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

April 21

House Hippos and Cabbits

First we are going to watch a video about the North American House Hippo…

When this video started, for a moment did you believe that this could be real or did you know immediately that it was not?  What were some of the reasons you did or didn’t believe it?  How could we be sure?

Some of the most important skills we need to be a great digital citizen are our critical thinking skills.  A big part of critical thinking is our ability to find out if what we are seeing, reading, or hearing is true or not.  There are some easy quick tricks we can use to verify (which means to check out or investigate) information.

So let’s try one of the easiest tricks.

Here is a picture that I found online a Cabbit.  Online it says it is a cross between a cat and a rabbit.  Isn’t it adorable?

So let’s run a Google Search on the information we want to verify.  So open up Google and type the word cabbit in the search box.  Or, if you’re on an ipad or have a home assistant, ask it out loud what a cabbit is.  What did you discover from a simple search?  Is it real or fictious (not real, imaginary).  Type your answers in the comments on this page.

This shows us that the fastest way to check if information is true or not is to look around… look in other places!  Check a couple of different websites.  See if what else you can find out.  Websites we use to find information are called our sources.  Always check more than one source, especially if something sounds fishy!

Here is a video that offers you a few more special tricks you can use when you are choosing websites and videos to use for your research projects.  Write down the 5w’s so that you can remember them when you need them!

March 31

News Made Just For Kids!

Even though you are a kid, you can be exposed to a lot of serious and scary world news through social media, overhearing parents watching television or listening to the radio, or even listening in on adult conversations that aren’t intended for you.   Hearing bad news can cause us to feel a lot of fear and anxiety.  Sometimes you will want to share bad news with your friends even if you haven’t fully understood it.  This can cause something called MISINFORMATION, which is when news is shared that isn’t factually correct.  It is important that we get our facts straight before we start spreading news around!

There are many current events and news websites available online for kids in which news articles are written sensitively and clearly so that you can understand it.  It is news made just for kids and can help you to know what is happening in the world right now.

Here is a list of kid-friendly sites.  Take a quick peek at them now to see what they are like.  And feel free to visit them whenever you want to know more about what’s happening in the world.

 

www.cbc.ca/kidsnews/

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.dogonews.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://newsforkids.net/

 

 

 

 

 

https://teachingkidsnews.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a video by another school librarian, Marina, reading a book about news called On The News – Our First Talk About Tragedy by Dr. Jilian Roberts.  This book will help you to understand more about the news and talks about some feelings connected to hearing about bad things in the news, and how we can cope with those feelings.  Click on the video link and then click ‘watch it on youtube’.  You can’t watch it on this page.

In the comments on this page, let me know what kids news website you liked the best.  Also let me know what you thought about the book On The News.

March 18

Online Sharing Safety Game – Share Jumper

Lower School Digital Citizenship Lesson Week of March 16th

Everyone enjoys connecting with others online (especially when we are all stuck at home!)  This game is perfect for all of us right now because in a simple and clear way, it explains what kinds of information is okay to share online and what kind of information isn’t.  The only way to get your jumper higher and higher is to make the right choices about what is okay to post online.  If you make a wrong choice you get sent back down!

Make sure you read each question carefully.  It will help you to make the correct choices.  THIS GAME IS NOT COMPATIBLE WITH IPADS OR OTHER TOUCH SCREENS.

Now have fun!!

Click here to play: Share Jumper Game

For anyone who might struggle with the game, watch ‘We the Digital Citizens’ for a refresher on online safety!

January 13

Copyright and Fair Use Middle School Workshops

Copyright and Fair Use are tricky subjects for adults as much as for students.  These issues can be quite complex and confusing.  The point of today’s workshop was to simplify it a little bit and help students to navigate these issues.  As our students become more prolific creators of content with blogging, social media, and artworks (to name a few) they will need to understand what their rights are as a creator and what rights other creators have.  They also need to understand in what specific situations using someone else’s work is actually okay (believe it or not!)

We opened by listening to a song, Pachelbel’s Canon.

Our students of course thought it was the Maroon 5 song Memories.

I explained that by the end of today’s workshop, they would understand why Maroon 5 weren’t going to be sued or have to pay royalties on stealing that song.

This video created by Common Sense Media is a great tool for explaining some of these concepts in a simple way.

Students were then give a series of scenarios and had to decide if it was fair use of not.  Fair Use is the ability to use copyrighted work without permission in certain ways and in specific situations.  In teams, they decided if it was or wasn’t and gave it a thumbs up or thumbs down and explained their group answers.

There is a pretty common misconception that you aren’t allowed to use anyone else’s photos or music for ANY purpose, but this workshop helped to define what is and isn’t okay.  When using songs and images for classroom-only purposes (like slideshows and presentations) it is actually fair use.  If these were to be put online that’s where you run into trouble as you would then be publishing them as your own and potentially making money from them.  A good habits for students when using someone else’s work for a project would be to cite it in a bibliography page.

Other common examples of fair use are;

  • schoolwork/education (unpublished and/or not posted online)
  • criticism or commentary
  • news reporting
  • comedy/parody/memes
  • If something is public domain – over 70 years old

Though it is always helpful to encourage students to use their own photos, videos, and music for projects, this workshop helped students to understand the concept of fair use and the situations when  it IS okay to use the work of other creators.

And finally, in the case of Maroon 5, Pachelbel’s Canon in D rests squarely in the public domain as it is approximately 339 years old.

December 2

First Footprints with Grade 2

Our two grade two classes got their first lesson about online footprints and how we leave them.  They learned how to make sure that the footprints they are leaving online are the good kind!

I made sure to highlight a few other ways we can leave our footprints online that were not touched on in the video;

  • Comments left on websites (ex. youtube), video games, and blogs.
  • Our search history
  • Posting information that is intentionally not true
  • Posting embarrassing photos or videos of ourselves or others

We played a game where two characters – Ellie the Elephant and Mervin the Mouse left their online footprints all over the library.  Students had to find these card footprints and decide which footprints were and were not the right kind to leave online.  We all had lots of fun with this lesson!

 

October 17

Introduction to Digital Citizenship

Our grade two class got to meet some fun friends today, the super cute Common Sense Media Digital Citizens!

Each one represents a different aspect of digital citizenship;

  • Arms: Use your arms when you’re online to balance your time. 
  • Guts: Listen to your gut to stay safe online. 
  • Feet: Use your feet carefully when leaving tracks online.
  • Legs: Use your legs to stand up to bullies online.
  • Heart: Use your heart to be kind and respectful online.
  • Head: Use your head to ask questions about what you see online.

 

Our students listened to the song we discussed what they think the song was about and they gave examples of their own experiences.  They then drew a picture to represent how they can be good digital citizens.

May 22

What is a Digital Footprint?

Today students were introduced to the concept of a Digital Footprint.  We used the example of tracks left by animals and how we can use our own deductive capabilities to infer quite a lot about an animal based on its tracks.

The same is true for us when we go online.  The sites we visit, the comments we post, the videos we upload, the games we play, all of those things create a digital footprint that can tell people about us and will exist online for a very long time.  We tied this in to the concept of responsibilities and discussed what our responsibilities are to ourselves and to others online.

Our grade 3 and 4 students came up with some of the following ideas;

Loader Loading...
EAD Logo Taking too long?

Reload Reload document
| Open Open in new tab

Download

Our students are getting the foundation they need to navigate the sometimes scary world of the internet in a safe and responsible way.

 

March 15

Social Media and Our Relationships

Grades 6, 7, and 8 visited the library this week for a lesson on the effects of social media on our personal relationships.  Whether they are allowed legally to be on certain platforms or not (most require you to be at least 13), the reality is that most middle schoolers are on Snapchat, Instagram, Tic Toc, or other social media.  By grade 8 social media has become completely enmeshed with daily life and plays a huge role in friend dramas.

This workshop started off by having students discuss what are some benefits of social media.  What they love about it.  Many students mentioned their ability to connect with family and friends far away, as well as feeling like they are safe and can always get in touch with someone when they need them.  Then we discussed what some of the drawbacks were that they or their friends personally experienced.  This included feeling angry seeing snaps of friends out without you, feeling jealous that others have more followers, and being constantly distracted.  Everyone was eager to share during these discussions.

We moved on to oversharing and how it can be harmful to post things in the heat of the moment, post things that will leave a permanent stain on your digital footprint, or post things that can even put your safety at risk.

The next concept was something called ‘Red Flag Feelings’ and was an important concept defined as follows;

red flag feeling is when something happens on digital media that makes you feel uncomfortable, worried, sad, or anxious. It is a warning that something might be wrong. (commonsense.org)

We discussed how to approach these bad feelings by reflecting on their cause and trying to come up with strategic ways to cope with them.  We divided into four groups.  Each group was given a scenario and had to identify both feelings and possible responses and then share out their answers.

 

I genuinely hope that they will take the tools from this lesson with them into their daily lives and can better understand their feelings when difficult situations arise.

For resources on this lesson please visit common sense education.

November 12

Gaming Their Way To Good Digital Citizenship

This week and next week the library is running workshops on online safety and good digital citizenship.  The kids have been loving these workshops because the way they are learning these lessons is through an amazing Google game called ‘Interland‘.  This game is designed to guide students through four levels, each dealing with a particular issue.

The worlds are;

  1. Mindful Mountain – Share with Care – students are asked to determine who they should share certain types of information with.
  2. Reality River – Don’t Fall For Fake – this game poses questions about how to protect yourself from phishing and other scams.
  3. Tower of Treasure – Secure Your Secrets – this level is about protecting private information and creating secure passwords
  4. Kind Kingdom – It’s Cool to Be Kind – this level is about the importance of being kind online and standing against cyber bullying

The kids enjoyed the game so much they were asking to stay over recess and continue.  Our discussions before the game indicated that the children knew very little about how to protect themselves online.  But they took away so much from the game that our discussion after playing it was very rich.  I will be sharing this link with other grades and parents as I think this is a great tool for educating any student, not just the young ones.