Our teens consider much of what goes on in the social lives private, not for parent consumption. Our youth are typically not voluntarily sharing with us the details of daily life, whether it is what happened in class at school, what happened on the soccer field, or what is going on socially with friendships. Adolescents especially do not let parents "in" on what is happening in the arena of teen sexuality or their personal crushes. While this is natural and necessary part of the individuation process, it often leaves parents wondering and feeling out of touch. Despite this neccessary progression toward independence, parents still need to make concerted efforts to stay connected.The goal of this article is to help parents remain proactive with their teens and to provide reliable information.
How Technology has Changed and Continues to Impact Teens
Technology is launching peer to peer communication in new directions, which has created a new culture of teen sexuality. Students across the nation, and in our own community, have engaged in a variety of behaviors from sending naked photos and videos to their peers via cell phone, email, and Skype. "It is a 21st century version of 'you show me yours, I'll show you mine,'" according to a 2009 Reason article by Nancy Rommelmann. While the visual sharing of sexual imagery among teens is disturbing for parents, equally upsetting are the graphic written sexual messages. Texting sexualized messages from one teen to another is relatively common. In a December 2008 publication by Information Week (posted Dec. 11, 2008), a study of 1,280 teens and young adults revealed that one in five girls had sent nude or partially nude photos of themselves via cell phone or email. Of this group 11% were 16 or younger. According to the survey, one-third of all photos sent end up being forwarded and shared with other parties. Two-thirds of girls who sent nude photos said they did it to be fun and flirtatious. Another 40% said they did it as a joke. Most of the sexual content was shared with friends and acquaintances. Only 15% of photography was sent to a stranger.
Why Teens Need to be Well Informed
This article is not intended to alarm readers, but to help parents and educators understand possible outcomes related to impulsive teen behavior. The legal implications are far-reaching regarding sexualized content and electronic sharing of such images. Federal and state laws regulate the production, distribution, and possession of sexual images of underage subjects. These laws have been in place for decades to protect our youth from abuse and pornography. Because technology is advancing quickly, the legal system is trying to play catch-up. We have a young tech-savvy society, and in some instances youth unwittingly find themselves in the midst of legal dealings. Youth need to be aware of this. We certainly inform youth about the dangers of underage drinking, and they also need to be aware of online and cell phone communication hazards.
Teens and Impulsivity
The gap between teens and adults in our culture is widening, especially with the technology available to our youth. Adolescents are eager for independence from adults and acceptance from their peers. When this is combined with developing hormones, and a brain that is not fully matured, impulsivity can lead to poor decision making. Teens cannot accurately anticipate the ramifications of their activity due to cognitive immaturity and lack of experience. In the world of point and click technology, impulsive acts can occur readily. Many adolescents do not grasp the concept that digital technology is permanent. Once a photo or written message has been sent and uploaded it can be shared with other cell phone users and email recipients. "Once content is out there, it is out there forever," according to the Institute for Resonsible Online and Cell Phone Communications. For this reason parents need to take an active role. The safety issues are critical, from date rape, to STDs, to pregnancy and emotional harm.
What Parents Can Do to Make a Difference
Parents gaining new information and educating themselves on such critical matters feel a natural sense of uneasiness and discomfort. But knowledge puts parents in a position of strength and caring, which our adolescents truly want from us. Becoming informed shows that we want our children to be safe, happy, and healthy. It is important to seek ways to support, guide, and protect our children.
For the majority of parents, their sons or daughters have not engaged in such activities, but their teen surely knows a peer who has. The most important role of parents is to become actively supportive and involved in their teenage daughter or son's life. Parents may find it difficult to begin a conversation, yet it is important to do so. This requires parents to think carefully how they can act as guides and when to initiate a point of entry for conversation. Finding a "natural" moment to discuss such topics is more seamless. It makes more sense to teens when the conversations mirror what is going on in the moment. Great launching moments are when you have just seen a newspaper article or TV news story relating to sex, rape, or pornography. Magazines are full of this content as well. Movies and TV shows provide a bounty of such material. Modern music and today's movies depict sexual behavior as a norm. Talk to your kids when the time is right about sexual pressures, friendships, and the difference between sex and love.
Please do not secretly snoop to find out what is going on. This is a significant breach of trust and will deteriorate opportunities for collaborating. Trying to shield teens from using technology is not realistic either. This is why collaborating with your teen and having a trusting relationship is so vital. Converse with them about what they have on Facebook, MySpace, and their cell phones and email. Let them know that you will listen to them and not pass judgment. One of the biggest fears kids face is that you will judge them harshly. Help your teens decide what is right for them. Many teens who become sexually active too early regret it. It helps for adolescents to know this fact.
Being present and involved in your teen's life is important. Even though our lives are very busy, take the time to be aware of what is happening and talk to your son or daughter.
The boys varsity soccer team faces OES for the state title after beating St. Mary's of Medford 1-0.
Game time for the boys: Saturday, 1 p.m., Wilsonville HS.
The girls varsity soccer team won their semifinal match against Sisters, 4-3, and take on Gladstone for the championship.
Game time for the girls: Saturday, 6 p.m., Wilsonville HS.
Adults - $8, Students - $5 at the door
VISA / MasterCard accepted
Come cheer on the mighty Eagles as they play for the state championships!
Video of game-winning shot from the boys semifinal game against St. Mary’s of Medford. Thanks go to Jennifer Davies, parent of alumni, for shooting video.
The 65th and final Rummage Sale was an AMAZING success thanks to energetic volunteers and loyal customers. We generated $274,000 in sales, just $1,000 shy of last year's total.
The Catlin Gabel community spirit is epic. We do great things together — we always have and we always will.
Thank you very much!
So, what’s next?
Do you have ideas about what Catlin Gabel might do to recreate the wonderful sense of community and commitment to service we have experienced through Rummage? Share your after-Rummage Sale ideas with us on the After Rummage Forum or send your ideas by e-mail to AfterRummage@catlin.edu. Ideas will be considered at a community-wide meeting in January. Stay tuned for details.
From the fall 2009 Caller
AWARDS TO OUR TEACHERS
7th grade history teacher Paul Monheimer was awarded a Distinguished Fulbright Award in Teaching from the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board to conduct research in Israel. He plans to spend the spring semester in Israel researching and creating meaningful virtual exchanges, using graphic software to overcome language barriers. . . . Upper School Spanish teacher Lauren Reggero-Toledano received a grant from the American Immigration Law Council to work with students on a project about the Hispanic presence in Oregon during the Great Depression and today. Students will create interactive, multimedia presentations for display at Teatro Milagro/Miracle Theater.
From the Fall 2009 Caller
By Paul Monheimer
Ten teachers attended our professional development day today. Seven also presented! Interestingly, all but two were from the Upper School. We followed a model in which teachers did all the presenting and led the group discussion, which led to an energizing day that focused squarely on teacher interests. Here is a summary of content covered.
Ginia King shared the sophomore English Moodle site, which is organized by type of assignment (tests, recitations, essays, etc.) instead of unit or week. Forum is more useful than chat for "decentered discussion." Encourages different voices to speak in the class. Art Leo reported that education research in modern language acquisition has found that success in written, online discourse has transferred to oral participation in class. Teachers differed on how firmly they held students to proper writing form, though people agreed on the desire to do so. The best tools allow one to print a single document from the discussion of the day. English teachers use the forum tool to set up a space where students may post essay drafts and other students may post replies and response papers. It can be difficult to compare three drafts of an essay posted to Moodle. Ginia reflected that students don't automatically think to check the website for course information. They appear to be more mindful of paper. Lisa and Daisy speculated that upcoming students will be more automatic about this due to online experiences in the younger grades.
Tony Stocks built on Ginia's presentation by showing the junior English Moodle site. He used one discussion forum for students to write and improve their questions in preparation for the upcoming Tracy Kidder assembly next week. The site uses the Moodle groups feature to keep section discussions separate. The site is most valuable to keep all of the drafts of the writing process in one place for the teacher and student to access. Can be a challenge for the kid who has a hard time staying on task, but teachers can help by monitoring computer use in the room.
Paul Dickinson commented that the English program may have led to students' higher comfort level with typing lab reports in science. While this has improved the quality of presentation, students are struggling to produce good diagrams in this format. This has led to a trend in which many students prefer to find an existing diagram and copy it into their document instead of drawing an original illustration. It's interesting that the use of Photoshop here is widespread, yet use of Illustrator is rare.
Lauren Reggero-Toledano shared a community service learning project with which her students are currently engaged. She won a small grant to fund this project, working with our development and communications departments to refine her proposal. Her class is creating an online presentation of the Hispanic presence in Oregon to complement a production at Portland's Miracle Theatre. Their project compares the Hispanic presence during the depression to the present day. The curriculum has evolved as opportunities have appeared to interview good subjects around town. They have found no interview subjects from the Depression era, but an author helped them understand that the lack of found information is useful information in itself. Contextualize this finding and move forward.
The theater director challenged the kids to make the site truly interactive. So far, they have decided to add a comment box to their website, in order to gather more stories. Also, students will be present at each performance in order to explain the project and potentially collect interviews on the spot! Students are collecting footage with Flip cameras, notwithstanding the lack of proper video lighting. The historical archives has commented that a serious deficit of raw material exists on this topic. The students' footage has the potential to become an important research source, especially if the site persists and continues to collect footage after the theater performances are over.
Students are using the course Moodle site to manage the project, including notes, interview forms, and links to web-based resources. The teacher has stepped back and left room for the students to plan and execute.
The class built and distributed a survey using our internal survey tool. They received 79 responses to a survey about Hispanic Heritage Month, including a giant collection of narrative comments, which were really useful in guiding their work.
Lisa Ellenberg shared new work she is doing with students to post book reviews into our Follett Destiny library catalog -- really exciting work. This has potential to change student perception of the library catalog from an external authority to a community resource. Already, fourth grade students are excited about adding items to this resource. They also rate the books on a five star system. We'd like to post audio reviews as well, and while Destiny may not support audio file playback, we may post them elsewhere and then post links to the catalog. Lisa also demonstrated how a teacher may create a public resource list of library items for students or other teachers to view.
Roberto Villa shared a long-distance correspondence between a Catlin Gabel alum in Quito, Ecuador, and Catlin Gabel students. Topics include poverty, energy consumption, and women's rights, among others. Spanish V students are using an online bulletin board for this purpose.
Roberto also underscored the value of his document camera, which he uses every day. It helps him save time and paper. Roberto uses it for flashcards, homework correction, and editing. Lauren has used it for coins and maps.
For two years, Roberto's Spanish V class has not used books. All of the resources are posted online. The Spanish I, II, and III textbooks have an online site that includes online activities and audio components. This has been especially valuable for students with learning differences or who want to slow down the audio to listen to it more slowly.
Pat Walsh demonstrated his use of the social format in Moodle courses, which transforms the course home page into a student discussion center. He also demonstrated the use of embedded images, YouTube videos, and RSS feeds within his course Moodle sites.
Dale Rawls showed how he uses the school website and email system to engage parents in narrative discussion about student artwork well before the semester reporting period. He posts photos of student illustration to the website and then sends an email message to parents with suggestions for what to discuss about the artwork with their children.
On one of the last sunny weekends of the Summer, a group of 14 Middle School students, accompanied by 6 Upper School student chaperones visited Bumblebee Organic Farms.
It was two days of fun, two days of laughing, a campfire beneath a harvest moon, a grape eating contest, amazing food, a pair of sheep (or were they goats?), tractors, barns, sleeping through an incredibly loud rainstorm, amazing farm-fresh pancakes, and learning about life on a small, organic farm.
We met at Catlin after Saturday morning's storms had passed and loaded into an activity bus. A drive toward the mouth of the Sandy river took us into Troutdale, home of Bumblebee Organic Farm. We played a couple of challenge and team-building games before we broke off into three teams (Wolf Pack, Inner Power, and Firebirds) to be farmers for the rest of the weekend.
We performed farm chores such as harvesting grapes and tomatoes, working rows of beans, and shucking corn before it was time for dinner: an amazing pasta and salad night from produce straight off the vine.
Some exciting campfire skits were a highlight of the evening before we tucked ourselves into cozy (and dry!) tents before a midnight rainstorm took us through the night. We woke up to clear skies and huge pancakes on Sunday and worked our way through a pumpkin patch before heading home in time to spend the rest of the weekend with our families. It was sad to see the trip come to an end, but we walked away as friends, having learned so much more about farming, and more connected to the food we eat.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread that way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
- If you develop flu-like symptoms of fever, aches and pains, sore throat, coughing, trouble breathing, runny nose, or nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting, you should contact your health care provider. Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing and treatment is needed.
Choose how you cruise
On this symbolic day, the Catlin Gabel community will join in an effort to empty the parking lot!
Choose how you cruise
- Carpool (link to carpool map)
- MAX or TriMet
- Ride the Catlin Gabel bus for free – one day only special
Beginning and Lower School parents: Ginny Malm has access to the online registration information so you don't need to call her if you sign up online by Thursday, October 7.