A Collection of Digital Citizenship Resources

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In today’s world, it is crucial that we set our students up for success not only in the world around us but in the digital world as well.

Kids and adults in present time have to think much more purposefully about digital footprints than we ever had to in the past. As I tell students, this is not something to be scared of. Instead, we can think of it as an important responsibility and a big choice we have each day. We are in control; We can choose to leave a positive, negative, or neutral digital footprint each time we are online, so let us choose positivity!

With that said, here is a culmination of websites that contain resources, videos, and lesson plans that I have found useful. Since digital citizenship contains a large variety of subjects (For example: Digital identity, digital safety, digital communication, etc.), be sure to be knowledgeable in these areas, while determining the appropriate times to discuss and integrate these topics within your curriculum and school day.

A few of these sites differentiate items into leveled bands that they deem to be “grade-level appropriate.” As we always do, ensure to read through items, websites, and videos listed below before teaching to confirm they are indeed grade-level appropriate while differentiating as needed.

1.ISTE Standards for Students (2016)

The new and updated standards are clear, in depth, and just what a school needs to help develop age-appropriate tech skills for a variety of grade levels. On the above link, there is a place to purchase the 2016 ISTE Standards for Students ebook as well.

2. Common Sense Media

A scope and sequence for K-12 Digital Curriculum with lessons to use in your class.  The grade level bands are divided between K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Therefore, I have used some of the lessons as a resource, but not a linear guide to follow step-by-step, since many supplemental skills will need to be added, based on what your kids need.

3. KidsSmart

A kids-based website divided into digital topics that are filled with conversational starters and videos to preview and use. Check-it-out!

4. Digital Citizenship Program – The Lester B Pearson School Board

My dear friend, @danaariss shared this Canadian based site with me. Thank you, Dana! Once you click the link, scroll down the site to see a multitude lessons and curriculum resources.

5. Media Smarts – Canada’s Centre for Digital and Media Literacy

Dana also recommended this marvelous link. Tip: This is a site you will want to spend time navigating through. I am especially a fan of the relevant parent resources with topics that are trending today.

6. Digital Citizenship Survival Kit via @mrbadura

This idea from Craig was brilliant, I just taught a digital citizenship lesson today and embedded this idea within it and called mine the “Digital Toolkit.” I also added in a highlighter for future references to remind students to highlight the positive that they see others, and themselves do online. Thank you, Craig for this superb concept.

7. Digital Footprint – 5 Things

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Although we need to help prepare students for potential dangers online, it is also crucial that we broadcast how positive digital footprints can change the world for the better, and it all starts with us. I ask students to think to themselves, “Does what I do online represent who I really am and who I want to be?” Remind them that today is a chance to start fresh.

Ask students to write and illustrate their footprint template with five positive words that they want others to think and feel when people see them online today and in the future. After completing, we began a “museum walk” to view the finished results around the room. I loved viewing words that students wrote like “positive, adventurous, kind, compassionate, smart, helpful, good friend, etc.” Reading these thoughts confirmed my belief that students want to be empowered to make a meaningful impact. Let us help them realize that they are not just digital leaders tomorrow- They are digital leaders TODAY!
Do you have any resources, links, videos, or lessons that you use to teach digital citizenship? If so, please share below!

Kara Welty

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Flexible Seating at Our Model School- Featuring Five Colleagues

Over the summer, our school transformed in many ways to be even more excellent for students. We have had countless meaningful conversations on how to make our environments best suited for students and I am so proud that in our K-5 model school, we implementing school-wide flexible seating!

Our district was beyond generous with supporting innovative desk options and hokki stools/chairs to all of our classrooms in the building. Teachers have also brought in many of their materials, seating arrangements, and decorations.

In the past, I have played around with flexible seating as an educator and have been astonished by the results. This year, as a Mentor Teacher and Technology Integrationist, I am a support system to my colleagues and students. Therefore, It has been an extraordinary experience to work with many teachers as they set-up their classrooms to find out what works for their kiddos, while seeing how that differs from class to class based on the ages and learners.

This post will feature five incredible colleagues that I am fortunate enough to work beside: Angie Clarke (4th grade), Cara Cahill (3rd grade), Jordan Shawhan (2nd grade), Lauren Montgomery (4th grade), and Molly Rittenhouse (4th grade). They have done an spectacular job designing their spaces while adding their personal flair!

But, before I show you the grand tour of their spaces, I asked the ladies some questions to see their thoughts (almost a month into school) to see how the flexible seating is going thus far. I culminated their ideas in this chart below:

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Each teacher was asked the questions individually. Even so, every teacher above said “student choice” was their favorite part of flexible seating; Teachers also stated that “choice” was the feature of flexible seating that their students adored the most. How neat is that?

You are probably also wanting to know more about what students think of their spaces!

All of the teachers are raving about inclined student interest, and I can second that from being in the classrooms myself and from experiencing flexible seating with my former students as well. As far as the “most favorite” or “least preferred” seating arrangements goes, it depends on the individual learner. The only commonalities between grade levels thus far are overall the hokki stool is a favorite while sitting at the desk in a regular chair is the least favorite. But, there are always exceptions to the general rule. There are a few students who do prefer sitting at the desk above all of the other seating options. Even so, additional student favorites are the bungee chair and standing table.

Are you ready now? Here is a sneak peak into their warm and inviting classrooms- Take a look:

 

Ms. Angie Clarke’s 4th Grade Class@ClarkesClass

Check-out her beginning of the year tour of her designed class here!

I love the energy of Angie’s class! One of my favorite spaces in her room is the reading area that you see below; It feels like a living room that you want to lounge in for a lifetime. There are plenty of comfortable chair options, background drapes, dim lighting, and faint classical music playing in the background!

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Mrs. Cara Cahill’s 3rd Grade Class@CahillCara

Cara has an enormous variety of seating options in her classroom that students love (and I do, too!). Cara’s students are having a blast with the bungee chairs that Cara purchased for her kiddos. The lap desks in her classroom are also a fantastic alternative to clipboards. I also love the bright colors that Cara chose for her classroom; It gives the space such a lively feeling!

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Ms. Lauren Montgomery’s 4th Grade Class@TeamMontgomery4

Lauren is only a second-year teacher, but she already is becoming a pro with flexible seating. I am so impressed with her willingness to try new things! Lauren’s area is very organized, with many caddies to place learning tools. Many of these caddies can be purchased at the dollar store! Lauren is excited to continue experimenting with flexible seating as the year goes on.

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Ms. Molly Ritts 4th Grade Class@MsRittsClass

Molly has been doing marvelous things with flexible seating! I love her collaborative arrangements with the student tables. Molly also has pillows with removable sleeves/covers that the students often use for workspaces; The removability of these pillow cases makes it easy for Molly to toss them into the wash for regular cleaning. Students always look so comfortable in this space and they enjoy having choices in their learning.

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Ms. Jordan Shawhan’s 2nd Grade Class@MsShawhan3TE
Although Jordan’s classroom is smaller in size, she has done a marvelous job of giving her environment such a personalized touch; It is very impressive to see what she has done! Jordan has organizational caddies (as you see below) that are fantastic resources! I love the caddy organization with handles for easy mobility of supplies.

Ms. Shawhan's Class

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Flexible seating is not just about chair accommodations. The overall environment, lighting, temperature, and other factors contribute greatly as well.  Moreover, it is really about empowering students to make choices in their learning journey. When students are encouraged to make meaningful choices to impact their learning, it can build into change that will transcend beyond the classroom.

Another huge BRAVO to the daring ladies featured in this post! Join them on their continued learning journey this year by following them on Twitter. At the end of the school year, I will write a follow-up post so you can view their reflections on flexible seating. Stay tuned!

Until then- Best of luck in your flexible seating journey,

Kara Welty

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Build a Mobile Green Screen for $10

Do you want to build a green screen for next to nothing in cost? I hope I can shed light on a few ideas to make your wish a reality.

The process of making a green screen seems overwhelming at first, but the creation can be as simplistic or elaborate as you want. Likewise, you can pick your price on a green screen. For example, if you only want to spend ten dollars and make your own, you can do that. There are also a variety of other cheap remedies, like constructing a green screen with pipe cleaners. While on the other hand, you can spend $100+ and buy a ready-made kit for you on a website like Amazon.

At my school, we are in the search for the perfect spot for our Makerspace. So in the meantime; I wanted to create a “mobile” green screen that I could easily take with me from class-to-class since I am regularly collaborating with our K-5 teachers. Another important piece was that I wanted this green screen to be low-cost. Since we plan on building a fabric green screen in our future Makerspace room, I wanted to create something that would fit the bill of a mobile and easy-to-use unit that would be accessible to teachers and myself in the present day.

Therefore, this green screen was born.

But, before we get started, many people ask me “why” we use the color green in video making. To answer this, the green screen, and blue screens are often go-to colors because they are the hues that differ the most from the majority of human skin tones. Other uniformed colors can also be used, but green and blue are preferred.

In my opinion, neon/lime green is the optimal choice because it is unique and will contrast most clothing as well. Since blue is more likely to be worn, that particular combination not ideal. To paint the picture, if a student is wearing a blue shirt with a blue screen; Their upper torso will disappear.

Now, here is picture overview on how I built my easy green screen:

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Green Screen Blog Post

To give a little background, our 3rd-grade teachers are in the initial stages of a climate and weather unit. I thought this green screen would be perfect for “Kid Meteorologists.” Today, I taught several students in 3rd-grade classes how to create green screen videos. In the very near future, they will venture out to teach their students and teachers, too.

Here is one of the awesome videos we put together; We had the best time creating!

“Kid Meteorologist”- Weather of the Day
Other thoughts to point out:

  • To be honest, it does not matter what side you add the tape to when you are taping the posters together; When you create the video on the app, the green tape will disappear, just like the poster. But, I decided to add the green tape to the sticker side of the poster (for aesthetic reasons), while making the opposing side tape and label free.
  • Since I work with K-5 kiddos, I chose four pieces of poster board. But, I did buy 10, just in case I decided to add more to my base. Feel free to do what sounds best to you and your students.
  • I have been using a few pieces of the green duck tape to attach the green screen to the wall. I roll the pieces and put it behind the green screen. I have liked this idea since I want to be able to make any wall into a green screen at the drop of a hat.
  • I must say that my favorite green screen app is “Do Ink.”
  • I love using iPads for green screen video creation, so that is the device we used for this particular activity.

As I mentioned above, we will be building another green screen in the future for our Makerspace Studio. We are considering other ideas for green screens in the classrooms as well. Stay tuned!

Kara Welty

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10 Habits of Positive Educators

Positive Educators

My mom is my role model for happiness. She taught me, years ago, that you do not just have good days, you CREATE them. Throughout the years, this quote has stuck with me and has shaped me into the person I am and the person I strive to be. This overarching idea of positivity has inspired me to create this post.

Most people may not realize that positive educators are habitual in nature. Here are 10 Habits, of the many, that I have curated to help shape my own mindset.

Positive people and educators:

1. Look for the positive, rid the negative

As Tony Robbins says, you cannot pretend that the negativity or the “weeds” around you do not exist. For example, continually repeating “there are no weeds, there are no weeds,” will not magically cause the adverse aspects of your life to disappear. Instead, focus on the positive and actively LOOK for it. What you focus on, you will find. When you do see negativity, train your brain to do something about the issue, rather than venting and sulking. Action and mindset are the only ways to accomplish change.

2. Are fountains, not drains

Listen to your inner dialogue and outer dialogue. What tone and messages are you communicating to others about yourself and your values? We need to be aware of the messages and body languages we are sending out to others. Be the fountain, not the drain.

3. Lift those up around them

I often think to myself, “What can I do to make ___________’s day?” I try to be in tune to those who may need an extra lift of love and I do everything in my power to act on that observation with purpose and care.

4. Are grateful

Cheerful people notice the small things that others do around them to be positive change makers. Try to show your appreciation to others in all they do. When you show others that their time is valuable to you and that they matter, you are more likely to see continued positive results from that individual; This applies to students and colleagues alike. Every single person wants to feel noticed, even if they do not show it.

5. Do not forget about other happy people!

When you see a happy person, it is usually not a coincidence. Happy people regularly make efforts to maintain joyful spirits. Do not forget about your happy people! Your blissful colleagues, students, and friends are often the people who need love the most. Happy people fill up the buckets of others, but also crave and need that same love in return.

6. See life through outside lenses

Positive educators do not just understand their life; They take the time to think about what others are dealing with in front of and behind the scenes. Positive educators do not just consider their opinion; they think of the “why” behind the views and actions of others before making irrational judgments and conclusions.

7. Do not make a mountain out of a molehill

Stop. Breathe. Refocus. Positive people catch themselves before reaching an oblivion of pure terror and stress. When you feel your heartbeat rising, ask yourself: Will this problem matter tomorrow? In 3 weeks? In a year? Regain perspective and move forward accordingly.

8. Find value in everyone

Everyone around you has a strength and personal treasure to share with the world. Find value in EVERYONE around you, even in times when it may be difficult. Once you find that special gift in someone, your viewpoint of them will change forever.

9. Read regularly

Find a happy person and I guarantee you that you also have found an avid reader. Happy people look to the advice of others to continually self-improve and read, read, read!

10. Think of each day as another chance to start fresh!

Positive people do not allow yesterday’s problems to weigh them down today. Moreover, they know that each moment and each day is an incredible opportunity to begin again with a fresh slate of limitless opportunities!

Kara Welty

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