Tag Archives: media literacy

Comment on Our Comment Policy

18 Oct

One week from today, when Ruby Skye P.I.: The Spam Scam launches, we’ll also be launching our new site. And it’s going to be fabulous!
As we’re getting it ready we have to prepare some policies about how people can use the site and what our responsibilities are to the audience.

I’m getting four documents ready:

  • A comment policy
  • An advertising policy
  • A privacy policy
  • A web safety policy.
  • I will be sharing them here as I draft them, so that you can feed in.

    rubyskyepi.com is meant for kids so we want everything to be clear and easy to read.  We want the site to be a safe environment that parents, teachers, librarians and other adults feel good about recommending to kids.  That’s why we are publishing these policies in advance.  We want input from the community.

    Here’s the comment policy:

    We want to know what you think about Ruby Skye P.I.  The site has lots of places to leave comments and questions or talk to other members of the community.  You can leave messages for Ruby on her blog and she’ll answer lots of them.

    To keep rubyskyepi.com a safe and positive place be nice to other people, smart about sharing information and enjoy what we have to offer.

    If you need us to spell it out, here are the things you can’t do:

    • No swearing, flaming, bullying, racism, sexism or just plain being mean.  We’ll take down comments that are hurtful to others.
    • No selling, advertising or spamming.  We’ll remove that too.
    • No personal information about yourself or anyone else.  That’s right, that stuff’s going too.

    Some comments won’t appear on the site until we’ve read and approved them.  We’ll try to be quick about it but if you write a comment and it doesn’t appear right away, don’t worry.  We’ll get to it.

    Now, go ahead, comment, share and have fun!

    Let us know what you think.


    An Unbiased Review

    14 Oct

    Skye SistersHere’s a guest post from Margie Golick PhD, clinical child psychologist, educational adviser to many children’s entertainment and educational properties including Sesame Park, Busy World of Richard Scary, Caillou and Mia Mouse.  Dr Golick is the author of several books including Deal Me In, Wacky Word Games and Reading, Writing and Rummy.

    In the interests of full disclosure Jill Golick, executive producer, is my daughter (and Marlee Maslove who plays Hailey is my granddaughter). As a psychologist I have worked as a consultant on many children’s media projects on which Jill was a writer and always managed to put sentiment aside. The fact of the matter is  we both believe that children of all ages need to hear, read, and watch interesting stories. It keeps them cheerful and attentive, ignites their imagination, develops their vocabulary. I know — and the Ruby Skye team obviously know — that stories (and their characters) don’t have to be violent, slapstick, or kitschy to be interesting.

    Ruby Skye P.I. What fun! I laughed out loud (just reading the scripts) and turned the pages as fast as I could to find out what happened to whom and why.

    Ruby is a would-be detective out to solve the mysteries around her. And because she is curious, observant, and has a great imagination she finds lots of mysteries. There are heroes, villains (not too villainous) and red herrings. Every kind of relationship comes into play: siblings, friends, teacher/pupil, father/son, boy-girl, and story, story, story. New developments in every scene keep us guessing.

    The main characters are Ruby, age 15, her little sister Hailey age 13, Ruby’s sometime sidekick, Griffin, and the snooty, malicious Diana (who seems to have her eye on Griffin). The dialogue is fast and funny. And the adventures take place in an urban neighborhood.

    Snooty DianaThere is a crime, there are suspects galore, , there are modern day tools: computers, cell phones and a smart little sister who knows how to hack. But there is still the need for careful observation and good old-fashioned logic. Ruby Skye P.I. lets us in on the essentials of nailing a perpetrator: there has to be motivation, opportunity, means and some evidence.

    Ruby and Haley are great role models for their tween age viewers. They are strong, opinionated girls, and though they do their share of bickering they seem to care genuinely about their neighbours, the environment and when it comes right down to the crunch, about each other.

    What Do You Think?

    12 Oct

    Ruby Skye P.I. shoots with Polaroid PogoWe’re all used to seeing ads — on the bus, in magazines, billboards, on TV, even in movie theatres.  Most of the time, they look like ads. They’re separate from the story, articles or content.

    Sometimes, the product is shown inside the story — that’s called product placement.  Ruby Skye’s camera is a Polaroid Pogo, given to us by Polaroid as a way of advertising the camera.

    There’s another kind of advertising called product integration.  Then it’s not just that you see the product in the story, but it’s part of the story and the characters talk about it.  Ruby, Hailey, Griffin and Diana go to The Dragon Academy.  The Dragon is a real The Dragon Academyschool in downtown Toronto that became part of our story as a way of letting kids and parents know more about the school.  That’s advertising too.

    You can see product integration at work if you check out readmysistersreportcard.com.  Remember how in Ruby Skye P.I. and The Case of the Missing Brownies Hailey uploaded Ruby’s report card to the internet?  Well, the report card is a work of fiction, but it’s on a real report card form from The Dragon Academy.  The teachers names are made up, but the principal’s name, Dr. Meg Fox, is real.

    There are a lot of rules about advertising to kids; lots of parents, educators and government officials are worried about ads that trick kids or take advantage of them.

    We’d like to know what you think about the kinds of advertizing that are part of Ruby Skye P.I. — especially if you’re 16 or under.

    Some of the things we’d really like to know are:

    Would you rather pay for entertainment yourself or have advertizers pay for the entertainment?

    What do you think of product placement and product integration?  Does it make you like products more or less?  Do feel fooled?  Would you rather we stuck to more traditional forms of advertizing?

    We’d love your opinions, please share!

    And It’s Educational Too!

    30 Aug

    The fictional Ms. Springer

    As everyone gears up to head back to school, I figured that this would be a good time to talk about the educational components of Ruby Skye P.I. My name is Lindsay Springer (not to be confused with my namesake, Ms. Springer, in the series) and I am working on creating educational resources and a teachers’ guide to accompany Ruby Skye P.I.

    Tweens and Teens of today are certainly more technologically savvy than ever and conventional ‘pencil to paper’ methods have long since gone the way of the mix tape. In the post post-modern classroom, my students use IMovie to construct and edit book talks and create interactive SMARTboard presentations when visual components are required. Teaching Media Literacy has quickly become both a logical and essential part of any Language Arts curriculum. This is where my work with Ruby Skye P.I. comes in.

    The educational approaches to using Ruby Skye P.I. are numerous and multi-faceted; in addition to providing an interesting way to teach plot structure and genre, including literary terms and conventions specific to the development of mystery stories, Ruby Skye P.I. opens the door to creative and interactive ways to teach students about writing, creating and producing television. With behind the scenes interviews, photos, videos, storyboards and interactive media available on the website, students will be privy to the process of creating film. Through the model of Ruby Skye P.I., students will learn how to read a screenplay, pitch an idea, develop characters, use plot devices, and select camera angles. These are only a few of the many skills that students will acquire through this unit of study, which will culminate in the creation of original media projects.

    Stay posted for a list of great mystery reads for kids and teens!

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