How is your school using Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)?

I am hearing more and more from friends in Gwinnett County about their schools using Bring Your Own Device to class, and I want to know more about how the kids are actually using the technology. (Here is a PDF about Gwinnett’s BYOD program.)

Devices are outlawed at our middle school and I assume the elementary school too. My 12-year-old knows she can listen to her iPod before school but not during school. They aren’t even supposed to take it out of their backpacks.

I absolutely think that technology has a place in the classroom and can benefit the students greatly. At the university level, my students brought in iPads, iPhones, laptops – whatever they wanted to use to take notes, to explore and to learn.

I was helping in my daughter’s first-grade class two weeks ago and the assignment was for the kids to write about where they would want to visit in the world.  I started talking to one of the little girls and she just didn’t have enough knowledge about continents or …

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My Winter Olympics: Clean out the house, repair a pool deck

My husband is in Sochi, Russia, helping to lead AP's coverage of the Olympics. I believe this is at the airport. (Photo courtesy of Michael Giarrusso's Facebook page.)

My husband is in Sochi, Russia, helping to lead AP's coverage of the Olympics. I believe this is at the airport. (Photo courtesy of Michael Giarrusso's Facebook page.)

My Olympic event is cleaning the playroom out. It takes peseverance, good decision-making a lot of patience. The playroom didn't always look like this. This was a particularly bad day.

My Olympic event is cleaning out the playroom. It takes peseverance, good decision-making and a lot of patience. The playroom didn't always look like this. This was a particularly bad day.

The garage is also on my Olympic event list. I have a Pottery Barn train table to sell and snow walker thing from Star Wars.

The garage is also on my Olympic event list. I have a Pottery Barn train table and snow walker thing from Star Wars to sell.

My husband, the new global sports editor for The Associated Press, is currently in Sochi, Russia, helping lead his company’s coverage of the Winter Olympics. (He led Super Bowl coverage on Sunday night and then jetted to Russia on Monday night.)

He is working with a tremendous team of reporters, editors, photographers and videographers covering every angle of the Games.

We’ve texted with him on Textfree but only talked to him once via FaceTime since he landed. He showed us his hotel room (not …

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Should moms be put on Tamiflu when kids are?

My 6-year-old came downstairs Sunday around 5 a.m. barking, wheezing and crying. Initially I just thought she was having an asthma attack because we had hiked the day before and everything is starting to bloom here. But then I felt her and she clearly had a fever.

I treated her asthma with multiple inhalers, gave her ibuprofen and put her in my bed. Two days of bed rest later, she actually looked worse. (Although her bark was gone and her lungs sounded clear).  So we went to the doctor. I assumed she was going to tell us a sinus infection. The doctor walked in and immediately said she has the flu.

Lilina had her flu shot and that’s why it wasn’t worse according to the doctor. She said it would have been much worse without the shot attenuating it. The doctor prescribed Tamiflu for her and then turned to me.

My pediatrician knows that my husband is in Russia for the Olympics, and I am alone taking care of three kids. (All my family lives 2,000 miles away!) She said you’re …

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How are you getting rid of old family financial documents?

I am currently clearing out our garage to put our house on the market, and I know I have several boxes/bags of old financial documents that I need to eliminate. They probably go back 10 to 15 years but a lot of our account numbers are still the same.

I bought a shredder the first time we moved with the intention of taking care of it then but it took way too long to shove through three or four sheets at a time. So I just moved it all but I’m not doing that again.

I did a little research and found several option. The UPS store and Office Max will let you bring in your documents. They put them in a locked box until they have enough to call the shredding company and then your documents are shredded. You won’t see them shredded and it could be anywhere from a week to a month later. The price varied from .50 to .99 cents a pound depending on the store and the amount you are shredding.

Now another company would bring a truck to you so you could physically see them shred your …

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Super Bowl: GoldieBlox toys aim to make girls engineers

Very few Super Bowl ads caught my attention but I stopped cold and watched little girls drag their pink toys down the street to the tune of Quiet Riot’s “Come On Feel the Noise.” They appeared to be making a bonfire, but it was actually a girl-made rocket ship that shot off into the space.

The ad was from a new company called GoldieBlox, which was created by 30-year-old Stanford-trained engineer Debbie Sterling. Her mission is to disrupt the pink toy aisle by creating toys that encourage girls to build and problem solve. (Click here to see how this start-up won the prime ad space.)

From Forbes.com:

“We are taught from a very young age that we want to become princesses,” explained Sterling in a 2013 TED talk. At present, 14 per cent of the country’s engineers are women, according to a 2012 congressional report. As she told a rapt TED audience: “Just because this is the way things are doesn’t mean this is how they have to be.”

“Armed with both her …

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Should Gwinnett County offer excused absences if parents feel roads are unsafe?

As of Thursday night Gwinnett County schools were set to be in session on Friday, and Gwinnett moms were typing up their own storm on Facebook discussing whether their kids/teens should be on the roads and if they chose to keep their kids/teens home should it be an excused absence.

Parents who had teenagers driving themselves to school were especially concerned. Many of the high school students leave for school while it’s still dark out making streets with icy patches even more difficult to navigate. One mom wrote that she had gone on a test drive with her son and found it be very icy.They turned around to head home. She was very concerned about him driving himself to school. Another mom seemed resolved to have her daughter check in late after the sun had melted some of the ice.

Apparently in high school, the unexcused absences have more serious consequences. The moms were writing on Facebook that if you had more than three unexcused absences I believe, then …

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Snow Jam: How will you spend the snow day(s) now that you’re home?

For many of you it took hours just to get home on Tuesday and you probably won’t even try to venture out today. So how will you spend your snow day (or days) marooned at your house?

I think most families won’t mind being without a car for a day or two as long as their electricity is working.

I always loved snow days growing up in Georgia. We would always go sledding on the big hill down the street. The whole neighborhood would show up to play. It was a fantastically long hill. Then we would come back home and my mom would dry us off. We would play board games and she would make us hot spice tea.

One friend shared this recipe for making snow cream or ice cream from the snow. The only trick is to make sure the snow is “fresh” and hasn’t been peed on by any animals. Here are 20 ideas for playing in the snow with your kids. They have a really cute snow globe idea.

Jumping on  snow-covered trampolines seemed to be a theme yesterday. I also heard about a lot of kind acts — such as …

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Snow: Are your kids still stuck at school? Family stuck on the road?

I am hearing from a lot of friends that their kids although “released early” are actually still stuck at school. Also hearing about family members stuck in traffic jams with cars running on fumes. Let us know what is going on with your family and at your school. Are your kids stuck? Did the buses show up? What is your school’s plan? Will your spouse stay at work or risk the drive home? What’s the back up plan for the kids?

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Child seat anchors (LATCH) may get weight limits soon

As kids stay in car seats and booster seats longer, federal officials are worried they are becoming too heavy for the LATCH systems to secure them.  A new federal rule that is expected to be introduced in February would institute weight limits on the LATCH system. Parents would be asked to add up the weight of their child and the seat to decide if they need a seat belt to secure the child or if the LATCH hooks are strong enough.

From USA Today:

“The new rule will require child seat makers to include information on the limits for using LATCH by combining the weight of the seat and the weight of the child. Seat manufacturers will need to post the weight of the seat in a number of places so parents can do the math themselves. LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, and nearly every car seat and most vehicles are required to have the system. …”

“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children stay in booster seats until adult seat belts fit …

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How parents can hurt and help their kids grow into leaders

Forbes magazine interviewed leadership expert Dr. Tim Elmore about how to help your children grow into leaders. Elmore is the Founder and President of Growing Leaders, an organization dedicated to mentoring young people to become leaders.

He highlighted seven parental behaviors that can hinder their growth and then gave tips to help them develop as leaders. I am giving you the quick-hit version.  Click the link to read about both aspects in greater detail.

From Forbes:

Seven parenting behaviors that hurt kids’ chances to develop into leaders:

  1. We don’t let our kids experience risk.
  2. We rescue them too quickly.
  3. We rave too easily.
  4. We let guilt get in the way of leading well.  (This one needed more explanation)
  5. We don’t share our past mistakes.
  6. We mistake intelligence, giftedness for maturity
  7. We don’t practice what we preach.

Elmore went on to suggest tips to help kids develop leadership skills:

“1.Talk over the issues you wish you would’ve known about …

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