Digital citizenship is a hot topic, and there are a lot of high quality resources out there. I knew I wanted to do more with my students, but I felt overwhelmed and paralyzed into inaction because of how awesome others were doing in their schools and classrooms. (I definitely was should-ing myself.)
I wasn’t even sure where to start. I checked out the Common Sense Media lessons, and decided to give it a shot. Since then, it’s a constant growing and learning process.
Becoming a Common Sense Media Certified Educator
In the 2015-2016 school year, I taught my way to becoming a Common Sense Media Certified Educator. I implemented Common Sense Media lessons in my AVID 7 classes, had discussions in my Science 7 classes, and ran a few parent engagement opportunities (including a presentation from our School Resource Officer, sent home CSM Family Tip Sheets, and posted resources on the school website).
Now, the process is much more streamlined and simplified. Teachers must complete 2 hours of learning (digital citizenship + digital teaching), 2 hours of teaching, and write a reflection. Plus, they ask that you join the Common Sense Educators group on Facebook–this is a phenomenal community of dedicated and inquisitive teachers.
For the past 2 years, I’ve upped my game, and extended my certification to become a Common Sense Ambassador. I love the access to extra professional development, resources, and encouragement to share digital citizenship with my PLN.
Journey to Becoming a Common Sense Media Certified School
This school year, I finally got everything together to get us ready to become a Common Sense Media Certified School! As of right now (February 2018), we are in the process of completing our certification requirements.
The requirements are similar to that of the certified educator program, just on a school-wide basis. We are teaching 5+ lessons across 2 grade levels, engaging parents/families in at least 3 ways, and I am providing PD to all our teachers. All 4 core content classes (math, English, science, history) plus PE are teaching lessons. Our elective teachers are teaching lessons if they choose to.
It is essential to note here that we have two self-contained special education classes. And, these classes are participating too. I am teaching four lessons from the K-2 curriculum to each class. It’s developmentally and academically appropriate for these students, and the teachers and I are differentiating as needed. Many of our students in moderate-severe will have cell phones in the future and regularly use tablets and computers. Our students in the moderate class frequently play video games online (including PS4, XBox, etc) and many already have cell phones.
Each department and grade level is responsible for one 45 minute lesson. I used the Common Sense Media lessons and turned them into Pear Deck presentations (read more about how Pear Deck engages students!) that incorporate some content too. The reason I did all the leg work here is to build buy-in from my teachers; the majority are more likely to implement these lessons if they can just project and go. As I shared these lessons with each individual department during our weekly PLC meeting, I saw faces perk up, both for the content and Pear Deck.
I am also using our poster printer to print Common Sense Media posters for any interested teachers. I created a Google Form for teachers to put in their requests, and I will print and deliver the posters in the next couple weeks.
Similarly to when I completed my CSM Certified Educator certification, we are engaging families with a presentation from the School Resource Officer, sending home digital & paper copies of the Family Tip Sheets, and hosting Parent Tech Breakfasts to talk about digital citizenship.
Cyberbullying and digital citizenship are issues on our campus, and I am confident our students will benefit.
- We are going to have our certification complete before the end of the school year. I set a goal to have all lessons taught before spring break, and I will complete the certification application after spring break.
- I am packaging up the lessons I created on Pear Deck and compiling some additional resources so the rest of the middle schools in my district can implement what we are already doing.
- In the next few years, we’re going to become a Common Sense Media Certified District!
How do you address and implement digital citizenship in your classroom and school?