Let’s Talk Tuesday: Video Game Safety

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.

For more tips on video game safety check out this link from staysafeonline.org: https://staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/for-parents/gaming-tips.

Let’s Talk Tuesday: Internet Safety

Happy Tuesday, Dinos!  Today is our very first “Let’s Talk Tuesday,” and our topic is Internet Safety.
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!

Who wants to see Ms. Duvall and Dr. Branch duct-taped to the wall?!?

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:

Duct Tape

C’mon now Dinos, we have to make that happen!!

If seeing our principals duct-taped to a wall isn’t enough, below is a list of reasons from the National PTA website (http://www.pta.org/about/content.cfm?ItemNumber=3289) why you should join the PTA.

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.

Dodd PTA form

Thank you Dinos for all your support!

How is it already September 1st?

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 kimberlyeisma@gmail.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!

September 2016

Would you like to be the Dodd PTA President for the 2016 – 2017 school year?

Then today is your lucky day!

All Dodd PTA members are invited to declare their interest in serving as the PTA president for the upcoming school year. A meeting will be held on Monday, August 8, at 11 a.m., in the Dodd cafeteria to vote on the nominees. You MUST sign up ASAP to join the PTA for the upcoming school year if you submit your name for nomination or to attend the Monday meeting and vote.

To submit your name for nomination, please e-mail the following information to kimberlyeisma@gmail.com by Friday, August 5.
Name
Home Address, ZIP
Phone, Best time to reach you
Email address
Number of years in PTA
Number of years on a PTA Board
Positions held in PTA

Interested in Serving on a Chair of a Standing Committee for Dodd PTA?

If you are interested in serving on or as a Chair of a Standing Committee or as Parliamentarian for Dodd PTA during the 2016-2017 school year, please submit the following to laura.cornstubble@gmail.com by April 30th:
Name
Home Address, ZIP
Phone, Best time to reach you
Email address
Number of years in PTA
Number of years on a PTA Board
Previous and Current Positions held in PTA
Please visit our website ptadodd.com, under forms, for a detailed list of standing committee chairs’ responsibilities.

Come join the PTA Board!

All Dodd PTA members are invited to declare their interest in serving on the Dodd PTA Executive Board.
The Nominating Committee will slate individuals for the Officer positions. After their election, the newly elected officers will appoint the Standing Committee Chairs and Special Committee Chairs.
The Officers Positions are:
President
1st Vice President – Fundraising
2nd Vice President – Programs
3rd Vice President – Membership
Secretary
Treasurer
To submit your name for nomination, please e-mail the following information to harris4770@gmail.com by March 27th.
Position interested in
Name
Home Address, ZIP
Phone, Best time to reach you
Email address
Number of years in PTA
Number of years on a PTA Board
Positions held in PTA
Information about Standing Committee Chairs will be posted soon.

Trunk or Treat – Friday, October 30, 2015, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Happy Tuesday Dinos!  Some of you may have seen the rain in the forecast for Friday.  But don’t worry, Trunk or Treat will happen as planned, rain or shine!  If there is rain, we will just move everything inside and still have a great time.  So please come on out and join us.  There will be a DJ and dancing, pumpkin and trunk decorating contests,  candy for all the kiddos who dress up and a costume contest by grade level.  It’s going to be tons of fun and we’d love to see all our Dinos out there in their costumes.  See you Friday!

Trunk or Treat