November 30

Digital Citizenship Meets The OJCS Reading Challenge!

This year the OJCS Reading Challenge is designed to make reading fun, encourage our students to reach for new reading goals, and to teach digital citizenship while connecting globally.

We will be getting students to participate in the class creation of tweets, instagram posts, youtube videos or tik tok videos (whatever social media formats the teacher prefers, the accounts are owned and regulated by the teacher and are professional (not personal) accounts).  These posts will share their class reading goals and accomplishments in fun and creative ways.  The class will then check those posts regularly for likes and words of encouragement from around the globe.  They may even be able to  connect with other schools participating in their own reading challenge.  Students will also use their blogs as a place to post book reviews and to blog about their personal reading goals.  They can even embed or link the class social media posts directly to their blogs!

Class goals could include a certain number of books read by the class each week or each month, a certain number of books of a specific genre or a variety of genres read, etc…  These goals are determined by the teacher or decided as a class and can change week to week or month to month.

Students love being online, so this is a way for them to practice their digital citizenship with post creation (spelling, hashtags, using photos and videos in posts) and take pride in their reading accomplishments, as well as get global props and encouragement.
The end-of-year prize is a classroom movie party for each class that participated regularly.  The library will provide popcorn and candy for each class.
November 16

Learning to Assess Information Credibility with my Favourite Tree Octopus

A Fun Lesson for our grades 3-5 students

Each student will need a device for this activity.  You will share the link to the following site with your students.

https://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/  

Teachers will then need to print the web evaluation checklist.  Click the button on the upper right hand corner ‘pop out’.  Only print page 1.  Students will fill it in to determine if this website is credible or not.

When they have formed their conclusions, you can explain that the last step, lateral reading, is often the fastest way to fact-check information and can be your FIRST step.  Running a Google search on the topic and or the author or site name can often provide you with everything you need to know.  And following the rule of three, checking information against two other sources, is also a wonderful strategy to use.

Finish by sharing this great video!

October 15

Let’s Get Unplugged

Lower Grades Digital Citizenship

First, let’s read Unplugged by Steve Antony

So how do you use your time?

Everyone is going to get a sheet of paper and on one side you are going to write down all of the things you do plugged in (online) and on the other side, all of the things you do unplugged (offline.)  It will look a little something like this…

Once you have finished, I want you to fold this piece of paper in half.

What would your lives look like if you only got to do the things on one side of the paper?

Living our lives mainly online…

  • Let’s start with the plugged side.  If we spent our entire day online and did little else, how would we feel?  Discuss with your class NOW!  
  • After the discussion… 7 hours of Roblox or YouTube might sound great, but in reality, making media choices like this can lead us to feel tired, frustrated, headachy, and sick!

Living our lives completely offline…

  • Now what if we only had the unplugged side?  Would we be completely happy?  Is there anything we would miss?  Discuss with your class NOW!
  • After the discussion… It is okay to enjoy being online!  We get to chat on Facetime, play awesome games, and watch fun videos.

Let’s Aim for Media Balance

Media Balance is making sure that the time we spend online allows lots of room for the other awesome things in life.  This makes us all feel healthier and happier.

Being Unplugged means more time for colouring!  Here is a cute colouring page!

October 7

The Sad Little Fact – Being a Fact-Finder in the Age of Misinformation

A fake fact is otherwise known as MISINFORMATION…

Misinformation is ‘false or inaccurate information, especially that which is deliberately intended to deceive.’

Where do we hear this misinformation?  Unfortunately, the online world is absolutely full of it.  From youtube videos, to tiktok, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, people are bombarded with fake facts and fake news.  Here is an example of misinformation that I found on youtube.

If you saw this video online you’d be terrified.  You might tell your friends about it and spread this information further.  So how do we verify if it is true or not?

Now it’s your turn to give this a try.  I need you to be a fact-checker and find out if this information is true or not using the techniques we just learned.

  1. Check the source – run a Google Search on the publisher or author of the information and try to find out more
  2. The Rule of Three – check three other sources of information
  3. Check a good fact-checking website like Snopes.

So here is the information I want you to check.  It was posted thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter by regular people so there is no author to check.  You will need to rely on method 2 and 3 here.

 

 

June 1

Life Hacks That Seem Impossible Likely Are

There has been a rise in the past year of viral video ‘life hacks’ or ‘kitchen hacks’ depicting recipes or experiments that create impossible results.  These videos have kids rushing to try out these sometimes dangerous experiments thinking that incredible things will happen, only to be left disappointed that it didn’t work for them.

What’s wrong with posting these kind of hoaxes online?  They contribute to the growing problem of misinformation.  That is, spreading information that simply isn’t true.  In some cases, they are also putting children in danger.  Bleaching strawberries, making popcorn with a clothes iron, microwaving things that shouldn’t be microwaved, playing with hot glue, plugging random things into electrical sockets are just a few examples of potentially dangerous hacks.  One woman in England ended up in hospital after trying a life hack where you boil eggs still in their shell in the microwave!  In the following video, Chris Foxx tries out some recipe hacks to see if they work.

In this video Lifehacker explains what is wrong with creating pointless hack videos.

This video, made as a joke, shows how silly and simple making these types of videos can be. He uses a lot of squishies to make it look convincing.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT:  Make a fake life hack or kitchen hack video!  Yes, you heard right.  The best way to learn about the ridiculous nature of incredible and untrue hack videos is to make one yourself.  Maybe you will use baking soda to transform an apple into an orange.  Or put toothpaste in chocolate chip cookies to make them mint chocolate chip.  The sky is the limit with this assignment.  If you would like to share with me, I will post your fake hacks on this page.  Send your videos to b.ruel@theojcs.ca.

Our student lifehack videos!  Amazing work.

May 25

Cyberbullying – Being Mean Online

Lower Grades Digital Citizenship Lesson for the week of June 1st

When friends or classmates are mean at school, we know what that looks like…

  • making fun of how you look or what you wear
  • not letting you play with them
  • spreading rumours or lies about you that aren’t true
  • sharing personal information about you (gossip) to hurt your feelings or embarass you
  • insult you for how good or not good you are at something

We also know how bad that kind of meanness makes us feel…

 

Even though the internet can be a super fun place to spend our time, the same kind of meanness and bullying can happen when we are there too.  CYBERBULLYING is what you call bullying or meanness that is online.

The way it looks online is…

  • being mean to other players in a video game
  • posting rude comments on other people’s  webpages, photos, or videos
  • posting and sharing embarrassing or mean photos of someone online
  • excluding someone from participating online

These things make us feel just like we did with real life bullying…

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes people are meaner online than in real life, because if you were with the person in real life, they would be able to see how bad you felt about their behaviour.  Online they aren’t seeing how you are reacting to what you they are saying (example crying), and that makes people think less about the impact of what they are doing.

Here is a short video that shows an example of cyberbullying and what you can do about it.

In the video the girl talks to her parents who talks to her teachers and they put an end to the cyberbullying.  It is really important to tell a trusted adult about cyberbullying if it is happening to you.  They can help you to figure out what to do about it and how to stop it.

Another way to be a great digital citizen online is to stand up to cyberbullying when you see it happening to someone else.  This is called being an UPSTANDER.   Tell your friend who is being bullied how great you think they are.  Tell the bully that mean comments are unwelcome.  Or tell a trusted adult about your friend being bullied.

And finally, there are buttons on websites that say BLOCK and REPORT ABUSE.

    • BLOCK means that you have the ability to block somebody from being able to see or comment on your account.
    • REPORT ABUSE is a way to tell the website or game owner that someone is misbehaving on the site.

Never use these buttons as a joke because they are permanent and can’t be undone.

Now you know how you can stand up to cyberbullying and be a great digital citizen.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT:

In the comments on this page, write about a time that you experienced cyberbullying or saw it happen to someone else.  If you haven’t seen examples of this, write about one thing you will do if it happens to you or to a friend.

 

May 20

Charli and Dixie talk about Cyberbullying

Charli D’Amelio needs no introduction and in this video she talks about a huge issue of concern to everyone, cyberbullying.  We are online more now than ever.  And with new social media apps and games, comes more and more opportunity to comment on strangers videos and posts and even send them DMs.  Opening up our ability to communicate with new people around the world brings with it a lot of responsibility.  The types of comments we are posting online say much more about us than they do about the person we are commenting on.  

Cyberbullying can take many forms.  A few of them are;

  • Trolling – The kind of bullying Charli and Dixie talk about in the video is getting hateful comments.  This is called trolling.  Trolls often target the same people over and over.  It is important to report and block trolls when you notice them becoming a problem.
  • Masquerading – Someone sets up a fake profile just so that they can bully others anonymously.  This is an extremely cowardly kind of bullying that makes the bully harder to catch and report.
  • Outing or doxing – sharing private or personal information about someone else without that person’s permission and usually to cause humiliation and shame.  This can include information about or private photos and videos of that person.
  • Exclusion – leaving a person out of online groups or hangouts, or intentionally posting comments or photos in which a friend is excluded.  This can seem like a passive form of bullying but has serious consequences on self-esteem.
  • Dissing – Everyone now knows about the popularity of diss tracks.  But by supporting diss tracks and other forms of dissing, you are supporting bullying and spreading hate.  Dissing is an attempt to ruin another person’s reputation and is often founded on false information or deliberate lies about a person.

Cyberbullying is a difficult and mostly unavoidable aspect of living a good part of our lives online.  Building resilience (or a thick skin) is one way of coping with this problem.  Knowing that it isn’t about YOU, it is about the person trying to hurt you.  They can be feeling jealous, they may have a bad home life, they may be trying to win followers through meanness, they might be insecure.  It is not that there is something wrong with you personally.  And always talk about this issue with a trusted relative or teacher if things are bad.  They can help you figure out some next steps.

Watch this video and post in the comments if you’ve used any of these ways to stop a cyberbully before.

May 12

C is for Cookie

Middle School Digital Literacy Lesson

Whenever you visit a new site, you will most often get a message notifying you that the site uses cookies.  Sometimes it will give you an option to choose to continue with cookies or not.  You may have felt very confused about what a cookie was… is it a good thing or a bad thing?  Could it harm my computer or device?

Or maybe you were talking about something with your device near at hand, and then noticed an ad for something connected to what you were talking about an hour later.  Coincidence?  Not at all.  This video explains how and why this happens, and what exactly a cookie is.

Your Assignment:

After watching the video, I want you to pair up with a friend who you share often with on social media.  Imagine you are trying to collect data from each other’s information to target them with ads.  What can you find out about your friend that would help you target products to them?  Example:  I notice that my friend is always posting photos of her dog online.  If I were an advertiser, I would target her with ads for fancy dog toys, furniture, and biscuits.  She often comments about how much she misses her family in Israel.  I would target her with ads for chat products like Houseparty, Zoom, etc…  See how many you can come up with.  Write them in a Google Doc and submit to b.ruel@theojcs.ca

May 11

Remembering to be a Digital Citizen While Gaming

By now you are all amazing digital citizens when you’re online; you protect your private information, you don’t post mean comments on other people’s blogs, photos, or videos.  You are careful about the websites you visit and you balance your time online.  Now let me ask you this…

Do you remember to be a good digital citizen while you’re gaming?

What I mean by that is, when you are playing a game online like Roblox, Fortnite, or other games where you interact with other players online, are you remembering your online safety and digital citizenship rules?

Scenario 1:

You are playing a game in which players can chat with one another and you make a new friend.  This friend starts asking you personal questions like ‘what school do you go to?’ and ‘what’s your address?’

What do you do?

Answer:  It is great to make new friends online, but we still need to make sure and always protect our personal information.  Don’t tell strangers where you live, what school you go to, personal passwords, your full name, etc…  It is never safe to share this kind of information online.

Scenario 2:

During a game you notice one character won’t leave you alone.  They are continuously attacking your player or making rude comments to you in chat.  You really want to be mean back but you are afraid to get reported and blocked.

What do you do?

Answer: Don’t retaliate (i.e. be rude back.)  Just report the players behaviour to the game and show your parents or teachers.  These kind of players will end up getting blocked (kicked-out permanently) from the game.  Better them and not you.  After reporting them, log out for a while and try again later.

Scenario 3:

You have been playing a game for over an hour and you still can’t beat a certain level.  You notice your anger level spiking really high.  Your little brother keeps coming in your room and distracting you and you want to yell at him because it’s his fault you can’t beat the level.

What do you do?

Answer:  It is important that we notice how our emotions are being affected by the games we are playing.  If we are starting to feel angry, frustrated, rageful, and irritated, that is an indication that you have played long enough.  That is your body’s way of telling you you’ve had enough screen time.  Turn off the device and go outside to play if you can.  Nothing clears away those bad feelings faster than fresh air.  And bring your little brother with you to play!  He was only bothering you because he wanted a bit of attention too!  When next you play the game you will be playing with a clear head and have a much better chance of beating that level.

Here is a video where you can see some of these online scenarios in play.

Your assignment:

Play a video game (Yes, you heard right.  Make sure you have permission of course!)  While you play, notice and write down a few examples of some of the positive and some of the negative interactions you have with other players.  If your game doesn’t involve other players online, just write down some positive or negative feelings you experience while playing (having fun, getting frustrated, fighting with your brother etc…)  Then you will post your observations in the comments on this page.  It will be interesting to see what we all experience.

April 28

Steering Clear of Online Tricks!

Lower School Phishing Lesson

Have you ever had a message pop-up on your computer saying that you have a virus but if you click a certain button you can fix it?  Or that if you click on a link you can get a free iphone?  Or an email in your inbox from someone you’ve never met asking you for something?  These are the most common examples of online tricks and scams called ‘PHISHING.’  Yep, the word sounds just like FISHING.  That’s because, the scammers are fishing for your personal information.  Your address, your phone number, your passwords, and sometimes your bank information or your parent’s credit card number!

They are doing this because they want to be able to get money from us or to pretend to be you when they are online.  It is important that we learn to recognize what these kind of tricks look like so we don’t get tricked into sharing our personal information online.  Learning to decide what is real and what is fake is one of the main skills of a great digital citizen, and a great online detective!

A few ways you can avoid phishing tricks online;

  • If you get an email from someone you don’t know and it looks suspicious, don’t open it!  Show it to your parents and they can show you how you can report it as spam/junk mail.  Spam is a kind of bad email that nobody wants.
  • If you get a message saying that you’ve won some big prize, or that you can get something free by answering a survey or paying a very low price, don’t believe it!  If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is!
  • If something pops up on your computer saying that your computer has a virus and you need to do something to get rid of it, don’t click the button.  Show it to your parents or teacher and they will know what to do.
  • Protect your private accounts by always signing out of public devices (like school or public library computers and ipads.)

To learn some of these tricks and scams and what to do about them, we are going to play the Google game Interland, and the world/level called Reality River.  You will listen to each question.  You will then be given answer choices.  You can see each of the choices by clicking on each different platform.  Once you’ve decided where you want to go, double-click it to select it.  You will find out if your answer was correct or not.  If it’s not you will fall in the river!  Have fun, and if you have questions about phishing or online scams you can post them in the comments on this page and I will answer them.

Click Here To Play Interland Reality River