Arsalan, Lucy showing their facebook profiles and comments from classmates. Faisal is holding signage that we have put up around our school with information about Digital Citizenship found here: www.publications.gov.sk.ca/redirect.cfm?p=74447&i=83322
Welcome to Grade 4/5 at Douglas Park school in Regina, Saskatchewan. It is a beautiful time to be a student, but also a challenging one. As a teacher and a parent, it is incredibly important to realize that while we can offer the sentiments to today’s youth from our own childhood (stories, photos, and memories), but we need to realize that while kindness and compassion remain unchanged values we want to move forward; the world that students are growing up in is simply not the same.
As adults, we echo these ideas to each other. We say things like “I am so glad when I grew up that social media wasn’t around yet.” My question is, how are we supporting our children and learners to use social media in a positive, healthy way?
In our Grade 4/5 classroom we have recently faced some unique challenges involving our student’s first time use of social media, and the issues surrounding this experience have come to light in our classroom. I am self-proclaimed ‘old school’ and have managed to avoid many forms of social media. Last week I signed up for twitter. This week, I reset my twitter password because I forgot it sometime between last week and this week, and I tweeted. (Follow me here). Turns out it is quite difficult to be a role model for students who are navigating the difficulties and challenges of this new technology when you are personally disengaged from it because of those same challenges and difficulties. We are also participating in some activities that are intended to bring to light digital citizenship and digital footprints to our students!
This week we created paper copy Facebook profiles, and laminated them. We are posting them on desks in the classroom and encouraging students to make comments on each others profiles throughout the day, using post it notes. The post it notes will then be saves (if the student wants to) in their sketchbook. So far, the feedback from the students has been positive. The plan at the end of next week is to highlight the positive and kind messages that were left on profiles. We also want to highlight the (hopeful) lack of negative posts due to the public nature of the profiles (visible on the kids desks). This is intended to spark discussion in the classroom, and encourage students to respond to the activity on this blog.
Off we go on this adventure! Check back soon.