Monthly Archives: August 2015

Digital Citizenship and Fourth Grade Students

I will be designing instruction on digital citizenship for different grade levels as our school implements a district-wide 1:1 initiative this fall.  I am currently focusing on the 4th and 5th grade students as I think they will likely be incorporating interaction online more quickly than the younger students. I have been using parts of the Common Sense Media website for ideas and I started with one of their lessons about Community.

The Tablets are coming soon! Are you ready to be a good “Digital Citizen”?

Fourth grade students began by brainstorming what communities they are a part of or communities they know about.  We discussed what rights and responsibilities each community has, including what behavior was expected of members of that community.

Students listing all types of communities.

Students listing all types of communities.

Communities identified by one small group of 4th graders

Communities identified by one small group of 4th graders

Concept of Community Online

Then I introduced the idea of an online community and students named some digital groups such as gaming or Facebook.

Two Videos from Common Sense Media

At our second meeting I showed two videos from Common Sense Media website which covers several online behaviors.  The video, The Power of Words, focuses on the effect of words on others’ feelings. After viewing each video, students wrote a one sentence response on index cards. They also viewed the video about their digital footprint (and its permanence!), Follow the Digital Trail

IMG_0828 V2 IMG_0831 V2 IMG_0833 V2 Responses to the videos                                                                  IMG_0834 V2 I called up each student and asked them to give me one word or phrase summarizing the 2 videos.  I typed them into 2 word cloud generators.

Word clouds created as a result of student reflection.  I used Wordle and Tagxedo.

word cloud generated        Jacksonwordle 2        










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International Day of Peace and the Internet: Making a Connection

After taking a break last year from recognizing International Day of Peace, I’m going to work with a few grade levels to observe it in some way.  Our students will be receiving tablets this fall in a system-wide 1:1 initiative.  In preparation for this I will be teaching lessons on digital citizenship and thought there is bound to be a way to tie these two concepts together.

The Tablets Are Coming Soon! Are You Ready to Make the Online World Peaceful?

After giving it some thought I figured out a connection.  In the past while celebrating International Day of Peace, I have had students think about what peace looks like or feels like, in their family, their school or their community.  So I thought, what does peace look like when you are on the internet interacting with people there?  That was my hook!

Brainstorming in Small Groups

I did this activity with the fifth grade students. I drew out a simple graphic organizer on butcher paper, with the headings: peace, no peace, and internet and I left a space between.  Working in small groups, students wrote down words to describe what peace felt like, what it takes to have peace, etc.  Then they worked on what not having peace is like, causes, responsibilities.  Then the fun began!  I asked them how they used the internet and the excitement level went up as the furiously listed sites and apps.  Finally, after sharing responses from the three categories, I asked them if there were any connections between peace/no peace and the internet.   They were getting it!

What is peace? brainstorming

What is peace?

No peace brainstorming

No peace?

What does peace (or lack of) look like on the internet?

What does peace (or lack of) look like on the internet?

YouTube Videos: Inspiration from Andy Plemmons

I had already done this activity with one class and when I read Andy Plemmons’ post on his blog, “Expect the Miraculous: Barrow Media Center” (, in which he describes how he was trying to inspire the students to be digital leaders with their personal devices.  Inspiring as always is Andy Plemmons! I decided that for the remaining two fifth grade classes I would show the videos Andy used: “Video that will change your life.  I have no words left”

and “A Sincere Compliment”.

The students really enjoyed the videos and their comments revealed that they “got” the idea of being a digital leader and making the internet a peaceful place to be. They noticed that when people observed someone doing a good deed, they passed it along and were nice to someone else.  The bullies felt pressured to join in the crowd who were painting over graffiti.  They concluded that people can be pressured to behave well or badly.  They also thought that social media can be used to make people feel better about themselves.

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