Tuesday, April 10, 2018

NC Course Selections Coming Home Today

North Cobb course selections were distributed to students this afternoon.  Forms only need to be returned if the student wishes to make changes.  Due to Milestones testing Dr. Deane will not be in his office this week.  Please email christopher.deane@cobbk12.org if you have questions.  Emails will be returned as soon as opportunity permits.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Testing Tips for Students

The following test taking strategies and tips are provided by the GA Department of Education. 

Tips for Students 

Before the Test: 

·       Prepare yourself emotionally for taking the test. If you are overly anxious, much of your energy and potential will be sapped by the anxiety and you will likely not be able to demonstrate your true ability on the test. It frequently helps to reduce anxiety if you know more about the test in advance, such as what type of test you are taking, what subjects are tested, and the purpose of the test. 

·       Follow normal routines. Interruption of normal routines may affect your performance. The night before the test you should not stay up later than usual since fatigue may lead to poor test performance. The day of the test you should eat a normal breakfast and lunch. Skipping meals or overeating before taking a test may adversely affect your performance.

At Test Time: 

·       Concentrate. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by noises or movements around you.

·       Read instructions or directions carefully before marking any answer. If you do not understand the directions, raise your hand, and ask for help.

·       Follow instructions. Pay close attention to the samples. They are on the test to help you understand what the items on the test will be like and how to mark your answer document properly.

·       Read the entire question and all answer choices. You need to read each item and all answer choices before marking your answers.

·       Make an educated guess. Making an educated guess means that you are able to eliminate one or more choices. For example, if there are four choices and you do not know which choice is correct, but do know that two choices are incorrect; you have a 50-50 chance of choosing the correct answer. You should also remember that there is no pattern of correct answers. For example, if the last three correct answer choices were "D," the next correct answer may be A, B, C, or D.

·       Keep track of the time. Since most statewide tests have a time limit, be aware of the amount of time allocated to each section. Pace yourself so that you will be able to complete the section within the time limit. Use all of the time allocated. Persistence pays off.

·       If you are testing online, be sure to use the scroll bars to view all of a reading passage or test question. The whole reading passage or test question might not fit on the display of your workstation.

·       When testing online and where necessary, make sure you transfer your answer from the draft area to the final response section of your online test.

·       If you are testing with paper testing materials, place your answer correctly on the answer document. While taking tests, you should match the number on the answer document to the item number in the test booklet. This is especially important if you skip questions and go back to them later. You should mark only one answer for each item. If two answers are marked for the same item, the item will be counted as incorrect. If you erase an item, you should be certain that it is erased completely and carefully so that holes are not made in the answer document.

·       If you are testing with paper testing materials, keep your test booklet and answer document together. This saves time and lessens the chance of marking answers in the wrong place.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Parent’s Guide To Social Media Use For Kids By Tim Elmore

Even though they’re no longer a couple, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie both recently confirmed they put safety measures on the Internet to provide boundaries for their children. They definitely plan to keep watch on their social media use as they age. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently suggested he wouldn’t want his nephew on a social network. Years ago, Apple Founder Steve Jobs said he didn’t want his kids to even own an iPad. Why? It’s simple. Children’s health experts warned (on Facebook) that excessive use of digital devices and social media “is harmful to children and teens.”

I meet faculty and parents frequently who are sharing these concerns and asking the same questions about social media use. I realize I’ve written much about this in the past, but maybe a short Q and A guide, based on research, would be helpful here.

 1. How much is too much social media use?

One study by UNICEF, reports that “some time on social media is actually good” and that “digital technology seems to be beneficial for children’s social relationships.” On social media we can connect with friends, give to charities and be informed of what’s happening around the world. With too much time, however, screens can become damaging to our mental health. The key is to separate understandable concerns with actual data on the subject.

Believe it or not, the average teen today spends about 9 hours a day on a screen. That’s like a full-time job. According to Monitoring the Future, just two hours on social media has been shown to contribute to anxiety and unhappiness among teens. I suggest, a 60-90 minute limit each day. The other hours should be filled with face-to-face hours with friends, sports, work, activities, studies and family. This ratio has been shown to produce happier kids and better students. Further, it results in more satisfied young adults. I recognize this will be a major shift for some teens—so if you choose to do this, start with a conversation about making a slow steady change.

2. Should we monitor our kids’ social media use? If so, how?

Parents differ on their opinions about whether to check what their kids are doing on social media sites. Some believe their children deserve privacy and should not worry about mom or dad checking on them. I differ, only because I’ve seen too many case studies of kids not being fully aware of the dangers of predators, mental health issues and even cyber-bullies who hide behind a screen to wreak havoc on peers. What’s more, teens receive propositions from adults with wrong intentions and from others who engage in sexting. The teens in our focus groups told us boldly, “My parents have no idea what my life is like at night and what I do on social media.” This suggests to me that they’re up to something their parents may not support. The statistics reveal that 71% of teens admit to hiding on-line activities from their parents. As long as they are minors, I believe it’s wise for parents or guardians to check their children’s social media posts.

So, here are some apps you can explore to monitor your teen’s activity on a phone:

1. Norton

This allows you to set phone time limits and filter web content coming in.

2. TeenSafe

This allows you to track your child’s calls, texts, GPS and social media activity.

3. MobSafetyRangerBrowser

This enables you to view your child’s website browsing and set time limits.

4. PhoneSheriff

This enables you to do all of the above, but it is available for fewer devices.

5. DinnerTime

This allows you to limit phone Internet use during family meals.

6. Qustodio

This allows you to track and set a phone curfew where phones shut down.
There are actually several other apps that empower a parent to know what’s happening on their child’s phone. While they are minors, I think you should know.

One other idea might be for parents encourage their children to use privacy settings to ensure their posts are going out to a select set of friends.

3. What are some symptoms that a student needs to cut back on social media?

According to Common Sense Media, 50% of teens say they are addicted to their cell phone. While CSM concludes more study is needed to determine how deep digital addiction is, teens feel the symptoms and consequences of it. It’s a growing issue in middle class America. Two-thirds of parents, 66%, feel their teens spend too much time on their mobile device. Phones have now replaced teens hanging out at the mall or at the movies. It’s a new day.

There are a number of signals a young person naturally sends that they’ve spent too much time on 
social media platforms or on their mobile device in general:

            Withdrawing from face-to-face social interaction.
            Consistent anxiety, stress or feeling overwhelmed by normal routines.
            Grades begin to slip and assignments reflect poor work or are left undone.
            Avoidance of real life responsibilities, such as chores or homework.
            Ill at ease, ill-equipped or unresponsive to people in front of them.
            Phubbing—teens snub people next to them by looking down at their phone.
            Phones begin to create conflict in their closest relationships.

A few years ago, I suggested a group of college students “surrender their phones” for a day. It was an experiment. What did we all discover? The first two hours were horrific, not unlike a drug addict giving up their drugs, cold turkey. After a couple of hours, however, the day began to feel less stressful. The students felt liberated from the tether of their device. By the day’s end, they told me how nice it was to not be enslaved to that phone and that they wanted to “unplug” on a regular basis.

4. How do I handle arguments about their portable device?

Millions of parents have walked into landmines, as they disagree with their child on any number of mobile phone use or social media sites. Emotional debates occur, which can divide parents and kids and lead to a breakdown in communication.

I have a suggestion that has worked for many parents along the way. It’s a step that not only guides the conversations on this topic but prepares teens for the world they are about to mature into as adults: a contract.

In 2013, I posted an article on our blog page about a “phone contract” between a mom and her child. The mother had purchased her daughter’s phone (as is usually the case) and the agreement enabled her (from the beginning) to outline the terms. In it, she basically reminds her child that Mom bought the phone and, therefore, owns the phone. Any time the child violates the agreement, the child must give up the device for a period of time. This is not unlike a contract a customer might enter with AT&T or Sprint or some other carrier. The difference is, this agreement is laced with love and understanding. If a parent hosts a conversation and lays out the terms before purchasing the device, things generally go better. Both parties agree to it and sign it. The key is that the parent must stick to the terms and enforce them.

5. Should we be friends with our children on social media?

This probably depends on the personality and age of your child. Some parents and kids connect well via smart phone and others do not. According to Pew Research:

            53% are friends with their parents. This tends to work better when the child is between 12-14. By ages 15-21 it often feels “smothering” to them. Then, later as a young adult, it seems to feel OK again to them.

            47% are friends with their children on Facebook. This feels nice to the parent but it’s usually the reason many teens get off Facebook and on to other sites.

            41% are connected with people they have never met in person. Teens do this because it feels adventuresome, yet safe. After all, it’s only a screen. Later, however, it often leads to LMIRL: Let’s Meet In Real Life and can be dangerous.

Whatever the case, most parents can bank on one thing for sure: your child may befriend you on a social media site like Facebook or Instagram, but they likely have platforms where they use false identities you know nothing about. A parent may assume they know all about their teens, but would be shocked if they knew the total amount of personas their children actually use.

For example, consider “Finsta.” This is a fake Instagram persona, where teens can create a totally fraudulent identity and post things you may never know about. They might have five Snapchat accounts. Or, several Twitter accounts. Just know that if you and your child connect on one platform, that doesn’t mean it’s the only one they use. It may be helpful to talk about this with them, or even talk to one of their friends to naturally discover if there are any personas you don’t know about.

I may sounds like an “old school” leader who’s just not up with the times. I contend, however, our kids need good leadership from us. Their phones can be helpful rather than damaging if we lead them intentionally.

* Post take from Tim Elmore's Growing Leaders Blog