Thursday, October 17, 2013

Simplifying the Hunt with Common Sense Media

Many teachers have described how challenging it can be to find great curriculum resources when developing new units or just giving a unit from last year a digital make over.  I know many of you are starting to plan out or revise units for later this winter and spring.  One resource you should definitely check out is Common Sense Media.  I know you're thinking, "Wait? Isn't that just the digital citizenship curriculum?" It is that and so much more.   Here are three reasons why you should check out Common Sense Media.

1. Media Reviews
Are you looking for a great book, website, movie, or even video game to recommend to a student? Have parents expressed concern regarding the types of media their children are accessing at home? Common Sense Media began as a group of parents wanting to find objective information about books, television shows, and movies and now has more than 18,000 reviews that are great for parents or teachers. I find these handy when I am looking for a book to read to students or for a particular app for the iPad cart. The reviews provide clear, concise information about the age-appropriateness of the media and even summaries in the case of books, TV shows, and movies so that you know exactly what you are recommending.  It is so much better than reading the back of a book or video and trying to make an educated guess.

2. Graphite - Curriculum Resources
This past summer Common Sense Media launched Graphite, a new service for teachers focused on rating games, apps, website, and digital curricula for its use as a learning tool.  Along with reviews by the Common Sense Media editors, the site also contains insight from classroom teachers on the best ways for using these tools with your students. The video below provides a nice overview of Graphite.

3. Digital Literacy & Citizenship Curriculum
Yes, Common Sense Media is the digital citizenship curriculum we have selected as a school and one of the key pieces the Student Technology Skills Committee of the Tech Task Force is using to develop grade level technology standards and lessons for all of our students.  However, it is a great resource you can and should use right now.  If you have not checked out the Scope and Sequence take a look.  You will find quite a few useful lessons that tie nicely into your grade level, especially when you are introducing new digital tools (Schoology, Edmodo, YouTube, Google Apps, etc.) to your students.  All of the lessons are fully customizable and can be easily integrated into your current units.

So whether you are looking for a book, website, or digital citizenship lesson spend a few minutes checking out Common Sense Media.  It is a free resource full of great information to make finding high-quality resources much easier.


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