Digital Citizenship at CMS

I feel like one of the most important and relevant things that I can teach my students is how to be a responsible digital citizen. Honestly, most of the adults in their lives don’t truly “get it.” They don’t fully understand or consider the impact that a student’s digital footprint can have on their future. They don’t get how essential digital literacy skills are to a student’s success. I try to lead by example so I can show my students what a positive digital citizen who is creating a strong, transparent digital footprint looks like. I share the ways I use my blog, Twitter, and other networks to grow as a professional. And I facilitate discussions and activities where students consider the impact that their digital choices can have on different parts of their lives.

I originally posted about the Common Sense Media Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum¬†back in October of 2011, and I’ve been adapting these lessons to my library curriculum ever since. They have a range of really great lesson ideas, videos, and print resources available for all grade levels K-12.

My absolute favorite lesson that I’ve taught this year is the Trillion-Dollar Footprint¬†(click this link to access all lesson resources for this lesson). I’ve taken the lesson provided by Common Sense Media and created this presentation to guide my students through the discussions for this activity:

During this lesson, students look at the social media profiles of two potential job candidates to determine which works better with others and is more trustworthy. Students discover discrepancies in the social media profiles, and it sure does get them fired up and engaged in an active discussion! You know an activity is powerful when students continue to discuss it well after the lesson has ended, and that’s exactly what I found with this lesson. I loved this lesson so much that over the course of the first semester, I taught it to all of my 7th and 8th grade students.

I introduced my 6th grade students to this curriculum with the Digital Life 101 lesson. In this activity, students think about the different aspects of their digital lives and create a simile. Here are an example of what one of my students created:

Photo Feb 25, 1 03 27 PM (1)

Other tried and true favorites for me from this curriculum include:

My favorite thing about these lessons is that they’re very discussion based and get students thinking about their digital lives. I interviewed some of my students and asked them about what they’ve learned about digital citizenship, and here’s what they had to say:

How is digital citizenship taught in your school? What role do you play in helping students better understand their digital lives?

5 thoughts on “Digital Citizenship at CMS

  1. How do you arrange classes to come to the library for lessons? I am in a 6-8 middle school. This is my first year as the librarian in this school (I’ve been in elementary schools previously as a classroom teacher and librarian) and we run a flexible schedule for the most part. All of our classes come in for a circulation time during our lunch period. I have offered to teach lessons but the teachers have not used the library in the past. I am not sure why the library wasn’t used before, but I want students in here all the time! I know teachers are overwhelmed with the amount of content they must teach but I am willing to help with that. I am willing to go to a more scheduled time where maybe the 6th and 7th grade language classes come every other week and 8th grade classes come every 3rd week or something. I have thought about designing a curriculum to take to my principal to see if maybe she would be on board with this idea. I feel like the library has so much to offer our students. I would love to teach about research and digital citizenship but can’t seem to get our teachers involved. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!

    1. I have put myself on a flex/fixed combo schedule. And I do exactly like you described — 6th and 7th grades come every other week and 8th grade comes every third week. I know a lot of people have the issue of teaching in the library in isolation, but I have an issue with not seeing ALL of my students on a regular basis. After visiting with their classes and seeing the value in the activities, particularly the digitial citizenship activities, my ELA teachers have totally bought in to visiting the library regularly. They also know that they can let me know what they’re working on in class that I can supplement through library activities. Their visits are typically about 40-45 minutes, and I teach a minilesson on digital citizenship, research skills, or a fun book related activity, then give time for circulation business. My library survey that I gave last month validated for me that this is working for the students: they find the lessons in the library to be valuable. Also, many of the students wouldn’t visit the library if they didn’t come with their ELA class, so we have to make it happen!

  2. I’m the Teacher Librarian in a 7-12 school. I have used the expression digital footprint for years, but still find that students seem to think that, like footprints in the sand, their past digital posts will fade away. I just recently heard the term “digital tattoo.” I like this one better, as my students can understand the permanence of a tattoo. Hopefully they can transfer that concept of permanence to what they put up online.

  3. I love this lesson plan idea! The middle school I teach at has a peer leader program in which students (who go through an application process) come to lower grade levels to teach their younger peers about this sort of stuff. We recently had presentations on cyber-bullying that gave scenarios of how critical students can be of one another when it’s anonymous and/or online. These conversations are so powerful, and I’m sharing your lesson plan about social media presence with my colleagues that teach our guidance seminars at my school. Thanks for posting!

  4. I always come to your blog, when I want some out of the box ideas and u never fail to amaze me. I loved the Trillion dollar footprint lesson plan and the videos and did it with Grade 8 students and they quickly identified with it. It sure generated a lot of discussion. Thanks for sharing your ideas and resources.

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