March 22, 2020

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Common Sense Media Resources for Families

Check out Common Sense Media’s new hub Resources for Families During the Coronavirus Pandemic for information about:

  • Learning at home and homework help
  • Helping kids understand COVID-19 news coverage
  • What to watch, read, and play
  • How to stay calm for you and your kids
  • Spanish language resources for Latinx families
  • Learning at home and homework help
  • more…

Quick Tips from Common Sense Media

Manage your expectations. Your kids will not be learning at the same pace or breadth as a usual school day. Figure two to three hours a day to start. Don’t stress too much about this.

Make time for breaks and fun. All of us are anxious as we manage this new reality, so take any opportunity to relax and laugh together. It will make the hard stuff easier.

Set a schedule. Get everyone on the same page so you don’t have to nag. Routines can be comforting for everyone.

Review schools’ plans. In some cases, schools will have a very specific education plan during closures. Use their instructions as a guide for setting up your schedule.


Math. About 30 minutes.
Watch a Khan Academy lesson and practice. If your math skills aren’t what they used to be, visit Khan Academy’s FAQ for tips on how to help your kid with math or get them started on self-directed learning. Here is their Quick Start Guide if you’re ready to jump in.

Other math resources:
Wuzzit Trouble
Math Snacks
Marble Math
DragonBox Algebra 12+

Reading. 30-60 minutes.
If your kid has a book they’re reading in English class, make some progress on that. If not, choose one for fun. If you can’t leave the house, Libby connects you to your local library. Punch in your library card number and you have access to a wide range of ebooks kids can access on their Kindle, tablet, or computer.
Other reading apps:
Marvel Hero Tales
Weirdwood Manor
Middle School Confidential
Reading Rewards
Epic! – Kids’ Books and Videos

Physical education. 30-60 minutes.
Ideally you can get outside and go for a walk or throw a ball around. But if you’re stuck indoors, you can follow along to YouTube exercise videos, set up an obstacle course, do some yoga or stretching, or try jumping jacks.

Just Dance 2020 helps tweens and teens work up a sweat while listening to favorite music (you’ll need a game console to play it). It has some mature lyrics, so choose something different if that’s a concern. More ideas:
RingFit Adventure
Charity Miles
Pokémon Go


Connect with friends. 30-60 minutes.
Tweens and teens thrive on social connections, so make sure to keep these going even if you aren’t allowing in-person time. If they’re already on popular social platforms, this might be the time to re-negotiate any time limits so they can get their social fix virtually.

Houseparty is a group video-chat tool that, when used appropriately, can be a fun way for friends to connect and catch up. Other picks:
Airtime – Group Video Chat
Marco Polo – Video Chat
MeWe Network


Creative time. 90-120 minutes.
Bring out the pens and paper! This can be a nice chunk of time off screens. Whatever your kid is into—piano, papier-mâché, playwriting—this is the perfect opportunity to let loose. Of course, there are lots of ways media and tech can support these interests if you choose.

YouTube has an endless amount of instructional content, including music lessons, DIY creators, painting (gotta love Bob Ross!), and more. Keep younger kids in family spaces so you can make sure they are finding quality content. More choices: – Creative Challenges
Wizard School
Lily – Playful Music Creation

Chores. 15-30 minutes.
Every family has a different way of managing household responsibilities. But if you’re finding this to be a particularly challenging time to get your kids to help out, you can try some apps that can help them stay organized and give some incentives.

Brili Routines is a task manager with a simple interface that works well for kids who need a little extra push to complete their daily tasks. Parents set up the tasks and then switch to the kid profile before turning it over. Kids earn rewards and learn to better manage their time. Other options:
Choiceworks Calendar
Chore Pad


Family time
When kids are stressed, they’re going to need even more chances to chill out, so this might be a time to relax rules about entertainment media. And while tweens and teens don’t always tell you that they need your support, they do. Watching movies or playing games together can be an easy way to be together in a low-stress way. Here are some ideas.

Jackbox Party Packs are collections of games that groups can play using individual devices (phones, tablets, laptops). You can download the game via providers such as Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Comcast Xfinity X1, and the game network Steam—and then play it from the couch. You can even invite friends and family from afar to join the game while video-chatting. Also try:

Other Resources

Helping kids stay focused
If you’re concerned that your kid won’t be able to stay on task while doing online work, you may need to get some tech help. Here are some options:
Screen Time (for iOS) and Family Link (for Android): Use these tools in conjunction with your kids’ devices to limit what they can do and when.
Forest: Stay focused, be present
Bear in Mind App: To Do list, reminders, tasks
Habitica: Gamified Task Manager
5 ways to block content on your child’s device

Storytime with Shelly

A quick word from Shelly: “Just as our teachers and staff have transitioned to the online environment, so have I. As you know, one of the things I love to do most is to share books. I have recorded ten books so far (including Wonder; Welcome Home, MouseHer Body Can; Last Stop on Market Street, and more).

Tech FAQ

How do I reach CDS Tech Department?

To reach CDS Tech Department, please email our support system at .

How do I install/re-install apps on the CDS assigned iPads?

If you need to install/re-install apps on the CDS iPad, please follow the instruction below on how to install from the Self Service App. All of the core apps for Online/Home learning are available to install/re-install on the self-service app.

The image below is a sample of “how to install/re-install the Seesaw app”.


Chrome crashing (4/17/20)

If Chrome is crashing on your Apple computer after a minute or so of use, this is what you will need to do on your Apple Computer:

On your desktop/finder: 
• Click GO in the menu bar 

• Enter the following in the window that opens:~/Library
Click GO

• Open the following folders:
Application Support Google > Chrome 

• Inside the Chrome folder, you will see a DEFAULT folder.  Move the DEFAULT folder to your desktop.  
If you do not see the Default folder, move the PROFILE 1 & PROFILE 2 folders to your desktop.

Then try opening Chrome again.  It should work now! No more crashing! Make sure you log into Chrome so you have your bookmarks repopulate.  

Please note: There are two ways for students to log-into Epic!: 1. using a class code provided by a teacher; this only allows students access M-F, 8a-4p.

2. logging into a free family account set-up by a family after receiving an email from Epic!, initiated by a teacher; this allows student 24/7 access

It may help make sense of this minor complexity by considering: Option 1 is how students would normally login during the day when AT A SCHOOL school; in the past, Option 2 offered families unlimited access with a PAID home subscription (now free to all families thru June 2020).

Zoom Security & Privacy (4/1/20)

To address the privacy and security with Zoom, we now added these changes to our Zoom meeting settings:

  • Permanently enabled “Waiting Room” for all of our zoom meetings
  • Password protect all of our Zoom meetings
  • Mute participants upon entry
  • Prevent participants from screen sharing, only host/co-host can screen share
  • Enable the ability for teachers to lock the meeting

We will keep monitoring and improving the security settings for our Zoom meetings.


03/30/2020 – Seesaw Error 500 / Internal Error

Investigating – Seesaw currently investigating issues loading Seesaw and 500 errors across the site. Mar 30, 08:30 PDT

03/26/2020 – Seesaw Video Processing Delay (Resolved)

Seesaw are investigating a delay in processing videos created in Seesaw on the web (using webcam, upload or Draw+Record) for playback on other platforms. Users will see a “Video Not Ready for Playback” message when trying to play a video on iOS, Android, mobile Safari or Firefox that was created originally on the web. No video data has been lost. Some improvement are made, and they’re still monitoring the issue.

03/27/2020 – Zoom on CDS Middle Schooler iPad (Resolved – see below)

ISSUE: While using Zoom on CDS Middle Schooler’s iPad, the Zoom app will unexpectedly quit when joining a meeting.

UPDATE (3/27): Zoom has pushed out an updated version of the Zoom app for iPads that should resolve the problem!

If you are using a CDS Middle School Student iPad, you may need to reinstall the Zoom app. Go to Self Service app and locate Zoom and click REINSTALL (sometimes you need to click on it a couple of times then it will reinstall).


Newsela takes authentic content from the world’s most trusted providers and turn it into learning materials that are classroom-ready.


On CDS iPads, if not already installed:
• Go to the SELF SERVICE app

• Click INSTALL/REINSTALL for the Newsela Student app
You may need to click install a couple of times if it does not install the first time.

On personal/family devices and laptops,
go to one of the following links :

  • iOS (iPad) (free)
  • Android (free)
  • And via web browser
    like Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.



Your teacher will send you a special code to enter to get to your class in Newsela. Make sure you have that code handy when you are setting up the Newsela app for the very first time!

Already have a Newsela Account:

  • Click SIGN IN
  • Sign in with your username and password.
  • Click SIGN IN

For New Accounts:

  • Click JOIN
  • Click NEWSELA
  • Select YES for “Are you joining a teacher’s class?”
  • Enter the code your teacher sent to you and your family
  • The name of your class will appear above the NEXT button
  • Click NEXT
  • At the bottom of the page, enter your:
    • First Name
    • Last Name
    • Username
      Suggestion: first name+last name
      Example: Jane Doe would have the username of: janedoe
    • Password
      Write down your username & password you decide to use and/or take a screenshot (press the power button and home at the same time quickly, it will save a picture in your Photos app)
  • Click on ASSIGNMENTS (bottom) to see assigned readings.

Check Seesaw for instructions from your teacher as well.


  • Click SIGN IN
  • Click GOOGLE
  • Click CONTINUE
  • Login win your CDS Google Account
  • Click on ASSIGNMENTS (bottom) to see assigned readings.

All article links for Newsela will be also posted in your Google Classroom.

Privacy Policy:


…for reading.

Epic! offers unlimited free access to books during the school day plus LIMITED after hour and weekend access through the end of the 2021 school year. During school hours Epic! is accessed with a teacher-generated classroom code. For at home after hours access families must sign-up for a free account (no credit card required) after receiving an invitation from their child’s teacher. Students can access the full Epic library via a website or app.


  1. There are two ways for students to log-into Epic!: (a) by using a class code provided by a teacher, and (b) by logging into a free family account.
  2. Option A above allows students free unlimited access M-F, 7a-4p
  3. Option B gives students up to 2 additional hours per week of free reading, M-F after 4p, and all day Sa/Su. Teachers will invite you via email to connect w.your child’s classroom account if they haven’t already.
  4. Paid family accounts are also available from Epic! to those interested for approx. $8 per month.
  5. For the latest from Epic! about at-home access visit:
Epic help:
Privacy Policy:


The CDS Community Chess Club uses for CDS kids and families to challenge each other, solve chess position puzzles, and learn chess skills, terms and obscure concepts such as “gaining a tempo” and “skewering.”

ChessKid: click here for more details.

ParentSquare Forums

See below for the list of opt-in forums that you can join:

Community Resources/Forum: