Long before I stepped back into the classroom, I recognized a need for digital citizenship lessons in ALL classrooms. As a coach, I could recommend, support, and encourage. Now that I am back in the classroom, I have made it a very specific part of my lessons to incorporate digital citizenship. I encourage you to do the same.
I've always been a big fan of Common Sense Media and I decided to their curriculum for my students. Their curriculum is well laid out with full lesson plans, worksheets, and parent resources. Each lesson at the middle school level is planned for roughly 1 class period, so it's perfect to sprinkle throughout my courses. In my grade levels, there are 6 total lessons. It is a well thought out curriculum.
... and it's all FREE. Yep. Free.
But I didn't stop there - I was granted permission to contact our local police department to see if they'd be willing to come in and speak to my students in addition to the lessons I cover. The police in the district I teach in are amazing! They not only agreed to come in, they worked with me to create their presentation tailored to our kiddos. During our planing meeting, I was also humored when their final request was to create a "pledge" they could send home with my students as a way to tie their visit to home. The humor came from one of the worksheets they gave me had McGruff the Crime Dog on it. I went to that safety camp as a kid! Wow! Talk about a throw back 😁
We created a pledge and they chose some dates to come in and talk to my classes. When they showed up, THREE uniformed police walked in! The chief and two lieutenants. The three of them did a wonderful job with their presentation. The next day we reviewed the main points from the police and used Canva to create thank you's. Next up, I'm working to line them up to return for my round of students in 4th quarter.
What we all agreed about is our kids can't hear enough about digital citizenship and online safety. Parents need to talk to their kids, teachers need to talk to their students, and if you can get other members of the community to talk to them too, by all means. The police department thanked ME for setting this up. I am beyond grateful they were willing to come in and talk to my students.
You can do this, too! If your school has a resource officer, it might be easiest to work with them. If you don't have one - like me - give your local police department a call. I'd be shocked if they refused. And it can't hurt to ask. Our kids need us.
There are so many other resources out there ... check out these Wakelet collections if you are looking for more:
If you need or want help/ideas, please reach out!
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