Category: Websites

June is Internet Safety Month

June is National Internet Safety Month, thanks to a resolution passed in 2005 by the U.S. Senate. The goal is to raise awareness about online safety for all, with a special focus on kids ranging from tots to teens.

Here’s a short list of internet cautions I got from an online efriend a few years ago. I reprint it every year because it covers all the basics, avoids boring details, and gives kids (and adults) rules to live by:

Not everything you read online is true

It used to be anything we read in print was true. We could trust newspapers, magazines and books as reliable sources of information. It’s not the same with the web. Since anyone can become published, some of the stuff you’re reading online isn’t true. Even worse, some people are just rewriting stuff they read from other people online, so you might be reading the same false information over and over again. Even Wikipedia isn’t necessarily a reliable source. If you’re researching something online, consider the source. Some poorly written, random web page, isn’t necessarily a good source. However, if you find a .gov or .org site, the information has a better chance of being true. Always look at who owns the website and whether or not they have an agenda before considering whether or not certain information is true.

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35 Resources for Read Across America Day

Many people in the United States, particularly students, parents and teachers, join forces on Read Across America Day, annually held on March 2nd to coincide with the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Let’s celebrate with this take-off of his writing style, but about technology, reprinted with permission of Gene Zigler at Cornell University:

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
and the bus is interrupted as a very last resort,
and the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort,
then the socket packet pocket has an error to report.

If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash,
and the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash,
and your data is corrupted 'cause the index doesn't hash,
then your situation's hopeless and your system's gonna crash!

If the label on the cable on the table at your house,
says the network is connected to the button on your mouse,
but your packets want to tunnel on another protocol,
that's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall,
and you screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss,
so your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse,
then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang,
'cause as sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang!

When the copy of your floppy's getting sloppy on the disk,
and the microcode instructions cause unnecessary risk,
then you have to flash your memory, and you'll want to RAM your ROM.
Quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your mom.

Copyright © Gene Ziegler

Email: [email protected]

--reprinted with permission © 6-28-09

Here are thirteen great reading websites for students K-5: (more…)

Halloween Projects, Websites, Apps, Books, and a Costume

Three holidays are fast-approaching–Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. If you’re a teacher, that means lots of tie-ins to make school festive and relevant to students.

Here are ideas for Halloween projects, lesson plans, websites, and apps (check here for updated links):

Websites and Apps

  1. 30-day Halloween fitness challenge
  2. Build a Jack-o-lantern (in Google Slides)
  3. Carve-a-Pumpkin from Parents magazine – Resolute Digital, LLC (app)
  4. Enchanted Learning
  5. Halloween games, puzzles–clean, easy to understand website and few ads!
  6. Halloween Kahoot Games (video for teachers)
  7. Halloween Science
  8. Halloween Voice Transformer (app)
  9. Make A Zombie – Skunk Brothers GmbH (app)
  10. Meddybemps Spooky
  11. Pumpkin Patch Games
  12. The Kidz Page
  13. WordSearch Halloween – AFKSoft (app)

Projects

  1. ASCII Art–Computer Art for Everyone (a pumpkin–see inset)
  2. Lesson Plan: Halloween letter for grades 2-5
  3. Make a Holiday Card
  4. A Holiday Card
  5. A Holiday flier

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How to Kidproof the Internet

How to keep children safe online is the most popular question parents ask at my school. They want to know about firewalls, filters, kidsafe desktops, nannycams, cyberbullying, internet privacy, and everything in between. Should they keep their children away from computers or just off the internet? Do they have to sit with them while they work? Is there an age when it’s OK to let them on their own?

No. No. and No. Parents must teach children to take care of themselves while visiting the vast, anonymous, addictive neighborhood called ‘the internet’. Just as they stay at your side in large busy stores, don’t talk to strangers, and don’t open the door to people they don’t know, they will learn to be safe in the digital world. Because it’s part of our genome–to do what keeps us safe.

While they’re getting to that epiphany, here are ideas you can employ to support them on the way:

  1. Teach your children to use the internet. They are digital citizens which includes rights and responsibilities they probably aren’t aware of. Just as in their neighborhood, they must learn them. Don’t hope school teaches them. They may, or might teach them wrong. Teach your kids to avoid ads, that anonymous isn’t innocent, and online relationships aren’t always friendly. Tell them again and again. Sooner than you think, they will own it. Just as they don’t cross the street without looking both ways, they won’t cross the ‘digital street’ unless it’s safe.
  2. Discuss what they can and cannot do online. Discuss why so they understand. You want them able to take care of themselves which means not putting themselves in harm’s way.
  3. Use a parental control filter. Block everything you worry about–chicks, Minecraft, girls, Facebook, xxx, murder. It’s easy to unblock if your child needs a site that won’t come up. More importantly, it leads to a conversation with your child about what they’re researching and why a particular site is relevant. You want your child comfortable with you involved in their lives–not as an arbiter of right and wrong, but an interested loving party.
  4. Do not assume parental controls are perfect. In fact, assume they aren’t. Stay vigilant. Be aware when your child is too quiet or too noisy at the computer. Ask questions. Pop in unexpectedly.
  5. Enforce rules. Don’t decide you’re too tired one night to go check a website your child tells you they need to visit. Always always always follow your own rules.
  6. Check ‘history’ on your child’s computer. Do it with them so they understand this is part of the plan to keep them safe.
  7. Know what their school does to keep your child safe online. Follow the same rules, or follow your own. Do explain the differences to your child. Children are flexible. They will be fine with varied rules.

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Family PE Week October 2-6, 2023

“Family physical education” refers to physical activities families do together that promote health and fitness. Why? How about:

  1. Bonding: an opportunity for shared experiences and mutual support.
  2. Healthy Lifestyle: healthy habits from a young age
  3. Quality Time:  as a family
  4. Role Modeling: when children see parents value fitness, they are more likely to do the same
  5. Fun and Enjoyment: create happy memories.
  6. Health Benefits: like maintaining a healthy weight and improving mental well-being
  7. Social Interaction: fostering friendships and social skills

Family PE Week is October 2-6 this year, 2023. Here are some online resources you might find useful:

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How to Find Reliable Internet Sources

Reliable internet sources are the same as those you would search for in the library. You want:

  • primary sources
  • unbiased sources
  • sources with the background and training to understand the topic

Young students have difficulty understanding these rules. They have barely learned about ‘primary sources’ and have no idea how to select unbiased ones. As for the final point, the ability to select sources with relevant background–that usually comes with age and experience, not something students get for most of their academic career.

With that in mind, there is one guideline that will help even novice researchers find reliable sources: the extension. Here are the most popular extensions in order of reliability, dependability, and trustworthiness:

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