Middle School and Social Media

To support grade 5 students with their transition to middle school,  four grade 6 students came by this morning to chat with fifth graders.

We discussed the increased pressure to use social media in middle school. The sixth graders also discussed how to successfully navigate this new frontier by doing the following:

  • THINK before you share/post
  • ASK for permission before sharing or posting a photo or video of another person
  • If you don’t want your mom, dad, or principal to see it… don’t post or share

Interestingly, all of the sixth graders agreed that life was easier without social media and pointed out that you don’t have to have a phone or social media… it’s probably easier if you don’t!

Please take a moment this week and talk with your child today about social media today!

Parenting in the Age of Social Media

In an effort to better understand our children’s social media use and to provide support for purposeful parenting of children and social media use, the Elementary School held a Parent Coffee Morning.

Principal Roberta Wiens, Vice Principal Kit Wilding, School Psychologist Lesley Clark, and Technology Integrator Claire Wachowiak discussed current research as parents discussed ways in which they tackle social media issues within their own homes.

Also presented were results from a current survey given to fourth and fifth grade students. The survey asked students questions regarding using technology at home, what social media apps they use and what it means to be a good digital citizen. From this, we discussed how to best guide students to have a healthy, well-balance digital life at home and at school. All in all, it was a good morning for responsible technology use!

Please find the presentation below:

Spider Sense Tingling?

With our current digital citizenship lesson in grades 4 and 5, we have been discussing ‘Spider-Sense’ and the Internet. There are three big ideas that we reviewed:

  1. The Internet is forever; be thoughtful about what you post, text, share or comment
  2. Privacy online is never guaranteed; if you don’t want the world to see it then don’t put it online
  3. Use your Spider-Sense – ‘ listen to your inner voice’ – if you aren’t sure, re-think and question it.

In order to help students visual this, we asked them to think of a red balloon.  Once the student has sent a photo, texted a friend, shared an experience, etc. the red balloon is released and it is out of their hands. The student can no longer control where the digital message goes, who sees it or what someone might do with that digital message.

We strongly encouraged students to talk to their parents about social media. If something comes up that they are uncomfortable with then talk with your folks.

The Internet is a wonderful place full of information, creativity ideas and learning communities. However students need to be thoughtful and savvy when participating in this gigantic digital world. Talk to your child today about social media!

Don’t Open That!

In an effort to promote smart online choices, students focused on strategies to avoid Spam and never clicking on a ‘pop-up’ ad.

Even though Elementary students’ email accounts are on a ‘Restrict Delivery’ mode, (school email cannot send to or receive emails from outside of the school domain ‘gemsdaa.net’), this will not always be the case. Plus, many students have mobile phones and personal email accounts. As a result, we spoke to students about staying safe online regarding Spam emails and pop-up ads.

Based upon Common Sense Media lesson You’ve Won a Prize!objectives: Spam, how to deal with it and to also never click on a pop-up, we discussed strategies.  These included not opening up emails if the sender is unknown, never give out personal information especially to an unknown entity and listen to your common sense.  Additionally students are strongly encouraged to speak with their parents regarding strategies for keeping safe online.

Empowered Learners

As adults and teachers it is sometimes easy to believe that students are very tech savvy. Although this may be true in some cases, I caution that familiarity does not equal mastery. Within the classroom, it is very beneficial to slow down and discuss the whys and hows of a tool or program to help students gain a deeper understanding about how technology can support their learning.

Currently students in grades four and five are learning how to create folders, to understand what the share/permissions indicate, why naming conventions are important, and how to make copies of documents within Google Drive. However, before we get to all of that, what does cloud storage mean?

After a bit of discussion regarding Google Drive, we watch the video below that briefly describes what cloud storage means and how it works. As technology is constantly changing and with us in many parts of our lives, it’s a good idea to slow down and ask questions.

Fake News

‘So, I guess this means I can’t drink water anymore.’
Grade 5 student after looking at a ‘fake’ webpage on the dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide (H20).

A couple of weeks ago, Grade Five teachers asked me to discuss with students how to know if a website is credible with reliable information or is it a website that should not be trusted.

We discussed questions that students should be asking when looking at websites:
screen-shot-2017-02-04-at-6-28-29-pm
We wanted to stress that just because it is online, does not mean it is true, real or credible. In order to demonstrate this to students, we looked at a fictitious or fake website called ‘Dihydrogen Monoxide – DHMO Homepage. There are several fabricated websites created by educators to help students see how easy it can be to be fooled.

After looking at the www.dhmo.com website, the alarm bells began to ring as students read how ‘dangerous’ Dihydrogen Monoxide is to humans.  Students were asked to look at the questions (see image above) and at a certain time, we asked students to cross-reference to verify their findings.  Once we tried to verify the Dihydrogen Monoxide website, many students still had difficulty grasping the idea that the information on the original website was false and that Dihydrogen Monoxide was just water… H2O.

Things to do at home:

  • Teach your child to verify sources
  • Model how to question motivations
  • Help your child to think critically when researching

Below are to articles that go a bit more in depth about this subject:
Most Students Don’t Know When News Is Fake, Stanford Study Finds
Students Have ‘Dismaying’ Inability To Tell Fake News From Real, Study Finds

Resources:
Source of Website Questions