Tuesday, February 10, 2009

family conversations about cybersafety

On February 4th, parents gathered in the library to eat delicious food and have some good conversations about online safety. It can be hard to imagine that elementary school is the place where those conversations begin, but studies have shown that getting into the habit of talking to your child about their online activities should start early.

Before the presentation, I asked fourth and fifth graders some questions about the internet, including their perceptions of danger and their favorite things to do online. Click here to see their answers.

For those of you who wanted to make it but weren't able to, here's the powerpoint part of the evening, with resource links below.

To find out more:

"My Pal, My Bully: greatest internet threat to teens may be teens themselves," an article from the L.A. Times about the recent Harvard study on online safety.

iKeepSafe Internet Safety Coalition

Cyber-safe kids, cyber-savvy teens by Nancy Willard, a practical and thoughtful book and web resource for parents, with guidelines for kids of all ages. I based much of my presentation on principles and suggestions from this book.

Many of you had suggestions and recommendations, some of which we were able to include in the presentation above. I will be putting more resources together on our Emerson School wiki. Please leave other suggestions in the comments or email them to me, or even drop by the library. I will add your suggestions as I get them. Together we'll be able to come up with great resources and tools to share with our community!

Bring an author home to dinner!

All the kids at Emerson know that February is my favorite month: it includes my birthday, a long weekend, AND the opportunity to feature African-American authors and illustrators nonstop. We read books by African-American authors and illustrators all year, but in February librarians really get to go wild with displays and the chance to feature our favorite books even if they don't directly connect to the curriculum.

This year, Emerson School is participating in the African-American Read-In, a national celebration of African-American literacy coordinated by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English. Millions of readers across the country -- in schools, libraries, churches, and homes -- are joining in the Read-In! In celebration of its 20th year, the Read-In is extended for the entire month of February.

At Emerson, this means that students will be reading and honoring African-American authors in the library, in classrooms, at Kids' World, and at home. It also means that was inspired by my favorite blog, The Brown Bookshelf, to create my best display ever. In February, the wonderful folks at The Brown Bookshelf interview new and vanguard authors and illustrators who identify as African-American... and share those interviews with their readers.

If you stop by the library, you'll see that I've created a Read-In calendar featuring a new or noteworthy African-American author or illustrator for each day in February. Underneath the calendar is a basket filled with envelopes. In those envelopes are interviews with each of those authors or illustrators, with new interviews daily. Many of the interviews come from authors featured on The Brown Bookshelf this month; others come from other places, like TeachingBooks. Students, teachers, and parents get to take the envelopes home to share with their families... like a virtual author visit right at your dinner table. Don't worry about losing or damaging the envelopes, because we can always print out more.

Happy Read-In!

--Ms. Claire