Friday, October 12, 2012

Digital Citizenship - my approach

A few weeks ago I began a 4-6 week exploration of Digital Citizenship in the library.  In the 21st Century, I believe that discussing topics like safety, privacy and responsibility online are some of the most discussions that can be had in the library media center.  Plus, the kids are genuinely interested and engaged in the discussion.  Navigating the list of topics to discuss with different grade levels in age appropriate ways can be a challenge.  That’s why I look to Common Sense Media, Professor G, and NetSmartz for inspiration.
The lessons at Common Sense Media really do a good job of getting right to the heart of the major issues that should be explored at each grade level. With units on safety, security, digital life, digital footprints, intellectual property rights, and research and evaluation, Common Sense Media covers a broad spectrum of useful topics. I like to use the lessons as a jumping off for discussions, and I tailor them to fit our needs and time limits.
To access the lessons and content at Common Sense Media, you do have to create an account, but it’s free, and it will allow you to organize the lessons and content that you find most important.
What I've been doing
Here’s the breakdown of what I am doing during our exploration of Digital Citizenship -  including links to Common Sense Media lessons and a few extras that I have found to supplement some of the lessons over the last few years. 
Going Places SafelyFor this lesson, I like to take students to the New England Aquarium website.  If you click on “Animals and Exhibits” you can show students videos of different animals that can be seen at the aquarium. They really love watching the videos! There are many things to explore on this site, but I typically stick to viewing the videos and reading some facts about each of the species we watch. One of the bonus elements on this site is you can also send a digital postcard and review with students that you should have a trusted adult with you to send mail to other people. It’s also a fun way to review what kinds of things you can write in a friendly letter, or a nice way to see if students have been able to remember any of the facts about the animals in the videos.  We usually send the postcard to the classroom teachers, and that is always a crowd pleaser.  
Faux Paw the Techno Cat – being safe online  This isn’t a Common Sense Media lesson, but I feel like the video does a good job of showing students that they should not give out private information on line.  The video for this may be a bit scary for Kindergarten students, so you may want to give the digital book for “Faux Paw Adventures in the Internet” a try.   After viewing the lesson, I ask students to draw a picture that shows how to be safe online. We also enjoy watching the NetSmartz video about staying safe online.
ABC Searching With this lesson we looked at the two online picture dictionaries provided with the lesson and explored different letters using ABC searching.  This is a great lesson to introduce the concept of organizing things alphabetically and as an intro to library organization.
Do you have a subscription to BrainPop? – check out BrainPopJr – search Internet Safety
First Grade
My first grade lessons were pretty much the same as the Kindergarten classes for this time of year. 
Going Places Safely

A poem we wrote together using MOMA's website
In first grade we use MOMA from the suggested list of websites.  I love the MOMA website- the interactive elements and content really provide for a good cyber-field trip.  We had a great time checking out the art, and working with the activities.  The point of the lesson – just like you shouldn’t go to a museum by yourself, you shouldn’t go online by yourself, is an easy one to make.

Faux Paw The Techno CatIn first grade we do watch the Faux Paw video.  For the first time this year, I did have a student get really nervous because of the darkness and music.  In the future I will be sure to preface it by letting the kids know that everything turns out ok in the end.  To show what they know, I have the students draw/write four ways that a student can stay safe online.  They have the option of choosing to show two ways not to behave online and two ways to correct the behavior, so I get a variety of responses to this exercise.

ABC Searching For this lesson I also cover that there are websites you can use for subject searching.  I really like Quintura Kids The sites that are included in the search results are safe for kids to use.  Instead of completing the ABC handout that comes with this, the kids complete a Subject Search handout that I made up. On the handout they write down one of the subjects we searched and a fact about that subject.  For one class we learned a lot of fun facts about wombats- and the kids were really interested in finding out more about mammals and marsupials.

Second Grade
Staying Safe Online  The concept of ranking websites as green (safe to browse), yellow (need to ask a parent), and red (not for children) really resonated with students.  They found they had a lot to discuss about the categories of websites, and even found that some websites could have “green” aspects and “red”.  For example they may have a kid safe website that includes areas where things can be purchased using a credit card.  We have been following the adventures of Liz over at This Kentucky Girl.  As part of our exploration of different websites, we looked at Liz’s blog.  The kids immediately recognized that the videos on Liz’s website are posted on YouTube.  The 2nd graders all felt that YouTube can be a lot of fun for kids, but that sometimes things are not for kids to see.  They believe they should ask a parent before watching a YouTube video – therefore it’s a yellow site.  Because we have a friendship with Liz, but don’t know her face-to-face, the kids recognize that they should still ask a trusted adult before watching her videos – and the only time they should email her, is if a trusted adult is with them.
Professor G – online safety -  This is not a Common Sense Media lesson, but it’s a good review of private information – or as Professor G calls it – YAPPY!  The kids love Garfield and Nermal’s crazy mistakes.  As a follow up activity, students create their own cartoons that show how to be safe online. I also use this video as a reason to introduce the concept of respecting other people’s property and how important it is to ask permission or give credit for things – instead of just stealing something.
My Online Community The discussion about real communities and online communities was a good one to have with the 2nd graders.  Something that really helped the second graders connect to the concept of connecting with people in the community online – even though we don’t know them face to face – was made even more real by our online friendship with Liz over at This Kentucky Girl (check out this post to see one of our questions/responses). Liz has been sending us post cards during her travels and we have been asking her questions online.  The love interacting with someone far away, and it has been a great example of how they can be “friends” with someone who they haven’t personally met.
Everyone Wants Friends This lesson is only going to be available until October 31, 2012, which is a shame, because I think this is a good way to introduce students to a discussion about bullying online.  In future, for now, I plan to continue using the lesson – but I will make sure to check back each year to see what additions are made in the area of cyberbullying.
Extra -Privacy Playground Cyber pigs - I haven’t had a chance to actually use this with the class, but I put a link on my website, and I think it would be fun for a center activity in the future.
Third Grade
Staying Safe OnlineI used this lesson with third grade as well as second.  I modified the lesson to require third graders to write down examples for each type of website – green, yellow or red websites.

Bookmark Template for Usernames

Keep it Private This lesson was a great way to teach students how to generate usernames that do not give away private information.  By using only their interests, they can generate usernames that are safe.  They practice creating usernames using their favorite numbers, animals and characters.  As a supplement to the lesson, I created a bookmark with the questions suggested in the lesson on it, and had students practice making usernames for interview partners.

I really like this lesson.  It is an excellent introduction to the concept of a “digital footprint”.  The lesson uses two fictional characters who have begun posting information about themselves on a social networking site.  It clearly shows that there is information you should not give out – and that there is information you can safely share.
Screen Out the Mean  This is a revised lesson on Cyberbullying that I’m glad to see Common Sense Media kept.  I haven’t covered this one yet, but plan to soon because it does a really good job of showing students that they should not share passwords – even with their friends – and it shows the very basics of cyberbullying.

Fourth Grade
Talking Safely Online  For this lesson, students review a situation where a student is asked private information by an online friend.  This is a good lesson because it examines a common situation – students make friends online that they don’t know face-to-face and lines can become blurred when you consider what is appropriate to share and not appropriate.  We also took the opportunity to contact Liz and talked about what kinds of information would be safe to share to protect privacy and what wasn't.  Check out this post on Liz's blog in response to our questions.

You’ve Won a Prize  This is a good lesson to introduce the concept of SPAM and the possibility that SPAM email may contain viruses.  In our discussion I found that they already have a lot of experience with being tricked into clicking on things on ads on websites that are presented in the same fashion. I extended the lesson by encouraging students to go home and have a discussion with their parents about anti-virus programs and how to run a virus scan on their home computers.

Rings of Responsibility  Students examine what it means to be part of a community and the rights and responsibilities that come along with it.  The discussion is extended into the cybercommunity, and students look at how they are responsible for protecting their own private information and the information of others.

Writing Good Emails  For this lesson, students are introduced to appropriate communication online through a connection to a discussion about good verbal communication.  The lesson itself focuses on email communication – but I think it’s important to expand that discussion to include text messaging (since many students are already text messaging using apps on their iPods), social networking and online gaming.  They really get a kick out of the discussion of emoticons in particular and when and when not to use them.  To differentiate this lesson, I use the handout from a 2nd and 3rd grade lesson on Show Respect Online
The Power of Words  We haven’t covered this lesson yet, but in the past it really generated a lot of discussion about cyber bullying.  Even in the fourth grade, kids already have a lot of experience with online gaming and what they refer to as “flame wars”  - or heated verbal exchanges.  Helping them deal with such exchanges is really critical in helping them to develop good online behaviors.

Fifth Grade
Talking Safely Online We do the same lesson as fourth, but I have discovered that fifth graders have more social networking experience than the fourth graders.  We also use a different situation that I made up to help differentiate the discussion some.

Privacy Rules  In this lesson I review with fifth graders what COPPA is and how it is important to them. We review websites that have Common Sense Media approved seals of approval to identify websites that will clearly protect a student’s privacy.  I extend the lesson some by showing them privacy statements and what to “skim” for in the statements- primarily students need to look for how websites share information with third parties.  I also try to really drive home the point that sites like Facebook are intended for people over the age of 13, therefore, they are not required by law to comply with COPPA.

Handling Email and IM This is another lesson that will be unavailable after October 31, 2012.  It covers the same big ideas that are covered in the lesson I did with the 4th graders “You Won a Prize”.  I like having a different scenario to use for 5th grade.  In the future I may come up with my own handout for 5th grade that includes a SPAM situation for a social networking website.  I also extend the discussion to include some popular anti-virus programs with a quick explanation for how to run the virus scan.

Writing Good Emails  We did the same lesson with 4th grade, but for fifth I used the handout that goes with the lesson.  Instead of asking students to correct the entire email, I asked them to review it and suggest three ways that it could be improved for the intended audience and purpose.  They really were spot on in making suggestions.
Group Think I haven’t done this lesson yet with fifth grade, but I think it’s a good one to show how things can easily move from innocent fun to instances of cyberbullying.  I think it does a good job of exploring those grey areas that students sometimes find themselves in and don’t know how to deal with.  Often students understand that something is not right, but they have a hard time figuring out how they got into the situation – where they crossed the line. 

You might want to take a look at these links on your own - it's the Common Sense Media curriculum for each of the grade levels
Common Sense Media K-1 All Lessons - check out the full list of K-1 lessons
Common Sense Media 2-3 Grade lessons - list of all 2-3 lessons:  
Common Sense Media 4th and 5th Lessons list of all 4-5 lessons 
What are your favorite Internet Safety lessons? 

1 comment:

  1. Truly invaluable lessons and great opportunities to embed other content. Thanks for sharing!!!