students look at colorful assignment table

Glen Arden Elementary students celebrated a week of unplugging May 1-7 in honor of Nation Screen-Free Week. During library classes, media specialist Lee Ann Smith encouraged all K-4 students to discover offline activities at times they would normally be using devices for entertainment.

To get fuel for unplugged activities, they dove into books such as The Couch Potato, When Charlie McButton Lost Power, and Acoustic Rooster's Barnyard Boogie Starring Indigo Blume. students then brainstormed alternatives to screen-time and shared them with each other.

All students received a Bingo Card with unplugged ideas; when completed, they traded it in for a scratch-n-sniff bookmark. Students also wrote about their most creative screen-free activities and the principal chose a few of those to read each morning during school-wide announcements. Examples include: painting t-shirts, hunting for caterpillars, doing yard work and writing stories.

“Studies show that minimizing entertainment screen time reduces stress and anxiety, prompts more physical activity, improves interpersonal communication skills, helps one relax, and may help with academic performance,” said Ms. Smith. She received a BCS Foundation grant to purchase books that enhance screen-free exploration. These books “support students’ natural wonder and curiosity about science, drawing, cooking, exploring the outdoors, writing poetry and critical thinking.

Ms. Smith’s website for parents and students with activities and ideas can be found here: