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It’s that time again, Dinos! Let’s talk phone safety today. It seems like kids are getting phones at a younger and younger age. I know personally, my 2nd grader has an old phone of ours that no longer works as a phone, but he can use it to play games on. He also has an iPad that only works on wifi and we monitor what he is doing on it, including who he is allowed to text (namely his parents, grandparents, and one cousin). But earlier this month, during Parent Orientation at the school, I attended the bullying class put on by the police officer who works for our schools, and she said something that kind of shocked me. It wasn’t even about bullying; she just mentioned in passing that it is common for kids as young as 10-years old to be sexting! She’s seen it personally. 10-years old – that could be our 4th graders here at Dodd. I guess it never crossed my mind that kids that young would be doing something like that. My son is still in that phase of girls are yucky and he only wants to play with boys, so I always think of sexting as something I should worry about when he’s a teenager, not when he’s in elementary or middle school. But, apparently it’s something I should start thinking about now.
I found this great guide here on how to tell if your child is ready for a phone and what kind of conversations to have with him/her about it when he/she is. Every family is different with their phone needs, but it is never too early to start thinking about how to handle that conversation. Especially if you have a child like mine who frequently asks when he will be old enough to get his own phone.
This is going to wrap up our safety and technology month. Stay tuned next Tuesday for our next topic. I’m thinking something fall and Halloween related 🙂
Are you interested in participating in the National PTA’s Reflections contest this year? For those who don’t know, it is a national student recognition program to encourage the arts. The theme this year is What’s your Story? You can enter in as many of the following categories as you want:
Dance Choreography, Film Production, Literature, Music Composition, Photography, and Visual Arts.
Official Rules and Entry Forms are below. We are so excited to see what our Dinos come up with!
Good morning Dinos! It’s another Let’s Talk Tuesday, so let’s get to it! Today our topic is video game safety. If your child is anything like mine, he is obsessed with Minecraft. Now, compared to some other games out there, I really like Minecraft. It teaches kids creativity and even in survival mode is not very violent – at least there is no blood and gore when you destroy the creepers and other monsters. My son actually prefers to play it in creative mode so he’s constantly building these amazing little worlds. Right now, his current obsession is the Titanic, so what does he do? Build his own Minecraft version of Titanic. And it actually looks like a real ship – he’s researched how to build it properly. If I have one complaint about Minecraft, it’s the popularity of all the YouTube videos, like Stampy, that make my son want to do the online version of the game, rather than the self-contained version he plays by himself. He’s only 8, so the thought of him playing video games online where he could potentially be playing with strangers who may do or say things I consider inappropriate is scary. And it seems like now you can’t buy a video game system that doesn’t have this online component to it. But there are ways you can help keep your kiddos safe, even when they start begging to play online with their friends.
First of all, make sure you keep your video game systems in a central location, like the living room or a game room where you can monitor what your children are doing. Don’t let them have their own system in their bedroom – make it a family game system. Second, play games with your kids. Both my 8-year old and 3-year old love it when I play video games with them. I know this may change as they move into the teenage years, but by playing with them now I become familiar with the games they are playing and stay involved with their game time. Third, make sure you have turned on parental controls and your kids do not know your password. This is super important if you want to make sure your kids can’t download games or play online aspects of games without your permission. Fourth, talk to your kids. Make sure they know the rules, especially about playing online with friends, and that they know what to do if someone starts talking to them in an inappropriate way or asking for inappropriate information during online play.
Happy Tuesday, Dinos! Today is our very first “Let’s Talk Tuesday,” and our topic is Internet Safety.
Back when I was a student in elementary school, the internet didn’t really exist for me. In fact it wasn’t until I was in high school in the 90’s that I took any notice of it. Nowadays however, kids grow up with the internet. My three-year old loves watching videos and playing games on NickJr.com or DisneyJr.com. My 2nd grader is obsessed with YouTube. In this day and age, it’s almost impossible to escape the internet, and while instant world-wide access to practically anything you can think of has it’s upsides, it very definitely has its downsides as well.
Elementary-age kids are so very trusting, especially of adults. They count on us to take care of them and protect them and they look up to us. But not all adults can be trusted. It is a very sad fact of life that there are adults out there who prey on young children and want to harm them. And the internet can make it a lot easier for those types of adults to find victims. So it really is never too early to start teaching kids about internet safety. After all, stranger danger doesn’t just apply to those strangers you see out in the real world.
I found two very good websites with lots of resources for teaching young kids about internet safety. The first is BrainPOP Jr. I’ve linked here to an excellent video about what to do if someone you don’t know tries to contact you on the internet, and what kind of information you should never give out online, especially to a stranger. There are also games and activities to help the message sink in to impressionable young minds. The page linked to is free, but I believe BrainPOP is an online education tool and they do have a subscription service with lots of other activities in many other subjects. The second website is here and is part of kids.gov, which also has lots of information and activities on a wide-variety of subjects including internet safety, grouped by ages. The page linked to has games and videos that teach online safety for kids age K-5.
I think it’s important to remember that the internet is just a tool, much like a car is. You would never let your child drive your car without making sure he or she knew how to drive it safely and properly, and the internet should be no different. Let’s keep our kiddos safe out there on the world wide web!
Alright Dinos, the Dodd PTA needs your help! Our membership goal this year is 360 new and returning members by October 28. If we meet that goal, Ms. Duvall and Dr. Branch have made the generous offer of allowing themselves to be duct-taped to the wall! We think that might look a little something like this:
What is PTA? Why join PTA? The number one reason to join the Parent Teacher Association is to benefit your child. In doing so, you also help your school. But there are many more PTA advantages:
Get Connected. There’s no better way to know what’s happening in your school.
Discover Great Resources. The PTA offers a variety of programs designed for parents as well as students.
Tap into a Network. PTA functions are opportunities to meet other parents and teachers, building rapport and discussing issues that are on your mind. You can share ideas, concerns, and experiences.
Watch Yourself Grow. By volunteering with your PTA, you put your skills and hobbies to use for a noble cause—your child and all children in the community.
Speak Up. PTA can be a way for you to more effectively suggest change at your child’s school.
Witness Improvement. By getting involved at your child’s school you’ll be part of the solution, helping make positive changes. Local PTAs play an important role by supporting building improvements through advocacy and play an important role in fundraising for curriculum based programs and social events.
Be a Role Model. By becoming a PTA member, you’ll be demonstrating to your child the importance you place on education.
Enjoy Substantial Benefits. Individuals and local units can take advantage of a host of benefits from PTA membership including discounts and offers from member benefits providers and sponsors, magazine subscriptions, leadership training, e-newsletters and much more.
And there are other benefits to you as well. Texas PTA has a whole list of companies that give PTA members discounts, including Six Flags, Great Wolf Lodge, and our Texas Rangers! You can access these membership benefits here: http://www.txpta.org/my-pta/member-benefits/.
Parents, grandparents, friends, neighbors, and even our kiddos themselves are all welcome to join. And Dodd students who join up will be given their own special benefits this year.
Seems like a pretty good deal for only $8.00 per membership! The easiest way to join is at http://www.joinpta.org/. Just choose Texas, Wylie ISD, and Dodd Elementary and pay with a credit card. Or send the form below with a check or cash back to school with your student.
This year seems to be flying by. Here we are, nearly finished with the second week of school, and starting the ninth month of the year. I am happy to see September though. Hopefully it will bring the beginnings of cooler weather, pumpkin spice everything, and lots of learning for our little Dinos.
As you can see from the calendar below (click the image to make it bigger and easier to print), we have quite a lot going on this month. The always popular Celebrate Reading Parade is on Friday, followed by our first school holiday on Monday. Parent Orientation and Room Parent meetings are Thursday the 8th, and looks like catalog sales are kicking off the next day! Our WatchDOGS meeting is Tuesday the 13th and our first teacher luncheon is Thursday that same week. (If you’d like to donate items to our teacher luncheons or other teacher events we hold each month, contact me at email@example.com and I’ll make sure you get on the list. Our teachers work hard for our kiddos, and the least we can do is make sure they are well fed one afternoon each month.) Fall pictures are Friday the 16th and the school’s first spirit night is on Wednesday the 28th. Add in things like Grandparents Day, National Ice Cream Cone Day and the start of the State Fair and we have one packed month ahead of us!