Author Archives: hamlinadmin

Common Sense Media Tip of the Week 11/08

digital_citizenship-certified_school-med CS_supporter_school-BIG-300x62Serving certain age groups seems to be a no-brainer for TV studios. There are social-emotional skill-builders for preschoolersliteracy-strengtheners for kindergartnersscientific discovery for middle schoolers, and sophisticated dramas for teens. But for tweens who’ve outgrown Peppa Pig but aren’t yet ready for Pretty Little Liars, most shows remain firmly in the territory of talk-to-the-hand, eye-rolling, and mean-girls.

However, a new trend toward smart, funny, quality programming for tweens is changing the equation. Shows with over-the-top acting and less-than-positive messages are beginning to share the schedule with programs offering tweens enough of an edge to make them feel a little more grown-up, along with lessons on character that use subtlety to make a point and role models you’ll be happy to see them emulate. Check out these cool new picks like Milo Murphy’s Law and Legendary Dudas and see the rest of list here.

Common Sense Media Tip of the Week 10/31

CS_supporter_school-BIG-300x62 digital_citizenship-certified_school-medIf you want to monitor the amount of violence your kids see playing video games, curate what they play. The truth is, the majority of the hyper-realistic, hyper-popular games are really best left to mature players.  But instead of saying “no” all the time, Common Sense thinks you’ll be more successful if you say “wait” and offer kids alternatives in the same genre, that are more age-appropriate.  Click here for our just released list of the 10 Most Violent Video Games of 2016 (And What to Play Instead), and check out our list of non-violent games for kids of all ages.

And, for tweens and teens who have constant access to devices, they can stumble across actual scenes of real-life violence in their social media and news feeds.  But just because we have 24/7 access to news doesn’t mean we have to let our kids witness everything from war to street violence. Check out How to Handle Violent Videos at Your Kid’s Fingertips< for practical ways to help children make informed decisions about their social media feeds — and help put things in perspective for them when they do scroll by those violent videos and images.

Common Sense Tip of the Week 10/24

CS_supporter_school-BIG-300x62 digital_citizenship-certified_school-medNovember 8, Election Day, is almost upon us. It’s been impossible to avoid the barrage of sound bites pulled from contentious presidential debates and stump speeches. And, as our kids learn about the political process, it’s critical we give them context and perspective around the latest campaign trail gaffe or candidate counterattack. Common Sense’s 17 Tips to Steer Kids of All Ages Through the Political Season offers advice for helping your kids become media-savvy participants in democracy. And, it will take you less than one minute to check out this advice video highlighting 5 Things to Tell Your Kids About the Election.

Common Sense Media Tip of The Week 10/17

Have you been wondering about Virtual Reality games and if you should introduce this “new” gear to your kids, but you have no idea where to start? Don’t worry. From Google’s inexpensive Cardboard VR viewer to Sony’s new PlayStation VR, this guide will help you figure out what makes sense for your family’s interests, needs, and budget. Here are your options if you want to dip your toe in the water, wade knee-deep, or really swim with the VR big fish. Keep in mind, virtual reality is a quickly changing technology, so always check out the companies’ websites and user reviews before you take the leap.

The best option for families with young kids are the virtual reality viewers. Virtual reality viewers are inexpensive, handheld devices that offer three-dimensional views and the feeling of being in a different place. The viewers’ lenses work by extending the depth of static images or animation but do not allow you to interact with your environment. To use them, download any app labeled “VR” in either iTunes or Google Play, launch the app, and insert your smartphone into the viewer. Click here to learn more about all the options for VR that may work for you and your family.

It’s Digital Citizenship Week!

At Hamlin, digital citizenship is interwoven into the social emotional learning components of our program.

In K-4, teachers offer a digital citizenship lesson once a month as a part of Toolbox. In 5th and 6th grade, Ms. Beck and Ms. Davis team up to regularly deliver digital citizenship classes, and in the 7th and 8th grades, advisory teachers check in with their students and teach digital citizenship during advisory time at least once a month.

At home this week, we ask that you consider taking the Device Free Dinner Challenge!  Having family dinners together, without your devices, helps model what a healthy relationship to technology looks like. It also gives the benefit of making deeper connections with your child(ren) and is correlated to better nutrition, better academic performance, and fewer behavioral problems.

Read more and take the challenge this week!

Common Sense Media Tip of the Week 10/03

digital_citizenship-certified_school-med CS_supporter_school-BIG-300x62October is Cyberbullying Awareness Month. This school year, you never know what might bubble up as the heady brew of hormones, relationships, and technology is stirred. Digital drama will play out in texts, on social media, and on popular teen websites. From forums that let kids pose hurtful questions to self-destructing messaging apps, new technologies enable novel ways to get attention, provoke, and try out online personas — and they go viral fast.

Continue reading

Common Sense Tip of the Week 09/26

CS_supporter_school-BIG-300x62 digital_citizenship-certified_school-medWhat’s the easiest thing you can do to impress prospective schools? It’s not your GPA. It’s not the debate team. It’s your Facebook – and your TwitterSnapchatYouTubeVine, and any other social media feeds that high schools and colleges can seeAnd yes, they’re looking. Get answers to the most important questions about what schools want to see here. 

It is important for your kids to understand how their social media feeds will impact their future.  They don’t need to delete all their photos, but they should certainly understand what is appropriate and what needs to be taken down.  Be sure to share this article with your kids, young and old, who are using social media. Remember, it is developmentally difficult for a 13 year old to think about what their 25 year old self will think of their Instagram post! But, you can remind them that their posts will be viewed by their high school and college Admission Counselors!

Have a great week and don’t forget to use Common Sense.

Common Sense Tip of the Week 09/19

digital_citizenship-certified_school-med CS_supporter_school-BIG-300x62Which books do you remember most from your childhood?  The stories that made you laugh, cry, and dream?  As you look for great reads for your kids, remember Common Sense offers a variety of curated book lists for children of all ages including 44 Books that Teach Empathy 50 Books All Kids Should Read Before They’re 12 and Award-Winning Books for TeensAnd, if reading is a challenge in your home, check out our blog post with top tips for How to Raise a Reader.

Have a great week and don’t forget to use Common Sense.

Middle School Curriculum Night – Design/Maker Elective

“I wish I could take your class!”
– eighth grade parent

It’s going to be a great and very creative semester! Check out the sides:

Common Sense Media Tip of the Week: 09/12

CS_supporter_school-BIG-300x62 digital_citizenship-certified_school-medWhile most adults would agree that face-to-face contact is important, there’s no doubt that online communication continues to change how we find, form, and maintain relationships. But the truth is, teens have always had their own codes, slang, and shorthand that adults weren’t meant to know. Now, in addition to cool catchphrases, they have an arsenal of tools that can sum up a sentiment in one image. While we don’t want our kids to lose the art of conversation (especially at the dinner table), we can’t deny the power we keep in our pockets and purses that has transformed the way we connect — or disconnect. Continue reading