• Today is: Friday, January 18, 2019

5 media resolutions every family should make in 2019

common sense media
Common Sense Media
January17/ 2019

Photo by S&B Vonlanthen on Unsplash.

Happy New Year! Are you in the process of kicking off 2019 with new goals for your family? Have you considered adding healthy media habits to your list? This post helped my family discuss ways to incorporate a healthy media routine into our home this year.  – Jennifer Ehehalt, Pittsburgh Regional Manager at Common Sense Media. You can find her on Twitter @Jehehalt.Common Sense Media.

By Caroline Knorr

Common Sense Media

What do you remember from 2018? Did you share pics of your kid on Facebook? Did you sneak a peek at their texts with their friends? Did you yell at them to get off their devices? Did you watch a movie that made you both laugh (or cry)? Did they send you a text that filled your heart and reminded you of why you had kids in the first place? So much of our daily lives revolves around media and tech that we barely notice it anymore. But we should. Why? Because these moments are the stuff of life. And the way we use technology really matters.

The start of a new year is a perfect time to reflect on the role you want media and tech to play in your family’s lives. After all, media and tech are just the enablers. Learning, connecting, growing — even setting a positive example for your kids — are where the real magic happens. These 2019 media resolutions can help you be more mindful, focus on what’s most important, get the most out of media and technology, and raise kids with a healthy, balanced relationship with screens.

Be curious — not judgy — about your kid’s media. Flossingslime, “boomerangs” — what kids are into these days can test your patience. But often, when kids get into things we don’t know about or understand, we worry. And that makes us clamp down, when we really should be opening up. In 2019, do something your kids are doing: Play Fortnite, watch Good Mythical Morning, read a Rick Riordan book, download Snapchat or Tik Tok. Talk to your kids and see what they like about the most popular appsYouTube shows, and social media. They’ll respond better to your concerns if you’ve experienced these things for yourself.

Help your kid learn to manage themselves. Two things make it really hard for kids to get off their devices. First, they’re not great at self-regulating yet. And second, games, apps, social media, and even streaming services are all designed to keep them hooked as long as possible. The path to independently managing their time is going to be rocky. But ultimately your goalis to help them find the right balance. Use tech such as screen-time settings and parental controls as tools to help your kids gain the skills they need to draw limits. (Sometimes you may need a blunt-force tool such as turning off the internet.) If they prove they’re good at sticking to limits, ease off a bit. If they falter, keep your eyes on the prize. With your support, encouragement, and guidance, they’ll get there.

Have a family movie night. From on demand to streaming to regular old broadcast TV, the options for how to enjoy movies together are pretty much endless. And making the time to be together offers endless opportunities to seize on teachable moments that come up during the shows. You can talk about issues, characters’ strengths and flaws, and themes. All of Common Sense’s movie and TV reviews include talking points to get the conversation rolling. Try any of these curated lists of movies and TV shows for all ages, interests, and occasions.

Take one small step toward privacy. Whether it’s turning off your Echo’s mic when you’re not using it, performing a privacy tune-up on Facebook, or just turning off location serviceson your phone, literally anything you do to safeguard your data makes you just a little bit more private. With the big privacy breaches and hacks of 2018, it’s clear that protecting your information is an ongoing responsibility. While you’re reviewing your own settings, prompt your kids to check theirs, too. Lots of companies get around the Children’s Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA) and collect data on kids’ accounts. This means they could be targeted with ads and other creepy stuff.

Embrace the “digital wellness” trend. It’s easy to be skeptical about Google, Apple, Facebook, and other tech companies’ so-called “digital wellness” tools. And though things like iOS 12’s Screen Time feature and “Time on Facebook” won’t solve our reliance on devices (and tech companies could do a lot more to help us cut down), they’re a good reminder to be more self-aware and ditch what doesn’t feel truly helpful or enjoyable. If there’s something you’d like to cut down on, use built-in tools to set limits for yourself. Help your kids become more aware of their own online time and help them take control of their use, too. You don’t have to shut everything down. But really focus on what you’re doing, when you’re doing it, and why. The way you use media and tech has a huge influence on your kids, and you can be a great role model for using them mindfully.

Candy Williams
January17/ 2019

Organizations around town are planning special events for families to honor the work and legacy of the champion of civil rights, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Here are 10 activities and programs that families can enjoy while honoring Dr. King through art, music and writing. Events take place on Jan. 21, except where noted.

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

The Children’s Museum invites kids to read the inspiring words of Dr. King aloud at the podium during its annual “King for a Day” activity hosted by Saturday Light Brigade Radio. In the Art Studio, kids will learn about “Freedom Corner,” the historic site at Centre and Crawford avenues, a symbol of Pittsburgh’s Civil Rights Movement. Create collages using historical Civil Rights images and design a picket sign to hold in front of a community mural. A full day of fun activities includes “Seeds of Change,” which explores forgiveness through planting seeds.

Kids can work with glass and create mosaics at Pittsburgh Glass Center’s MLK Day event.

Pittsburgh Glass Center

Pittsburgh Glass Center hosts a free Family Fun Day where kids can learn about glass through hands-on activities that demonstrate the importance of teamwork in the creative process. Mind-blowing glassblowing demonstrations will take place throughout the day.

Families are welcome to stop by the Pittsburgh Glass Center or the Mecca of Kulture & Art to help make mosaics for the exterior of MOKA Art Gallery & House of Culture. MOKA is a new creative space sharing the rich African and African-American cultural legacy that originated in the Hill District of Pittsburgh.

Mattress Factory

The Mattress Factory – typically closed on Mondays – will hold its annual MLK Day Celebration with a bargain pay-what-you-can admission. The party will feature a Celebration Crown decorating station, scavenger hunt and cookie table, all set to the toe-tapping tunes of DJ Dave Zak. A partnership with the Children’s Museum brings the “XOXO: A Project About Love & Forgiveness” pop-up to the party.

Stirring voices from choirs throughout Pittsburgh will gather at the Byham Theater.

Heritage Gospel Chorale

The Heritage Gospel Chorale’s 12th annual MLK celebration features Lynn Hayes-Freeland and the Mt. Ararat Baptist Church Choir for “Let Freedom Sing” at the Byham Theater. Seven choirs in all will raise their voices, including groups from Pittsburgh’s High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA), Ebenezer Baptist Church, Temple Sinai, and Woodland Hills High School will perform. The program includes Staycee Pearl Dance Project and Soy Sos.

Doors Open Pittsburgh

Doors Open Pittsburgh celebrates MLK Day early – on Jan. 19 – with its “Ride with the King: Black History Tour.”  Choose from a bus tour or self-guided tour. Kids will hear stories about Pittsburgh’s African-American history dating from the 1800s to the present. Leaders in the city’s African-American church community will be the guides at St. James African Church in East Liberty, Bethel AME Church in Uptown and Brown Chapel AME Church on the North Side.

Other tour locations include the August Wilson Center to view “Familiar Boundaries. Infinite Possibilities,” an exhibition featuring the works of 12 contemporary artists, and the Dollar Bank Heritage Center in the Dollar Bank Fourth Avenue building, where the bus tour will begin. Light refreshments will be served in one of the churches. Reservations required.

Instead of taking a day off, Community Day School is planning a full day of activities in honor of Martin Luther King Day.

Community Day School

“Beloved community” will be the focus of programming at Community Day School in Squirrel Hill for its fourth observance of MLK Day, which begins with a prayer service on Jan. 21. The service will feature music by The Afro-Semitic Experience, a jazz ensemble from New Haven, Conn. that blends Afro-diasporic and Jewish music as a pathway to unity. The concert is free and open to the community.

Students will spend the rest of the day participating in lessons and activities, including music workshops, a service project coordinated by Repair the World fellows, and the creation of a school-wide mosaic art installation. To mark the importance of the day, school bells will be shut off, and students and faculty will wear T-shirts with a portrait of Dr. King and the phrase “His dream is my dream.”

“We Shall Overcome” combines energetic musical performances with excerpts from the speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.

“We Shall Overcome”

We Shall Overcome: A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. featuring Damien Sneed” takes the stage at the August Wilson Center on Jan. 15. “We Shall Overcome” showcases a stirring repertoire from across African-American music traditions that electrified generations of civil rights activists and defenders. The music is interwoven with dramatic spoken word from Dr. King’s recorded speeches. Producer and musical director Damien Sneed’s background includes working with Wynton Marsalis, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin and the Clark Sisters, promising an entertaining and informative experience.

Carnegie Library locations

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will host family-friendly events to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at five Pittsburgh branch locations from Jan. 14 to 31 for age groups from tots to fifth graders. Programming includes Celebrating a Hero, as well as the Young Dreamer’s Book Club featuring Dr. Griffin-El reading Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. “The Dreamocracy Learning Lab presents MLK 360″ will be presented at two locations. Check the schedule for events in your neighborhood.

Kelly Strayhorn Theater

The 10th edition of East Liberty Celebrates MLK Day at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater will feature a diverse mix of community partners teaming up to offer exciting performances and family-friendly activities that affirm Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s example of activism. Hands-on play will be hosted by a variety of groups, including Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Center for Creative Reuse, Assemble, and Repair the World: Pittsburgh. Then head to the main stage for performances by Alumni Theatre Company, Barrels to Beethoven, Nick Daniels/The DANA Movement Ensemble and Dreams of Hope.

Poetry Unplugged

The third annual Poetry Unplugged: An MLK Celebration on Jan. 18 at the August Wilson Center is a night of spoken word and music featuring artists from around the country using the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr., as inspiration. Mahogany Browne hosts an evening featuring poets Jessica Care More and Prentice Powell, among others. Parental discretion is advised. Best for high school age and up.

Pittsburgh named first city in North America to be the site of HundrED Spotlight’s global campaign

HundrEd Spotlight
Kidsburgh Staff
January16/ 2019

This story first appeared on NEXTPittsburgh, which publishes Kidsburgh.

By Melissa Rayworth

On a recent day in Pittsburgh, students at a performing arts charter school were learning about dance and about the importance of diversity from Tre Frazier, a dancer in the national touring company of “Hamilton.” Throughout the city, other students were busy discovering new ideas at museums and libraries. Some were even getting real-world entrepreneurial training at pop-up businesses launched within their own school buildings.

That’s how education happens in many parts of the Pittsburgh region, thanks to years of collaboration between schools, museums, libraries, community centers and the growing pool of stakeholders in the Remake Learning network.

That innovation is now being showcased on a global scale, as Remake Learning takes the stage at the international Learnit summit in London later this month and the global nonprofit HundrED names Pittsburgh as the first city in North America to be the site of a HundrED Spotlight campaign.

The HundrED Spotlight on Pittsburgh will identify 10 groundbreaking educators and innovators who are elevating the learning of students in southwestern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia. An open competition invites K-12 educators and organizations to submit their work now through March 15. (Find all the details and submit your pitch here.)

Once winners are chosen, their innovations will be shared online with communities throughout the world and they’ll be invited to present their work at HundrED’s annual three-day Innovation Summit in Helsinki, Finland in November.

To help applicants craft the best possible pitch, the HundrED team will host a series of in-person support sessions here in Pittsburgh through Feb. 6. (Scroll down here for dates and times.)

“The HundrED Spotlight Pittsburgh will elevate our regional education changemakers who take risks in their classrooms and schools, engaging their students in meaningful experiences and pushing the limits of learning,” says Gregg Behr, executive director of The Grable Foundation and a local partner in the HundrED Spotlight.

This opportunity, Behr tells NEXTpittsburgh, “is similar to what we’ve tried to do for years, and that is to connect Pittsburgh to the world and the world to Pittsburgh. Because by doing that, we’re connecting folks locally to ideas and people and sparks elsewhere.”

That collaboration and shared inspiration, he says, can create fresh approaches to the key question Remake Learning addresses: “How do we best serve our kids?”

It’s also “incredibly affirming for those in the local learning landscape to appreciate and understand what high quality work we’re doing collectively,” Behr says.

In addition to this global attention, Remake Learning also continues to share its knowledge nationally. Building on the success of our regional Remake Learning Days, Pittsburgh will collaborate in April with five other cities to host Remake Learning Days Across America, a multi-city festival of innovative and engaging learning experiences for young people and their families.

Are you R.E.A.A.D.Y. for this? A STEM and performing arts school is in the works for Millvale.

Kidsburgh Staff
January15/ 2019

This story first appeared on NEXTPittsburgh, which publishes Kidsburgh. 

By Kristy Locklin

With the arrival of new businesses and residents, there are plenty of reasons to dance, sing and make merry in Millvale. Soon local high school students could earn college credit through these same unbridled displays of creativity.

The R.E.A.A.D.Y. (Redefining Education Achieving Associate Degrees for Youths) STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) & Performing Arts Charter School is expected to open in 2020 in the former Holy Spirit School on Farragut Street in the borough.

A public forum to discuss this public, tuition-free institution will happen at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, at Millvale Community Library. (Interested in going? You can RSVP to info@reaadyfoundation.org.)

The forum will be “an opportunity for us to share our ideas and visions for the school,” says the nonprofit R.E.A.A.D.Y. Foundation‘s Communications Director Cheryl Aughton, “and to hear from the people about what they want and need.”

From dance, theater and filmmaking to music production and culinary arts, high school students attending the charter school would take courses that might not otherwise be available at a traditional high school, while also focusing on core academics. And eligible juniors and seniors can earn an associate degree from Community College of Allegheny County as they receive their high school diploma.

Kenneth Nickel, a former principal dancer and a dance educator, launched the R.E.A.A.D.Y. Foundation to give students financial and developmental support as they reach for their dreams.

As plans for the school take shape, the foundation is also focusing on awarding partial and full scholarships to current high schoolers in Allegheny, Beaver and Butler counties who need funding to attend workshops, performing arts camps or other art-based programs that already exist in the region. Applications for these scholarships will be accepted March 31 through April 30. Students who apply will receive information about auditions later this spring.

Nickel, 60, of Greenfield, says he was a hyperactive child whose parents — a nurse’s aide and a butcher — enrolled him in dance classes to help channel that energy. Turns out, he was a natural.

He joined Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre at age 16 and by 21 was a principal dancer. He pirouetted around the world, from Japan and Russian to Venezuela, and established performance art degree programs at La Roche College, California University of Pennsylvania and the Community College of Beaver County.

“I’ve been very fortunate in my career,” he says, admitting that it’s not always easy for artists to find a job doing what they love right out of high school.

Through the R.E.A.A.D.Y. curriculum, he says, students will be exposed to an array of opportunities in the arts, including the administrative side of them, all while helping Millvale: Nickel envisions culinary students cooking meals for people in need. He also plans to hire custodians, cafeteria workers and other employees from within the community.

Kidcast: Top events this week

Kristine Sorensen
January15/ 2019

Kidsburgh has some great ideas of ways to spend Martin Luther King Day with your kids off school. From a free glass-blowing activity to library programs for kids, to museums helping kids understand what Martin Luther King represented. All of these are included in Kidsburgh’s guide to 10 Ways Kids Can Celebrate MLK Day. Plus, learn about a special show that’s out of this world.

What do you plan to do on the day off school? Find all the details at the link below!