New and Revised Curriculum for Digital Citizenship

One of the critical areas we, as educators, focus on daily with our students is being a responsible citizen in our society. We work on building character skills on a daily basis in various ways, whether it is circle time/morning meeting, community building activities or reteaching those quick lessons when students need a “refresher” on those good habits of mind. The question is, how do you implement the learning required for students to be responsible “digital” citizens? So you know where to start? Common Sense Media has recently released some new and revised lesson plans that are FREE and completely ready to use. Here are some highlights of what you can find on their website:

Lessons are organized based on revised topics under the big umbrella of “Digital Citizenship”. This list also reflects the new “scope & sequence” where the first topic is more general, progressing to a more complex topic.

  • Media Balance & Well-Being: We find balance in our digital lives.
  • Privacy & Security - We care about everyone’s privacy.
  • Digital Footprint & Identity - We define who we are.
  • Relationships & Communication - We know the power of words & actions.
  • Cyberbullying, Digital Drama & Hate Speech - We are kind & courageous.
  • News & Media Literacy - We are critical thinkers & creators.

*You will find at least 1 lesson per topic for each grade level.

Common Sense MaterialsEach lesson comes with everything you need; slide deck, handouts, engaging student activities, quizzes, and family resources. The teacher guide assists your instruction from the beginning to the end, so if you are not familiar with the topic this will help reassure you are on the right track. You can adapt the lesson as you see fit, especially if you only have 10 minutes to spend on the topic that relates to what you are working on in class or discussing during classroom/community meetings. The goal is to have ongoing conversations around digital citizenship when it is appropriate in your instruction and student learning. For example, if you are asking students to post online, have a quick mini-lesson about communication and your expectations so students are aware of the appropriate ways to communicate online and what may not be appropriate.  Even if it is a think aloud, where you are modeling your thinking and reflecting as to the appropriate content to post online. Your students are listening to the deeper thinking as you model the activity.

In order to be more effective when it comes to digital citizenship, keep the learning ongoing rather than a couple of lessons done at the beginning of the year, reviewing the Responsible Use Policy that was signed by parents and students. This builds a positive culture within your classroom, the entire school and online.


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