Monday, October 15, 2018

TECH BASICS: HOW I TAUGHT DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP IN MY CLASSROOM



Like every back to school year, setting up classroom routines and expectations are essential in having a successful school year. The same was true for the first month in my STEM classroom, the Innovation Lab. I'm going to give you a brief outline of what I taught each grade-level, Kindergarten-5th grades and the free resources I used to be successful. 


#1: CLASSROOM EXPECTATIONS

When first entering my room, students explored our renovated space and learned the correct ways to use the furniture and tools in the room. It sounds a bit silly, but I didn't want to assume that students knew the correct way to use everything in the room. Not even kidding, I walked through every single class what the classroom rules were {which you can see them here} and how to use flexible seating. It took a lot of my time, but now being a couple of months in, it's been worth it. 

 






#2: THE RESOURCES

Next, came the digital citizenship part. When working with technology, there are expectations when being a safe digital citizen and using online tools. Well, how did I know what to teach them? 

Using my previous classroom teacher knowledge and a couple of great resources got me started. I mainly used Common Sense Media, Google Interlard and BrainPop/Jr. 




Common Sense Media is free for teachers when you create an account. They are constantly updating their materials so it works well with any grade level. They sort their materials by grade level and topic to help you find what you need. There are also great videos and printables to share with students as well!

Google Interland is also, no account creation needed. I used this for 3rd-5th since the content is more appropriate for those ages. The lessons are divided into what they call "kingdoms" and there are lessons and printables for each one. I often made those printables into a Google Form format to cut down on printing and help students practice the skill of typing in a web address. 

At the end of the week of lessons, you can have students play Google Interland that has a matching online game for each kingdom. Kids were literally obsessed about it and wanted to play at home! (Which they can.)

BrainPop & BrainPop Jr. are paid video subscriptions, my account has access to one. If you have access to this, you already know how great it is for their short and kid-friendly teaching videos. I found a lot on there about online safety and digital citizenship. 




#3 THE LESSON PLANS 

I didn't necessarily have to write my own lesson plans each time, but I did organize an outline for each grade-level so I remembered what to teach for each one. Since this was my first year at this school, a couple of grades did the same topic to help my planning and build their background. Again, I didn't want to assume that they knew everything about digital citizenship already. (Which I definitely assumed correctly!)


  


Below are the general topics that each grade level
discussed...

Kindergarten, 1st & 2nd Grade: I can be safe when I use technology. (Common Sense Media, searched by grade-level)

3rd Grade: I can be safe with the information that I share online. (Google Interland, Mindful Mountain)

4th & 5th Grade: I can be kind when I communicate online. (Google Interland, Kind Kingdom)


Topics that were discussed among the grade-levels were: ways to communicate effectively with others online, private &
personal information, being an up-stander to those not being kind, kid-safe websites and online games. 




#4 WRAPPING UP THE WEEK

I experimented with exit tickets with some classes to help them reflect on their work. I didn't collect the exit tickets for a grade, but rather a discussion piece that students could bring home and share with their families. I honestly wish I gave them more time to reflect since I think that this could have been more powerful. Next year, I want to do this in Seesaw knowing that my students will have the skills for that after being in my class this year anyway. 


With the younger kids, I had them color and put together a puzzle to remind them of what we learned this week. {You can grab that puzzle for free HERE.







#5 PARENT COMMUNICATION

Not only are these lessons essential for online safety at school when students have integrated technology lessons, but also when they are interacting with technology at home. These are lessons that should be an open conversation at home throughout the year. You can communicate this with families and give them the tools to openly talk about this at home.


Need a way to get started?

Again, Common Sense Media has valuable lessons to discuss with children to ensure they always demonstrate online safety. What I also love about the website is that it gives ratings to movies, apps and online games and if it’s appropriate for certain age groups. You can share with website with families as they have a section for them as well. 

A lot of the popular games the students were telling me
that they play are actually more appropriate for students outside elementary school. 



                           MY REFLECTION

In my opinion, teaching digital citizenship isn't a one time lesson and be done for the rest of the school year. Obviously, technology and what it out online is always changing and students need to be prepared and have the tools and knowledge to know how to interact. Keep this an open conversation in your classroom, and constantly bring it up. Your students and their families will thank you. 



Don't forget to get your freebie;Digital Citizenship Puzzle!




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