Research indicates that too much screen time is linked to: - Attention and Learning Problems - Poor Problem Solving, Imagination and Creativity - Poor Language Development and Reading Skills

10 Steps to holding a Screen Smart Challenge

The purpose of holding a Screen Smart Challenge Week at school is to increase student awareness of the amount of screen time they have each day and compete with other classes to reduce screen time. The event encourages students to experience turning off screens outside of school time and enjoy recreational activities that support good health.  Recreational activities may include physical activities such as biking and swimming or other fun non-screen activities such as reading, doing a craft, enjoying nature or spending time with family and friends.   

10 Simple Steps to Hold a Screen Smart Challenge Week:

1. Choose a date (week).
Screen Smart Challenge Weeks are often held annually by schools. Popular times to hold a Screen Smart Week include the end of September, the end of January or the end of April. Choose a week that works best for your school calendar, and where there are no holidays/Pro-D days. Announce the date for planning purposes.

2. Create a small committee of teachers/administrators to help organize the event.
See the sample timeline below for suggested activities of this committee.
    •    Sample Timeline (PDF)

3. Hand out Screen Smart resources to all participating teachers.
Teachers read through the following resources in preparation for the Screen Smart Challenge:
    •    Screen Time Information Sheet (PDF)
    •    Notice to Families regarding Screen Smart Week (PDF)
    •    Lifestyle Pie Chart (PDF)
    •    Student Screen Log for Screen Smart week (PDF)
    •    Sample Classroom Log and School Chart (PDF)

If teachers would like daily screen smart classroom activities to accompany the challenge, ask them to visit www.screensmartschools.ca
 
4. Inform families at your school about the event two weeks in advance (if possible).
See the sample letter below that teachers can distribute to parents let them know about the event.
    •    Notice to Families regarding Screen Smart Week (PDF)
 
5. To increase awareness, advertise the Screen Smart Week in your school newsletter and on the school calendar.
See some newsletter inserts that you can use to let parents and students know why screen time matters. Try to advertise in the month leading up to the event.
    •    School Newsletter Inserts (PDF)

6. Spread the word at school two weeks before Screen Smart Week starts.
Below, you will find two posters advertising Screen Smart Week. Simply add the date for your Screen Smart Week to the poster, photocopy and put up around the school. Students can help with this part of the planning! You can also make Screen Smart announcements.
    •    Screen Smart Poster #1 (PDF)
    •    Screen Smart Poster #2 (PDF)

7. Hold the Event

Teaching Tips for Day 1 (Monday) of Screen Smart Week
- Ask students to fill out lifestyle pie chart (See below for PDF).
- Explain to students that classes will compete to decrease screen time.
- Send the Screen Time Information Sheet home to families as well as Ideas for Action (See below for PDFs).

- Ask teachers to send the Screen Time Log home to families (See below for PDF). Students will fill in this log on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Students should bring a log back to school each day. See below for a sample of the screen time log.

Give sample Classroom log and school chart to all teachers participating in the event. Ask them to keep track of their class progress. Ask one teacher for creating the large school log that can be displayed in main hall of the school.     

Teaching Tips for Day 2, 3, and 4 (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) of Screen Smart Week
- Remind students to fill in their screen time log each day.
- Teachers should collect logs each day and fill in the class log.
- Teachers should hand class log in each day to the lead teacher responsible for compiling the school log.

Teaching tips for Day 5 (Friday) of Screen Smart Week
- Have students complete another lifestyle pie chart. Have students compare this chart to the pie chart completed on Monday. Discuss the changes they observe.
- Fill in class log with students. Hand in class log to the lead teacher responsible for school log.
- Hold a celebration assembly in the afternoon, once class data is compiled. Announce the winning class for the screen time challenge. Hand out certificates to all participants.
    •    Lifestyle Pie Chart (PDF)
    •    Student Screen Log for Screen Smart week (pdf)
    •    Sample Classroom Log and School Chart (pdf)
    •    Screen Time Information Sheet (pdf)
    •    Ideas for Action (PDF)
    •    Screen Smart Week Certificates (pdf)

8. Assign one primary teacher and one intermediate teacher to take the lead in collecting all data from the student logbooks from each class.
Lead teachers (for primary and intermediate classes) will tally the results on Friday for the assembly. The winning class may receive a prize determined by the school. Please see the Healthier Rewards list for suggestions.
    •   Healthier Rewards (PDF)  

9. Have the grade 6’s and/or 7’s organize the Screen Smart Assembly for Friday afternoon and present results, certificates and awards at that time.

10. Send a summary of your school’s Screen Smart Event to jennifer@childhoodobesityfoundation.ca so that we can share it with other schools across Canada