Tuesday, 29 November 2016

My Daughter is Glued to Her Phone!

Increasingly, parents and teachers are asking me "How much screen time is OK?"And honestly, I do not have an answer for that question.  Maybe we should ask, "What is the quality of media accessed, how does it fit with family routine, and how do parents engage with devices and media?"

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages parents to help their children develop healthy media use habits early on.  Devices such as iPhones and iPads have many purposes and are multi-functioning and, therefore, labelling their use as 'Screen-Time' might be misleading.  When we consider more and more schools are moving towards BYOD or 1:1 initiatives and are 'flipping the classroom,' we must also take into account that not all screen time is screen time.  

The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens identifies four main categories of screen time:
  1. Passive consumption: watching TV, reading, and listening to music 
  2. Interactive consumption: playing games and browsing the Internet 
  3. Communication: video-chatting and using social media 
  4. Content creation: using devices to make digital art or music

strike a balance

It is arguable that there is no difference at all, and that screen-time is simply that, but we must consider that eating an apple diet does not necessarily make us healthier nor does drinking milk every day ensure that we will never break a bone.  With that said, I recommend striking a balance between the above activities and engaging in dialogue with your son or daughter in hopes of fostering a healthy relationship regarding online activities.

As always, feel free to send me an email if you would like to hear more.

Mr Towse

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Is it Ok to Steal?

During library lessons we often discuss the importance of how to ethically use other peoples' work.

Discovering features of MLA citations.
This week Grade 6 have been identifying common and unique features used by MLA (Modern Language Association. At Seisen we use this common style of referencing to give correct attribution to print, web, DVD and personal sources of information while engaged in researching during the inquiry process.

The girls began by organising a number of cut up examples. They discussed the common features contained in all the examples. This led to the identification of some features that were unique to some examples. Then as a group they discussed how the individual elements might be organized.

The next steps will include identification and definitions of some of the abbreviations that are used, such as n.d, eds. and &. This will be followed by a lesson where the students will compare their format with the 'official' MLA version.

Students will have many opportunities to practice this skill in their preparation for Exhibition next semester.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

‘She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain’

In the Library Media Centre this week students from the kindergarten enjoyed hearing the story of the girl in striped pyjamas who was coming to visit her animal friends. The animals were very busy making everything just right, including the creation of a wonderful party. Kindergarten students were eager to sing all the words especially the chorus, synthesising the words of the story with the well known music.
Here is a small sample of the fun we had.

Their activity included creating the party table of food with items that they would like… we hope she comes!

These  'tables' will be on display in the kindergarten area...maybe she will come!

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

It's Sakura Season ... but it's winter?

The Sakura Medal program brings together students from the international schools across Japan each year to vote for their favourite books. Each year, librarians from various international schools meet and select 10-20 books in each of the Sakura Medal categories. Only students are eligible to vote for this prestigious award, but they need to read the minimum number of books to vote.


Our aim is not only to encourage students to read a variety of high quality books but to give a real life opportunity to set a meaningful goal.  The program will run from November to April. Students will decide how many books they realistically hope to read. This forms the basis of their Sakura reading goal.  An important part of goal setting is to think about how to achieve a goal. Students are required to write down two things that they can do to achieve this goal. They had some good ideas:

"Try not to buy new books." --Student in 4B

"I will stop by the library every morning before class and look for Sakura Medal books." --Student in 4A

Equally important is considering what 'road blocks' might get in the way of success. Students had many idea:

"I forget to take the books home to read."
" I don't check out Sakura books."
"I don't have time with all my other homework."
"Other people have the books I want to read."

Both homeroom teacher and parents must sign the goal setting sheet. Please look out for this over the next few days. Forms are already being returned. Once the form has been returned they will be able to start the exciting process of checking out the books and reading them to achieve their goal.

Here are some of the girls in Grade 4 setting their goals for this year. They have reflected on last years experience and are setting realistic and achievable goals.