Middle school families -
As we move into October, students are beginning to fill the middle school halls with a sense of belonging. New friendships are starting to form and classroom expectations are taking shape. For the last 3 weeks, middle schoolers have been using the iPads in classes with success. We’ve already used a visual brainstorming tool, composed essay responses, done some weather research, recorded student interviews and read from e-books.
5th and 6th grade students have treated the iPads with respect and have patiently worked through any technical difficulties that arose. Teachers agree that it is time for students to share what they are learning with family members and practice caring for the devices at home. iPads will come home this Friday, October 7th and will be expected to return fully charged on Monday, October 10th.
Your family’s technology rules should govern iPad use while at home. If your guidelines aren’t clear yet, this first weekend is the best time to set them. Some things to consider:
- Does the iPad have a special place where it goes to charge overnight, ready for the next day of school?
- Does your family have a clear policy about devices in bedrooms?
- How much screen time does your family agree is appropriate in one day? Be sure to count TV, other computer use, and cellphones/smartphones.
- The iPads are provided for academic purposes. They should be fun AND educational.
This first weekend home is also a time to begin a conversation and learn something yourself. Ask your child what their favorite app is, make a home-movie together in iMovie, or find your neighborhood in Google Earth. Students have just received their official school email addresses (restricted to inter-school mail only) and have been introduced to Pages, a word-processing app.
You might want to ask about our first major tech project, which began this week – you can read about it on the new tech blog: http://www.westsideschool.org/tech/2011/10/first-project-of-the-year-video-interviews/. Students are learning more than just how to operate a device, they are learning about the citizenship, teamwork and responsibility required to make a successful contribution to the school community.
Finally, whether at home or at school, every family has signed a Responsible Use Agreement. Please make sure that you are familiar with the agreement guidelines and help students honor them.
Thanks for being involved in your child’s education,
Jo Ann, Don, Sarah, Glyn, Preston, Jac