Archive of ‘Digital Literacy’ category

Going Places Safely!

With all the bad stuff that’s on the internet, it’s important to give children tools to help them make wise decisions when they go online.

Commonsense Media has excellent lessons for all ages that cover digital safety and literacy. With our first graders, I used Going Places Safely designed for grades K-2. We talked about going places around town – Do you get permission? When you are shopping with your parents, do they allow you to run off and go wherever you want? Do you talk to strangers? What do you do if a stranger asks your name or where you live? We compared this to being safe while online; that we have to follow similar rules.

Next, I told the children that we were going on digital field trips. That got their attention! We searched for the locations on a globe. One little girl asked, “Are we really going there today?” I chose three websites to share with the students:

For about 15 minutes or so, the students explored the sites. They were truly fascinated with the animal videos from the San Diego Zoo. The fact that they were watching in real time was baffling as well as exciting! I wasn’t sure what they would think of the other two sites but they enjoyed those, too. Both were virtual tours and the children spent a lot of time moving the arrows to discover new paths or exhibits.

After exploring the websites, students were given a worksheet that’s included in the lesson. They chose their favorite place that was visited and illustrated that. We then discussed their favorites and why they chose what they did. Before leaving, we also discussed the importance of following some rules to keep safe while on the internet:

  • Always ask your parent or teacher first.
  • Only talk to people you know.
  • Stick to places that are just right for you!

Advice from First Graders

Recently, Aaron Reynolds visited our school. What a fantastic presentation from this fun author! I sat in on the kinder/1st grade talk where Aaron shared his hilarious book, Creepy Pair of Underwear

Based on the book, the first graders had decorated paper underwear to make it a bit creepy and had written advice to Jasper (the book’s character) on how he could get rid of his very strange and creepy underwear! Mrs. Kee asked if we could do something digitally with what the students had created. So, we used the ChatterPix Kids app to upload the picture of their paper underwear and the students recorded their advice.

The children uploaded their video to Seesaw and I pulled all the videos, along with photos of the students working, into iMovie. I loved listening to the suggestions of how to get rid of creepy underwear!

“Just Right” Sites for Kinder

Our little ones visited the lab for the first time this week so we started with learning about “just right” sites.

Using a combination of two Commonsense Media lessons, Going Places Safely and Staying Safe Online. Looking at websites was compared to a traffic signal so I drew that on the board and used my large red, yellow, and green magnets as the “lights.”

  • RED – Stop! Red sites contain information that isn’t right for younger children. It may be inappropriate or it might just be a site geared toward adult or older students with language that’s too advanced for little ones.
  • YELLOW – Caution! Be sure to ask an adult before going on yellow sites. These sites may ask for personal information and may be more difficult for this age group.
  • GREEN – “Just right” sites that are perfect for kindergarteners. These sites have appropriate words and fun activities for their age. Green sites don’t ask for personal information.

The sites I used for students to explore were posted on TVS TechnoWizards, my website for our students.

The children explored the websites for a few minutes then we came together to discuss why these were GREEN sites.

Then we used the traffic signal worksheet that comes with the Staying Safe Online lesson. I’d wanted to play the Red Light, Green Light game in the lesson but we just ran out of time.

Commonsense Media has excellent resources for teachers. What lessons have you used with your students?

“Just Right” Websites

The Common Sense Media Education website has a wealth of information for teachers in several areas. I am very impressed with their resources for teaching digital citizenship.

Our first graders recently discussed Going Places Safely on the Internet. The lesson includes a short video designed for grades K-2 along with a detailed lesson plan.

When the students arrived, I asked them what they would do if they wanted to go some place. “We would ask our parents or our teacher!”  I next asked what would they do if they wanted to go on the internet. The majority said they would need to ask permission to do that. We watched the video then I told the students we would be taking a “field trip” to visit some online places far away from our school.

The websites I had for the students were:

The children were asked to explore the sites for a few minutes. Then they would be deciding what their favorite “field trip” was so that they could illustrate that. The students enjoyed visiting the faraway places but the takeaway was the importance of always being safe online.

Kee_safe websites (2)Safety Rules to Follow When Going Online:

  • Always ask your parent or teacher first.
  • Only talk to people you know.
  • Stick to places that are just right for you!

Welcome to the Web: A Webquest for Learning How to Navigate the Internet

Welcome to the Web” is a webquest designed by Mark Warner to teach students about the internet. Here is the description from the Teaching Ideas website:

The resources are split into seven sections:

  1. The Beginning – explains how to use the site.
  2. Getting Started Online – teaches children about the basic concepts involved in the Internet (World Wide Web, Hyperlinks, Back button etc). This introductory lesson also gives valuable practice in visiting and navigating around web sites.
  3. Staying Safe – encourages pupils to keep themselves safe online by following the SMART rules. Also tests their understanding usign interactive activities and fun quizzes.
  4. Using Your Browser – helps people to learn more about their web browsers… what are the different features and how are they used?
  5. Searching Online – teaches children how to search effectively, and keep themselves safe when doing so. Also identifies search engines which are particularly suitable for children to use.
  6. Trying Top Tricks – finding information on the net is great, but it is also important to know how that information can be used. This section explains about printing, using the Find tool to locate specific information within web pages, copying and pasting text, and saving images from the web. Also includes information about copyright and why it is important to credit others when you use their work.
  7. The Welcome to the Web Challenge – When the children have completed all of the sections of Welcome to the Web, they can complete this exciting challenge. It requires them to use all of the skills which they have learnt to catch the creator of a destructive computer virus!

Our fourth graders work in pairs to explore the webquest. I always enjoy watching their interactions with each other and how secretive they become when they figure out who the computer virus culprit is! Much is learned through this fun and informative quest.

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Paper Blogging: Learning About Quality Posts and Comments

This is not my original idea but it is a powerful way to review the blogging process!

The following resources introduced me to paper blogging.

What always amazes me is how involved the students become with paper blogging! Not one person asks about getting on the computers! Our students have blogged since first grade but I always like to include this activity – just to make sure students refocus on the intent of our blogs: To share their learning in a positive and meaningful way.

Taking the food idea from Leonard Low’s Workshop Activity: Paper Blogs, I asked students to raise their hand if they liked to eat. Of course, that brought an enthusiastic response! I told them that they would be writing a blog post on paper and the following day would be spent writing comments using sticky notes.

The instructions were to write about a favorite food – it could be from a restaurant or something made by parents, relatives, or anyone else. They needed to write something that would paint a picture for the reader – use details! Pictures always spruce up a post so illustrations were strongly encouraged.

The paper was distributed and we worked together to include the basics of a post:

  • First name at the top (good place to talk about keeping personal information private; no last names)
  • Tags – This was a good review for students. What is your post about? Everyone could add “food” as a tag. As you write, you’ll think of other tags to add that would help readers find all posts about specific subjects . . .
  • Title – every post needs a title!

Then the students scattered in the small room to find a space to write. At first there were murmurings about their topic and how delicious their chosen food was (and how hungry they were becoming just thinking about it . . .), but soon all you could hear were pencils and pens scratching across the paper.

photo 4The next day, students came in to find four sticky notes on top of their post. We discussed penny comments versus dollar (and up) comments. There were some puzzled looks when I mentioned a penny comment but I asked how much they could buy with a penny. “Nothing” was the general consensus. We compared that to a “nothing” comment – a word or two that didn’t add anything to the conversation. But a dollar comment would include details, ask questions, make connections. Of course, the competitive nature of children meant that each wanted to beat a dollar comment – $5, $10, and up were certainly better than just $1!

I had the students stand at their seats with a pencil in hand. Instructions were to read the post and write a comment, including their first name. I had them count four chairs clockwise. At that point they stopped, read the post and wrote a comment. When finished we repeated the process. This time they could comment on the blog OR respond to the comment. We did this a total of four times, going clockwise or counter-clockwise (just to keep everyone guessing!).

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photo 2After the last round, the students returned to their seats to read their comments. We then discussed the following, sharing examples:

  • Anonymous comments – it was decided that we prefer to know who the writer is
  • Irrelevant comments – those that had nothing to do with the post
  • Penny comments – Students offered to read what they thought were penny comments without giving the author. The funny thing was that, even though the reader gave no clues as to who the author was, the student in question generally confessed, “That was me. I know I should have written more.” (Yea! They are getting it!)
  • Dollar comments – Lots of hands went up to share. We really had some strong, quality comments – possibly because the children wanted to impress each other.

I had one student who, shall we say, is not always into the lessons. He surprised me by writing some amazing comments and was always the one we were waiting on to finish the comments! When we debriefed, his name came up several times when we shared the dollar comments.

I can’t wait to read their online blogs!

“It Could Have Been Worse!” – Making Predictions using Book Creator

It Could Have Been Worse by A. H. Benjamin is a fantastic book to help students with the skill of predicting! It is a delightful story about a mouse on his way home who escapes all kinds of predicaments that he knows nothing about – however, he thinks that he is having a terrible day due to many falls and tumbles as he unwittingly escapes danger.

I read part of the book to our first graders and asked them to predict what might happen next. We talked about using picture clues to help with predictions. Once they had an idea in their minds, I told the students that we would be using the Book Creator app to make a class book of all the predictions.

iPads were handed out and the book was set up for their predictions. We used the square format, added a name, and wrote a sentence or two about what they thought would happen next. Then I showed the children how to draw right in the book with the pen choice. I love this feature – yes, tools are limited; there is no fill bucket but it is SO easy to draw directly in the app!

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The students then recorded their narration and were guided in emailing the book to me. Two of our classes were extremely fortunate to have several TCU students visiting that day. The college students were a tremendous help to the first graders. In fact, I had planned two 40 minute sessions to complete the book but, with all the grown-up help, the children were finished in one period!

1st graders making ebook

This was the students’ first experience with creating their own page in Book Creator and I guarantee, it won’t be their last!

Enjoy their class books:

Mrs. Hutchinson’s Book

Mrs. Kee’s Book

Mrs. Orehek’s Book

Directions to download books to your iOS device (iPad, iPhone, etc):

  • You will need the iBooks app (free) installed on your iOS device.
  • Click on the book link above (while on your iOS device).
  • Tap on the download button.
  • Choose Open in . . . and then choose Open in iBooks
  • The book is now in iBooks on your iOS device.

Directions to read the ePub book on a computer:

Working on a Collaborative eBook

Jane Cooper, one of our second grade teachers signed up for a fantastic collaboration project that Kristen Wideen (a teacher in Winsor, Ontario) initiated. The Global Community iBook Project asks teachers from all over the world to contribute a couple of pages about their community.

The information is written in the Book Creator app for iPad and then uploaded to Kristen’s Dropbox account. She will then combine all the pages into one book.

Mrs. Cooper’s class has learned a LOT about Fort Worth but quickly discovered that it was really difficult to squeeze everything into two pages! After much brainstorming, they were able to choose just a few topics. On Tuesday, they worked together to begin the process of adding pictures and descriptions to their book.

Here is a brief look at the process:

There may be another book in the works – the students have so much information to share that they are seriously considering creating their own book about Fort Worth. We’ll see what transpires!

 

We Know the Water Cycle!

Mrs. Cooper’s second graders were asked to show their understanding of the water cycle and to do this we decided to have the students add something to their blog. However, a visual is extremely helpful in understanding so we chose to have the children draw a picture in the Drawing Box app, import it into Explain Everything where it would be recorded, save it to the camera roll, then upload it to their post on KidBlog. All of this was accomplished on our iPad minis!

Process from Drawing Box to KidBlog

Process from Drawing Box to KidBlog

A lot to do for second graders but they were up for the challenge!

Water Cycle created in Drawing Box app

Water Cycle created in Drawing Box app

Here are the steps the students went through:

  • Draw in the Drawing Box app > Save to photos
  • Import picture to Explain Everything > set as background
  • Record in Explain Everything > save as movie to photo roll
  • Open KidBlog > create new post > upload video from photo roll
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Checking the recordings

The students would love for you to visit their blog and leave comments!

Mrs. Cooper’s Class Blog

Things I Learned:

  • Plan at least a couple of hour-long sessions to draw, record, and upload to the blog.
  • Don’t forget to explain how to use the “highlighting/arrow” tools for Explain Everything. I did and was really annoyed at myself for doing so! Those are powerful tools when using a screen casting app. We will definitely use these in an upcoming project.
  • I highly recommend the paid version of Drawing Box. It has a better collection of drawing tools. All of our student iPads have this version but Mrs. Cooper had the free app and she was disappointed not to have more options.
  • The students are quick learners and did extremely well with the project. Part of the objective of this was for them to become familiar with the app so that they could easily use it in the future.

The students enjoyed working with Explain Everything and I look forward to see how they use it with other subjects.

Going Places Safely . . . On the Internet!

Children are taught from a very young age about keeping safe – let an adult know where you are, don’t talk to strangers. The same thing applies to the internet. Common Sense Media has an excellent lesson on this topic called Going Place Safely (You do need to register to download materials but it’s free). This particular lesson is designed for grades K-2 and I used it with first graders. The three rules that children should understand are:

  • Always ask your parents or teachers before going on line!
  • Only talk to people you know!
  • Stick to places that are just right for you!

Common Sense Media does a very good job creating a lesson plan that is easy to implement. To start, the discussion focuses on traveling places with your parents or going on field trips. What are rules you need to follow? The students quickly respond with such answers as:

  • Stay close to the adult.
  • Always ask if you need to go somewhere else.
  • Always go with a grown-up.
  • Don’t talk to strangers.

Following that discussion, I told the students we’d be taking a long field trip today – without leaving the technology lab! Of course, there were oohs and ahhhs until someone realized, “Oh! We’re going on the internet!” We then related their previous responses with keeping safe on the internet. We talked about how it’s important to get parental permission before going online. I asked who had Skyped and lots of hands went up. My next question was, “Do you Skype with someone you know? “Oh, yes,” was the response. We talked about how sometimes we’d be Skyping with teachers and students we don’t know but as long as an adult is in charge, that’s alright. The next step was to visit several sites that were “just right” for children. This lesson recommended New York’s Modern Art Museum and the San Diego Zoo. I added the San Francisco Symphony for Kids and Colonial Williamsburg.

The students explored these sites for several minutes then were given a sheet of paper where they drew their favorite site. Rules were reviewed about how to keep safe.

It was a fun lesson that helped children make connections between safety rules they’ve heard all their lives and making safe choices online.

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