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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Lesson in Common Sense


As a first grade teacher one of my biggest challenges is keeping my students engaged. Six year olds are much more sophisticated these days and do not have time to just be sitting and learning. They have things to do, people to talk to, and if they are not being entertained then you are wasting their time. I’ve come to learn that “my time” is about 20 minutes and then my students begin to unravel on the rug. Someone is sitting too close to another, so-and-so’s feelings are hurt, little Eddie’s tooth fell out, and the principal is calling to remind me a parent tour is coming in five minutes. Fan-tas-tic!

Before I had children of my own I almost always blamed my students’ lack of attention on what else: television and video games. I clearly remember thinking what kind of parent would allow their children to watch TV for more than 30 minutes a day? Doesn’t anyone know what books are anymore? Parent people! Parent!

Oh how the times have changed. I could write a glowing review on how much I love the Noggin channel and all the friends Emi has made on it. If dinner needs to be made, Emi can usually be found watching her friends Pablo and Tasha and their Backyardigan adventure. If mom has a deadline to write a post, Emi is hanging with Wyatt and her Super Why friends. Truth be told, there are only a handful of shows Emi watches, and from what I can tell they are very appropriate. No violence and there are no skanky girl characters in the lead roles.

Lately I’ve started to obsess about what will happen when Sesame Street and the Backyardigans are no longer her friends. How can I choose age appropriate shows or movies for my little one? Especially when my attention span is limited for animated movies.

Enter Common Sense Media, a website devoted to reviewing all media (books, websites, movies, video games & TV) and applying an age appropriate tag.



There is even a section for iphone applications. It’s genius. Users are also allowed to add reviews and parents can scroll through ages 2-17 for recommendations. Common Sense Media is an independent non-profit company that seeks grants from organizations not affiliated with the media, so there is no conflict of interest. You can read more about their FAQ and rating system on their site.

A teacher shouldn’t say this, but sometimes it’s nice having someone do the homework for you!

-Kacey
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37 comments:

lov said...

as a kindergarten teacher, some times i wish we could watch these shows at school....
i think that the extra 30 minutes the state has said that my school has to have added into each and every day would be spent wonderfully with a group of 5 year olds getting to watch tv!

but no....for some reason, the state says that the extra 30 minutes will benefit them academically, apparently they don't realize how much a five year old can take in a given day!

mommaof4wife2r said...

i loathe bratz...they are banned from the house and have been for years. and i love love love teachers like you that do the right thing...you are a super hero...you should totally be on super why. you could be momma bee.

Booklover1212 said...

Thanks for that link! I, too, allow PBS Sprouts to entertain my kids when I need those few extra minutes. I've also started to DVR episodes of Sesame Street which Nani is allowed to watch while eating lunch. We also have a supply of DVDs of The Muppet Show on hand too. Both girls LOVE the Muppets!

~ Jennifer
http://thetoyboxyears.blogspot.com/

confused homemaker said...

great link, thanks for passing it on. and eww on the bratz dolls, they just creep me out.

Rita/Fighting Off Frumpy said...

Oh, I totally agree! Before you become a parent, it's soooo easy to stand on a self-righteous soapbox and say that YOUR kids will READ instead of watching TV ... that they'll NEVER be plopped in front of the boob tube. I know I said that, and now I have one word (acronym?) for my former childless self: LOL!

My kids watch tons of Noggin, and they've learned a lot from it! My 18-month-old can count to ten. I hardly think the TV is stunting his development. In fact, that's probably where he learned it. :)

KC Mom said...

oooh, great tip.

Eric said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnRISa15Ef4

LOL

Melissa said...

We've used Common Sense Media for awhile now! Love that site... also love www.kids-in-mind.com It rates the movies according to sexual content, violence, and language. Between those two sites, we have a pretty good idea of what a movie will be like before we get to the theater!

Kristin said...

What an awesome tip! Any advice for keeping a one year old engaged? He doesn't even want to sit still for a book anymore.

Lolli said...

I'll have to check them out! I had to laugh over the swanky girl characters. :)

passions and soapboxes said...

This sounds like a good thing for parents. I have often used that same phrase too, parent people parent.

Lisa Anne said...

I think it's great that you are teacher. You have way more patience than I do. It's just crazy how fast kids grow and mature these days. amazing.

Hillbilly Duhn said...

I just have to get my son to stop saying he wants to be a Barbi Girl. It's the commercials I tell you! The shows are apropriate, just not the commercials! lol

Glad to know there is a site in which I can go to. Thank you!

Kathy B! said...

I can't stand Bratz. Those things are forbidden in my house.

Felicia - I complete Me said...

Thanks for the site. I have a one year old who hasn't yet learned how to sit and enjoy the TV but I must say I love the noggin channel. I will definitely check this site out.

Fiauna said...

Thanks so much for the tip about Common Sense Media. I shall be checking out that site soon.

Grand Pooba said...

That was my motto through out school. Ha! Whatever, I did my brother's homework for him, I wish it were the other way around.

That sounds like an awesome website, especially for parents! I'll have to check it out because I babysit my cute nephew all the time (because I demand too, not that my sis needs it. She LETS me babysit!)

LiLu said...

I think when it comes to protecting your munchkins, a little "cheating" doesn't hurt. Ends and means and all that... :-)

Jen said...

I am so going to check this out b/c I am having these issues right now with my almost 5 year old. He is growing out of all the 'wholesome' shows and I don't know what to have him watch or play on the computer.
Thanks

blueviolet said...

That's good helpful information for parents of little ones. My kids are of legal age so I let them watch ho's, druggies, and murderers freely. ;)

Willow Tree said...

Let's hear it for common sense! Seriously, the general public could use more of it. What a great link, thanks!

Blessings,
Carolynn

{Katie Lane} said...

Much needed. Glad something like this is out there :)

Michelle Sybert said...

I told my daughter she had to be 16 before she could have a bratz doll. Hopefully, by then she wont want one!

off to check out common sense media

Helene said...

Thanks for sharing that site! I'm gonna bookmark it! My kids are still into Super Why and Word World but as my older twins are getting more and more interested in all those Disney shows (Hannah Montana, Wizards of Whatever Place), I start to worry that it's not age-appropriate stuff for them so that site will come in handy!

Alicia W. said...

Thanks for the info and site! I have saved it for when the boss man goes to lunch and I'll do a little surfin. :)

Laura said...

Such a great post Kacey and I found myself nodding with you with every word and paragraph!

Counselormama said...

Thanks for this! I too, have an almost 6 yr old and am running out of things to watch for her, she does like Spongebob and Max and Ruby...

Renée aka Mekhismom said...

What a great resource! Like you I am in love with Noggin and Sprout. Love the shows and let my son watch and actually encourage him. He has learned quite a bit from the shows.

Connie said...

I agree with the comment that it's not the TV, it's the commercials! I hate them! We have not had TV for the last 5 yrs - only videos/DVDs. However, as my older boy is going into 4th grade, I now think we will need TV for news and documentary channels... sigh.

I'll have to check out that website. Good idea. We usually watch with the kids, and ask others for opinions before going to movies. My 6yo LOVES Spongebob - a show I was determined to hate when I first heard of it, but he is sooo sweet and always positive. As we are staying temporarily in the US and now have TV, my daughter has also discovered iCarly and loves her too.

I always said my kids wouldn't be allowed too much computer games... that rule dropped when I saw how much it pushed them to read (PC games, not console games). In addition to the Jumpstart games, my 6yo likes playing Age of Mythology (teen level) with her 8yo brother (who has about mastered it), and the game "Wizard101" ... which is easy enough for her to play alone; it has voice with 'subtitles' during game play (for reading - she's sitting here and just read on her own "New quest, defeat hooligans" - pretty good words for a 6yo...); spells, buying and trading that help with number use (not to mention saving up to buy what you want); and it's fun enough for the whole family to play.

Life with Kaishon said...

Oh, great post! I worry because the shows on the Disney channel are all about dating and doing crazy things around the house and Kaish just loves those shows. He is only 9 I don't want him to know all about that stuff yet. It scares me!

peewee said...

my friend and i were JUST talking about this for books...like how would we know what teen books have sex scenes or other inappropriate stuff?

That's awesome! I'll pass it on to her!

Tiaras said...

thanks for the link! I don't like to have the tv on at my house during the day - if it is - the kids turn into zombies! If not, lots of creative play!

Deb said...

Ohmygoodness, I hadn't thought once about what happens when we don't watch Sesame Street anymore! The oldest is two, so hopefully "Melmo" will stay a good friend for a while!

Unknown Mami said...

It's like Cliff Notes for kids TV.

mrs.notouching said...

I still shake my head every time I remember that bratz doll with the belt and a buckle that spelled "ENTER"...

SE'LAH... said...

Fantastic! I am a big supporter of reading but my hubby loves the tele. So, to my dismay, my daughter has grown fond of the tele and it's such a challenge. It was much easier to limit her exposure when she was a tot.

prashant said...

i love love love teachers like you that do the right thing...

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