NGRID Fall e-newsletter
Fall 2010



Do Your Students Follow Proper "Netiquette"?

Explore Ethics Online

U.S. Children and Media Use
A January 2010 study by The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation discovered a dramatic year-over-year increase in the average child’s daily exposure to media. The study reports that, in a typical day, 8-10 year olds currently average 46 minutes of computer use; 3 hours, 41 minutes of TV viewing (in various platforms); and 10 minutes of cell phone use. Additionally, children between the ages of 11-14 currently average 1 hour 46 minutes of computer use; 5 hours and 3 minutes of TV viewing (in various platforms), and 1 hour and 13 minutes of cell phone use.

Today’s technology presents children with a heightened risk of irresponsible behavior and ethical dilemmas. The Internet, social media channels, and mobile devices can coax a child into cyber bullying, gossiping, plagiarizing, cheating, thoughtless texting, and accessing and sharing inappropriate content. Many of these problems are compounded by the fact that children are developmentally ill-equipped to cope with such complex issues. Furthermore, they generally don’t understand the ethical, social or legal implications of their actions.

When it comes to netiquette—proper manners when using network-based technologies—it’s really the old fashioned, fundamental rules of politeness that apply. In other words, the “watch your Ps & Qs,” “use please and thank you,” and “always use good judgment” that our elders regularly emphasized. In the same vein, we’ve compiled a user-friendly, online resource that allows students to explore core ethical concepts through stories, definitions, and activities. Topics include Integrity, Respect & Tolerance, Cooperation & Commitment, Compassion & Community, Responsibility, Leadership, Conduct, and Decision-Making. We invite you to explore ethics with your class.

Netiquette Tips for Your Students

These tips are not meant to replace established school policy nor any parental guidelines, but instead they should be raised as a part of your ongoing netiquette conversations.

  • Know and abide by your school’s cell phone and Internet/computer policy.
  • Always turn off cell phones in places like the classroom, restaurants, movies, and at family dinner time.
    • If you have approval or must take a call when in these venues, be courteous and set your phone to silent or vibrate.
  • Never accept calls or “invites” from strangers.
  • Never take or send inappropriate pictures with your phone or computer.
  • Never purchase or download anything online without permission first.
  • Email and texting should never take the place of personal interaction.
    • Avoid emailing or texting friends when you’re angry—cool down first and then talk it out.
    • Avoid sending gossip or bad news—always be responsible with what you say.
  • Politely excuse yourself when taking a call in the presence of others, and always control your tone when in earshot of others.
  • Remember, computers and cell phones are a privilege and this privilege should not be abused—it can be revoked.

Electrical & Natural Gas Safety

Stay Safe, Warm, and Happy this Season


Energy Efficiency

Using Energy Efficiently at Home

Electrical & Natural Gas Safety Tips

The winter time presents unique risks when it comes to electrical and natural gas safety. It’s important for everyone to be aware of these hazards, such as drying mittens and gloves on heaters, keeping the house warm by using the stove, or not having an emergency evacuation plan in the case of a natural gas leak.

Risky behaviors need to be addressed to prevent accidents. To help, here is a checklist of proper safety measures that you can enforce and teach at school in order to keep children safe around electricity and natural gas.

  • Keep mittens, hats and scarves away from heaters at home and school to prevent fires.
  • Make sure that children or younger siblings don’t play with natural gas appliances or range knobs. They could turn on the natural gas by mistake.
  • Keep paper, cloth, and flammable liquid away from heaters, flames, and natural gas ranges, especially while cooking.
  • Never leave space heaters unattended. Be sure to place them on a dry, level, hard, and nonflammable surface.
  • Before putting up holiday lights, inspect cords for damage. Don’t overload outlets or use indoor lights outside. And when you’re away from home or sleeping, turn off all lights.
  • Ensure that all electrical and natural gas equipment has proper warning signs and is secured with fencing, locks, chains, or other hardware where appropriate.
  • In case of emergency, be prepared. Make a kit that has at least three days worth of supplies, including nonperishable foods, one gallon of water per person per day, a radio and flashlight with extra batteries, and a first aid kit.
  • Inspect fire detectors to ensure proper function. Replace batteries if necessary.

For more electrical and natural gas safety and science information visit our Electrical & Natural Gas Safety site.



Saving energy is always a responsible thing to do. It conserves resources and saves money. Consider having a discussion with your class regarding their energy use. Share the following statistics from with your class:

Energy use in the average home:

5% - Refrigerator
7% - Home electronics
10% - Lighting
13% - Water heater
16% - Other appliances
49% - Heating and cooling

Ask students what energy-using items they think might belong in the “other appliances” category. Additionally, consider having your students pair-up, select a category and brainstorm ways to use less energy in this area. Have students record their class findings and consider implementing changes at home and in school too!

Winter Wise Energy Saving Tips

Additional energy saving tips for your students and their families:

  • Open shades and curtains in the day time to let the sun shine in and warm up your house. Close shades and curtains at night to help eliminate drafts.
  • Replace furnace filters (and have furnaces serviced) regularly in order to keep furnaces running at peak performance and using less energy.
  • Set the heating thermostat to 68 degrees or lower when you’re at home during the day and even lower at night. Put on a sweater or blanket to help keep you warm and lower your energy use.
  • Caulk and insulate around windows, doors, pipes and vents to eliminate drafts and prevent heat loss.
  • DVD players, computers, TVs, and other appliances use energy even when not in use/in sleep mode. Consider plugging such appliances into a power strip and shutting off the power strip to save energy when they’re not in use.
  • Consider using compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)—they use up to 66% less energy than standard light bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.
Your Sustainable Energy


In a Teacher’s Words:

The Your Sustainable Energy World website is clean and easy to navigate. The science writing is clear and concise and the glossary links are helpful. The word counts are upper-grade-appropriate and the various linked student activities are kid-friendly (the inspections, Drippy Math, etc.). This site fits well with the NYC science scope and sequence for 5th through 8th grades where human impacts on the environment are covered. The experiments and student activities add a lot of value. The For Students section is most useful when paired with the focus questions in the Teacher’s Guide, which are very good (valuable comprehension checks). I’d then do some of the experiments and student activities as extensions. Environmental awareness education is part of our job. The Your Sustainable Energy World website makes this part of our job easier.

–Paul Berizzi

Paul Berizzi teaches 6th-8th grades at the School for the Urban Environment in Brooklyn, NY. He is a science teacher mentor and a NYC Teaching Fellow. He has taught for 7 years.

Explore our world of energy education...

#8742 © 2010 Culver Media, LLC