by Ann Kohler
More and more, preparation for the start of a new school year includes curriculum dedicated to good digital citizenship for our students. As the “Technology Teacher” at an elementary school this year, one of the first areas of instruction I was tasked with providing was lessons on digital citizenship and “netiquette”. In addition to the introductory curriculum, I will spend a week working with the counselors to introduce another level of lessons which go more in depth on the subject, with lessons differentiated for each grade level from K-5.
Teaching all students, beginning in kindergarten, how to not cyberbully, how to protect their personal information, and basically how to learn to live, work, and play in a digital age is now a responsibility of all teachers. Luckily, we have some incredible tools and options out there to help us.
The one website that you could use as a “one stop shop” for instruction of digital citizenship is Common Sense Media (commonsensemedia.org). Once on the homepage just click on the drop-down menu “For Educators”. Here you will find extensive information not just on digital citizenship but other areas too. When I opened the site today it had a listing of “Cool STEM books for kids who love science”. When you go to the Educators area and click on “Digital Citizenship” you will see a drop-down menu with extensive lessons, blogs, and distinct areas for different grade levels. For those of you who use Nearpod they even have Nearpod lessons now.
Digital Passport has a series of games, videos, and other activites for grades 1-7 and Digital Compass has lessons for grades 6-8. There are many tools within Common Sense Media for teachers, including short videos, games, and FAQs.
For my upcoming lessons, I am combining a lot of the sites and tools listed at these two sites:
- https://list.ly/list/1KH-digital-citizenship-resources-for-elem-and-up and
I like to start out class with a short video, move to a discussion, and then present some sort of interactive lesson or game. Here are the lessons and games I will be using in my upcoming classes.
- Kindergarten — Netsmartzkids and Common Sense Media “Going Places Safely”.
- First Grade — A short video from “Click Safe” and a game at Surfswell Island by Disney.
- Second Grade — Phineas and Ferb “Rules of Cyberspace Road” and games at “Privacy Pirates”.
- Third Grade — “Smart Crew” video, interactive “Cyber Pigs” games, and something from a new FBI site called “Cyber Surf Island”.
- Fourth Grade — “Websafe” video and Digital Passport “Search Shark” interactive.
- Fifth Grade — “Digital Footprint” lessons from Common Sense Media, a video called “Tracking Teresa” and Brainpop’s Game-Up “Search Shark”.
I also want to give a quick shout out to my friends at WordsWithFriends EDU. After over a year of beta testing and getting the bugs worked out, they have released their education version of Words With Friends. It is a Scrabble-type word game where students can play with each other. Students construct a word and “send” it to whomever they are playing with. That student then makes a word off of their word, just like in Scrabble, and sends it back. My older students always get a kick playing against me, the teacher, and trying to send me hard words. It’s a quick, fun way to have students use literacy skills while having fun. Try it for yourself at wordswithfriendsedu.com/. There will be an edWeb.net webinar on using Words With Friends EDU on Oct. 10 at 2 p.m. EST. Register here.
Ann Kohler has spent the last nine years as a special education teacher at the high school level and is now teaching technology to K-5 elementary students in Forsyth County Georgia.