Friday, October 9, 2015

Teaching Young Children to Have Opinions

Below is a parent e-mail I sent yesterday to help parents understand how opinions are taught in the classroom. It'll give you and overview of the lesson as well. :) 

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Parents,

I’m hopeful students come home talking about basing opinions on facts.

Today, we read about the macaque monkey that took a selfie and discussed whether the animal owns the rights to the picture or the photographer that set up the camera owns those rights (https://www.newsela.com/articles/monkey-selfie/id/12127/).   Most of the students sided with the monkey. J Then, we talked about how anyone taking a selfie would own the rights based on the court’s decision (should they side with PETA). I was impressed with their discussion and how willing they were to share opinions.

As the students get older, they may start debating about real-world issues in class. They need to know how to read unbiased information and form opinions based on facts. Plus, someday they’ll get to vote for candidates that will make decisions for our country. Life is about forming opinions, and I feel most real-world opinions should be talked about at home when they are at an appropriate age which should be determined by their parents. J

Speaking of images, our discussion went to copyright and who owns the rights to the pictures they use in presentations. They are not allowed to Google Search images in my classroom but many said they do at home so they can add photos to presentations. I searched dogs (while the SMARTBoard was frozen) and then showed them the cute choices that popped up. Then, I clicked the settings button and went to Advanced Search. Then, I scrolled down to click on usage rights:  free to use or share. I froze the SMARTBoard again to make sure images were appropriate which they were. Then, we compared the photos and talked about how if they used the first photos we saw, they might owe money because they were protected by copyright.

Of course, many started worrying right away because kids want to do the right thing – which I appreciate. I thought I’d share this with you because they’ll be looking for pictures to add to presentations throughout their school career. I will be happy to show you how to search for pictures that can be used in presentations. I also highly recommend having the computer your child uses in a supervised area and not allowing kids to Google Search images without parental assistance, a good filter, and settings to try to protect them from images they should not see. They also need to run key words by you before searching. I probably wouldn’t let my 4th grader Google search images at all, but that’s just my opinion. J At school, I search, keep the main screen frozen, approve images, and then show them.

Let me know if you have questions, and I hope you get to talk about the monkey’s selfie tonight.

Have a great night!
~Cheryl

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