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Wing Fifth Graders Create School iRules

by Shannon Bechard, 5th grade teacher – HT Wing School

On October 8th, Wing School fifth graders were treated to a visit from Janell Hofmann, International speaker, consultant, and author of the book: iRules: What Every Tech Healthy Family Needs to Know About Selfies, Sexting, Gaming & Growing Up.

Recently, some of our students had asked to bring in their tablets and e-readers to school to use during their independent reading time.  I was excited about the potential for heightened and engaged enthusiasm towards reading, and to best serve everyone in the class and allow for student success with technology, I knew it was important to map out a plan. Last week, we welcomed Janell, mom to fifth grader Ella (as well as her four other children: Gregory, Brendan, Lilly, and Cassidy) to talk with us and deepen the discussion. With Janell’s help, we built a classroom contract.

The purpose of Janell’s visit was to discuss with students and teachers the challenges, responsibilities, and benefits of bringing technology into the classroom.  Together, Janell and our students worked through the process of generating rules for bringing devices to school. The conversation began with students sharing home rules and boundaries surrounding technology, and moved on to include some of the opportunities and challenges that come with the devices that so many of our students have access to, specifically in the school setting. By the end of our workshop, students had arrived at five “big” rules for bringing devices into school for reading (i.e. Devices are for reading only. No gaming, social networking, messaging, internet searches, music, or picture taking allowed).

As a result of our work with Janell, we are excited to announce our new classroom policy: tablets, e-readers, and other devices that are designed for reading will be allowed in our classroom.  Since we are using devices strictly for reading, this is voluntary; it is an option that may or may not apply to all children.  If it doesn’t work for a particular family or child, that is perfectly OK.  There is absolutely no pressure in any way.  We agreed that it is important that families sit down together and review and discuss the contract. Once the contract is signed by student and parent, students are welcome to bring in their electronic reading device.

Learn more about Janell and her work as a speaker, author and consultant at her website:

You may recall learning about Janell and her perspective on technology during the holidays in 2012 when her son Greg received his iphone as a Christmas gift. You can watch a clip from Good Morning America. 

Janell was also invited to do a Ted Talk in San Diego in 2013 with the title: Parenting in the Screen Age

Read about Janell Burley Hofmann’s book : iRules: What Every Tech Healthy Family Needs to Know About Selfies, Sexting, Gaming & Growing Up

Here’s another interesting review from the point of view of a teacher of middle school students.

Janell Hoffman canvas