Catherine Case * Grade 5 * Molin Upper Elementary School

The new literacies of online content construction, online reading comprehension and online collaboration can be used to create engaging curriculum that helps students meet the the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts using the digital tools that are commonplace in their lives.

A critical component in working online is an understanding of good digital citizenship. Interacting online is different than interacting in person. As young children growing up in an increasingly virtual world, this has become an important skill as they learn about and use social media, collaboration and communication tools, even email and video games. Interacting online is different than in person. Language and tone can be misinterpreted without the physical cues exchanged in face to face or even telephone contact. Feelings can easily be hurt, whether intentional or not, especially with children who are still learning how to negotiate socially.

Students in grades 4-5 often find themselves in difficult social situations, both online and offline. Issues of bullying are far too commonplace. Cyber-bullying is particularly problematic because it is more far-reaching. Incidences on the playground are viewed by a few and forgotten by most. Harassment and teasing that happens online is often permanent, can be spread to others easily and is often hard to remove. Before students begin to use online tools to communicate and collaborate they should understand that they are creating an online presence or “digital footprint” that will follow them through life.
This project addresses the need to educate students about social responsibility online. The first part focuses on digital citizenship and the second part focuses on using digital tools to meet the CCSS ELA Reading Standards.


The Lesson Content for Part One is from Common Sense Media, an organization that offers this FREE Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum to help educators empower their students and their school communities to be safe, responsible, and savvy as they navigate this fast-paced
digital world. The link below provides an overview of their curriculum for K-12.

Part One. Digital Citizenship Curriculum from

Students reflect on how to behave ethically online.

· Unit 1: Digital Life

The lessons in this unit are designed to harness students' enthusiasm, encouraging them to talk about the impact of digital media on their lives, their communities, and our culture. Students discuss the positive and negative aspects of digital life and are introduced to the concept of digital citizenship.

Read the unit overview | See the unit lessons

· Unit 2: Privacy and Digital Footprints

In a world in which everyone is connected and anything created can be copied, pasted, and sent to millions of people, it is important that students bring a sense of ethical responsibility to the online spaces where they consume, create, and share information. In this unit's lessons, students learn to manage their own privacy and respect the privacy of others.

Read the unit overview | See the unit lessons

· Unit 3: Connected Culture

Students explore the ethics of participating in and building positive online communities, as well as how communities are upset because of cyberbullying and other damaging behaviors. The lessons explore the impact of students' individual actions – both negative and positive – on their friends and on the broader communities in which they participate.

Read the unit overview ||See the unit lessons

Unit 4: Respecting Creative Work
The lessons in this unit address students' rights and responsibilities about respecting creative work, as well as explore topics ranging from copyright to fair use. Students reflect on the ethics of using creative work from others, and they are encouraged to celebrate their role as 21st-century creative artists.
Read the unit overview | |See the unit lessons

Additional Lessons from

Lesson: Group Think (4-5)
Unit: Connected CultureHow can you take action when you witness cyberbullying? Students examine the role of bystanders vs. upstanders in group cyberbullying situations.

Lesson: The Power of Words (4-5)
Unit: Connected CultureWhat should you do if someone uses mean or scary language on the Internet? Students explore how to handle upsetting online language and cyberbullying.

Lesson: Writing Good Emails (4-5)
Unit: Connected CultureStudents think about the purpose and audience of their message as they learn how to communicate effectively by email.

Assessment: Students will select from a choice of digital tools to create a product reflecting what they know and understand about Digital Citizenship. They will be graded based on a rubric identifying key understandings.The rubric will guide students in the development of their products.

Project Choices:

1. A digital video depicting one type of bullying situation. They can use Pixie 3, PowerPoint, XtraNormal, Animoto or Photostory

2. A cartoon using Pixton or ToonDoo.

3. A Glogster project

Part Two. Students will participate in an online discussion as a reading response to their independent reading, answering a variety of prompts posted by the teacher. They will demonstrate their understanding of socially appropriate online communication.



Resouces for information about Digital Literacy and Citizenship