Friday, September 27, 2013

11 Sites and Apps Kids Are Heading to After Facebook

Check out this great article from CommonSense Media:

Remember MySpace? Not so long ago, practically every teen in the world was on it –- and then many left for Facebook. Now, as Facebook's popularity among teens is starting to wane, you might be wondering what the new "it" social network is. But the days of a one-stop shop for all social networking needs are over. Instead, teens are dividing their attention between an array of apps and tools that let them write, share, video chat, and even shop for the latest trends.

You don't need to know the ins and outs of every app and site that's "hot" right now (and frankly, if you did, they wouldn't be trendy anymore). But knowing the basics -- what they are, why they're popular, and the problems that can crop up when they're not used responsibly -- can make the difference between a positive and negative experience for your kid.

11 Social Media Tools Parents Need to Know About Now
Kik Messenger

Thursday, September 26, 2013

No Place for Hate

Lee Elementary is committed to providing every student with an environment that is safe and where all students feel included, this year we are excited to introduce the No Place for Hate® program to our school.

No Place for Hate® is an initiative developed by the Anti-Defamation League, one of the nation’s largest civil rights/human relations organizations. The initiative provides a model for creating a more inclusive school environment. No Place for Hate® incorporates new and existing programs with one consistent message and connects our school to a larger initiative taking place in other schools across the region and nation.  The program affords schools the opportunity to become designated as No Place for Hate® by making a commitment to completing the following steps through the course of the school year:
  1. Establish a No Place for Hate® Coalition or “club” comprised of faculty, administrators, parents and students to spearhead the program.
  2. Adopt the No Place for Hate® Resolution affirming a commitment to respect for diversity.
  3. Complete a minimum of three projects during the school year that promote respect for diversity and/or address bias, bullying and name-calling.
The projects we worked on last year were Random Acts of Kindness Week, No NameCalling Week and the planning of our “Only One You” rock garden that is currently being completed.  We encourage you to discuss this exciting project with your child. As part of No Place for Hate® each child will be asked to sign a Resolution of Respect, committing to being respectful and supportive to others. Elementary students will be committing to the following:

  • I promise to do my best to treat everyone fairly
  • I promise to do my best to be kind to everyone - even if they are not like me
  • If I see someone being hurt or bullied I will report it to an adult
  • Everyone should be able to feel safe and happy at school
  • I want our school to be No Place for Hate®
To learn more about or get involved with No Place for Hate® at Lee Elementary, please contact Jaclyn Sepp.  To learn more about the initiative, please visit: and click “Austin.”  Together we can make our community a safe and welcoming space for all.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

There's Only One You

We started off the school year with a community building project inspired by the book, Only One You written by Linda Kranz.

I visited each class to read the beautiful book and discuss the powerful words of wisdom Adri's parents teach him throughout the pictures.  Some important themes discussed include:
  • Always be on the lookout for a new friend.
  • Look for beauty wherever you are, and keep the memory of it with you.
  • Blend in when you need to, stand out when you have the chance.
  • Find your own way. You don't have to follow the crowd.
  • Know when to speak; know when to listen.
  • No matter how you look at it, there is so much to discover.
  • If you make a wrong turn, circle back.
  • If something gets in your way, move around it.
  • Set aside some quiet time to relax and reflect. Every day.
  • Appreciate art. It's all around you!
  • Make wishes on the stars in the nighttime sky.
I focused and spent time discussing different pages depending on what was relevant for each grade level.  For example, "Know when to speak; know when to listen" was more pertinent in the lower grades while "Find your own way, you don't have to follow the crowd" was relevant in the upper grades.  After reading the story I explained the schoolwide project we were beginning: painting their OWN unique rock!  Students were able to brainstorm different designs to plan how their rock would look.

Each Lee student created a unique rock fish to beautify our campus.  Our school of fish represents the diversity and acceptance of others as unique individuals.  By respecting individuality, we can each make a difference in our own lives and the lives of those around us.  Trasi Judd, an artistically talented parent at our school, joined me in each class to help students design a fish to represent themselves.

Some different tips Trasi showed the students to create expression!

Here is our Rock Fish Garden in progress...

 50 Kindergarteners rocks

3rd-5th begin appearing

 Sign is up!

Our school of fish is growing! 

And...the final product:

Monster Feelings

In kindergarten this week we began discussing feelings.  I started by asking, "What are feelings?" and let the students practice raising their hands and waiting patiently to be called on (an important skill to reinforce from day one!).  Many feelings were named including lonely, sad, mad, happy, tired, nervous, etc.  Then I introduced our read aloud for the day, Glad Monster Sad Monster written by Ed Emberley and Anne Miranda.

Glad Monster Sad Monster is a book about feelings that uses funny monster masks the reader can try on, while giving examples of times when you might experience a certain feeling.  The kids loved seeing how my nose poked out the monster's nose on the mask!  For example, the yellow monster is glad when he gets to open presents and slurp ice cream.  While reading the story I paused to ask students if they would feel the same way the monsters do.  I also asked about what kinds of things they do that make them experience that same feeling. 

After the story I showed them a poster highlighting the different monster feelings we saw in the story.  I asked them to tell me how we knew how each monster was feeling.  We discussed that looking at facial expressions can let us know how someone else might be feeling.  I explained that we have to use facial expressions as clues to help us figure out how others might be feeling.

Finally we made our own monster feeling masks!  Using paper plates, die cute construction paper and googley eyes, the students created a face to describe how they were feeling at that moment.  Here are some of their creations: