Tag Archives: digcit

Common Sense Media & Hamlin Partnership … year 3


Dear Parents, We’re excited to again be working with Common Sense this year as part of their Supporter School digital_citizenship-certified_school-medProgram (our third year). We’ve partnered with Common Sense because we are fully committed to empowering our children to make safe, responsible decisions online and help them take advantage of the best that technology has to offer for learning. Many of you may know Common Sense for their movie, TV, and book ratings and reviews, but they also provide a wealth of education resources that we will be implementing in a variety of ways.

As a member school, we are taking a whole-community approach to digital citizenship and will provide students and families with the support and tools you need to navigate the digital world in the classroom and at home. We will be sharing Common Sense’s best resources with you throughout the school year, including timely tips and advice, as well as engaging in parent and educator workshops and sharing best practices with a network of member independent schools in the Bay Area and across the country.

To prepare for the back-to-school questions and concerns you may have, check out Back-to-School Rules for Cell Phones, What is Pokémon Go?, and 5 Social Media Musts for Teens. Visit commonsense.org for more information, and we will keep you updated about this program through coffees, events, and weekly blog postings right here.

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Digital Citizenship Tip of the Week – 11/12/2015


Are you wondering what are the best kinds of social media apps for kids?  The problem is that it isn’t always easy to find social sites specifically designed to be beneficial for kids. Though 45% of teens say they use social media every day, they rank it lower in personal enjoyment than every other kind of media, according to our just released Census Report on Tweens and Teens and Media Usage .  It is possible many teens use social media simply because their friends do and they don’t want to miss anything, rather than actually liking what social media has to offer.

Kids are moving away from having one social-media destination  and instead are downloading different apps for different purposes.  We have compiled some apps that make it easier to promote positive interactions, as well as those apps that enable teens to explore their interests, be creative, make connections and learn about the world.  Take a look at these apps that might make your kids (and you) a little happier.

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

img from: http://jasoncurlee.me/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/socialmedia.jpg

Digital Citizenship Tip of the Week – 11/5/2015


Tumblr is an unending streaming scrapbook of text, photos, videos, and audio clips. It pioneered the vibrant, graphic-rich, full-screen design that kids love (which is one reason Yahoo bought it for $1.1 billion 2013). And — with more than a million blogs — it remains one of the most popular places on the Web for creative types to design original pages, share cool things they discover, and follow others with similar interests. On Tumblr, the goal of many users is to be “reblogged” (as opposed to racking up likes, as with Instagram), which makes the service feel like a creative community bonded by shared interests — and not a popularity contest. Read full  Tumblr article here.

Tumblr is unique because of the wide variety of content that users can post from their phones or computers. Not only can they text and post photos, they also can offer up quotes, links, music, voice messages, and videos. It all shows up on a member’s page along with a stream of posts from people they’re following. This ability to post instantaneously can be a risk for impulsive teens (or any teens, really). Check out how to keep up with the latest social apps and websites teens are using  and check out the 15 apps and websites your kids are going to after Facebook!

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

Hamlin’s November #DigCit Theme …

The Digital Citizenship theme for November is “Relationships Online.” We hope you will be able to continue the discussions at home with the help of our monthly discussion questions.

How are your online relationships different from relationships in real life? (Maybe even your relationship with the same person online and offline)

Have you seen unkindness happening online? How can you be an up-stander in this situation?

How do you think the online cruelty might be different from offline behavior? Is one worse than the other?

Does information (including gossip) spread faster online or in person? What positive experiences have you had with information spreading rapidly online? What negative experiences have you had?


Digital Citizenship Tip of the Week – 10/21/2015


You don’t have to be an expert on texting, Instagram or Minecraft to have the talk!  With 92 percent of teens going online daily and nearly three-quarters of kids age 0-8 using apps, The Talk is an essential rite of passage. You can start by reading up on what’s going on in your kids world (click here for younger kids or  older kids).  Ask them to show you what they like online, and why. Then, express a few basic expectations, with the understanding that this isn’t a one-and-done kind of chat. Below are the 5 basic tips to go over with your kids, and click here  to get the full story. Good luck, you’ll be fine and go ahead – have the talk!

  1. Be kind
  2. Keep private things, private
  3. Don’t believe everything you see
  4. Don’t overshare
  5. Stand up for others

All the best and don’t forget to use Common Sense,

Common Sense San Francisco Teen Panel Discussion

It was standing room only this morning @Hamlin School; we were honored to host the Common Sense San Francisco Teen Panel Discussion.


The event was opened to San Francisco’s Common Sense Media Supporter Schools and a packed group of parents listened as Bay Area Director Dana Blum asked the panel about what it is like to be a middle schooler on October 21, 2015 – or “Back to the Future Day“.  Their responses were honest, clear, thoughtful, and at times surprising – we could not have had a better panel of students – thank you.  This week’s focus for Digital Citizenship week has been – it’s time to have the talk and Hamlin’s hope is that today’s panel will start a discussion in classrooms as well as homes.

The session was highlighted by not only this Huffington Post article on the tables as participants arrived, but also with this video:

examples of the many ways technology can be used to “fill buckets”

For the parents who could not make it this morning an audio recording is available here:


It was also a great day to announce that @Hamlin has gone beyond being a Common Sense Media Supporter School and yesterday was recognized as a Digital Citizenship Certified School.  As our vision is that “all Hamlin faculty are #digcit educators” recognition is shared and celebrated school wide.  That said, there were also six teacher leaders who were simultaneously recognized as Digital Citizenship Certified Educators for 2015-16: Ms. Brown, Ms. Davis, Mr. Dworkin, Mr. Lengel, Mr. Picketts, and Ms. Windell – thank you for your thoughtful guidance and work to ensure our girls are ready to meet the challenges of their increasingly digital times.

Digital Citizenship Tip of the Week – 9/23/2015

CS_supporter_school-BIGKids may express reluctance toward reading for a variety of reasons. But, Common Sense can provide some guidance for reluctant readers. 

As with anything kids would rather not do, forcing them, comparing them to other kids, and using other negative reinforcements backfire. Following are some ideas to encourage kids to read: 

Encourage reading for funWimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney says that sometimes adults focus so much on getting kids to read they forget about the fun. But kids who are having fun will read. 

Go graphic. There are many high-quality graphic novels that draw in readers through illustrations, short-form text, and engrossing story lines. 

Seek out sports. For kids who’d rather be physically active than read a book, consider books about teams or by athletes, such as You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! by Jonah Winter about the famous lefty; Hothead by Cal Ripken Jr.; or other books about sports

Think big print. The Here’s Hank series by Henry Winkler features a dyslexic hero and a large, easy-to-read typeface. 

Let them follow their interests. You may not love Captain Underpants, but if that’s what your kid wants to read, put aside your judgment for the greater good. 

Find characters who reflect your kid’s experience. Kids like to see themselves in the stories they read. Look for books with characters and situations that mirror their experience – for example, kids of color or with divorced parents or who live on a farm or who love dogs. Whatever helps kids identify with the story will keep them more engaged. 

Look for different reading opportunities. Reading is valuable no matter what the format: Pokemon cards, product labels, game manuals, recipes. Mix in shorter-form material with longer stuff. 

Get techy. Ebooks and storybook apps that offer some multimedia along with the narrative can be entertaining and educational and may draw in kids who are turned off by text alone. Use them alongside traditional reading. 

Fact-check. With their amazing stats, incredible images, short-form text, and start-anywhere formats, books of facts such as Guinness World Records and Ripley’s Believe It or Not entice kids who’d rather not tackle longer stories. 

Take turns. With a book your kid has chosen, take turns reading a page (or two) to each other. Ask questions along the way. 

Enjoy the week! 

love reading

Digital Citizenship Tip of the Week – 9/16/2015


Students heading to school this year may be the most technically savvy, media-aware bunch ever. YouTube, Minecraft, and even MythBusters are being used to engage kids in class, while Instagram,WhatsApp, and Netflix occupy kids at home. This year at Back to School Night, it’s a good bet that media and technology — both in and out of school — will be hot topics.

How will your kids’ schools use technology to teach, motivate, and promote digital citizenship? There’s only one way to find out: Ask! Of course, you only get so much time with the teacher and administrators on Back to School Night, so here’s how to find out what you need to know, whether you have five, 10, or 15 minutes we have put together 18 questions to help frame your back to school night. No doubt, these questions are going to get you thinking and ensure you know what your kids’ educators and administrators are using to teach technology skills in the classroom. Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 8.56.50 AM

Digital Citizenship Tip of the Week – 9/9/2015


If your kid is among the 75% of teens who have access to a smartphone, you’re well aware of the app obsession that can take over the brain and body in seconds. While a lot of social networking is harmless — and even beneficial — some apps are specifically designed to appeal to users’ darker impulses. Confessionals, anonymous comments, incriminating photos, rumor-mongering — that sort of thing. Worse, some apps apply location services to this already combustible mix, connecting everyone in a school and magnifying problems like cyberbullying, gossip, and physical threats; unneeded drama.

Keep an eye out for these three apps that often stir up drama in school and let’s keep the drama on the stage.

#digcit – All Aboard!

@Hamlin we believe all of our faculty and staff are Digital Citizenship educators.  We have developed an effective partnership with Common Sense Media as well as with our parents to provide intentional and co-ordinated instruction on how Hamlin girls can meet the challenges of their increasingly digital times.

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Our opening communication message to parents included the following kbfrom our K-8 Health & Wellness Co-ordinator – Karen Brown.  We look at this as a digital extension of our Toolbox curriculum.

Digital Citizenship Monthly Theme: “Healthy Boundaries with Technology” 

This year the Middle School will have a monthly Digital Citizenship theme for our community members to think about the connections between the Hamlin Creed and our digital lives. September’s theme is “Healthy Boundaries with Technology.”

We hope you will be able to continue these conversations at home with the help of our monthly discussion questions.

  • What does it mean to have healthy boundaries with technology? 
  • How does this relate to use of technology for schoolwork and/or personal use? 
  • What boundaries with technology do you already have in place in your family? 

Please reference the Hamlin Student/Parent Technology Contract and our partner organization, Common Sense Media, for more information.