Friday, December 4, 2015

Hour of Code 2015 is Here!

Computer Science Education Week 2015 (December 7 - 13) is an annual program dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take an interest in computer science.  Students across the district, and especially at Dale Street, Wheelock and Memorial, are celebrating by participating in Hour of Code 2015.  There are some great activities planned for the classrooms and library media centers!

Anybody can learn!  Be inspired to become a tech hero: 

There are many resources available for interested students.  Wheelock students can join Mrs. Robertson for the library lunch time clubs.  Dale Street students should look for more opportunities coming in the new year!

On a a computer, visit:
  1. - try any of the tutorials
  2. The Foos - my new favorite!  ** Only runs in Firefox or Safari currently.
  3. Kodable Hour of Code
  4. Tynker Hour of Code
  5. Lightbot Hour of Code
Apps for an iPad or Android device:
  1. The Foos
  2. Hopscotch
  3. Lightbot
  4. Scratch Jr
  5. Cargo-Bot
  6. Daisy the Dinosaur
For those students who want to explore further, try:
Have fun and learn something new!  

If you have any questions, please contact me.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

How Can I Become a Good Digital Citizen?

Dale Street students are discussing ways that they can become a good digital citizen.  Our recent Digital Citizenship assemblies introduced students to key topics that will be discussed throughout the year:
  • Communicate responsibly and kindly with one another
  • Protect our own and others' private information online
  • Stand up to cyber-bullying
  • Give proper credit when using others' work
  • Develop a positive digital “footprint”
Students had many thoughtful responses, including this one about keyboards - "Don't turn your keyboard into a weapon."  We are encouraging students to be kind, pause & think, and ask for help from a trusted adult when needed.

Becoming a good digital citizen takes a lot of practice.  We hope this is a daily conversation in the classroom and at home!  A great resource for parents is Commonsense Media.  Check out this article on "Internet Safety Tips for Elementary School Kids."

Friday, October 9, 2015

Acceptable Use & Student Photo Permission for 2015-2016

Wow!  What a busy start to the school year.   We have new programs, new technology, new staff, and some new procedures, too.  This year parents are requested to log in to their Aspen account and verify that they have read and discussed with their child these documents:
  • Acceptable Use Policy, and
  • Student Handbook and school-specific Addendum(s)
Did you know that signing the Acceptable Use Policy gives your student permission to use school computers and iPads?

Important Aspen information:
Also in Aspen, parents should select their permission levels for Student Name/Photo use.  Teachers and administrators love to share what is happening in the classroom  (via Twitter, blog, website) , and we need your permission to continue to do so.

Please contact me with any questions or concerns!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Search Engines for Students

As we move toward the home stretch of the school year, our elementary students will be researching many new topics.  With teacher and parent guidance, students can learn to use search engines effectively and safely.

At the beginning of any research project, students should think about and write down what they know and what they want to find out.  This process helps students to generate a list of terms (or keywords) that can be used throughout their research.

When researching, a good place for students to start is at the classroom teacher's webpage.  Pre-selected websites will generally be listed here and students should scan, read and take notes from these resources.

The next stop for students should be the subscription databases that can be found on the elementary library webpages.  These databases include:

  • WorldBook Online
  • Biography in Context
  • InfoTrack Junior and Student Editions
  • Kid InfoBits
  • and more!
Students can access ALL of these subscription databases from HOME as well.  You only need a Massachusetts library card.  Enter that number here:  Minuteman Library Network Database Login page.

Finally, with teacher or parent guidance, students can use the "student-friendly" search engines listed below.

For our youngest students:
For older elementary students:

In addition, each of the elementary school librarians have recommended Search Engines on their webpages.  Need help with research?  The LMC staff is always available to suggest an effective search strategy.

A great resource for parents and students is the How to Do Research interactive graphic that can be found at the Kentucky Virtual Library webpage.

Parents may like to read and discuss this Family Tip Sheet from Common Sense Media:  Common Sense on Smart Searching

Did you know that students who use the Google search engine should always have parent or teacher guidance?  At home, parents might want to consider setting Google's SafeSearch Lock.  Read more about Google's Safety Tools.

Stay tuned for my next blog post concerning copyright and Creative Commons.  As always, please contact me if you have any questions!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy 2015!

Happy New Year to all Medfield elementary students and families!  We are looking forward to some  new technology tools at our schools this year.  A big thank you to the MCPE and CSA for funding these initiatives!  Our students are very excited.

We love to share our daily classroom activities.  Please follow our progress by visiting  teacher webpages/blogs and twitter feeds.  A 2015 wish from teachers is that parents subscribe to their classroom blog.  Look for "Follow by Email" and enter your email address.  You will receive an automatic email notification when an new entry is posted to that blog.  Many teachers have also enabled "Comments" on their blogs and would love parent feedback!

Tip:  You can find a teacher's webpage by visiting the "Contact Us" section at each school's webpage.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Hour of Code

This is Computer Science Education Week (December 8 - 14), an annual program dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take an interest in computer science.  Many Medfield classrooms are celebrating by participating in an Hour of Code.

Here's a video to learn more.  Who did you notice?

For students who would like to try coding, here are a few resources:

Using a computer:

  1. - try any of the tutorials.
  2. Tynker Hour of Code
  3. Lightbot Hour of Code

Apps for an iPad or Android device:
  1. Hopscotch
  2. Lightbot
  3. Scratch Jr
  4. Cargo-Bot
  5. Daisy the Dinosaur
Have fun and learn something new!  

If you have any questions, please contact me.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Smart Passwords

Passwords protect your online accounts from being used by others.

REMEMBER:  Passwords should NOT contain YOUR private information, like
  • Name (first, last, middle)
  • Date of birth
  • Street name
  • School name
  • Phone numbers
To learn how to change your Google Drive password, please see your teacher, Mr. Johnson or Mrs. Fromen.

Some tips to follow when creating a new password:

  • Create passwords with at least eight characters
  • Use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters
  • Learn how to change your password and do so often
  • Share your password with your parents

  • Use easy to guess passwords
  • Use any private information in your password
  • Use words found in the dictionary
  • Share your password with others

Parents might like to read this Family Tip Sheet from Common Sense Media:  Common Sense on Online Security