So you want to teach digital citizenship?

If you are an educator who feels there should be digital citizenship lessons being taught for all grade level K-12, then there are some things you can do to make this happen.  Start by familiarizing yourself with your school districts technology curriculum or standards your district may want teachers to follow involving technology.  It may take a little time, but search the district website for it’s K-12 technology curriculum.  On the Fairbanks North Star Borough School district’s website is the technology curriculum, with a portion for digital citizenship.  Some topics on this site are listed below;

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So now what?  The curriculum gives topics to teach in the classroom, but where can lesson plans be found?  Are teachers supposed to create lesson plans based on these technology topics?  Well fear not because Common Sense Media ( has a very thorough digital citizenship curriculum.  Commons Sense Media’s curriculum can be used in many different ways to suit the needs of teachers and students.  They offer several tools and resources that can be used in and out of the classroom.  Some examples of tools they offer are iBooks, professional development, lesson plans, and much more.  A good place to start is with their training video,  When you scroll down the page there will be links for elementary, middle school, and high school videos.  Watch the video relevant for the grade level you teach.  The video outlines how Common Sense Media and their affiliates have made research based decisions to create their digital citizenship curriculum.  The approach is one that involves educators, administrators, parents, and community.  The training video also outlines how educators can use the lesson plans as they are arranged on the website in a scope and sequence unit by unit or they can pick and choose what lessons will fit their classroom needs.


I have started using some of the lessons in my third grade classroom.  I have taught their digital footprint lesson Follow the Digital Trail  ( and their Internet safety lesson Staying Safe Online (    The lesson plans are straightforward and easy to follow.  All the lessons come with a parent letter that can be sent home to reinforce topics being taught.  During my next digital citizenship lesson I plan on sharing the video Pause and Think Online, from Common Sense Media about thinking before sending something online (  In my classroom my students have been using Google Docs to collaborate on projects.  A few of my students don’t know that using all caps when typing means that you are yelling at someone.  I had one student’s feelings get hurt when another student typed in all caps.  It was brought to my attention and as a class we discussed what that meant.  I tried not to single out the student who had commented using all caps, but at the end of our class discussion he asked, “What should you do if you accidently use all caps?”  I explained that comments can be deleted and retyped before they are sent.   I shared that before I put something on Facebook or send an email I always read and reread to make sure I am spelling things correctly and that it won’t hurt anyone’s feelings.  This discussion reminded me of the Pause and Think video that is why I plan on using it my class next time I teach about digital citizenship.


Common Sense Media Inc. (2014). Retrieved March 2, 2014 from

Common Sense Media Inc. (2014).  Follow the digital trail.  Retrieved March 9, 2014


Common Sense Media Inc. (2014).  K-12 online curriculum training.  Retrieved March 9, 2014 from

Common Sense Media Inc. (2014). Staying safe online.  Retrieved March 2, 2014


Common Sense Media Inc. (2014).  Pause and think online.  Retrieved March 2, 2014 from

Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. (October 2011).  Technology curriculum K-12. Retrieved March 9, 2014 from


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