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” (http://expectmiraculous.com/), 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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