, you'll be showing them what you expect them to do with others' photos.

Use privacy settings.

Sit down with tweens and teens to show the privacy settings you use on your apps and devices. Talk about why you keep certain information private or limited to a small group. Ask them what information they feel comfortable sharing and why.

Look to the stars.

Scroll through the Twitter or Instagram feed of a famous celebrity, artist, or politician. Discuss the image they project based on their posts. Ask your kid what kind of image they would like to create -- and what kinds of things (funny stories, silly memes, heartfelt videos) add or detract from that.

Search yourself.

Take turns looking up your name and your kid's name on a search engine and a social platform. Discuss the results. Are you both comfortable with what information and images are available to strangers? Is there anyone whom you wouldn't want to see those results?

    Photo by Benjamin Manley on Unsplash

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Social Media, Social Life: Teens Reveal Their Experiences (2018)

Key Findings


Download graphic

Great Climate Change Apps for Education

Check out this list of great sites and apps from Common Sense media.

National Geographic Education

Top geography resource site provides global exploration opportunities
Bottom line: This is a must-bookmark site for classrooms across the curriculum hunting for inspiring geography-based resources.
PrintPrint list  |  Download PDF

California Academy of Sciences

Expert research and diverse, rich lessons inspire future scientists
Bottom line: A perfect companion to (or substitute for) the Academy, this site delivers highly interactive resources and research with a lot of depth.

Journey North

Long-standing citizen science site continues to inspire learners
Bottom line: Extensive resources can help kids collect, share, and analyze evidence about seasonal change.

Earth Rangers

Kid conservationist's paradise with great images, vids, animals galore
Bottom line: Great ecology lesson plans and videos are rich with engrossing animal goodies, but the accompanying games don't teach much science.

Climate Kids

Kid-friendly, expert site explores key climate issues
Bottom line: A great launching point for engaging in accurate and timely climate change information.

Google Earth VR

Explore the world with an incredible new perspective and sense of scale
Bottom line: An amazing experience that brings the world to life, despite the heavy investment in VR required.

Tuva Labs

Dynamic data exploration tool offers large collection of data sets
Bottom line: Partner with another teacher (preferably a data whiz) and work together to develop cross-curricular activities.


Captivating catalog of biodiversity with great classroom resources
Bottom line: Powerful images and videos capture kids' attention and make them want to learn more.

JASON Learning

Excellent immersion in science community; digital tools could do more
Bottom line: Despite a few shortcomings, it's a gem among science sites because of the way it brings professional science into classrooms.


World habitat app full of intriguing visual comparisons, useful data
Bottom line: This biome reference app helps students get local when understanding their planet Earth.


Enticing display of climate data updated regularly
Bottom line: There's a lot of potential in this visually stimulating resource tool, but teachers will need to do some serious legwork to make the data meaningful.


Earth's deep geologic history and real science data at your fingertips
Bottom line: An unbeatable Earth Science app for its data, scope, and potential for learning.


Environmentally-minded city sim models sustainable building
Bottom line: It carves out a useful niche in a popular genre, showing how city planning, technological development, economics, and quality of life intersect with sustainability.

KQED Education

Great news and classroom resources support both teachers and students
Bottom line: With some organizational adjustments, the site could be an exceptional place for both kids and teachers to find educational inspiration.

NASA Global Climate Change - Vital Signs of the Planet

Tons of climate change info from expert sources in one easy place
Bottom line: This is a one-stop shop for climate change info, from basic intro content to practical guides and raw data; good for middle schoolers and up.


Online science, mastered: exceptional content within meaningful tasks
Bottom line: Serious, sophisticated science engagement -- but be prepared to take some prep time to connect these labs with your classroom.


High-quality multimedia brings biological research to life
Bottom line: Superb multimedia tools and lesson plans help kids explore biology through real-world examples.

Global Oneness Project

Dynamic multimedia resources explore life experiences around the world
Bottom line: Unique approach to incorporating global issues into the curriculum; monthly stories capture interdisciplinary topics.

Fate of the World: Tipping Point

Complex global-influence game in which players’ choices rule the world
Bottom line: Complex multi-issue game succeeds in teaching world politics and global development while building perspective and decision-making skills.