Screen Time and Springtime

As spring arrives, the days get longer and the weather gets nicer. Kids are outside playing baseball or basketball, riding bikes or skateboards, just being outside with friends.

But wait!

Your kid is still on their iPad or other device watching YouTube or scrolling through Instagram or raiding villages in Clash of Clans.

Here are two ways to get your kids to have less screen time and more spring time.




 encourages kids to discover new skills, meet friends, and be awesome. provides resources to over 120 different skills in over 12 different categories for kids to explore. Think of the badges like scout badges, kids learn about a topic by watching different project videos. They choose three projects to complete and post a video or image about what they did to complete it. The community of kids provides feedback and helps answers questions. After they post three projects on a skill they earn a badge, or they can earn Master Skill level by completing six projects on a specific skill.

DIY Badges

What I liked best as a parent
  • It’s Free!
  • It’s Private and Safe!
  • Kids learning and sharing with other kids
  • Projects are thoughtful and fun
  • It provides new skills to explore



Caine’s Arcade

Caine Monroy spent his summer vacation in his dad’s auto part business where he let his imagination motivate him as he created an elaborate cardboard arcade. He worked all summer creating games and waiting for customers. Then on the last day of summer vacation his first customer walked in a bought a Fun Pass. Watch Caine’s story unfold.

Caine's Arcade

Click on image to play video

 Caine’s story helped launch the Global Cardboard Challenge and the Imagination Foundation that focus on fostering and celebrating children’s creativity and lets children explore their interests and passions.


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[Video] Simple test to spot a weak password & how the ol’ “switcharoo” trick fixes it

Why is this guy holding a dictionary and what the heck is the password “SWITCHAROO“?

This short video teaches one simple way to know if you have a weak password and, more importantly, what to do about it.

Introducing one of the oldest password tricks in the book, the “SWITCHAROO”:


Some password “switcharoos” to consider using:

  • a = @
  • e = 3
  • i = 1
  • o = 0
  • u = v
  • L = 7

What is your favorite password tip or trick?


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Check Out the St. Vrain Digital Library

Screen Shot 2015 03 10 at 8 48 14 PMIt’s essential that students have access to high quality digital resources, and one of the best resources we can ever provide to students is a really good book.

With the St. Vrain Digital Library, now a good book is only a tap or a click away. St. Vrain students can login to the new digital library with their student username and password.  The library is NOT a replacement for our school libraries.  It’s intended to supplement the collections available to students via their school libraries (We believe print books are still an important part of a balanced literacy diet.).

This year, a team of teacher librarians has worked to stock the digital library with a good mix of fiction and nonfiction high interest texts. Alongside that collection is a collection of novels that supplement our Collections secondary language arts curriculum. Those novels were chosen by a team of language arts teachers working with our district language arts coordinator.  So either in class or out of class, there’s plenty of reading to be had in the St. Vrain Digital Library.

While all students can see the titles available for checkout, the collection is segmented into three age groups – so elementary students won’t be checking out high school reading material.

We encourage you and your students to check out the St. Vrain Digital Library today!  Better yet – we encourage you to find something there to read together.

You can find the library via any Web browser at:


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Don’t miss the next Camp iPad for Parents (Register today)

If you would like to learn more about:

  • How to use an iPad (hands-on)
  • How the Learning Technology Plan is impacting your child’s learning.
  • Have beneficial discussions with other parents and SVVSD staff members

Then register for the next Camp iPad for Parents!

What: Camp iPad for Parents
When: April 23, 2015
Times: 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM or 5:30 – 7:30 PM
Where: Coal Ridge Middle School (6201 Booth Drive, Firestone, CO)

Register by following this link but hurry because slots are limited and filling up fast!

Some images from the first Camp iPad for Parents held on February 24th at Westview Middle School.

DSC_9969 DSC_0062 DSC_9980 DSC_0041

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Develop Coding Skills for Teens

Have you heard of the world-wide trend called Hour of Code? The non-profit organization,, started in 2013 and focuses on providing opportunities for students to learn more about computer science.  Over 15 million students participated this year in schools around the world. It is not too late – the Hour of Code is available to anyone interested in learning more about computer science and coding.

Code Jobs


Why is computer science important?

Students need to possess 21st century skills. Of students in the STEM fields only 2% are in computer science. This is going to create a gap in the job market by 2020. Introducing students to computer science at any age will help prepare them for future jobs because 67% of software jobs are outside the tech industry – in banking, retail, government, entertainment, etc.


Two kids who are a fantastic influence.



Thomas Suarez, loved playing video games so much that, at the age of 12, he taught himself how to make them. He released his first iphone app called Bustin Jieber, a game in which players try to catch Justin Bieber as he moves around the screen. He has since started his own company, CarrotCorp and has planned to release “the most advanced, the most reliable, the fastest, 3D printer ever created.”


Super Awesome Sylvia started making videos tinkering with projects in science and technology when she was 9 years old. Now, as a middle schooler, she has attended Maker Faires at the White House, Rome and Switzerland, she has published a book, and has created a WaterColorBot. Yes – that’s right – a robot that paints in watercolors!

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Click image above to play video



Here are a few iPad Apps that develop coding skills.



Codea allows you turn any visual idea into a game using Lau Language, which is perfect for iPad use.


Hopscotch is programming designed for everyone! In a few minutes, you’ll make characters move, dance,draw, and interact. Control your project by tapping, tilting, shaking, and even shouting at your iPad.


Daisy the Dino

Daisy the Dinosaur teaches the basic of programming. Kids will intuitively grasp the basics of object, sequencing, loops and events by solving this app’s challenges.

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