Thursday, March 31, 2022

Start 'em Young

It is never too early to talk about Digital Safety with children. Never.

Thankfully, there are plenty of fantastic resources available for both parents and educators that explore the complicated and confusing world of Digital Safety. My favorite resource is Common Sense Media, and really, they're my go to for most things educational- technologically or otherwise!

Common Sense has ready-to-go lessons for all grades, ranging in 15 minutes to 45 minutes, complete with activities, interactives, and parent resources. It's the place in which I start when designing activities for our students. Sometimes I only use part of a lesson, sometimes I use the full lesson, and I always use the videos. The videos that Common Sense Education offers are fantastic snippets of lessons that often have catchy tunes. They have clips for all ages, including high school, that are relevant and engaging. Additionally, they've partnered with Book Creator (another favorite!) to bring these lessons to students.

I also love using picture books with all grades to teach Digital Safety. Some of my favorites are linked on the Readings, Resources, and Recommendations tab.

Both first and second grades had Digital Citizenship lessons in March. After all, it's never too early to talk about Digital Safety with children! First grade's lesson was from Common Sense Education's, while second grade got to meet my friend Faux Paw! Both lessons included engaging videos, and both ended with a Seesaw activity.

Using a Seesaw activity to wrap the lessons enhances it in two ways. First, it provides direct practice for students to engage with the concepts in the lesson. Second, it shows families exactly what we've done, and provides them with conversation tools and the family resources. As an added bonus, the kids are super familiar with Seesaw and can interact with it to really showcase their learning!

You can see each lesson on Seesaw. The first grade lesson talks about how using technology makes us feel, and I adapted the emoji game that is included in the lesson so it could be done on Seesaw. Students designed a happy, frustrated, curious, and uncomfortable emoji. I then shared a variety of situations with them, and they had to show the emoji that represented how they'd feel in that situation. The second graders enjoyed the book Faux Paw's Adventures in the Internet, and the animated version with the same title. They then completed a Seesaw activity that sorted activities into "safe" or "not safe."

In first and second grade, Digital Citizenship lessons are peppered throughout the school year, interspersed with coding, games, and curricular content, with the intention to bring awareness to online behavior, how technology impacts people, and overall Digital Safety. We deepen the material appropriately in the older grades. The ultimate goal in the lower grades is to build a foundation of skills on which to build.

When I started in the classroom 20 years ago, I never would have thought that technology would infiltrate the lower grades as deeply as it has. I never expected that my nieces, currently four and seven, would have their own devices but clearly they are not alone in their devices. With that in mind, we need to start educating 'em young so they can building healthy technology habits!


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