Too Much Drama – The Social (Media) Lives of Kids and What Parents Should Do

Originally posted on https://www.appleseedsblog.com Too Much Drama – The Social (Media) Lives of Kids and What Parents Must Do Now – By Samantha Morra May 9, 2017

Middle School is full of drama. There’s just no way around it. It starts to creep in around third or fourth grade and is in full force by 6th grade. Most of the drama is focused on a child’s need for two competing forces, autonomy and acceptance. By the time they start middle school, the drama becomes a part of everyday life as kids realize they are more autonomous from their parents and they seek acceptance from their peers. This was true long before social media came onto the scene, but it does amplify the drama of the middle school years. Now social media is a part of our children’s social, emotional and intellectual development. Some ways that your child and his/her friends use social media may shock you and, the more you know, the better prepared you will be to deal with it.

Our common strategy for most parenting issues is to reflect upon how we were raised. Unfortunately, this does not help us since social media was not around when we were kids. Grown-ups may use social media but certainly not the way our kids are using it. Keep in mind, there are real benefits to kids using social media, including access to information, increased communication, and help in developing a sense of self. Just as we prepare our kids for life in the real world, we need to prepare them for life in the digital world, so we need to start teaching them about privacy and judgment when posting online. Two general rules to follow are:

  1. Encourage your child to only use age appropriate sites and to be truthful when registering on a social networking site. Review the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (“COPPA”) and the terms of service sites for the social media accounts they set up.
  2. Review and set privacy settings on all accounts – Know what you are sharing. (A good tip is to opt-out of geolocation and location check-ins unless you are sure of the privacy settings.)

As we all know, there can be serious downsides to online sharing too: cyberbullying, de-friending/following, exposure to inappropriate content, and sexting.

Be prepared to discuss:

  1. Friending/following and de-friending/following – Who should they follow or friend? When should they unfollow or unfriend someone? How will they feel when someone unfollows or unfriends them? Don’t assume everyone you meet online is who they appear to be.
  2. Photo sharing – Not only is their privacy a concern, but they need to understand and respect the privacy of others
  3. Revealing too much personal information
  4. What to do if they see something inappropriate for children
  5. What to do if they are contacted or “friended” by someone they do not know
  6. What to do if someone is being unkind, hurtful or offensive to them or others
  7. What are the consequences if they mess up, make a mistake, or feel that something has gone too far

The last discussion topic is sometimes the hardest conversation to have. Be real about what your expectations are for your child and discuss them before an issue erupts. Draw up a contract or plan. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a useful family media use plan tool, and give your kids some input so they are a part of the discussion. It is important to give them a pathway so they feel safe to involve the adults around them. It is also important to support them as they deal with both the social and emotional impact of social media.

The drama of middle school will not end anytime soon. The best ways parents can navigate through this tough time is by being knowledgeable that what current trends are in social media and keeping the lines of communication open with their children.

Here are some great resources get you started:

Common Sense Media – Parent Concerns

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/parent-concerns

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): Media and Children Communication Toolkit

https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/pages/media-and-children.aspx

The Family Online Safety Institute

https://www.fosi.org/

Netfamilynews.org

http://www.netfamilynews.org/

Goodbye to 8th Graders – 2017

I gave this note, with the candy to match, to the students in my advisory who graduated this week. It was hard trying to write it with nut-free candy but they loved it.CandyPoohMessage2

Dear ___________,

My sweet send off to you:

May you be Jolly Ranchers and Smarties

When you feel like a Dum Dum,

Or you have hit a Sour Patch,

Remember, sometimes the smallest act of kindness can be a LifeSaver

You are all Starbursts I have enjoyed our time together.

Kisses,

Mrs. Morra

Google Drawing and Slides Now Have Gradients

Sometimes it really is the little things that make a big difference.

I love using Google drawings with my students and today we noticed that they added gradients to the fill tools in both Drawing and Slides.

There are two types of gradients: linear and radial.

Drawing

In Drawing the fill menu looks like this:

graddraw

Slides

In Slides, they added a section of colors that matches the slide color theme.

The Slides fill menu looks like this:

gradslides

I would love to see more choices. More colors, blending multiple colors, changing the direction of the linear gradient or changing where the gradient starts and stops would be great tools to add. Hopefully. this is just the beginning. Meanwhile, my students and I will have fun playing with them.

Making Pictures Talk with ChatterPix & YakIt

Updated from my 2014 post

ChatterpixYakIt

If you have access to iPads in your classroom, a great activity with your students is to make pictures talk, create animations that anthropomorphize objects, or use personification to demonstrate understanding. It’s a great activity anytime of the year.

Two fantastic sets of free apps for creating talking pictures on iPads are ChatterPix /ChatterPix Kids and YakIt / YakIt Kids. With both sets, the “non-kid” versions provide additional sharing features such as uploading to e-mail and social media sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, while the “kid” versions only save to the Camera Roll.

Chatterpix

ChatterPix Kids & ChatterPix

ChatterPix Kids and ChatterPix from Duck Duck Moose are simple, elegant, and useful apps. Duck Duck Moose is now a part of Khan Academy. Both apps allow students to take a picture or use an image saved to Photos. With a swipe of their finger, students can draw a mouth on any image. There is one button to press to record, and the mouth then animates with the recording.

Features:

  • 30 seconds to record.
  • Add stickers, frames, or text.
  • Send movie to the camera roll.

YakIt

YakIt Kids & YakIt

YakIt Kids and YakIt from Freak’nGenius are similar to ChatterPix Kids but have a few more features which make them slightly more complicated to use but add more to the final product.

These apps have the same features as ChatterPix Kids and ChatterPix plus:

    • Several different types of mouths. Spend a little time aligning the points of the mouth and chin to create an interesting effect.
    • More stickers. Create different types of faces on imported objects.
    • Change the pitch of the voice. Instead of a standard recording, make some audio tweaks. While this may seem like a very simple change, I have found that being able to change the voice brings out more from our introverted students.
  • Multiple scenes. Rather than just one image, string together several different talking pictures.

Blending with Other Apps

Since all of these apps save to the camera roll, they are great for building and blending with other apps to create something that exceeds the possibilities of just one app.

Here are some examples:

2nd Grade: Who Should Be On a Coin

Face on coins & Chatterpix

Face On Coins Booth + ChatterPix Kids

6th Grade: What Pi?

YakIt Smash

Garageband + YakIt + iMovie

Creating talking pictures or animations offer amazing possibilities in the classroom. These two apps are so easy to use, students can complete a simple project in a short amount of time or make more complex projects that can lead to collaborative videos, ebooks, or websites. Not only are these apps fun for students, but they also allow them to think, create and demonstrate understanding.

3D Print From Any Image

I have been having some wonderful adventures with 3D printing in my classroom. One of our favorite activities is to draw something and 3D print it. You can use this for any image. It is quite simple even though you need to convert the file a few times. Here are are the instructions for creating a 3D print from any image.

Download the PDF here: 3D Print From Any Image

Enjoy!

3D Print From Any Image

Websites Used:

Online Convert

http://www.online-convert.com/

TinkerCAD

https://www.tinkercad.com/

Cool New Things in Google Drive

Google has been busy. Updating its logo was a big deal, but there are some pretty cool new things in Google Drive.

I have been creating a ton of new docs, sheets, slides, forms, etc for the new school year and I noticed several new things popped up as I was working.

Templates
So, I go to start a new Doc and a pop-up message asks me about templates, so I clicked on it. There are now bunch of professionally made templates that you can use. The templates have a very clean look with placeholders for text and images. Sheets and Slides have Templates too!

DocsTemplates

Sheets and Slides have Templates too!

Spreadsheet Template

Slides Templates

Voice Typing
Under the Tools menu they now have “VoiceTyping.”

Voice Typing

A big microphone icon pops up and turns red when you click on it to talk.

totalktalking

(Parts of this post were written with voice typing. It did get a little glitchy so I had to start and stop it to work a little better.) If you want punctuation you just say that punctuation. For example “period”, it will place a period at the end of the sentence and start a new sentence with a capital letter. If you want to start a new line, you just say “new line.”

***Google Support Blog Post with punctuation, languages, and trouble-shooting.***

Sharing
When you open up a shared  document, you might see this blue icon that says “See new changes”. Click it and it will walk you through the most recent changes.

NewChanges

Sheets
When I opened up a spreadsheet a green explore symbol came up and charts were created on the right side window.

Explore

You can click on the charts and either make them bigger or bring them into the document to edit them.  You have to mouse over to get the symbols on the left of the graph below.

Graph

Now I know those items are brand new, but also played with the new changes below and they are pretty awesome too.

Forms
 I absolutely love the fact you can really customize forms. You can add image to the background, change colors for the form background, and have all sorts of fun with fonts. This was such a needed an update.

CustomizeFOrm

FOrmsCustom

File Types
I noticed that every document now has an icon in the upper left corner that shows its filetype.

Icons

If you click on the icon it takes you to a page that just shows all the items you have that file type. for example I click on the Docs icon  and it took me to a page with all of my docs. (This is very similar to the apps I have on my mobile devices.)   

If you click on the upper left hand corner again, you will get a drop-down menu that takes you to the other file types as well as a link back to Drive.

DriveMenu

I can’t wait to see what else I discover over the next few days.

Happy Pi Day 2015 3.1415

Happy Pi Day 2015!

When it comes to creativity on the

I still love this video created by a 5th grader last year on an iPad. It is a great example bringing together a few iPad apps to create something unique and expressive that demonstrates understanding. You can call it app-smashing or app-synergy. I always say when it comes to creativity on the iPads: “If there is an ‘app for that’ you’re doing it wrong.” When you blend apps together it becomes more of what you want to create, rather than what an app can do.

Apps used to create this video:

Garageband + YakIt + iMovie

Screen-Shot-2014-06-15-at-1.27.30-PM-300x94

I love talking picture apps. Two of my favorites are ChatterPics Kids and YakIt. I talk more about them in this post on Richard Byrne’s Free Technology for Teachers blog and on my blog last June. Creating talking pictures or animations offer amazing possibilities in the classroom. These two apps are so easy to use, students can complete a simple project in a short amount of time or make more complex projects that can lead to collaborative videos, ebooks, or websites.

For this video, the student:

  1. Wrote the words set to the music he picked
  2. Played the piano and recorded it into GarageBand
  3. Found images and animated them in YakIt.
  4. He did not like the way his voice sounded so he raised the pitch in YakIt
  5. Each image was a scene
  6. All scenes and the music were put together in iMovie and the titles were added.

PiDay Song

Google Earth Pro is Now Free – Used to be $400

I love Google Earth and have used it for years with my students. Because of the price, I did not use the Pro version although there were some features I really wanted to use. Now I can! I can’t wait to see what teachers and students come up with using the Pro version.

Download:   http://www.google.com/earth/download/gep/agree.html

Get License Key:   https://geoauth.google.com/gev0/free_trial.html

You can check out the some of the features of Pro here:

https://www.google.com/work/mapsearth/products/earthpro.html

Making Movies in Google Earth Pro 

https://support.google.com/earth/answer/176684?hl=en

Google Earth Pro Advanced Measuring Tools

Google Earth Pro Map-Making Tool

Google Earth Pro data import tools