Staying Safe Online

Staying Safe Online
Staying safe online isn’t very different from staying safe in the real world. Let’s take a look at how you can apply the safety tips that you already know to your online activities.  Information is from the Washington Times NIE tab, “Delete Cyberbullying.”

1. Beware of strangers—When you’re outside with your friends, you wouldn’t talk to a stranger who stopped his car next to you. Be just as cautious online. It’s even easier for someone online to pretend that he or she is someone that he is not. When you’re online, only talk to people who you know and be sure never to agree to meet someone in person whom you’ve only met and chatted with online.

2. Protect your identity—In school, you don’t let other people use your name. Take the same precautions online. Make sure to protect your name, address, phone numbers, and credit card information when you are online. You never know, someone might like your identity better than their own!

3. Install locks—At home you lock your doors and windows. Do the same with your computer. Make sure that you or your parents have installed a security suite that contains anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall software, and keep it up-to-date. By using this software, you can keep unwanted people like hackers and cyber-thieves out.

4. Too good to be true—When you’re watching TV, you’ll often see commercials advertising a miracle weight loss drug. Often these claims are too good to be true. Companies and individuals use the Internet the same way. Be sure while you’re online that you stay away  from deals that seem fishy. Only provide personal information to sites you’ve contacted and after you’ve determined they are legitimate and the connection secure.

5. Show others the respect you deserve—You’ve been taught to treat others with respect, whether it’s at school, while playing a sport, or at the dinner table. It shouldn’t stop when you go online. Be respectful of others. If you wouldn’t say it in person, why say it online?

6. Expensive free stuff—Free stuff is great, if it really is free. Online you’re inundated by things that seem to be free—free software, free ring tones, free email, free screensavers, and the list goes on. Oftentimes when you download the free items, you’re also downloading malicious software that can harm your computer, track your every keystroke, and report back to thieves about every move and every transaction you’ve made. Those thieves can then take your money or even assume your identity.

7. Keep your parents in the loop—When you’re going out with friends you let your parents know who you’ll be with and when you’ll be home. Do the same online. Talk to your parents about things you see and do online. Ask them for help if you don’t know how to do  something and let them know if someone is bothering you online. Parents, ask your children to show you some of the sites they visit regularly, including their social networking pages. By being involved, you can keep an eye out for your kids, physically and virtually.

For more information about online safety or to get more information about these topics, visit the National Crime Prevention Council.

Resources for Constitution Day Sept. 17

September 17th is Constitution Day. Did you know all U.S. public schools – kindergarten through university level – are required to teach about the Constitution on Constitution Day on Sept. 17?

According to, the government mandate says “Educational institutions receiving federal funding are required to hold an educational program pertaining to the United States Constitution on September 17 of each year.”

Here are some teaching materials available to assist you.

1.  This site provides a series of free educational resources and Internet links to help educators comply with the new federal regulation requiring the development of student programming to celebrate Constitution Day on September 17th of each year. You can also read the Federal Register announcement of the Constitution Day Mandate.

2.  Celebrate Constitution Day NIE Tab

The Newspaper Association of America Foundation and the Bill of Rights Institute have produced this educational tab designed to help teachers and students celebrate this important milestone in the nation’s history.

The tab is available for download by clicking here

Note: if you are going to print this pdf, make sure to adjust your print setting to fit on page. The pdf is bigger than 8.5 x 11 (normal print size.)

3.  Constitution Day Newspaper Scavenger Hunt

Download the Constitution Day Scavenger Hunt by clicking here  

Sight Word Activities Using the Newspaper

Information and activities are from the NIE Institute.

Fry’s Instant Sight Words and the Newspaper
This resource provides the first 600 sight words identified by Dr. Edward Fry as important for students to learn through about 4th grade and in adult education, with practice phrases and sentences, and a variety of newspaper activities.

Download the pdf by clicking here

Newspaper Activities for Learning Fry’s Instant Sight Words

Sight Words In the News — You can easily have your beginning reader practice sight word recognition by using the newspaper! This works very well, because sight words make up more than 50% percent of most every day reading material. Newspapers are loaded with sight words! You’ll need a highlighting marker or scissors, glue and paper to go on this treasure hunt.

Write the sight words that you wish to target on a list or on flashcards. It’s important for early learners to have a model to match. For more experienced readers, you can show the list or model briefly and then have them find the target words from memory.

Give the student a newspaper that can be cut up or marked upon. Use the highlighter to color the target words wherever they are found. Use the scissors and glue to cut the words out and paste them onto a new page to make a collage. You can use this activity again and again! Just choose new target words & grab the newspaper.

Fry’s Newspaper Bingo — Have students work in groups to find 25 or more Fry words in the newspaper. Have students write nine of the words on their bingo card. Place all the cut out words in a pile. Draw words from the pile. If players have the word on their card they will mark that spot. The first player to get three in a row, either down, across or diagonal, wins. The bingo board is on the last page of the download.

Newspaper Letters to Form Fry Words — Cut out letters from newspaper headlines. Use the letters to form Fry words.

Word of the Day — The teacher should find one or more sight words in the newspaper each day to place on a vocabulary board. Then have students find that word used in sentences in the newspaper. Have students write that word on their own vocabulary list. Keep adding daily words to this vocabulary list. Have students use this list when reading and to practice the words.

Newspaper Flashcards — Find five sight words in large bold headlines that your students need to practice. Paste or laminate each word from the newspaper on a separate card. Hold the cards in a pile showing students one at a time. Work through them several times to see how quickly students can read them. Add two or more new words every day and continue to practice them all.

Newspaper Concentration / Memory Game — Help students find eight Fry’s words in the newspaper that students needs to practice. Discuss the meaning and context of the words. This helps memorization. Have students make 2 cards for each word. Shuffle the cards and place them upside down in 4 rows of 4 cards. Take turns turning over 2 cards and read each as it is turned. If the 2 cards are the same word, that player keeps them and takes another turn. Cards that do not match are turned face down again in the same place. Continue playing until all the cards have been matched. The player with the most cards wins!

These activities adopted from Tips for Sight Words,

Scatter sight words from newspaper headlines, face-up, around the classroom. Use one copy of the word for each child playing the game. That is, if three children are playing, use three copies of each word. Call a word from the list and challenge the students to be first to find and run to the target word. You can make this as competitive or cooperative as you’d like, or even try to beat previous records.

Hide sight words from newspaper headlines around the classroom. Have students find them and return to you to read. When one word has been read, the student can go out and look for another.

From the front cover of the newspaper the teacher will call out sight words for students to find. Students will find the word and then write it down followed by the full sentence that it was found in. This helps students understand the meaning and usage of the words.

The teacher will choose a paragraph or two from the newspaper that contains several Fry words. Have students read the section and highlight the Fry words they find. Now read the text in unison, but allow the student to read the highlighted words alone. Remediate students that missed some of the words.

Read a sight word together in the newspaper several times, spell it out loud, then have students blot out a letter with a marker. Read the word again, visualizing the missing letter. Be sure to spell again on each round. Continue to blot out letters, then read and spell until the word is no longer visible. Now have students write the word in a sentence.

Have students find Fry words in the newspaper. Then have students cut out the words and place them in alphabetic order. Students could also write a sentence using each word.

Have student trace over sight words found in headlines and regular text in the newspaper. This will help them remember words and develop printing skills in small and large sizes.

Remembering 9/11 Educational Tab

Today is the 13th Anniversary of 9/11.  Many students were very young or not even born on 9/11. Although it may be painful, let’s remember those who passed and those that sacrificed to try to save others.  For the 10 year Anniversary the NIE Institute produced the special newspapers in education tab, “Remembering 9/11.”   The tab has a lot of good information and is available for you to download by clicking on the link at the end of this post.

On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamist extremist group al Qaeda hijacked four airliners and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane was crashed into a field near Shanksville PA.

Often referred to simply as 9/11, the attacks resulted in extensive death and destruction, triggering major U.S. initiatives to combat terrorism. Nearly 3,000 people were killed during the attacks including more than 400 police officers and firefighters and 266 passengers and crew on the four planes. This was the most deadly terrorist attack in U.S. history.

Click here to download a copy of the tab

Note: if you are going to print this pdf, make sure to adjust your print setting to fit on page. The pdf is bigger than 8.5 x 11 (normal print size.)

Math Quickie Lessons

Here are some math quickie newspaper lessons from the Washington Times.

Palindromes: Search for numbers in the newspaper that are palindromes (a number that remains the same when written backwards, such as 656). If you can’t find a palindromic number, compute the palindrome of any number by reversing the digits and adding the numbers together. For example, to find the palindrome of 369, add 963 to it. This gives 1,332, which is not a palindrome. Then add its reverse (2,331) to it, which equals 3663, a palindrome.

Computing Commissions: Determine the commission you would make if you sold a car listed in the classified section and made 13% commission. Find the car you would most like to sell and compute the commission you’d make.

Computing Car Finance Charges: Identify and cut several ads from the newspaper that offer credit terms. Determine the total amount paid for the product under the credit terms. For example, find your dream car in the classified ads. Pretend that you put $2,000 down payment and finance the balance for three years at 15%. How much will you pay the bank? What will your monthly payments be?

Miles Per Gallon: Use a car advertisement from the newspaper that gives the estimated miles per gallon. Determine the cost of driving from your city to another at the current price of gasoline per gallon.

Vital Statistics: Look through the obituaries in teh newspaper and find the average age of death for one day. Keep a record of your findings for a week and graph your results. On one given day: Find the median age of death, the mode age of death, the average age of death for men and the average age of death for women.

Geometry — Lines and Angles: Clip pictures from the newspaper that illustrate different types of lines (parallel, perpendicular and askew). Or find pictures that illustrate different types of angles (right, acute, obtuse and straight.)

Math in the News: Select an article of interest in the newspaper concerning science, technology, business or home economics. Identify the role played by mathematics in the event described in the article.

Metric Measuring — Areas: Choose three pictures or ads from the newspaper. Using a metric rule, figure the area of each ad in square centimeters. Then convert each into square millimeters and square meters.

To download, click here

Character Ed Newspaper Activities

These character education activities are from the NIE Institute’s 100 Ways to Use the Newspaper.

Character Education
1. Make a Hall of Fame, Hall of Shame poster of bulletin board. Clip articles and cartoons of people who are exhibiting good character traits. Place these under the Hall of Fame heading. Place examples of people not using good character traits under the Hall of Shame heading.

2. Go through The newspaper and make a “survival vocabulary list” of words that a person would need to know to be a good responsible citizen in today’s world.

3. Read an article in the newspaper about an individual who is honest. What has the honest act? What were the consequences of the act? Would you have made the same decision?

4. Make a family crest that shows examples of what is good about yourself and your family. Look through today’s paper and cut out words or pictures that remind you of what you like about your family. Paste them on a sheet of paper.

5. Look through the newspaper for an article that shows individuals, groups or nations involved in a conflict. Write down the different sides, and what seems to be the reason or reasons for the conflict. Think of as many different ways as you can that they might resolve this conflict. Write a letter to the editor that explains how the groups or nations can resolve their conflict. Would these groups need courage, kindness, forgiveness, and patience? What other character traits would they need to exhibit to solve their conflict?

To download, click here

Homework Tips for Parents

Here are some general homework tips for parents from the booklet “Homework Tips for Parents” published by the U.S. Department of Education.


1. Make sure your child has a quiet, well-lit place to do homework. Avoid having your child do homework with the television on or in places with other distractions, such as people coming and going.

2. Make sure the materials your child needs, such as paper, pencils and a dictionary, are available. Ask your child if special materials will be needed for some projects and get them in advance.

3. Help your child with time management. Establish a set time each day for doing homework. Don‘t let your child leave homework until just before bedtime. Think about using a weekend morning or afternoon for working on big projects, especially if the project involves getting together with classmates.

4. Be positive about homework.Tell your child how important school is. The attitude you express about homework will be the attitude your child acquires.

5. When your child does homework, you do homework. Show your child that the skills they are learning are related to things you do as an adult. If your child is reading, you read too. If your child is doing math, balance your checkbook.

6. When your child asks for help, provide guidance, not answers. Giving answers means your child will not learn the material. Too much help teaches your child that when the going gets rough, someone will do the work for him or her.

7. When the teacher asks that you play a role in homework, do it. Cooperate with the teacher. It shows your child that the school and home are a team. Follow the directions given by the teacher.

8. If homework is meant to be done by your child alone, stay away. Too much parent involvement can prevent homework from having some positive effects. Homework is a great way for kids to develop independent, lifelong learning skills.

9. Stay informed. Talk with your child‘s teacher. Make sure you know the purpose of homework and what your child‘s class rules are.

10. Help your child figure out what is hard homework and what is easy homework.   Have your child do the hard work first. This will mean he will be most alert when facing the biggest challenges. Easy material will seem to go fast when fatigue begins to set in.

11. Watch your child for signs of failure and frustration. Let your child take a short break if she is having trouble keeping her mind on an assignment.

12. Reward progress in homework. If your child has been successful in homework completion and is working hard, celebrate that success with a special event (e.g., pizza, a walk, a trip to the park) to reinforce the positive effort.

To download the full 10-page booklet, click here

Letters to the Editor Newspaper Activity

Here is a current events activity you can do using the newspaper.  The activity is from “Your Newspaper,Your Town Hall”  Provided by NCPF, NIE for National Newspaper Week, 2005. Written and compiled by Sandra Cook, Ed.D., N.C. Press Foundation, Newspapers in Education with contributions from Mary Miller, New York.


Citizens speak out through their newspapers. Locate the Letters to the Editor in your

How many letters do you find?

Who wrote the letters?

What are the topics?

Choose a letter that you think is very convincing. What makes this letter effective?

FOLLOW-UP: Write a letter to the editor about a concern you have.

Here’s how to get a Letter to the Editor at the Grand Forks Herald:


WRITE:  Letters to the Editor, Grand Forks Herald, Box 6008, Grand Forks, ND 58206-6008

CALL:  Opinion Editor Tom Dennis at (701)780-1276 or (800)477-6572, ext. 1276

You must leave your name, address and a daytime phone number for verification.  Letters with fewer than 250 words are preferred.  We correct spelling and grammar, and we edit letters as needed for length.

100 Tips for Parents

Here’s a guide parents should check out from the North Dakota State Parent Information Resource Center.  It’s called “100 Tips for Parents.”  These tips have been created to help you become more involved in your child’s education. Topics include everything from homework tips to what to ask at parent & teacher conferences.  As a more involved parent, you improve your child’s chances to be successful in school. For each topic, you will find suggestions for how you can obtain additional information and assistance.

Download the 24-page guide by clicking here

Newspaper Activities for September 2014

Check out these daily lesson plans using the newspaper for the month of September. This calendar provides a subject specific focus for each day of the week with activities for every school day of the month: Monday – Language Arts, Tuesday – Social Studies, Wednesday – Math, Thursday – Science, Friday – Newspaper Information.

To download the September calendar click here