Critical Minds, Compassionate Hearts

Digital Citizenship

At Rashi, we talk about preparing our students for the world that they will inherit. What does that look like as the world becomes increasingly digital?
As Rashi third graders enter the library for their time with Julie Levine, they immediately find that the space has been transformed. The floor between the bookshelves is covered with squares that make multiple trails going in different directions. Each square includes a sample web posting including varying levels of personal and private information: first and last names, addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, and hobbies. As the students are seated, Julie introduces the topic of their lesson, "footprints."

In Julie's classroom, footprints have taken on new meaning to include digital footprints: the information about what you do on the internet. This unit is part of a broader curriculum on Citizenship in a Digital Age.

While students access online resources in our library beginning in Kindergarten, digital citizenship lessons begin in earnest once students reach third grade at Rashi. It is during this year that students are given access to email accounts as well as the apps associated with Google Classroom. As they spend their classroom time using online tools to enhance their learning, Rashi students in grades 3-5 also study digital citizenship with Julie during library hours.

The Rashi School’s Digital Citizenship Curriculum

Grade 3
  • Email
    • Understanding what you write is permanent
    • Etiquette (proper address, subject, grammar, and structure)
  • Digital Footprint Introduction
    • Mizzle the Mouse and Electra the Elephant activity
      • Personal and/or private information these animals posted online is printed out on cards and scattered around the library for students to examine and answer questions to determine who had the safer digital footprint.
  • The Power of Words
    • Students consider that they may get online messages from other kids that can make them feel angry, hurt, or sad
      • At this age, most relevant when playing online games that have a chat feature.
  • Online Privacy
  • Research Skills
    • Basic database searching (online World Book, Britannica, Kids Infobits database)
    • Importance of keeping track of sources/creating a very basic bibliography

Grade 4
  • Plagiarism
    • Pirates of Plagiarism book and game
    • “I. M. Honest” copyright theft play
  • Privacy Playground: The First Adventure of the Three CyberPigs
    • Privacy; internet safety
    • In this game, the CyberPigs play on their favorite website and encounter marketing ploys, spam, and a close encounter with a not-too-friendly wolf.
  • CyberSense and Nonsense: The Second Adventure of the Three CyberPigs
    • Web evaluation; trusting sources
    • In this game, CyberPigs learn some important lessons about verifying online information and observing rules of netiquette; distinguishing between fact and opinion; and how to recognize bias and harmful stereotyping in online content.
  • Copyright and Trademarking Basics
    • A campaign from the UK Intellectual Property Office to teach children about copyright infringement on the internet, using cartoons and puns on pop stars’ names to get the message across.

Grade 5
  • Place of Digital Media in our Lives (Common Sense Media lesson)
  • Rings of Responsibility Activity
    • What are our responsibilities (both online and offline) to ourselves; to our friends and family; to the greater community?
    • What are the responsibilities of a good digital citizen?
  • Gossip and the Power of Words
    • Read A Sack Full of Feathers by Debby Waldman (based on a Jewish folktale that speaks to the dangers of gossip)
    • Common Sense Media: The Power of Words (via Nearpod Grades 3-5, Lesson 1.3)
    • Emoji Analysis
      • Just adding an “emotion” to clarify a text so the recipient knows if you’re joking doesn’t always work; people can interpret the tone of emojis in different ways.
  • Website and News Media Critical Thinking Skills
    • Duck/Bunny different perspectives image to help understand different points of view
  • How News is Shared
    • Euthanized Baby Giraffe News Story
      • Importance of not using misleading headlines or subheadlines
      • Importance of actually reading an article before making a judgement
  • Fake News
    • Read The Nantucket Sea Monster: A Fake News Story by Darcy Pattison
    • Two Truths and a Lie Game
      • Students chose random topics to research on World Book or Britannica and wrote down two facts and one made-up fact on an index card
      • As a class, we play a game to guess which was the lie for each topic
        • Discussion of how to research the correct answers
  • Digital Footprint Review Games