I worked with Dr. Sam Tuttle, the Middle Division’s Social and Emotional Learning Liaison, to design a lesson that corresponds with their Digital Character unit in 6th Grade Life Skills. The Life Skills curriculum encompasses Street Smarts, Hygiene Basics, Nutrition, Digital Character, and Gender-Sex Education. While the teachers and I reinforce responsible use of technology all the time, this Digital Character Unit specifically offers an overview of internet safety and cyber-bullying and what to do to prevent (and respond to) a situation.
During the lessons, students watched and discussed a series of videos from Common Sense Media, NetSmartz, and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Additionally, they examined the OLWEUS Bullying Prevention Program:
Think Before You Post 1 reinforces that everything you post online is public and permanent.
Think Before You Post 2 reinforces that everything you post is public and traceable.
Tracking Teresa reinforces that everything you post is traceable.
Stacy’s Story highlights one girl’s experience being cyber-bullied.
After, we asked students to make their own PSAs (Public Service Announcements). These were the parameters for the project:
- Create your video PSA using Photo Booth.
- Drag your movie to your desktop and rename it KarenPSA (use your own name and no spaces).
- Upload your video to our in-house video server using these tags: PSA, 2012-2013, class_2019, Life Skills, Digital Character
- Include your name and a link to your PSA on the shared Google Doc embedded on the Life Skills site.
We offered students possible PSA Topics:
1. What are the three most important things a 5th Grader should know about Digital Character Development?
2. What do parents need to know about Digital Character Development?
3. What was something that surprised you about this topic?
4. What steps should you take to better craft your digital character?
5. What advice would you give to a friend if you knew they were taking unsafe risks online?
6. What could you do if you find yourself witnessing a cyberbullying incident as a bystander?