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6th graders making PSAs about Digital Character in Life Skills

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?

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Playing with the #SketchpadExplorer app. Download it for free until 11/1/11 via @keypress

Daniel Scher is a principal investigator for The Dynamic Number Project. He works to create the iPad-compatible constructions for the Sketchpad Explorer app. Sketchpad Explorer is the iPad companion to Geometer’s Sketchpad software program – both are published by Key Curriculum Press (@keypress on Twitter).

Daniel will be coming to The School at Columbia University to help me help the 5th grade teachers integrate Sketchpad Explorer into their math curriculum. He’s psyched to watch/evalutate how kids learn with the app versus the software versus without either, and I’m excited to get a full grade of teachers to use a tool that I consider to be an industry standard for math educators. I love Geometer’s Sketchpad, and I recently gushed about Sketchpad Explorer on Scholastic’s Best in Tech Today.

Upon opening the Sketchpad Explorer app, there is an animated proof of the Pythagorian Theorem.

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On the bottom right corner is a book icon. This takes you to many options, one of which is to visit the Sketch Exchange community site. From here, you can click Sketch Exchange sketches tagged with ipad, and then you can choose dynamic numberin the tag cloud. These sketches open up with the full Geometer’s Sketchpad software program as well.

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There are four pages of sketches to choose from. I initially chose Balance Scale: Solving for Unknowns Part 1. When you choose a sketch, further down the page you’ll find links to download activity notes, worksheets, and the actual sketch with the .gsp suffix. I was super excited to note the CreativeCommons license (!) of Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivativeswhich translates to: Give me credit, don’t make money off it, and don’t alter it. I love Creative Commons almost as much as Geometer’s Sketchpad. 🙂

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I had a bit of fun playing with this screen trying to figure out the value of the star and other shapes using the fulcrum, and yes, I think I’m smarter than a 5th grader.

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Download the Sketchpad Explorer app here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sketchpad-explorer/id452811793?mt=8

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